What is a DNS?
A DNS (Domain Name System) is an important internet protocol that resolves human-friendly internet addresses into the IP addresses used by machines to connect to each other. In other words, it translates URLs and domain names to numerical IP addresses.
How does a DNS work step by step?
Requesting website name
After entering a domain name (for example, by typing it in your browser), your device sends a DNS query to a DNS resolver
Linking to IP address
The DNS resolver checks its cache or asks other DNS servers to link the domain name to an IP address
Resolving domain name
The DNS resolver gives your device the correct IP address (“resolves” the domain)
Connecting to device
Your device attempts to open a connection to the IP address
What is a private DNS?
A private DNS is the one you create and manage as opposed to public DNS services, run by internet service providers (ISPs). It allows its owner to have full control over available IP addresses and network access.
DNS is crucial for the internet functionality, but a private DNS is vital for ensuring your online privacy. Using your ISP’s DNS servers tells it everything you’re doing online — and ISPs are often legally required to keep these records for years. And because the majority of free DNS services are unencrypted, snoops with the right tools can listen in to your connection and monitor your every move.
VPN with private DNS
A VPN uses DNS to help your device navigate. Our private DNS servers will safely handle all DNS requests, keeping everyone else out of the loop. NordVPN will protect you automatically — your ISP will only know that you’ve logged in to our servers, we’ll take care of everything from there.
Free DNS vs. VPNs with private DNS
Frequently asked questions
Is a private DNS safe?
Should I turn a private DNS on or off?
What is a private DNS on Android?
Does the iPhone have a private DNS?
What is DNS filtering?
What does a DNS flush do?
A private DNS or a smart DNS?
Unlike a VPN connection using a private DNS, however, a smart DNS will not encrypt your online traffic — you might have an easier time accessing content, but you’ll still be very vulnerable. Most top VPNs offer smart DNS configurations, such as NordVPN’s aptly named SmartDNS feature.