If you’re a network administrator or someone who likes to tinker with network settings, you probably know the importance of DNS servers in ensuring a fast and secure network. If you’re using a Ubiquiti Unifi Controller, you can easily configure it to use a custom DNS server. In this article, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to configure DNS server on Unifi Controller in just five steps.
Whether you’re looking to increase the speed and reliability of your network or want to block certain websites, changing your DNS server on Unifi Controller is a simple solution. But before we dive into the steps, let’s take a quick look at how Unifi Controller’s DNS configuration works.
Ready to take control of your Unifi Controller’s DNS settings? Follow the steps below and get ready to enjoy a faster and more secure network. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Understanding Unifi Controller’s DNS Configuration
DNS, or Domain Name System, is the backbone of the internet. It is responsible for translating domain names, like google.com, into IP addresses that computers use to connect to the internet. In the context of a Unifi network, the Unifi Controller is responsible for managing the DNS settings of all connected devices.
To understand Unifi Controller’s DNS configuration, it’s important to know the difference between static and dynamic IP addresses. A static IP address is a fixed address that doesn’t change, while a dynamic IP address is assigned by the network’s DHCP server and can change periodically.
The Unifi Controller has two main options for DNS configuration: Automatic and Custom. In Automatic mode, the controller uses the default DNS server provided by the ISP. In Custom mode, the controller allows you to specify a different DNS server, which can be beneficial for privacy or performance reasons.
It’s essential to understand how Unifi Controller handles DNS, as misconfiguration can cause issues such as slow browsing speeds, inability to access certain websites, or even complete network downtime. Now that you have a basic understanding of Unifi Controller’s DNS configuration let’s move on to the next step of configuring your DNS server.
Step 1: Understanding Unifi Controller’s DNS Configuration
What is Unifi Controller’s DNS Configuration?
Unifi Controller is a management software that allows you to control all of your network devices from a single location. This includes DNS configuration, which is the process of specifying the IP addresses of DNS servers that will be used by your network devices to resolve domain names into IP addresses.
Unifi Controller’s DNS Configuration allows you to customize your DNS settings, which can help you improve your network performance, security, and privacy. By default, Unifi Controller’s DNS Configuration uses Google Public DNS as the default DNS server, but you can change this to any custom DNS server of your choice.
Before you begin configuring Unifi Controller’s DNS settings, it is important to have a basic understanding of how DNS works and why it is important for your network. DNS is a critical component of your network infrastructure, and it is responsible for translating human-readable domain names into machine-readable IP addresses.
In the following sections, we will explore Unifi Controller’s DNS Configuration in more detail, and provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to configure your DNS settings on Unifi Controller.
Why is DNS Configuration Important for Unifi Controller?
DNS (Domain Name System) is a critical component of any network infrastructure. It converts human-readable domain names to IP addresses, allowing devices to communicate with each other. Without proper DNS configuration, Unifi Controller may experience connectivity issues, including slow loading times and intermittent disconnections.
Configuring a custom DNS server can provide Unifi Controller with better performance, security, and control. It can also help prevent data breaches, as DNS can be used to redirect traffic to malicious websites. By using a custom DNS server, network administrators can ensure that all devices on the network are using a secure and reliable DNS service.
With that in mind, it is important to understand how to configure DNS on Unifi Controller to ensure optimal network performance and security.
What are the Different Types of DNS Servers?
There are three main types of DNS servers: authoritative DNS servers, recursive DNS servers, and forwarders. Authoritative DNS servers are responsible for providing answers to DNS queries based on the DNS zones they manage. Recursive DNS servers are responsible for resolving queries by working their way down the DNS hierarchy until they find the authoritative DNS server that can provide an answer. Forwarders, also known as caching DNS servers, are used to improve the efficiency of DNS lookups by caching frequently accessed DNS records and forwarding DNS queries to authoritative or recursive DNS servers.
Authoritative DNS servers are typically used by companies and organizations to manage their own DNS zones, while recursive DNS servers are often provided by internet service providers (ISPs) and used by end-users to resolve DNS queries. Forwarders can be used by both authoritative and recursive DNS servers to improve DNS lookup performance.
It’s important to understand the differences between these types of DNS servers when configuring DNS on your Unifi Controller, as you may need to specify which type of DNS server you want to use.
