How to use Google Public DNS on Windows 7 and Windows XP
By on December 4th, 2009

Google recently announced that it’s offering a new public DNS server. It caught me by surprise. However, I’m not new to using public DNS services, and I gave Google’s new service a try. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows XP, I’ll show you how to set it up.

First, let’s get a couple of questions out of the way.

What is a DNS server?

DNS stuff can get pretty complicated, and I don’t want to go into details, so I’ll just give you a general idea. A DNS server is like a phone book. If you want to call someone using your phone, you may need to look up their phone number. Every website on the net has a 12 digit number (IP Address) that your PC needs to know in order to contact it. When you type a website name into a browser, your PC queries it’s assigned DNS server (the phone book), the DNS server reports the IP address (the phone number) back to your PC, and the PC initiates a connection with the site you requested. This all happens automatically and you really don’t need to know about DNS to use it. Most people are using a private DNS server that’s assigned by their Internet Service Provider, however, there are many open (public) DNS servers out there that anyone can use. Google’s new DNS server is only one among thousands.

Why would you want to use Google’s Public DNS?

I’m not sure that I completely agree with the reasons given at the Google Public DNS home page, but they state that their DNS service is faster, more secure and fairly private. Personally, I prefer OpenDNS, but that’s a topic for another time.

And now – on to the How toportion.

Set up Google Public DNS on Windows XP

1. Print this out if you are concerned that you won’t remember the details. You could lose your internet connection if something doesn’t go well. You can reverse any changes you make here by following these steps.

2. Open up the Control Panel and click Network and Internet Connections.

googdns-xp-control-panel

2. Then click Network Connections.

googdns-xp-networks

4. Select your active internet connection and right click on it.

googdns-xp-local-area-right-click

5. Select the TCP/IP service in the list and then click on the Properties button.

googdns-xp-network-connection-props

6. Look for the DNS section. If there are already numbers listed in there, be sure to write them down so that you can put things back the way they were if Google’s DNS doesn’t work out for you. If the obtain automaticallybutton is filled, select the use the followingbutton. Then enter in these two numbers ( 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 ) into the DNS section as shown. Click OK to finish up.

googdns-xp-ip-props

7. Open up your web browser and surf around awhile. If you aren’t getting anywhere, try a reboot.

Set up Google Public DNS on Windows 7

1. Print this out if you are concerned that you won’t remember the details. You could lose your internet connection if something doesn’t go well. You can reverse any changes you make here by following these steps.

2. Open up the Control Panel, then select Network and Internet.

googdns-win7-control-panel

3. Select Network and Sharing Center.

googdns-win7-network internet

4. Select Change adapter settings.

googdns-win7-network sharing-center

5. Right click on your current internet connection and choose Properties.

googdns-win7-local-area-right-click

6. Select the TCP/IPv4service in the list, then click the Propertiesbutton.

googdns-win7-local-connection-props

7. Look for the DNS section. If there are already numbers listed in there, be sure to write them down so that you can put things back the way they were if Google’s DNS doesn’t work out for you. If the obtain automaticallybutton is filled, select the use the followingbutton. Then enter in these two numbers ( 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 ) into the DNS section as shown. Click OK to finish up.

googdns-win7-ip-props

8. Open up your web browser and surf around awhile. If you aren’t getting anywhere, try a reboot.

More Details about Google’s Public DNS Server

Home page FAQs Privacy Statements

Techie Buzz Verdict:

I’m not comfortable with a full recommendation for Google’s Public DNS servers yet. However, if your current DNS server is unreliable, this is a fine alternative. It’s simple to set up and it shouldn’t do any harm. You can always change the settings back to what they were before. If Google starts adding more features to this service, I’ll give it a higher rating.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of FreewareWiki.com with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.

Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.

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