You have set up a new DNS server on your machine and you have no clue whether it’s working or not. Well, there are ways to check it. You can do it natively through the command line or with the help of third-party apps.
Priority of DNS
Before we get started, it’s important to understand priority of DNS.
We all know, by default we use the DNS servers provided by our Internet service provider. But what happens when you entered a DNS on your local machine or router? Which DNS gets the priority now?
Now here is the thing, if you change the DNS server on the router (let’s say Google DNS), then every device connected to the router will automatically start using Google DNS as the DNS Server. However, on top of that, if you change the DNS server on your local computer to let’s say Cloudflare DNS, then these settings will override the DNS settings of the router. Now, only your computer will use Cloudflare DNS as the DNS server while the rest of the devices will still use Google DNS.
So, if we rank the priority of DNS servers, it is going to be something like this,
- If you’ve entered a custom DNS address on your computer or smartphone, that DNS will be used.
- If you have not entered any custom DNS on your device, then the DNS available on the router will be used
- If you have not entered any custom DNS on your computer and router, then DNS provided by your ISP will be used
The easy way – Check Online
The quickest way to check what DNS server you are using is to use online sites like WhatsMyDNSserver. Simply go to the website and click on the button that says – “What’s my DNS server?“. And it’ll show your current DNS server.
But this method is not error-free. Even after changing the DNS, it still picks up old DNS from the cache. For instance, I changed my computer’s DNS from Google DNS to Cloudflare, but the site still says, I was using Google DNS – even after restarting my Mac. Finally, I was able to fix this problem by reopening the site on the incognito window. If you are experiencing a similar problem, you can either clear your DNS cache or flush your DNS.
Other DNS providers such as Cloudflare also provide a section on their website which can detect if you are using Cloudflare DNS, you can access that webpage from this link.
Similarly, if you have switch to OpenDNS, you can check your DNS server from this link.
2. What DNS Server Am I Using – Windows 10/8/7
There are multiple ways to check the DNS Server you are using on Windows. Here is a couple of them.
To check the DNS Server you are using on Windows, simply open up the command prompt. To do so on Windows 10, click on Start, then All Programs, then Accessories, and finally on Command prompt. and run the following command.
ipconfig /all | findstr "DNS\ Servers"
In case you are wondering, all that the command does is pulls all the network configuration values and then filters out the “DNS Servers” line from it.
The second method is much simpler and has a user-friendly command. That is, simply do a nslookup of any web address and Windows will show what DNS server you are using as part of the lookup. To do a nslookup, simply use the below command. You can replace “google.com” with any web address you want. In fact, you can even replace it with your own IP address.
3. What DNS Server Am I Using – Linux
To check what DNS Server you are using on Linux, simply open up the terminal and do nslookup for any website. Just type in the following command. You can replace “google.com” with your own IP address as well.
In case you are wondering, “nslookup” is a command line utility that resolves the DNS name to an IP address, thus revealing the DNS server used in the process.
4. What DNS Server Am I Using – Mac
Similarly, on macOS, open the terminal and type the following command.
To launch the terminal on macOS, press CMD + SPACE to launch Spotlight, and then type in ‘terminal’. and hit enter. Alternatively, you can open your Applications folder, then open Utilities and double-click on Terminal. Once the terminal windows open, copy paste following command and hit enter.
5. What DNS Server Am I Using – Android
There are a handful of Android network scanner apps on the market that let you see what DNS you are using. I would suggest Network Info II. The app is free, light-weight with no ads.
Simply download it from play store, open it and go to the WiFi tab. There you’ll see DNS 1 and DNS 2 entries. These are the DNS servers you are using.
Alternatively, you can also try the PingTools Network Utilities. It has some of the best and useful tools. You also get additional utilities that can perform tasks like UPnP scanning, LAN wakeup, port scanning, etc.
To know the DNS address, install the app from Play Store and open it. Now, tap on the “Router” or “Internet” icon and it will display all the network details. Here, you can find what DNS you are using by looking at DNS 1 and DNS 2 entries.
6. What DNS Server Am I Using – iOS
Network Analyser is a free iOS app that shows useful information about your network. There is a premium version of this app that costs $3 but for our simple need, the lite version (ad supported) is sufficient. Just install and open the app, you can see what DNS you are using next to “DNS Server IP.”
7. What DNS Server Am I Using – Router
By default, your router uses the DNS Server provided by your ISP, but if you suspect someone has changed it on your router, here is how to find it. Simply open up the web browser, and type in router’s IP address (usually 192.168.1.1 or192.168.0.1) and log in with username and password. Most of the routers have credentials return behind it. Once you see the router’s web interface, depending on the router model look for DNS 1 and DNS 2 entries. Usually, it’s under the Network Setup or Status option.
In case you find any third-party DNS IP here, try googling or do a nslookup with the IP to find out the server associated to it. If you are still unsure about the DNS service, then it is advisable to change the DNS on your local computer. This will override the setting on your Router and now you can peacefully enjoy browsing the web.
So, these were some of the ways to find out what DNS Server you are using. Depending on the operating system you have, choose the most efficient way. In case of any other queries or difficulties, let me know in the comments below.