Step 2: Accessing Unifi Controller’s DNS Settings
After understanding the basics of Unifi Controller’s DNS configuration, the next step is to access its DNS settings. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Open a web browser and go to the IP address of your Unifi Controller.
Step 2: Enter your admin username and password to log in.
Step 3: Once you’re logged in, click on the “Settings” icon in the lower-left corner of the screen.
Step 4: Click on the “Networks” tab and select the network for which you want to configure DNS settings.
Step 5: Scroll down to the “DHCP Name Server” section and select “Manual” from the dropdown menu.
Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be ready to change the DNS server to a custom option, which we’ll cover in the next step.
How to Log in to Unifi Controller?
Before you can access the DNS settings, you need to log in to your Unifi Controller. Here’s how:
- Open a web browser and enter the IP address of your Unifi Controller in the address bar.
- Enter your username and password in the login page and click “Sign In”.
- Once logged in, click on the “Settings” icon located on the bottom left-hand side of the screen.
- From the settings menu, select “Networks” and choose the network for which you want to configure the DNS server.
After selecting the network, you can proceed to configure the DNS server settings.
Note: If you have multiple Unifi Controllers, you need to log in to the specific controller that manages the network you want to configure.
Where to Find Unifi Controller’s DNS Settings?
After logging in to your Unifi Controller, navigate to the Settings option on the left-hand side of the screen.
Once you’ve accessed the Settings, click on the Networks tab at the top of the page.
Scroll down to find the network you want to configure DNS settings for and click on the edit icon (pencil icon) on the right-hand side of the screen.
Under the Advanced Options section, you’ll find the DNS option. This is where you can configure DNS settings for the selected network.
Make sure to click on the Save button after making any changes to ensure they take effect.
Step 3: Changing Unifi Controller’s DNS Server to Custom
Step 1: Once you are logged into Unifi Controller, click on the Settings icon on the bottom left corner of the screen.
Step 2: From the Settings menu, click on the “Networks” option and select the network that you want to configure the DNS server for.
Step 3: Scroll down to the “DHCP” section and toggle the switch next to “DHCP Name Server” to enable it.
Step 4: In the “Name Server” field, enter the IP address of the DNS server that you want to use.
Once you have completed these steps, click on “Save” to save the changes. Your Unifi Controller will now use the custom DNS server that you have specified.
How to Change Unifi Controller’s DNS Server to Custom?
To change Unifi Controller’s DNS server to a custom one, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Log in to Unifi Controller.
- Step 2: Click on “Settings” and select “Networks”.
- Step 3: Click on the network you want to edit and select “Edit”.
- Step 4: Scroll down to “DHCP Name Server” and select “Custom”.
- Step 5: Enter the IP address of the DNS server you want to use and click “Save”.
Once you have saved your settings, your Unifi Controller will use the custom DNS server you entered for the network you selected. It may take a few minutes for the changes to take effect.
What are the Best DNS Servers for Unifi Controller?
- Google DNS: Google DNS is one of the most popular and reliable DNS servers available. Its IP addresses are 220.127.116.11 and 8.8.4.
- OpenDNS: OpenDNS is a free DNS service that offers fast and secure internet connections. Its IP addresses are 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
- Cloudflare DNS: Cloudflare DNS is a fast and privacy-focused DNS service that provides security against phishing and malware attacks. Its IP addresses are 126.96.36.199 and 1.0.0.
- Quad9 DNS: Quad9 DNS is a free DNS service that offers strong security and privacy features. Its IP addresses are 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206.
When choosing a DNS server for Unifi Controller, it is important to consider factors such as reliability, speed, and security. Each of the above DNS servers offers strong performance and a range of features that make them a great choice for Unifi Controller users. It’s important to note that the best DNS server for your specific needs may depend on your location and internet service provider. So, it’s worth testing a few different options to find the one that works best for you.
Step 4: Entering Custom DNS Server Details on Unifi Controller
Step 1: After logging in to Unifi Controller, click on “Settings” in the left-hand menu.
Step 2: Click on “Networks” in the top menu and select the network you want to configure.
Step 3: Scroll down to the “DHCP Name Server” section and select “Manual” from the dropdown menu.
Step 4: Enter the IP addresses of the custom DNS servers you want to use. You can enter up to two DNS servers.
Step 5: Click “Save” to apply the changes to the network settings.
By following these simple steps, you can easily enter custom DNS server details on your Unifi Controller and improve your network performance and security. Make sure to choose reliable and fast DNS servers that fit your specific needs.
