There is a lot of talk online about the supposed “best” DNS for the PS4, and for gaming in general. In fact, we have our own article on this topic.
But is there really a definitive “best” DNS for the PS4? Does changing your DNS settings even make a difference to online gaming?
Looking through the current articles that rank for this search term, we again find a lot of the common sophistry around DNS settings for gaming, claiming you can get lower ping and better speeds by changing your DNS servers.
In this article we’ll add a reality check and give you the bottom line conclusion on this:
Most times, the default/automatic DNS setting provided by your ISP and PS4 will do fine in providing you the connection you need for your PS4. Occasionally, using custom DNS servers such as Google DNS (220.127.116.11; 18.104.22.168) can give you better speeds, but they will not improve your ping value.
In other words, in most cases there is no need to change your DNS settings as long as you have a decent connection between your console and router, and your internet service is working fine. You should be fine using the DNS servers your ISP and PS4 console set for you automatically.
Let’s look at the whole issue of DNS servers for gaming in more detail – going through what DNS servers are, when changing them might benefit you, when it won’t make a difference, as well as some different DNS servers you can try if you want to.
What Are DNS Servers? Very Brief Summary
Let’s go over quickly what a DNS server is. DNS stands for Domain Name System and is the protocol by which domain names (eg. google.com) are mapped to IP addresses (eg. 22.214.171.124).
DNS servers act like a virtual “phonebook” on the internet, and by mapping domain names to IP addresses, they allow us to get to the sites we want by just remembering the name and not the specific IP address (imagine how hard that would be for every single site!).
Thus DNS servers are very important – we couldn’t easily and reliably get online without them. For games consoles, DNS servers are used as any other device – they connect gamers to game servers and websites, and the specific “pair” of DNS servers you use determines the specific route by which your console connects to the servers it needs to.
Most Times, Your Default DNS Settings Will Be Fine For Gaming
Here is the lowdown on this though – most times, as long as your connection to your router is good, the default DNS servers your PS4 uses should be fine. That’s it!
If you set up the internet connection on your PS4 as “Easy” or “Automatic”, and you don’t manually put in any DNS servers yourself, then your PS4 will just use the default DNS servers of your ISP, which will usually work just fine in getting you where you need to be online.
In most cases, using these default DNS servers should give you good speeds and low ping or latency, provided you have a good connection to your router (we need to keep stating this). You shouldn’t need to change them.
Because DNS servers also work in pairs, with a Primary and a Secondary DNS, this means that if the primary one fails, the secondary one should come in to pick up the slack, and make sure you don’t lose connection.
When Might You Benefit From Changing Your DNS Servers?
However, there are some cases when changing your DNS settings may make a difference to your online gaming. Sometimes, the default servers your ISP assigns may get overloaded with too many traffic demands, or some other technical issue or error on your ISP’s end may mean they are not performing very well.
This can mean that using these default DNS servers can give very low download and upload speeds for your PS4, which can make downloads slower, and in extreme cases, cause lag as well if the speeds are especially slow.
Here are some cases when your default DNS settings may not work as well as intended, and when it might be worth changing them to a custom pair instead:
- Some kind of server or technical error with your ISPs external infrastructure.
- Times when internet use is really busy across the country or the world (eg. the 2020 lockdown, when everyone was stuck indoors).
- Times when you are getting download and upload speeds on your PS4 that are much lower than the potential maximum of your internet package, even though your connection to the router is good and network use is minimal.
- Times when your download and upload speeds using your default DNS settings is less than 2 Mbps download, and less than 500Kbps upload, and this is causing you to lag when playing online.
If one of these things is true and you want to try and improve your PS4’s performance, then it may be worth playing around with your DNS settings. Let’s look at how to do this in the next section.
How To Change The DNS Settings For Your PS4
Changing your DNS settings to a custom pair is very easy on the PS4. You just need to manually configure your internet connection, and when you reach DNS settings, input your own custom pair, which the PS4 will then use to connect to servers intead of your ISP default ones.
Here are the steps to do this:
- Go to Settings….Network……Set Up Internet Connection
- Select Wi-Fi or LAN depending on your connection. Plug into your router and use wired if the wifi doesn’t work.
- Select Custom setup
- Run through all the settings as they are, without changing them, until you get to DNS Settings
- For DNS Settings, switch to Manual
- Input these Google DNS servers: Primary: 126.96.36.199 Secondary: 188.8.131.52
- Once configured test your internet connection a few times (Settings…..Network…..Test Internet Connection) to see if it delivers better download and upload speeds than the ones you were using before. Concentrate especially on Upload speeds if you are getting this problem when using SharePlay.
- You can also use other free DNS servers; here are two common pairs:
- `Cloudflare DNS – Primary 184.108.40.206 Secondary 220.127.116.11
- Open DNS – Primary 18.104.22.168 Secondary 22.214.171.124
- If one pair don’t work, try another pair. See our article on the best DNS for gaming for more information.
- Advanced option – use the DNS Benchmark Tool to find your own optimum pair of DNS servers for your location. Needs to be downloaded and run and a PC. See our other article on DNS settings for more on this.
- See just below for a video demo of how to do this.
