Why Do You Need to Change DNS for Gaming and How to Do It?

Dejan Cvetnarevic
Dejan Cvetnarevic

Updated · Jan 27, 2023

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Why do you need to change DNS for gaming? Changing your DNS server is definitely something to consider if you’re having trouble when playing online games, such as unreliable connections and constant interruptions.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about what DNS servers can do for online gaming and how to choose the best one for you.

Let’s dive right into it.

Do DNS Servers Affect Gaming?

Although DNS servers are not directly related to your internet connection, changing the DNS server for gaming can be quite useful as it affects the downloading process (not the downloading speed, though). A slow DNS will cause pages to wait longer before starting to load, which will extend the downloading process.

Even though most people are unaware of its role, DNS is still one of the most important aspects of the internet. So, back to basics — DNS stands for Domain Name System and is responsible for translating a domain name into an IP address so that your device can locate the website you want to visit.

Simply put, was there no DNS to translate domain names to the correct IP addresses, you’d have a hard time accessing any website, as you’d have to remember the numerical IP address of every website you intend to use.

So, the whole process of triggering a DNS query when entering a domain in your browser will occur faster if the DNS you’re using is of high quality, which is what makes all the difference when it comes to gaming.

Does DNS Affect Ping in Games?

A high-speed and high-quality DNS server could help gamers improve their gaming experience by providing the fastest and most reliable connection to the game. And while changing your DNS may positively affect ping or latency in the game, it doesn’t directly affect your bandwidth (download and upload speed).

You could slightly reduce your ping and improve the latency by choosing a DNS server closer to your location, and changing the in-game settings, to give you a competitive edge in live service games.

What Are the Best DNS Servers?

In reality, there is a plethora of DNS servers you can choose from. Some are free, and some are paid, but they all do the same job of translating domain names to IP addresses. However, some servers do their jobs better (faster) and come with features such as minimizing packet loss, blocking malicious websites, and content filtering.

It’s important to know that no matter which DNS server you choose, using a VPN service must be your priority to ensure your online safety and anonymity and prevent DNS leaks.

Here is a list of some of the best free and public DNS servers you can use:

  • Google Public DNS — Primary DNS 8.8.8.8 / Secondary DNS 8.8.4.4
  • OpenDNS — Primary DNS 208.67.222.222 / Secondary DNS 208.67.220.220
  • Comodo Security DNS — Primary DNS 8.26.56.26 / Secondary DNS 8.20.247.20
  • Cloudflare DNS — Primary DNS 1.1.1.1 / Secondary DNS 1.0.0.1
  • AdGuard DNS — Primary DNS 94.140.14.14 / Secondary DNS 94.140.15.15
  • Quad9 DNS — Primary DNS 9.9.9.9 / Secondary DNS 149.112.112.112

Note: Primary DNS servers are also known as preferred DNS servers and secondary as alternate DNS servers.

How to Change Your DNS

Changing your DNS is completely risk-free, and it doesn’t harm your device in any way. Moreover, the whole process is straightforward, and if things don’t go as planned, you can always revert to your default DNS.

PS5 and PS4

Follow these steps to change the DNS settings on your PS5 console:

  1. From the main menu, go to Settings.
  2. Go to Network and select Settings on the left side of the screen.
  3. Then select Set up Internet Connection and choose the Set up Mannualy option.
  4. Choose the Wi-Fi or LAN network you’re using.
  5. Select DNS and type the primary and secondary DNS servers you want to use.
  6. Confirm the changes and exit.

Xbox

Here is how to change the DNS settings on your Xbox console:

  1. Press the Xbox button on your controller to open the guide.
  2. Go to Profile & System and select Settings.
  3. Move down to Network and select Network Settings.
  4. Select the Advanced Settings option.
  5. Then, select DNS Settings and choose the Manual option.
  6. Enter the Primary and Secondary DNS servers you want to use.
  7. Once done, press B to exit the menu and check if your connection works correctly.

Windows

You can change the DNS settings on your Windows by following these easy steps:

  1. Open the Windows Start menu and click on Settings.
  2. Select Network & Internet.
  3. Then, click Change Adapter Options under Advanced Network Settings.
  4. Select the connection you want to change the DNS server for by right-clicking the Ethernet or Wi-Fi interface.
  5. Select Properties from the pop-up menu.
  6. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties.
  7. Select Use the Following DNS addresses and type in the new Primary and Secondary DNS servers.
  8. Finally, click OK to save the changes.

Mac

Mac users can change DNS server settings by doing the following:

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of your Mac’s screen and select System Preferences.
  2. Next, select Network.
  3. Choose the connection for which you want to change the DNS server by selecting either Wi-Fi or Ethernet, then click on Advanced.
  4. Click on the DNS tab at the top of the window.
  5. Then, click the plus icon (+) at the bottom of the DNS servers panel.
  6. Enter the new primary and secondary DNS addresses.
  7. Click OK to go back to the Network window.
  8. Finally, click Apply to save the changes.

Android

Android devices running versions older than Android 9 don’t support DNS-over-TLS, so you won’t be able to configure private DNS for all networks. On Android 9 and above, however, changing the DNS server is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is:

  1. Open Settings and enter the Network & Internet sub-menu.
  2. Click on Advanced and select the Private DNS option.
  3. Change the default Automatic selection to Private DNS provider hostname.
  4. Next, you’ll need to enter your custom DNS, but instead of using an IP address, you’ll need to provide a domain or hostname of the DNS provider. For example, if you want to use Google Public DNS, you’ll need to enter dns.google instead of 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.
  5. Once done, click on Save.

Note: Before changing DNS settings on your device, it’s important to write down the current server addresses in case you need to revert to them.

How to Find the Optimal DNS Server for You

By default, your devices use the DNS server provided by your ISP; however, these servers are not always the best choice since they’re usually slower than other servers and sometimes unreliable. That said, if speed and privacy matter to you, you should probably consider using a third-party DNS server.

Since there are so many DNS servers out there, choosing the best one can be a bit challenging. The speed of a DNS server will depend on your geographical location and internet service provider, so the only way to find out which one is the fastest for you is to run a benchmark.

One of the best tools for this purpose is GRC’s free DNS Benchmark tool which is available for Windows and Linux users.

All you need to do is visit the Gibson Research Corporation website, download the DNS Benchmark, and launch it (no installation required). Then, just select the Nameservers tab. By clicking on Run Benchmark, the tool will analyze and compare the reliability and operational performance of up to 200 DNS servers, and it will benchmark the top 72 DNS servers.

Note that, to get the most accurate results possible, the DNS Benchmark should be the only thing using your internet connection during the tests, so make sure to turn off any other programs or downloads.

Bottom Line

So if you were wondering, “Why do you need to change DNS for gaming” hopefully, you got your answer. While changing your DNS doesn’t affect your internet speed, it sure has some effects on your overall gaming experience, such as reducing lag issues, helping you to access the game quickly, and blocking malicious websites.

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Dejan Cvetnarevic

Dejan Cvetnarevic

Dejan is a techie at heart who always dreamed of turning his fascination with gaming into a career. He finds working for TechJury a perfect opportunity to express his views of all kinds of different software. Being an avid reader, particularly of fantasy and sci-fi, Dejan pursued a degree in English Language and Literature. When not at his computer, he’s watching sports or playing tabletop games.

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