What Is Private DNS and How to Use It

What Is Private DNS and How to Use It

Internet privacy is a big issue in today’s world. Ensuring your security and privacy online helps to protect you and your devices from malicious parties. This is where private DNS comes in. 

If you’re concerned about your online privacy and want to take steps to increase it, stick around to learn what private DNS is and how you can configure it on your devices. 

What Is DNS?

The Domain Name System (DNS) maps the web address that you search (like online-tech-tips.com, otherwise called the URL or Unified Resource Locator) to a set of IP addresses so that packets are efficiently sent over the internet. 

Generally, a DNS server will perform the translation from URL to IP. This process is called a DNS transaction, and these occur every time you visit a website, use particular applications, or communicate over specific platforms. 

1633693186 65 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It

These transactions, like the domain names, are unencrypted. There aren’t any privacy mechanisms in place to protect the confidentiality of the transactions. This means that operators and others can easily see and log them, and this can be a serious problem when the information is a security or privacy risk. 

Further, it can make you susceptible to particular forms of malicious cyberattacks (like man-in-the-middle attacks). 

What Is Private DNS?

There are two new terms to understand private DNS: Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). These protocols encrypt any DNS queries sent out, and DNS over these protocols are referred to as DoH (DNS over HTTPS) and DoT (DNS over TLS). 

1633693186 368 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It

Much of the malware, ransomware and data theft attacks rely on DNS security weaknesses. This is where private DNS comes in. DoT and DoH encrypt the communication between your network and the DNS server and prevent third parties from intercepting the data. 

Some other privacy software you can use include a VPN and SmartDNS

How Do You Use Private DNS?

The process will differ depending on your device/platform. To enable private DNS, you need to configure a DNS address on your device and have access to a third-party DNS server that includes DoT or DoH functionality. 

Cloudflare offers a free private DNS service at 1.1.1.1 or 1.0.0.1 but logs some information, which you can read about here. This DNS resolver is completely free. Other free DNS options include OpenDNS, 1.1.1.1 with Warp, and Google. 

How to Enable Private DNS on Windows 10

To use private DNS on Windows 10, follow the steps below: 

  1. Press Windows key + I to open Settings
  2. Select Network & Internet.
What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Select Network and Sharing Center under Advanced network settings. 
1633693186 352 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Select Change Adaptor Settings from the left-hand menu. 
1633693186 194 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Right-click the network you’re currently connected to and select Properties
1633693186 925 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) from the list and select Properties
1633693186 801 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Select Use the following DNS server addresses and enter your preferred DNS address. 
1633693186 16 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It

How to Enable Private DNS on Android

Google introduced support for DNS over TLS in Android 9, allowing you to use private DNS on your phone. To do this, you will need to have access to a private DNS server. Go to Settings.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Select Connections > More Connection Settings
1633693187 941 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Select Private DNS
1633693187 309 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Select Private DNS provider hostname
1633693187 74 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Enter the address of the private DNS service you wish to use.

Note: If you’re using CloudFlare, the URL will be 1dot1dot1dot1.cloudfare-dns.com

How to Enable Private DNS on a Mac

To enable private DNS on a Mac, do the following: 

  1. Select the Apple menu
  2. Select System Preferences > Network
1633693187 906 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Select the network connection you’re currently using and click Advanced
  2. Click DNS then select the Add button (the plus symbol) at the bottom of the list. 
  3. Enter the IPv4 or IPv6 address for the DNS server you wish to choose. 
  4. Select OK
1633693187 733 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It

How to Enable Private DNS on an iPhone

To use encrypted DNS on an iPhone follow the steps below: 

  1. Go to Settings > Wi-Fi
1633693187 641 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Click on the information icon “i” next to your Wi-Fi connection. 
1633693187 124 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Scroll down and select Configure DNS
1633693187 948 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Select Manual
1633693187 130 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It
  1. Click Add Server
  2. Enter the address of the private DNS service you wish to use. 

You can automatically set up a private DNS server on your Android. Apps like CloudFlare’s 1.1.1.1 Faster & Safer Internet will automatically configure your device to use the 1.1.1.1 DNS server. It is also available on iPhone. It’s called 1.1.1.1: Faster Internet in the Apple Store. It’s a free app that functions without ads. 

1633693187 350 What Is Private DNS and How to Use It

Check and Validate the DNS

Setting up a private DNS is not necessarily secure by itself. Once you’ve set up an alternate DNS address it’s important to check it to ensure that your connection is safe. There are several online tools you can use to do this including Cloudfare’s own security check tool

This will double-check that your DNS queries are encrypted, whether your browser is supporting encrypted Server Name Indication (SNI), whether your DNS resolver is using Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC), and which version of TLS is being used. 

Internet Privacy

Public DNS is one of the most significant security concerns on the internet, and configuring private DNS can protect you and your devices from malicious actors on the internet. 

Do you use private DNS? Let us know in the comments below. 


This article was originally posted on online-tech-tips.com. Read here

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top