Two public free domain namer system (DNS) services got a speed bump this week, which could potentially speed up your home or office Internet connection. OpenDNS and Google Public DNS services allow users to substitute their Internet Service Provider’s DNS numbers with alternate DNS numbers, thus potentially speeding up your Internet connection and adding some other services. As a result, pages pop quicker, videos from YouTube cache quicker and your downloads won’t take as long.
How DNS Works
A DNS, or Domain Name System, resolves Internet addresses and helps people find web pages based on names instead of numbers. It’s like as if, on a telephone, you could pick up and say, “Call Kevin Purcell” and it would automatically route the call to my home phone number so you didn’t have to know that phone number itself. A DNS is a computer that keeps track of webpage names like Notebooks.com, and routes your web browser to that page so that you don’t have to know the IP address of the computer that services up our page. Instead of typing four numbers with up to three digits each separated by periods (like 126.96.36.199) you can type the web page name.
Faster DNS Thanks to Location Info
The change made today includes adding location data to DNS requests so that the request routes the data through a server closer to your location. Most of the time the speed bump will be minimal, but on occasion it will be noticeable. So it routes the request to a closer source of that information. Which helps, since web pages are cached or saved on computers all over the Internet. If I click a link to a video playing on Vimeo, the new Google and OpenDNS servers know I’m in North Carolina. It sends the request to a server closer to my location, like Atlanta instead of New York or Chicago.
How to Set Up a New DNS Address
If you want to take advantage of this, the best way would be to change the DNS numbers of your router. I use a Netgear router so I enter the IP address of the router, enter the login information and click on Basic Settings link along the left side of the page. In the section labelled “Domain Name Server (DNS) Address” I enter the new numbers. For OpenDNS you enter the two numbers as follows:
For Google’s Public DNS use the following numbers instead:
I click Save and reboot the router. From then on my router will bypass the Charter DNS server and use either OpenDNS or Google’s Public DNS servers.
In addition to a speed boost, the OpenDNS service includes:
- Parental Controls for Filtering Objectional Content
- Filtering of sites for security reasons
- Anti-fraud and anti-fishing
- Reliability of always on servers even if your ISP has trouble with theirs
If you sign up for the OpenDNS service, you can customize the filters. Maybe you don’t like your children looking at porn but want to access other sites that some find find objectionable but you don’t.
Google’s service doesn’t offer as many features, but may be faster for some users. Try them both out and after using them both, pick the one that seems to work best for your needs.
If you don’t have router, you can change the DNS numbers of your computer’s network connection. For Windows use their steps and for Mac use Apple’s guide. You can bypass the coffee shop’s slow servers if you change the settings directly on your laptop. This might also cause problems with a coffee shop’s log in system so be sure you remember how to change it back if necessary.