A New DNS

Recently OpenDNS and Google Public DNS changed how they do DNS and went to a Content Delivery Network.  What this will do is use your location when you are surfing to route you to a physically closer server to resolve your DNS.  What this means for you is, faster surfing.  But first let’s get back to basics and talk about what DNS is.

From time to time you have probably heard, DNS.  Or, there is a problem with your DNS.  On the internet, every site and location has an IP address, a set of numbers where the sites are located.  What DNS does is match a name, such as Google to the site.  So when you type in a URL you only have to know to type http://www.google.com.  Without DNS you would have to know the IP address of Google to type into your browser, so it would look like http://74.125.225.16, not as user friendly, right?  But that is what DNS is in a nutshell.

Typically you get your DNS settings from your Internet Service Provider, or ISP.  But you never really know exactly where they are routing you to, to resolve the name to the IP address of a site.  So they may send you down to Georgia to get your DNS information that sends you to the correct website.  With the new Content Delivery Network method, they use your location and send you to the nearest DNS server.  Saving a you a lot of extra time, and speeding up your surfing as there is less time to resolve the name to the IP address.  This also helps with streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, etc as there will be less time spent resolving the name to the IP address, and more time bringing you the latest episode of Ugly Betty.

However, at least in the case of Google Public DSN, they have also added in extra security features, such as cache poisoning attacks.  More can be read on Google’s website regarding this.  Google DNS Security Benefits.

So how can you take advantage of this?  Simply update the DNS settings on your computer, if you just have one PC in your house, or update the DNS settings on your router which will then update it for all the computers and devices in your house.

If you want to update the settings on a specific Windows computer to Google DNS, do the following:

  • Go into the Control Panel
  • Go into the Network and Sharing Center
  • On the left section Change Adapter Settings
  • Right click on your network adapter and select Properties
  • Highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and select Properties
  • Change the DNS settings from Obtain automatically, to the ones specified by either OpenDNS, or Google Public DNS, based on the service you choose.
  • Click OK, and OK again to exit, and that is it

If you want tup date the settingns for your router, do the following.  These instructions may change based on the type of router you are using.  Consult your instruction manual.

  • Go to your router’s web interface page and login, typically this is http://192.168.1.1
  • Go to your Basic Settings, and find where it specifies DNS
  • Change the DNS settings from Obtain automatically, to the ones specified by either OpenDNS, or Google Public DNS, based on the service you choose
  • Click on Apply, let the router reboot and when it comes back up you are done.

So if you want to put a little zip in your internet surfing, I would definitely recommend updating your DNS settings to use either OpenDNS or Google Public DNS.  So far I have been very please with the performance increase I have gotten from this.

1 Response

  1. Ryan Nelson says:

    Here’s a little extra geeky info on it. The network terminology for this method of routing traffic is called anycast. For little light reading on it check out http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anycast