How to Change Your DNS Server on a Mac?

The Domain Name System or DNS is vital for website accessibility across different browsers for computer systems. Many Mac users do not know of DNS server settings, but it does affect the condition since the devices hold millions of domains and connected IP addresses. Therefore, changing domain names into the corresponding IP addresses becomes easier through DNS servers.

Users can download the robust CleanMyMac X software for slow-running Mac devices. It removes all malware and excessive junk files and improves system performance and internet speed. Or, you can directly change DNS server settings and improve website loading and internet performance speed. 

Methods to change DNS server on Mac

There are specific steps that users must handle to change DNS server on Mac without any error. Here are the main things you should keep in mind and carry out for improving internet speed and connectivity. Follow the methods carefully for your system.

Method 1: Accessing the DNS Settings on Mac

Before changing DNS server settings on your Mac device, you should open it to see the available server settings. Following that, you can carry out the necessary steps to make setting changes.

How to do this?

Step 1: Open the Apple home menu and then choose “System Preferences” to launch the window. Alternatively, you can click the option on the Dock.

System Preferences

Step 2: Open the Network Preferences window through the Network option under System Preferences. It would show all active network connections.

Network Preferences

Step 3: Choose the preferred connection type for your DNS changing steps and access the Advanced window. Typically, one connection stays active, i.e., the WiFi. A green dot would appear beside the term indicating this active status. Notably, this process is similar for whichever connection a user operates with, like Ethernet, Bluetooth, or Thunderbold Bridge.

Step 4: Open the DNS tab to show two panes. One would have the list of Search Domains, and the other would list the DNS servers.

This list can appear empty, have entries in dark text, or grayed-out entries.

If it is the last type, it means that the IP addresses are running with another device, specifically the network router. You can edit the list and override it through the Network Preference window of the Mac device manually, as explained under Method 2. But this would apply to only the primary device.

Dark text entries are locally entered options, while the empty entry fields mean that DNS servers are not assigned to them.

Method 2: Change DNS Server through the System Preferences

The most straightforward method to change DNS servers while using Mac systems is to access system preferences directly. Then, follow the correct sequence to change the settings on your device.

How to do this?

Step 1: Click your cursor on top of the icon for Apple, visible on the top left-hand-side corner of the home screen.

Step 2: Then, choose the option System Preferences.

Step 3: Choose the “Network” option on the next screen.

Step 4: After doing so, the system would take you to the next screen that would feature multiple available network connections. They are present on the left sidebar. Choose your preferred network connection among the green-circled choices.

Step 5: Then, select the “Advanced” option that is available on the button-right side of the dialogue box.

advanced option

Step 6: Following this, you should press your cursor on the DNS tab on the upper side of your window.

DNS tab

Step 7: Select the plus (+) icon below the pane for the DNS Servers list. A text input field would come up in the list. You can manually add the DNS address you will use and click on “Return” after that.

For example, if you want to access the Google DNS address, all of the addresses are given before after clicking on the plus icon.

  • 2001:4860:4860::8844
  • 2001:4860:4860::8888

The two addresses on top are IPv4 addresses, while the third and fourth ones are IPv6 addresses.

IPv4 addresses

During the entry addition period, you can replace any greyed-out entries that appear to change DNS server settings. However, it is possible to delete them.

Step 8: After that, you have to add the primary and secondary DNS addresses. To resolve an URL entry when you try to change DNS server on Mac, the system would prompt about the first DNS server entry on the list. If there is zero response, it will switch to the entry after that. This continues until the system queries every server or until they receive a response.

Step 9: After this, you have to click on the “OK” button, which will take you back to the pre-opened “Network” window.

Step 10: Then, you have to select the “Apply” button. It would activate the changes you made.


What are the suitable third-party DNS Servers to use?

To change the DNS server on Mac, users can operate third-party DNS servers. The standard options include Google Public DNS, OpenDNS, and Cloudflare. They are secure, contain a comprehensive database of IP address options, and assure high privacy and speed support. All three options provide usable primary DNS addresses and secondary DNS addresses.

The DNS addresses for each are:

  • Google Public DNS- and
  • OpenDNS- and
  • Cloudflare- and


The methods available to change DNS server settings for Mac devices are straightforward, so follow the sequence carefully. Make sure that you have an administrator account/password and access to one or more types of DNS IP addresses. Install and use the MacPaw CleanMyMac X software for safe device cleanup additionally.

We have other such posts available. If you found this helpful, please give them a read.

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