Where to Enter Custom DNS Server Details on Unifi Controller?
Once you have accessed the Unifi Controller’s network settings, you can enter your custom DNS server details.
Under the network settings, click on the “WAN” tab to access the WAN network settings. Here you will find the “DNS Server” field where you can enter the custom DNS server details.
Enter the primary and secondary DNS server addresses in the provided fields. You can use any of the best DNS servers recommended for Unifi Controller or any other custom DNS servers of your choice.
Make sure to click on the “Save” button to save your changes before exiting the network settings.
Step 5: Saving and Applying DNS Server Settings on Unifi Controller
Review Custom DNS Server Details: Before saving and applying custom DNS server settings, it is important to double-check the details for accuracy. Ensure that the IP addresses and hostnames are correct.
Save DNS Settings: Once you have reviewed the custom DNS server details, click the “Save” button to apply the changes. A confirmation message will appear once the changes have been saved successfully.
Apply DNS Settings: To apply the custom DNS server settings, click the “Apply Changes” button. This will update the DNS server settings for your Unifi network.
Verify DNS Settings: After saving and applying the custom DNS server settings, it is important to verify that they have been applied correctly. You can check the DNS server details by navigating to the same location where you updated the settings in the Unifi Controller.
How to Save DNS Server Settings on Unifi Controller?
After entering the custom DNS server details, click on the Save button at the bottom of the page.
Wait for a few seconds until the settings are saved. Once the settings are saved, click on the Apply Changes button.
The changes will now be applied to the network devices connected to the Unifi Controller, and the new DNS servers will be used for DNS resolution.
If you encounter any issues with the DNS settings, you can always revert to the default settings by clicking on the Default button in the DNS settings page.
How to Apply DNS Server Settings on Unifi Controller?
Once you have saved your custom DNS server settings, you will need to apply them for them to take effect.
To apply your new DNS server settings, go to the Settings page on the Unifi Controller dashboard and click on the Services tab. From there, click on the DNS tab and select the custom DNS server that you have just configured from the drop-down menu under Custom Upstream DNS Servers.
Once you have selected your custom DNS server, click on the Apply button to save and apply your changes. Your new DNS server settings will now be active and all devices connected to your network will use your custom DNS server for DNS lookups.
Common Errors When Configuring DNS on Unifi Controller
Error 1: Unable to Save Custom DNS Server Details: If you encounter an error message while saving custom DNS server details, make sure you have entered the correct IP address and port number.
Error 2: Unifi Controller Not Responding: If you are unable to access the Unifi Controller after making changes to DNS settings, try restarting the controller or clearing your browser cache.
Error 3: Inability to Connect to the Internet: If you are unable to connect to the internet after configuring DNS settings on Unifi Controller, make sure you have entered the correct DNS server details and that your internet connection is stable.
Error 4: Slow Internet Connection: If your internet connection is slower than usual after configuring DNS settings on Unifi Controller, try changing your DNS server to a faster one or use a DNS server recommended by your ISP.
Error 5: Misconfiguration of DNS Forwarder: If you have configured DNS forwarder on Unifi Controller, make sure you have selected the correct interface and have enabled DNS forwarding. Misconfiguration can result in DNS resolution issues.
Invalid DNS Server Address
One of the most common errors encountered when configuring DNS on Unifi Controller is an invalid DNS server address. This usually happens when the address entered is incorrect or the server is not functioning properly.
To resolve this issue, ensure that you have entered the correct DNS server address. You can check this with your ISP or network administrator. Also, check if the server is running correctly and accessible from your network.
- Check if the DNS server is responding to ping requests
- Ensure that the DNS server is configured to listen to requests from your network
- Verify that the DNS server is not blocking requests from your network
- Try using a different DNS server address
After making any necessary changes, save and apply the DNS server settings on Unifi Controller to ensure that the changes take effect.
Connection Timed Out Error
One common error when configuring DNS on Unifi Controller is a connection timed out error. This error occurs when the Unifi Controller cannot establish a connection with the specified DNS server. It can be caused by an incorrect IP address, network issues, or firewall restrictions.
To fix this error, ensure that the IP address of the DNS server is correct and reachable from the network where the Unifi Controller is installed. Check the network settings, including the subnet mask and default gateway, to ensure that they are correct. Also, ensure that there are no firewall rules blocking the connection to the DNS server.
