DNS servers are the intermediate agents that resolve human-readable URLs to IP addresses. By using alternate DNS servers that are geographically closer, or that use more efficient caching methods, you can significantly speed up your browsing. DNS Tunnelling, on the other hand, is a great way to access region-blocked content.
If you’re using Windows as your operating system, there’s just one catch. Changing your DNS settings is a needlessly convoluted task. Configuring it once is worse enough, but switching between different DNS profiles frequently is almost out of the question. Luckily, third-party tools like ChrisPC DNS Switch are able to introduce much-needed flexibility.
ChirsPC DNS Switch is a free Windows utility that greatly facilitates DNS changes. It’s a full-featured package that not only introduces extensive DNS profiles, but makes even the simplest changes to your DNS settings a lot faster and user-friendly.
The application is free, but ad-supported. You’ll find a text advertisement at the bottom of the main application window and a single advertisement when you exit the settings. This is less intrusive than it sounds; you will want to use the [[APPLICATION TRAY]] for most program interactions, so these are only seen sporadically. With the time ChrisPC DNS Switch saves you, and the headaches it protects you from, it’s a great package deal.
You can change the DNS settings for each separate network adapter on your computer, e.g. your WiFi vs. your LAN connection. With a network adapter selected, pick a DNS preset and press Change DNS to reprogram it. Alternatively, you can use the selected preset to reprogram all your network adapters at once.
ChrisPC DNS Switcher comes with a sizeable collection of alternative DNS presets available out of the box. These are ordered by categories, like Regular, Secure and Custom. For a better overview, you can filter DNS presets by category when you’re reprogramming a network adapter in the application settings.
DNS Database & Custom Presets
The Custom category of DNS presets is empty when you first launch the application. You can probably guess why: it’s the category reserved for DNS servers entered by the user.
Select DNS Database in the left sidebar of the main application window to view all existing DNS presets and to add your own. You can also play with the default collection of DNS presets. For example, once you’ve set your mind on the set of DNS presets you’re going to use, you can delete the other presets to clean up the list.
Tip: Run Installation File To Restore Default DNS Presets
If you ever want to get back (some of) the deleted default DNS presets, just run the installation file again. This adds the default collection back to the DNS Database and (in the current application version) also keeps your custom DNS presets intact.
Notification Area Controls
If you minimise the settings window or press the Hide Settings button, the application icon remains visible in the notification area. The notification area is by far the easiest way to interact with ChrisPC DNS Switch on the fly.
Right-clicking on the application icon gives you a context menu through which you can access all DNS presets. Alas, there’s no filtering by category, so you can easily get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options. Again, it’s a good idea to delete DNS presets that you know for sure you won’t be using, to give you a better overview in these menus.
Tip: Keep ISP Default as Preset
Your DNS server, unless changed manually, is automatically assigned by your Internet service provider (ISP). Using custom DNS servers can be useful, but there are times you’ll want to go back to your ISP’s defaults.
In particular, some ISP-specific services are only accessible if you’re using that ISP’s DNS servers. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to enter those DNS servers as a custom DNS preset. Instead of restoring your DNS settings in the ChrisPC DNS Switch settings, you can then just switch to your ISP preset.
Have you been tinkering with your DNS configuration? What have you been using it for? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below the article!