Difference Between Preferred DNS and Alternate DNS server.

DNS server

Switching to the best DNS server not only increases the page loading speed, but it also helps in accessing several different websites that were not accessible before. Changing the computer’s Preferred and Alternate DNS to Google public DNS (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) is considered best to use.

While changing my Preferred and Alternate DNS server of my computer I found myself wondering about the difference between Preferred and Alternate DNS. After talking with some expert I got the answer to my question and in this post, I am going to share that knowledge with you all.

At first, to understand the difference between Preferred Alternate DNS you have to understand what DNS server is and how it works?

What a DNS server is and How it works?

The Domain Name System or DNS is a global database of the numerical IP addresses that lie behind the ‘friendly’ website names we prefer.

DNS is like a phone book for the internet. When you type a web address in your browser like www.ravelingtech.com (also known as a hostname), a DNS server will use it to look up the actual IP address of the website. The DNS then converts this to the website’s numerical (IP) address on the internet. Your request is then passed on to that server and the page is retrieved.

Difference between Preferred and Alternate DNS.

Of course, there isn’t just one single DNS server computer sat in a dusty room somewhere, but lots of them, run by numerous companies globally (including Google). These servers synchronize in various ways so that, in theory at least, the database on one DNS server is the same as another. However, similarly, in theory, some DNS servers might be less up-to-date than others-so some might contain redundant web addresses, while other might lack a new one.

All this brings us to the difference between Preferred and Alternate. These are really Microsoft Windows terms; elsewhere you might see them referred to as ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’. As a modern, internet-connected PC is more or less useless without DNS, it’s sensible to have a backup. That’s the purpose of an Alternate (or secondary) DNS server: if your PC can’t contact the Preferred (primary) server, it’ll head to the Alternate. 


You can flip the IP addresses around and it won’t make any noticeable difference. Again, theoretically, a secondary DNS server might be slightly less up-to-date than a primary one-but practically this will hardly ever be the case with Google’s DNS servers. 

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