What is the Domain Name System (DNS)?
DNS is a mechanism by which website domain names (such as www.google.co.uk and www.bbc.co.uk) are translated into an IP address (for example, 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199). All domains have a public IP address assigned to them.
When you try to access a website the first thing that your PC/Tablet or phone will do is look up the IP address for that domain.
Computers communicate using IP addresses but we humans do not have the capacity to remember IP addresses. When you open an internet browser you are more likely to remember www.google.co.uk as opposed to typing 188.8.131.52. It’s hard enough trying to remember phone numbers let alone IP addresses for every website you want to visit! And that folks, is the reason why there is a need for DNS servers – to do the background google.co.uk conversion to 184.108.40.206 for us.
How does DNS work?
The DNS process works in the following order:
- You open a browser and enter google.co.uk
- Your computer sends a request to your ‘configured DNS server asking for the IP address for google.co.uk
- The DNS server then looks up its database and replies with the IP for google.co.uk -> 220.127.116.11
- Your PC/Phone then sends the request to the IP address e.g show me the 18.104.22.168 webpage
- Voila, you then see the google.co.uk webpage
All this happens in the background. For human purposes, the browser displays the domain name e.g. bbc.co.uk but in the background, your computer or mobile device is talking using IP addresses. Every time you click on a link to a different website, your computer does a DNS request/lookup for the website you want to go to.
How to speed up internet browsing?
As you can see from the steps above, the quicker the DNS request and server reply, the quicker webpages will load. The trick here is to change ‘your configured DNS server’ to one that is quicker. When your PC connects to your network/wireless network, it is allocated an IP address (by DHCP) and also given the IP address of a DNS server that it should use to do all of its DNS lookups. By default, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will probably set its DNS server as your default server. This is ‘your configured DNS Server’ that we are going to change.
How to Change Your DNS Server
- Go to the Start menu and open Control Panel.
- Go to Network and Sharing Center.
- From here, click the name of the network connection, be it WiFi or Ethernet.
- Click on Properties in the next window that pops up
- Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties.
- Now click Use the following DNS server addresses radio button and enter the addresses given below to use google’s fast DNS servers to speed up your DNS look-up and internet browsing speed
Top 3 Fastest DNS Servers to use
Here are three very fast and reliable DNS servers that you can use to speed up your internet browsing:
- Google DNS Servers: 22.214.171.124 & 126.96.36.199
- OpenDNS Home: 188.8.131.52 & 184.108.40.206
- CloudFlare DNS Servers: 220.127.116.11 & 18.104.22.168