While most people don’t give a damn about this, there are a few fans out there who like to change DNS servers on their system for reasons like speed, privacy, and security. I’ve previously written about the best free public DNS servers that you can use to speed up browsing and improve security.
Also, depending on where you live or where you travel, your current DNS provider may not be the fastest. For example, if you are in New York and use OpenDNS and then travel to Los Angeles, you might find out that Google Public DNS is actually faster. You can easily find the fastest DNS server in your area using a program called NameBench
However, who wants to continue to manually change the DNS settings? Better to ask the program to do all the work for you. In this article, I will mention five useful utilities for automating the process of changing DNS settings in Windows.
DNS Jumper is my favorite app for this process because it has all the features I need in a nice, clean interface. What I really like about it is that it is portable, meaning you don’t need to install it on your system. You can just run it from disk or USB stick if you like. Here are the features that make this program the best for DNS switching:
1. Restore and Default DNS Settings – keeps the original DNS settings, so you can revert to the original DNS settings as easily as you changed them. There are two options: restore and default. Restoring will revert the DNS settings to the last set of servers you configured, and by default will revert the settings back to the ISP settings.
2. Find Fastest DNS Servers – Click the Fastest DNS button and you will see a cool little dialog box where you can select the servers you want to test and see at a glance which one is the fastest. Then you can press another button and set the fastest DNS servers automatically! Nicely!
3. Flush DNS – This flushes the DNS resolver cache, making sure the connection uses the new DNS settings and not the old cached settings. Another great option that is very useful.
4. DNS server manually. Finally, you have the option to manually enter the DNS servers, which again is a useful feature because there are times when I don’t want to use a server from the list.
ChrisPC DNS Switch
ChrisPC DNS Switch is another good utility that gets the job done, although not quite as well as DNS Jumper. Firstly, this program does not allow you to instantly check the speed of various DNS servers in the database, so you have to use a separate program to get this information. Otherwise, it has almost all the other features: you can restore the original or previous DNS settings, it clears the DNS cache when you change DNS servers, and you can manually enter DNS servers if you like.
Another interesting feature of this program is that it has some DNS presets like Secure DNS (from malware / viruses), Family Safe (blocks of porn, drugs, etc.), and Anonymous DNS (no tracking). However, this program must be installed in order to work, and there is a small ad at the bottom of the interface that links to its other software. However, in general, these are minor troubles.
QuickSetDNS from my favorite company Nirsoft. These guys are always releasing insanely useful tools, and QuickSetDNS is one of them. The program is great and works all the way up to 64-bit Windows 8, but for some reason they only decided to include one option in the public DNS list! If you only plan on using Google Public DNS, that’s fine, but it would be nice if they added at least a couple of more popular options. You can add entries manually and this is just a one-time task, but this is not something the user should do.
In general, switching is effortless and can be started from a USB stick, no installation required. You can also switch back to the default DNS servers from your router. Hopefully in a future update they will add a couple more DNS servers to the list, then it will become a top contender.
Public DNS Server Tool
Public DNS Server Tool has a smaller server list than DNS Jumper and ChrisPC DNS Switch, but much more than QuickSetDNS. Again, this program does not have the ability to check the speed of DNS servers, which is why DNS Jumper is my favorite. You can backup and restore DNS settings in this program, but you have to do it manually and the file will be saved as a registry file.
One nice feature is the ability to select all network cards if you have more than one, and change the DNS servers for all of them. You also don’t need to install this program, which is nice. Finally, there is an INI file that you can edit if you want to add more DNS servers to the program interface.
Download Public DNS Server Tool
Unlike other applications mentioned above, NetSetMan is not specifically designed to change DNS settings. However, it has built-in features so you can use it to quickly change your DNS settings. With NetSetMan, you can go to File and click Get Current Settings to get the current settings for your computer, including DNS records.
You can then create up to 5 additional presets, each of which can be configured with a separate public DNS server. You will have to configure this manually, so it will take longer, but if you need a program to manage some other settings in addition to the DNS settings, this program is very handy.
So these are five options for quickly changing DNS settings on your Windows computer. Hopefully with these DNS servers you will be faster, more private and more secure on the Internet. Enjoy!