1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

How To Change DNS Servers in Windows 7

By

Screenshot of the TCP/IPv4 Properties Window in Windows 7

TCP/IPv4 Properties Window (Windows 7)

To change the DNS servers in Windows 7 means to change the servers that Windows 7 communicates with to turn a website's hostname like www.about.com into its IP address - 208.185.127.40.

DNS servers can sometimes be the root cause of some types of Internet problems so trying different DNS servers in Windows 7 can be helpful during the troubleshooting process.

Most Windows 7 computers in homes and businesses are automatically assigned DNS servers via DHCP. The instructions below show you how to override these default DNS servers with ones you choose yourself.

See my Free & Public DNS Servers list for an updated collection of publicly available, and free to use, DNS servers. Most, if not all, may perform better than DNS servers provided by your ISP that you're likely using right now.

Tip: Changing the DNS servers on your router is often a better idea than doing so on your individual Windows 7 computer and devices. If that sounds like the way to go, see How Do I Change DNS Servers? for instructions on doing that on popular routers.

Follow the steps below to change the DNS servers used in Windows 7:

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Changing the DNS servers in Windows 7 should only take a few minutes.

Applies To: The procedure outlined below for changing DNS servers works identically in every edition of Windows 7.

Here's How:

  1. Open the Windows 7 Control Panel, which on most computers you can access directly from the Start Menu.
     
  2. Once Control Panel is open, click Network and Internet.

    Note: If you have either the Large icons or Small icons view of Control Panel selected, you won't see Network and Internet. Find and click Network and Sharing Center applet instead and then skip to Step 4.
     
  3. Click the large Network and Sharing Center heading.
     
  4. Look in the left margin and click the Change adapter settings link.
     
  5. From the Network Connections window that's now on screen, find and double-click on the network connection that you use to connect to the Internet. This is the one you'll be changing the DNS servers for.

    Tip: In Windows 7, wireless connections are usually labeled as Wireless Network Connection, while wired ones are usually labeled as Local Area Connection.
     
  6. Click on the Properties button from the connection's Status window.
     
  7. Click on Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) from the list of items on the connection's Properties window.
     
  8. With that item selected, click on the Properties button.
     
  9. Near the bottom of the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) Properties window, choose the Use the following DNS server addresses: radio button.
     
  10. Enter a Preferred DNS server as well as an Alternate DNS server in the areas labeled as such.

    Tip: See my Free & Public DNS Servers piece for an updated list of DNS servers you can use instead of your ISP assigned ones.

    Note: Only one DNS server is required, which you should enter in the Preferred DNS server field. However, I recommend you enter at least two, with the second in the Secondary DNS Server area. You're welcome to mix DNS servers from different providers, as well as enter more than two DNS servers using the fields found within the Advanced TCP/IP settings area, which you can access via the Advanced... button.
     
  11. Click OK to confirm the DNS changes, which take place immediately.
     
  12. You can now close any Properties, Status, or other windows that are still open.
     
  13. The easiest way to make sure the new DNS servers that Windows 7 is now using are working properly is to visit several websites, using whatever browser you typically use.

    So long as the pages load at least as fast as before, the DNS servers are probably working properly. If you changed DNS servers to fix some kind of Internet problem you were having in Windows 7, test to see if this change corrected that.

Tips:

  1. Not using Windows 7? See How Do I Change DNS Servers? for instructions specific to your version of Windows.
     
  2. Running in to some trouble changing DNS servers in Windows 7 and need some help? See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.