How to Enable Private DNS Mode on Android (and Why You Should)
DNS stands for Domain Name Service and it is the heart of the internet. DNS makes it so that you don’t have to enter an IP address to get where you want to go. Without DNS, instead of just typing “Google” into your browser, you’d have to remember an address like 22.214.171.124. In other words, DNS makes the internet user-friendly. Your desktop, laptop, tablet, and even phone all require DNS to work properly.
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Nearly everything you do on your connected devices starts with a DNS query. So when searching in the address bar of your web browser or from any app on your mobile device, DNS will work.
The problem is that standard DNS is not secure, which means all your queries are sent over the network as plain text.
Why is that a problem? Assuming you are on public network (like a coffee shop) and you start looking for knick-knacks on your Android device. Or maybe you have to access a CMS or other work tool and you don’t want people to know the address you’re typing. If someone is on the same network and has the skills, they can intercept your search queries (or the URLs you visit) and know exactly what you’re looking for. That could be harmless, or it could be harmful. Either way, why take a chance?
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That’s where Private DNS Mode comes into play. When you enable this, all your DNS queries are encrypted, so any bad guys can’t see them (even if they catch those packets). In other words, Private DNS Mode should be an absolute must for anyone who values their privacy and security.
But how do you enable Private DNS Mode on Android? It’s actually quite simple. Let me show you how.
The only thing you need to enable Private DNS Mode is an Android device running at least Version 9 of the operating system (released in 2018). So pretty much every modern Android phone can enable this feature.
How to enable Private DNS mode on Android
Open the Settings app (from the Notification shade or App Drawer) and then tap Network & internet.
You’ll find the Private DNS section near the bottom of the Network & internet window. If you don’t find it, go back to the main Settings page and search for Private DNS.
This is where it can get a little difficult. You need your own DNS provider’s address. Here are my providers of choice:
Some other possible hostnames you can use:
- Google DNS: dns.google
- Quad9: dns.quad9.net
- Clean DNS: security-filter-dns.cleanbrowsing.org
- Open DNS: 126.96.36.199
- NextDNS: 188.8.131.52
- Comodo Security 184.108.40.206
- OpenNIC: 220.127.116.11
Note: While each of the free DNS services above are worth a try, I recommend using Cloudflare (1dot1dot1dot1.cloudflare-dns.com). I found it to be the fastest and safest of the bunch. In addition to speed, Cloudflare adds a DNS filter to the mix, which can help prevent email from being sent from malicious IP addresses.
When you tap Private DNS, a new pop-up will appear. Tap Private DNS Provider Hostname, then enter the hostname for the DNS provider of your choice.
You can also select Automatic, which will automatically switch to Google’s private DNS when available. For those who aren’t quick to trust Google for such a feature, I recommend choosing Private DNS and then entering the address for the provider of your choice. Tap Save to save the new settings and close the Settings app.
And that’s all there is to it. Once you have Private DNS enabled on Android, you can be sure that all your DNS queries are encrypted. Enjoy that extra privacy and security.