What is DNS?
DNS (short for “domain name system”) is like a phonebook for online communications. To access a specific web page on the internet, you need its IP address. But there’s a problem — IP addresses are composed entirely of long strings of random numbers, and human beings just aren’t built to keep large numbers of large numbers in their heads.
Enter DNS. When you type a website address in your browser, your device queries a DNS server for an IP address associated with that particular domain name. The DNS server fetches the appropriate IP address from its cache (or by asking another DNS server), letting you browse without math getting in the way.
What happens if I change my DNS?
By default, you use the DNS server assigned to you by your ISP (internet service provider), which may limit your online experience without your knowledge. Here are just a few things that can happen if you change your DNS settings:
- You get more privacy. DNS server operators can see the queries coming from specific IP addresses — including your device. If you use your ISP’s DNS servers, this effectively makes your unencrypted online activities a matter of public record. Switching to an encrypted DNS operated by a trustworthy service (for example, one that follows a strict no-logs policy) can greatly improve your privacy when gaming.
- You unblock websites. If you use your PS4, PS5, or Xbox for a quick browse between gaming sessions, bad news — your ISP can easily block websites on a DNS level. If you change DNS servers, you can get around these censorship measures and explore the internet in full.
- You connect faster. DNS servers won’t affect your internet connection speed, but they can have a major impact on how fast you get going. Remember — without a valid IP address, you’re simply not going anywhere. Choose an optimized DNS server close to your physical location to reduce response times and improve your browsing experience.
Older consoles usually don’t support custom DNS, although it is possible to change DNS on a PC or router to let other connected devices benefit from the new DNS address. Fortunately, modern consoles let you freely tinker with DNS settings.
How to change DNS on PS4
- In the PS4 home screen, go to “Settings” and select “Network.”
- Choose “Set up internet connection.”
- Select your internet connection type and pick your connection from the list.
- When prompted to choose how you want to set up your internet connection, select “Custom.”
- Select “Automatic” for “IP address settings.”
- Select “Do not specify” for “DHCP host name.”
- In the “DNS settings” screen, select “Manual.”
- Enter the primary and secondary DNS servers.
- Choose “Automatic” in the “MTU settings” screen.
- Select “Do not use” for “Proxy server.”
- Test the connection. If you can connect to the internet, you’re done!
How to change DNS on PS5
- In the PS5 home screen, go to “Settings” and select “Network.”
- Select “Settings” and choose “Set up internet connection.”
- In the “Advanced settings” screen, set the “DNS settings” to “Manual.”
- Enter the details for the primary DNS and secondary DNS servers, then select “Ok” in the lower-left corner of the screen to confirm the changes.
- Wait for the PS5 to test the connection. You’re done!
How to change DNS on Xbox One
- Open the guide screen by pressing the “Xbox” button on your controller, then select “System” and go to “All settings.”
- In the “Network” menu, go to “Network,” select “Network settings,” and open “Advanced settings.”
- Pick “DNS settings” and set it to “Manual.”
- Enter your desired primary DNS and secondary DNS settings.
- Press the “Xbox” button again to save the DNS settings and test out your connection. That’s it!
What is the fastest DNS for gaming?
Trick question — your choice of DNS server will not affect your games, only your gaming sites. If you’re looking for the fastest DNS server, period, the answer depends heavily on your own location. DNS servers that are closer to you physically will generally resolve queries faster because the data doesn’t have to travel as far.
If in doubt, pick from the following reputable DNS servers:
- Cloudflare DNS: Another free DNS operator, Cloudflare offers gamers fast public DNS servers with improved privacy and security. Cloudflare uses strong encryption and claims that it doesn’t track its DNS users, making it an attractive option for privacy-conscious gamers on a budget. Cloudflare’s public DNS addresses are 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206.
Your choice of DNS server may not directly impact your in-game latency, but that doesn’t mean that all options are equal. In particular, if you want to enjoy the benefits of private DNS servers with good internet speed for gaming, pick NordVPN.
NordVPN offers some of the fastest DNS servers on the market, with built-in protection against DNS hijacking and no unwanted DNS blocking for websites. NordVPN’s DNS addresses are 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168. To cap it all off, NordVPN itself offers a smooth, almost no-lag VPN experience. Don’t choose between security or speed — get both.