When connected to a VPN network how does the windows DNS client choose a prefered DNS server, between the DNS servers configured for the local connection and the server statically defined for the VPN?

I have seen the answers to 'How does Windows decides which DNS Server to use when resolving names?' explaining that the interface metric is used to choose a preferred adapter and hence preferred DNS, however this does not seem to be the case when connected to a VPN?

  • Because i have manually set the interface metric of the VPN adapter to be higher than any other, yet all DNS requests are still sent to the VPNs DNS server.
    – Jem Tucker
    Feb 2, 2016 at 10:23
  • Yes i have verified the metric setting. The VPN has a single statically defined server, will this always be chosen then?
    – Jem Tucker
    Feb 2, 2016 at 10:35
  • 1
    So the VPN is set up to only route traffic when the interface is explicitly bound to (e.g. route/if metrics are set higher than all others) however the DNS server of the VPN is being preferred and therefore no requests can resolve straight away.
    – Jem Tucker
    Feb 2, 2016 at 10:45
  • @Reaces When I view Adapter and Bindings as per here: windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/… - my VPN is bellow at the end of the list. So does it mean, that DNS defined on the VPN connection is used only for VPN specific(local) addresses? Feb 2, 2016 at 10:46
  • @VojtěchDohnal Are you asking whether the choice of which DNS server to use for resolving a host name depends on which IP address the host name resolves to?
    – kasperd
    Feb 5, 2016 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


It depends of the VPN that you are using... usually, Windows resolves everything through the VPN tunnel.

Other solutions such as DirectAccess for example, let you define a NRPT to determine how a specific namespace should be resolved.

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