Also here are some other less well known DNS servers which you can try if you want:
- Comodo Secure DNS – Primary DNS 126.96.36.199; Secondary DNS 188.8.131.52
- DNS.Watch Servers – Primary DNS 184.108.40.206; Secondary DNS 220.127.116.11
- DNS Advantage – Primary DNS 18.104.22.168; Secondary DNS 22.214.171.124
There are loads of different DNS servers you can use, free and paid, but really for most people your best bet for a custom pair of DNS servers is to use the Google DNS ones (126.96.36.199; 188.8.131.52). Google has the best coverage with the most servers located around the world, so if you want better speeds, you are most likely to get them from Google DNS.
Other DNS servers don’t have the same global coverage as Google, so you may get great speeds in a specific corner of the world, but terrible speeds if you try them somewhere else in the world, because they simply don’t have any servers nearby. Google has by far the biggest global reach in terms of servers.
Does Changing DNS Settings Give Better Speeds on The PS4?
Once you’ve changed over your DNS servers, it’s a good idea to test your internet connection (Settings…Network….Test Internet Connection) a few times to see if it does give you better download and upload speeds.
The bottom line on this is that in some cases, using different DNS servers can definitely give you better download and upload speeds for your PS4. This is especially true with Google DNS.
Here are some things to bear in mind though regarding using custom DNS servers:
- Be sure to test your speeds multiple times after changing and not just once. Sometimes new DNS servers can deliver a one off fluke result of better speeds, but then after that revert back to the speeds you were getting before. There is no real change.
- Some DNS servers, especially the less known ones, may give better speeds initially, but themselves may become unreliable and fail over time. Reputable ones are usually best long term.
- If your download speeds are really slow, and changing your DNS servers makes a huge difference to your speeds, then it can definitely be worth it to change them, especially if you download a lot of games and patches.
- If your upload speeds are also really slow (less than 1 Mbps) and this is causing you to lag or leaves you unable to host lobbies, then using custom DNS servers can also be a great option if it gives you better upload speeds.
- However, be sure that changing your DNS servers isn’t just covering for a more fundamental problem on your network, like a poor connection between your console and router. See the last section below for more on this.
Changing DNS Settings Can Improve Download & Upload Speeds
Does Changing DNS Servers Give Better Ping?
This is a big myth that needs dispelling, since “speeds” in terms of download and upload speeds (bandwidth) and latency (ping) are two separate measurements that need analyzing separately.
A lot of resources online conflate these two things – see our article which breaks it down in more detail. In short, bandwidth is how much data your PS4 can send and receive, ping is how fast it can send and receive. Ping is generally more important for gaming.
We have already covered above how using custom DNS servers can give you better bandwidth (download and upload speeds) sometimes. This can help with downloading and hosting and in rare cases indirectly affect ping.
But the reality on this from people who have tested this thoroughly is that changing your DNS servers does NOT improve latency or ping on the PS4. See the video directly below from a networking expert who has thoroughly tested this out several times with the PS4, and finds the same conclusion every time – DNS settings don’t affect ping.
Changing DNS Settings Makes No Difference to Ping or Latency For The PS4
There is only one very narrow and rare circumstance in which using custom DNS servers may affect ping – when your download and upload speeds are very low (<2MbpsDL/<500Kbps UL), and using new DNS servers improves them to the point you no longer lag.
Beyond this, you don’t really need any higher speeds to game without lag. Most connections are not that slow anyway when tested, so you shouldn’t really need to do this.
If your speeds are this slow, and you know your internet package can give much better speeds, it is also usually a sign that something more fundamental needs improving with your PS4’s internet connection. Let’s look at some other things to try below.
Other Ways to Get Better Speeds & Lower Ping For Your PS4
The reality is that changing your DNS settings is really a “fringe” method to get a better connection for gaming. In rare cases, it may deliver better speeds, but there is no real evidence that it improves ping when it is rigorously and thoroughly tested.
Here are some more obvious things to look at when gaming online to make sure your connection is as good as possible:
1. Use Wired Connections – This is a huge one, and essential to avoid lag when playing online. Wired ethernet connections are always better than wireless ones for giving better speeds and lower ping. Wi-Fi always drops out over distance and becomes more unreliable the further you are from your router. It also gets more unreliable the more congestion there is on the network, with more people using the internet at once.
This is why you should always use a wired connection when possible. If you are a long way from the router and you can’t run a cable directly to it, then a powerline adapter is an excellent alternative to get you onto a wired connection.
This is the number one factor to sort out for better speeds and lower ping. Once you sort this, other things like DNS settings often become unimportant.
2. Quality of Service (QoS) – A very important setting for busy home networks, where lots of people are trying to connect to the same router at once. Gamers often find that lag is worst when the network is busy, and this problem gets even worse when they are on Wi-Fi – see point 1 above.
QoS is a setting available on some routers that can allow you to prioritize your PS4 or other console on the home network, making sure your router processes it’s traffic first before anything else. This can be great for reducing lag at peak times.
See our article on configuring QoS for the PS4 for more on how to do this.
3. DMZ Settings – Another thing to look into if you are constantly having NAT issues, being stuck on NAT Type 3 and having a lot of party and lobby connection issues.
Placing your PS4 into the DMZ section of your router fully opens it up to the internet for the best connection possible to servers and other gamers. This can sometimes help deliver stronger connections and lower ping if your current NAT Type and/or network settings are restrictive and stop your PS4 properly connecting to the wider internet.
See our article on DMZ for the steps to use this feature. Again it’s usually pretty easy to configure.