Changing DNS IP addresses for your computers can be done easily nowadays as many operating systems and routers’ graphical user interfaces have made it easy to do so. Changing DNS sometimes provide greater Internet performance and security. Let say, for some reasons your ISP DNS servers are quite slow, you can totally use other DNS servers that you know are quite fast. In short and keep it simple, DNS servers are the middlemen that responsible for making sure the domain names you type into your web browser get translated correctly so your browser requests will go to the right websites, consequently you will be able to communicate with web resources such as the websites you want to visit. Even shorter, basically DNS servers will correlate and map the domain names to correct IP addresses.
Understanding how DNS servers are really worked though might require one to understand more about networking and the technology that actually does the record keeping and mapping of IP addresses for domain names. Nonetheless, the most well known DNS software which has been installed on most DNS servers nowadays is BIND. Truly speaking, BIND and other DNS software would be the brains behind the correlation, mapping, and translation of domain names into IP addresses.
DNS works the way it is today, because we humans need readable and memorable IP addresses. After all, each numerical IP address is harder to remember than its text counterpart (i.e., domain name), therefore a domain name in memorable texts would be easier to work with. Without knowing the correct IP addresses, the machines cannot communicate with each other. Imagine each IP address as a home or a business address… knowing it will get you where you want to go, right? This is why meshes of healthy DNS servers are so essential to the health of the Internet. Secure DNS system is so essential to the safety of the users, because a secure DNS system can prevent hackers from redirecting your web requests and resources to bogus web destinations where private information can be siphon away illegally.
Lately, IPv6 has been deployed by many large Internet companies and is in progress to slowly replacing the IPv4. With IPv6 is in play, the communication among machines have to be reconsidered. The machines that are using IPv6 must use IPv6 IP address format or a technology which translates IPv6 IP address format into IPv4 IP address format, therefore DNS servers — that are responsible for translating, mapping, and correlating the domain names into IPv6 IP addresses — have to also use IPv6 architecture. With this in mind, you now can actually change your ISP’s IPv6 DNS servers with a third party IPv6 DNS servers to speed up the communication between machines. With lower latency between machines making contact, therefore the faster it’s for you to make new requests to any machine. Simply having faster DNS servers, whether IPv4 or IPv6 type of DNS servers, don’t mean your data transfer will definitely improve. There are too many factors in play that can affect how fast your data get transferred. One good example would be a very busied network which hosts the web server that you’re trying to make a connection with will not be able to respond to you fast enough. So, even though DNS servers are fast, other networking factors might be at played that would affect the Internet performance for better or worse.
Companies that are hosting DNS servers (e.g., ISPs, third party DNS hosting services) can totally be the first line of defense for your Internet safety. OpenDNS has showed us how this is possible as the service is automatically block out domain names that are known to be malicious. This way, the users will be able to avoid such domain names and not have to run the risk of being infected with malicious programs. Furthermore, OpenDNS allows users to manually block specific websites or websites that are belonging to specific categories (e.g., gambling, porn, etc…). Google Public DNS is not as apparent as how OpenDNS would allow users to specify and make change to their Internet safety, but Google Public DNS is known to be fast and secure. Google works behind the scene to make sure their DNS servers are fast and secure.
Lately, Google provides IPv6 Public DNS servers, therefore users can now add Google IPv6 Public DNS servers to their routers and computers. Personally, I use both OpenDNS and Google Public DNS servers. So, in my routers and computers, I add up to 6 IP addresses of DNS servers. How come 6 but not 4? The first 4 DNS IP addresses are belonging to IPv4 DNS servers of both OpenDNS and Google, and the last 2 DNS IP addresses are belonging to Google IPv6 DNS servers. Basically, whenever OpenDNS is slowed down in regarding to DNS matter, Google DNS might kick in to save the day for me. I think DNS works in a way that allows it to find the fastest path of which it can communicate with another DNS system, consequently allowing lower latency of network communication between the networks.
I think it’s essential for you to know that you can trust a third party DNS service or not, because in the end it’s you who are making the change of your machines’ DNS settings. Using the wrong DNS services can slow down your Internet performance. Worse, using the wrong DNS services can also impair your Internet security, therefore leaving you to be exposed to hackers’ exploits. So, I suggest you to do a very thorough research on a specific DNS service you want to use. If you can’t trust any third party DNS services, then you should stick to your ISP DNS service. I think all ISPs provide DNS service by default for free, therefore you should not have a problem of using your very own ISP DNS service. Nonetheless, always make sure you have the right DNS IP addresses of your ISP DNS servers in case you want to move away from a third party DNS service so you can use your ISP DNS service again.
- OpenDNS - http://www.opendns.com/
- Google Public DNS (IPv4 and IPv6) - https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using
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