How to Change Android DNS Settings (3 Methods Explained)

Changing the default DNS server for your internet connection has many benefits, including improved security, better privacy, increased speed, and more. You can change the DNS settings of your internet connection on all modern PC and smartphone operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS. We have already discussed how you can change DNS settings in Windows 10, so today we will look at how we can change Android DNS settings on your smartphone and tablet.

Change Android DNS Settings on Phones and Tablets

While most people use the default DNS server provided by their Internet Service Provider (ISP), there are many reasons why it’s a good idea to change it. Third-party DNS servers are generally faster, more secure, and more private, and some are also more configurable. Today we will take a look at how you can change Android DNS settings in a few easy steps. We will also learn what DNS is and how changing it on your system can be beneficial.

What is DNS?

DNS, or the Domain Name System, is often described as the phone book of the internet, and not without reason. It helps the web browser on your PC or smartphone connect to websites by converting simple domain names like ‘beebom.com’ to machine friendly IP addresses like 104.17.8.12 (IPV4 address for Beebom.com). Without DNS, it would be impossible to access web servers via friendly URLs, and you would have to type 104.17.8.12 into your browser’s address bar each time to access this site.

Benefits of Using Third-Party DNS

While most people use default DNS servers provided by their ISP, third-party options often yield better results in more ways than one. Using a third-party DNS server may offer you better speeds depending on how close you are to their servers. Some ISPs also save your internet browsing history and share them with third parties without your knowledge. Using secure, no-log DNS services will help protect your online privacy.

Third-party DNS servers can also help you unlock zone-blocked content and bypass censorship, given that most censored websites are blocked via DNS. Last, but certainly not least, some third-party DNS providers like OpenDNS and Quad9 will also protect you against malicious sites and other types of cyber threats. OpenDNS also offers parental control and custom filtering options.

How to Change DNS on Android

How to configure the default DNS server on Android depends on the Android version. It’s relatively simple on devices running Android 9 Pie and higher, but a bit more complicated on Android 8.1 Oreo and older. To check your Android version, go to Settings and search for ‘About’, ‘About Phone’, ‘System’ or something similar (usually the first or last option on the Settings page). Scroll down the About/System page and you will see your Android version listed somewhere there.

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Note: As with everything Android, the exact menu options may differ from one device to the next, depending on the Android version and manufacturer..

Change DNS on Android 9 Pie and Newer

Android 9 and above only support DNS over TLS, so not all third-party DNS servers are platform compatible. Before configuring, check if your preferred DNS service provider offers DNS over TLS. Also, these settings have no effect when you use a VPN that overrides custom DNS configurations.

  • To change DNS server on Android 9 Pie and newer, go to Settings > Network & Internet.

  • On the next page, expand the ‘Advanced’ menu and select the option that says ‘Custom DNS’. It should read ‘Automatic’ if not manually configured yet.

Change DNS on Android 9 Pie and Newer

  • In the drop-down box, select ‘Custom DNS provider hostname’ and type a TLS hostname (not just a standard IPV4 address). Finally, hit ‘Save’. As you can see, I have successfully configured this device to use Google DNS for all connections.

Change DNS on Android 9 Pie and Newer

Note: I wanted to configure Google DNS so I wrote dns.google (instead of 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4) as the hostname of the DNS provider. Your entry will depend on the DNS service you choose..

Change DNS on Android 8.1 Oreo and Older (The Hard Way)

Android Oreo and older versions do not allow you to change DNS servers for cellular networks; this means that the DNS settings below only work for Wi-Fi connections. Even then, the changes are network specific and you will need to change DNS servers each time you connect to a new wireless network. You will also need to manually configure all network information, so these changes are recommended for advanced users only.

  • To make changes to a Wi-Fi network, turn on Wi-Fi on your Android device and long-press the Wi-Fi icon in the Quick Settings panel to go to the Wi-Fi Settings page. Then, depending on your device, long press the name of the target network and select ‘Change network > Advanced settings’ or tap ‘ok’ next to the name of the network to access the configuration options.

Android 8.1 Oreo and Older

  • Find the menu item that says ‘IP Settings’. It will probably say ‘DHCP’ (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol). Change this to ‘Static’ to manually select your DNS provider.

Android 8.1 Oreo and Older

  • Now you will not only have to fill in your preferred DNS addresses, but also manually specify your IP address and gateway of the Wi-Fi router. Don’t forget to save your configuration before exiting.
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Android 8.1 Oreo and Older

Note: It is recommended that you only do this for your own Wi-Fi router, not shared or public routers. Also, mine is configured for Open DNS, but you can choose any third-party DNS provider you prefer..

Change DNS on Android 8.1 Oreo and Older (Easy Way)

The DNS changing method mentioned above on older Android devices can be a bit intimidating for many users. Even more frustrating is that it has to be repeated for each new connection individually. However, the rudest part is that it still doesn’t work with cellular connections.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this. As with almost everything these days, there is an app for that. In fact, there are multiple apps and the best part is that they also work with mobile connections. As with your computer, you only need to configure it once for it to work system-wide on every Wi-Fi and cellular connection.

So go to Play Store and download a free DNS changer app of your choice. Two of the best options are the open source and ad-free DNSChanger for IPv4/IPv6 (download) and Open DNS Changer (download). I’m using the first one for today’s demo.

  • Open ‘DNSChanger for IPv4/IPv6’. On the home screen, tap on ‘Default DNS addresses’. Then scroll down to find numerous preconfigured options including OpenDNS, Google DNS, CloudFlare DNS and more. Get what you want.

DNSChanger for IPv4/IPv6

  • If you don’t see your preferred DNS service listed, you can manually type in any custom IPv4 or IPv6 DNS server on the homepage, as seen in the left screenshot above. The app also lets you configure your connection to block adult websites, and you’ll have multiple options for which sites can and cannot be blocked.

DNSChanger for IPv4/IPv6

DNS Changer for IPv4 and IPv6 works without root for both Wi-Fi and cellular connections. But to make this possible, all traffic is redirected using a VPN. Not the most efficient solution, but the only option that doesn’t require root on older Android devices. By the way, if you want to use CloudFlare DNS, you may not need to use a third-party application. CloudFlare has its own ‘WARP’ app for Android, iOS, Windows and macOS.

Configure Your Preferred Private DNS Setting on Any Android Device

Here you go, here you go. Now you know how to change DNS setting on Android devices regardless of manufacturer or Android version. While you’ll need a little more elbow grease on older devices, it’s worth it in most cases. So go ahead, configure your Android phone or tablet to use any custom IPv4 or IPv6 DNS server and let us know how that goes.

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