DNS Server Not Responding Error
If you encounter a “DNS server not responding” error after configuring custom DNS servers on your Unifi Controller, it could indicate an issue with the DNS server or the network connection. Here are some possible solutions:
- Check DNS server address: Make sure you have entered the correct DNS server address in the Unifi Controller settings. Double-check the IP address and try again.
- Check network connection: Check your network connection to ensure that your Unifi Controller is connected to the internet and has a stable connection. Verify that your DNS server is reachable by pinging the server’s IP address.
- Restart DNS server: If your DNS server is unresponsive, try restarting the DNS server to see if that resolves the issue.
- Try a different DNS server: If the issue persists, try using a different DNS server to see if the problem is with the original server.
If none of these solutions work, you may need to contact your DNS provider or seek further assistance from the Unifi community or support team.
Benefits of Using a Custom DNS Server on Unifi Controller
Improved Security: A custom DNS server can help block access to malicious websites and phishing scams, protecting your network from potential security breaches.
Faster Internet Speeds: A custom DNS server can improve your network’s speed and performance by providing faster resolution of domain names.
Greater Control: Using a custom DNS server gives you more control over your network’s DNS settings, allowing you to customize them to fit your specific needs.
Bypass Geo-restrictions: With a custom DNS server, you can bypass geo-restrictions and access content that may be blocked in your region.
Improved Internet Speed and Reliability
One of the main benefits of using a custom DNS server on Unifi Controller is improved internet speed and reliability. By using a DNS server that is optimized for your network, you can reduce the time it takes for your devices to access websites and online services.
When you use a custom DNS server, you can also ensure that your devices are connecting to the most reliable and secure DNS servers available. This can help prevent issues such as website outages, slow loading times, and security vulnerabilities.
Additionally, some DNS servers offer advanced features such as content filtering and parental controls. By using a custom DNS server with these features, you can protect your network from malicious content and prevent your children from accessing inappropriate websites.
In summary, using a custom DNS server on Unifi Controller can lead to a faster, more reliable, and more secure internet experience for all of your connected devices.
Bypassing DNS-Based Restrictions
Another benefit of using a custom DNS server on Unifi Controller is the ability to bypass DNS-based restrictions. Some internet service providers (ISPs) and governments use DNS filtering to block access to certain websites. By using a custom DNS server, users can bypass these restrictions and access these sites.
For example, if a user wants to access a website that is blocked by their ISP, they can configure their Unifi Controller to use a custom DNS server that does not filter that site. This allows the user to access the site without restrictions.
In addition, using a custom DNS server can also help bypass geographical restrictions that prevent users from accessing certain content in certain countries. By using a DNS server located in a different country, users can access content that is normally not available in their region.
However, it’s important to note that bypassing restrictions may violate local laws and terms of service agreements with the ISP, so users should be aware of the potential risks and consequences.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Unifi Controller and why is DNS important for it?
Unifi Controller is a network management software used to configure and manage network devices. DNS (Domain Name System) is an essential component for Unifi Controller as it translates human-readable domain names into IP addresses that the devices can understand. Without DNS, Unifi Controller won’t be able to communicate with the network devices.
How do I configure DNS server settings on Unifi Controller?
To configure DNS server settings on Unifi Controller, log in to the Unifi Controller web interface, navigate to the Settings section, select the Network option, and then set the DNS server address in the DNS Server section. Save the changes to apply the new DNS server settings.
How can I verify if Unifi Controller is using the configured DNS server?
To verify if Unifi Controller is using the configured DNS server, go to the Unifi Controller web interface, navigate to the Devices section, select a device, and check its network settings. The DNS server address should be the same as the one you configured in the Unifi Controller settings.
What are some common errors I may encounter when configuring DNS on Unifi Controller?
Some common errors you may encounter when configuring DNS on Unifi Controller include invalid DNS server address, connection timed out error, DNS server not responding error, and DNS cache issues. These errors can cause communication issues between Unifi Controller and network devices.
How can I troubleshoot DNS issues on Unifi Controller?
To troubleshoot DNS issues on Unifi Controller, you can start by checking if the DNS server address is configured correctly, testing the connection to the DNS server, flushing the DNS cache, and resetting the network settings on the devices. If the issue persists, you may need to contact your network administrator or internet service provider for further assistance.