Best DNS for Xbox Series X – 2021 – How to Find The Fastest for Your Location

Are you using the DNS server with the lowest latency for your location? There are many choices in DNS servers to use. Using the server with the lowest latency will have a small but appreciable effect on your browsing / gaming experience. Just to be clear changing your DNS settings will not increase your download or upload speeds. Bandwidth is not a function of DNS whatsoever. If you are looking to increase your download speed click on this article. That said, latency is equally important for web browsing and more important for gaming. Your DNS server choice can affect latency. The best DNS server will differ for everyone. That is why this test is essential if you want to get the best possible experience.

Best choices for public DNS servers include the following. Primary DNS Server 8.8.8.8, 1.1.1.1, and 4.2.2.2. There are many other options and your location is going to make the largest difference.

What is DNS and Why is it Used

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical naming system for devices connected to networks including the internet. DNS associates information with domain names. Most importantly it converts domain names to IP addresses. DNS has been a core element of the Internet since 1985.

It is essential because computers speak in numbers, and humans speak in words. If DNS did not exist you would for example need to type 66.249.14.39 into your browser to reach Google. That would be a real challenge if all websites were accessed with numbers like this. Fortunately DNS acts as a friendly translator between domain names and IP addresses. For most people google.com is much easier to remember than 66.249.14.39.

Why Does DNS Latency Matter

Latency is the round trip time for a packet of data to reach its destination and return. The shorter this time is the more responsive your browsing experience. This is also important for gaming because high latency is the bane of online gaming.

Despite popular belief your DNS server choice does not in any way affect your bandwidth (download + upload speeds). It can however make websites load quicker by reducing the initial latency.

How to Find the DNS Server With the Lowest Latency

There are many tools that can be downloaded to test DNS latency to various servers, however your computer already has one built in. It is called command prompt on Windows and Terminal on Mac or Linux.

In this tutorial we will be using the ping command. This is used by typing in the word ping followed by the IP address. You will then get replies back from the server with the latency listed beside it. Latency is measured in milliseconds ms, the lower the better.

Here is an example below.

CMD ping 8.8.8.8

There are many DNS servers you can test. Below are the DNS servers that I would suggest testing as they will be the best choice for most people.

DNS Servers

When you have tested all of them, you will end up with data that looks something like this.

CMD Ping Command

From here you will identify the DNS server with the lowest latency based on your location. This will differ for everyone. In my case Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 was the best choice.

You have now identified the optimal choice based on your location. Ideally I would recommend running this test at least yearly because things change over time and you want to periodically check for the optimal choice.

How to Change Your DNS Server

You can change your DNS server setting on most devices including computers, game consoles, smartphones, tablets, and some IoT devices. However the easiest thing is to change it on your router. When you change it on your router you are applying it to all of your devices that are connected to it.

Manually Setting Your DNS Server on an Xbox Series X

Open up your network settings and then select advanced settings. After you get to advanced settings select DNS settings and choose manual.

On this screen you will enter the IP address of the DNS server of your choosing. For optimal performance you will want to choose the DNS server with the lowest latency for your location.

Xbox Series X DNS Settings

You will then enter the IP address of your secondary DNS server. This can be done in a couple of different ways.

The first way and the most common is use the secondary DNS server associated with the primary DNS server. For example 1.0.0.1 or 8.8.4.4. You can look up the secondary DNS server address on google.

The second method which I actually prefer is to use a different company’s DNS service for your secondary DNS. That is nice just to build in a little redundancy into your setup. Reliability is paramount when it comes to DNS. If your DNS server goes down you will not be able to access the internet. With this method you are covered, If company A has an outage, company B is likely unaffected. I would recommend using the DNS server with the lowest latency as your primary DNS and the DNS server with the second lowest latency as your secondary DNS.

Xbox Series X Secondary DNS

From here you will press enter and it will take you back to the main menu. From here you will see your updated DNS server information.

Xbox Series X IP Settings Menu

You have now successfully changed your DNS server settings on the Xbox Series X console. Please remember that this does not improve your bandwidth (download + upload speed).