DNS stands for Domain Name System. The DNS is an invisible system that your Mac uses in order to access websites. Every website connected to the internet has an IP address. You can think of an IP address like your own physical home address. You can access websites by entering the websites IP address in your web browser. However, it’s likely you’ve never done this. You’ve probably entered a websites domain name, instead. The DNS was created to map a websites IP address to its domain name. You can think of the DNS as a phonebook for all websites on the web.

Although you may not even be aware of it, if your DNS is running slowly or is unavailable, websites will load slowly or may not even load at all. For this reason, it’s imperative to learn about the DNS, and even consider changing your DNS servers, if necessary. Each internet service provider uses its own DNS servers.

If you, for example access the web through Comcast, your Mac will use Comcast’s DNS servers. If the service providers DNS becomes unavailable, for whatever reason, your Mac won’t be able to load any websites. Luckily, many websites offer free DNS servers that you can use in accordance with your Mac. These services are usually much faster, and much more efficient. Many DNS servers even offer free services, such as malware protection and parental controls. In order to learn more about how you can select a different DNS provider and change your Mac’s DNS servers, follow the simple instructions below.

Choosing Another DNS Provider

If you do a Google search of DNS providers, you’ll find countless options to choose from. This may make the process to choose a new DNS server quite confusing and time-consuming. If you want the process made easy for you, then you should simply use OpenDNS or Google Public DNS. These two DNS servers are well rated and much loved by users around the world. Both OpenDNS and Google Public DNS are free, fast and trustworthy.

If you’re not a fan of censorship then you’ll be pleased to know that Google’s service “never blocks, filters, or redirects users.” In other words, you can enjoy the unfiltered internet in all its glory. OpenDNS, on the other hand, will prevent you from navigating to webpages that may host malware or viruses that could harm your Mac. If you register for an OpenDNS account, which is free, you have the option to use parental controls to prevent access to adult content and other harmful websites.

Now that you’ve decided which DNS server you want to use, you’re ready to begin and learn how to change your DNS server on your Mac. In order to get started, follow the guidelines in the section below.

Changing the DNS Server on Your Mac

The process to change the DNS server on your Mac is very easy to carry out, and only requires a few moments of your time. You don’t have to be a tech junkie or in IT, in order to carry out this process. Once you’ve decided which DNS server you want to use, you’re already halfway there. In order to get started and change your Mac’s DNS servers, follow the simple instructions below.

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen.

2. From the drop-down menu that appears, click on System Preferences.

Network

3. Click on the Network tab.

4. Using the left sidebar, select a network interface. You’ll notice that, by default, your primary network interface is already selected.

5. Click on the Advanced button in the lower right corner, in order to access the chosen interface’s DNS settings.

6. Click on the DNS tab, in order to edit your DNS servers.

Click on the + icon

7. Click on the + icon in the lower left corner of the window, in order to add a new DNS server.

8. If you’d like to use OpenDNS, enter 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220. If you’d like to use Google DNS, enter 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.

9. Click on OK.

10. Click on Apply.

It’s as simple as that. If you’re using OpenDNS, you can test it out through the OpenDNS test page. If you find that your DNS servers aren’t working, try rebooting your Mac.