When you’re browsing the internet, you need to know how to get to a particular server or website destination in DNS. We type in something like “www.adamintech.com” and voila! We are taken straight there within mere seconds. This makes navigating the internet easier and brings identity to all websites in the internet’s history and existence. You’re probably wondering how it all works.
DNS stands for Domain Name System. This technology dates back to 1985, the early days of the internet when in its infancy. Back then, computers on the internet were identified by IP addresses(192.168.2.1 for example, although LAN-only) and there wasn’t much to navigate through back in. An IP address can be complicating to remember and very confusing for the average user to go to websites. DNS allows for the use of an “Domain Name” to be associated with an IP address.
Whenever you enter something in your web browser’s address bar, such as “www.google.com”, a DNS server will search for that domain on record and connects you to its associated IP address. You will then be taken to the website, this all happens in a matter of a few seconds. A DNS server contains a database full of FQDN(Fully Qualified Domain Name) data that is associated with the website’s server IP address on the internet. There are 3 types of servers that exist:
- Root DNS Server – This type of server is considered to be the master, containing records for Authoritative DNS servers on the internet. It is highly dependent for the internet to function. There are currently 13 of these servers in use around the world today.
- Authoritative DNS Server – This server answers DNS queries corresponding to the TLD(Top-Level Domain) which includes “.com”, “.net”, “.org” etc. These servers exist for each TLD and stores all domain and IP-related information.
- Recursive DNS Server – This is the most commonly used type today. Many ISPs and global internet companies deploy these servers closer to home. This helps assist users in querying domain names quicker by caching the data for a set amount of time(Time-to-live), and forwarding any non-cached requests to an Authoritative DNS Server. If an Authoritative server does not know the IP address for the requested domain, then it will then be forwarded to a connected root server which will attempt to forward you to another DNS server within the region or elsewhere.
It is best to use a server that’s close to you, or is optimized to load your websites and applications quickly. In most cases, your ISP has given you access to their DNS servers by default which is located close to your subscribed area. If you’re having trouble loading websites or connecting to online services, then a possible culprit may be your default DNS servers. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives available such as:
- Google – Currently considered to be one of the best performers on the internet. Servers are located all around the world. Their IP address(s) are 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168.
- OpenDNS – Another DNS provider. Has been around for a very long while, and has been proven to be a great performer. Their IP address(s) are 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199.
- Level 3 – Server provided by Level 3 communications – a major ISP for internet transit. Their IP address(s) are 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206.
- Cloudflare – Having launched about a year and a half ago, Cloudflare’s servers are proving to be a very solid solution. Their IP address(s) are 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168.
There are two ways you can change your DNS servers. You can either do it from your router, typically located within the DHCP section where your IP address pool(IP addresses available for assignment to devices connected on the network), or from a device such as your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Lets do it on our computer. Click on the Start Menu->Search, type in “Control Panel” and click on it to open it up.
Find “Network and Sharing Center” and click on it.
Click on “Change adapter settings” and then click on your active adapter, whether it’d be Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
Click “Properties” to open your adapter’s properties window.
Double-click where it says “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
This is where you’ll configure alternative DNS servers for your computer. If you haven’t already, you may also configure a static IP address here by clicking on “Use the following IP address:” at the top. If you want to only configure server, then proceed to click on “Use the following DNS server addresses:”. Type in “22.214.171.124” for the “Preferred DNS server:” and “126.96.36.199” for the “Alternate DNS server:”.
Your configuration should look like this:
Click “OK” to confirm and close. Fire up your web browser and open up a website, and reload it again. You should notice an increase in speed and stability. You may also run a DNS test here to ensure you’re connected to the DNS servers configured. Click on “Standard Test” and wait for it to complete. You should get DNS server provider information such as location, IP, and name/hostname(if available).