In this Article I’m going to talk about DNS, what it is, why it’s there and how you can benefit from changing yours. Also I’m going to tell you about a small but efficient tool that allows you to swap DNS servers on the fly: DnsJumper. Download Link inside the article!
I am writing this with the home user in mind; therefore, throughout this article, I’ll refer to all network activity or connections as “Internet Connection.” Even though it can also apply to networks in general, being in the office or at home (WLAN, WAN, LAN.) The usage of DNS within a Local Network can greatly increase or decrease your network experience, no matter where you sit.
What is DNS
DNS is short for Domain Name Server and is a very important part of your daily Internet usage. Every time you type a website address or send an email you make use of DNS.
a DNS is actually nothing more than a large database that allows us to use real text addresses, which is easy to remember. It is much easier to remember: www.mintywhite.com than 188.8.131.52 which is the correct address for our site.
What if you were to go around remember all those IP addresses – No one would use the Internet for very long.
Why would you change it ?
First Issue: SPEED!
Most people use the DNS provided by their ISP and are quite happy with it. However, different Internet Service Providers, maintain their DNS differently. If the DNS you are using aren’t updated on a regular basis, or if it’s not maintained properly, your Internet-access gets clogged up and slow.
Another issue: SECURITY!
Most DNS are open for all kinds of sites and domains, thus making it up to you to filter out what you don’t want to see. By switching your DNS to another provider like OpenDNS (Free) you can subscribe to services like Block Pages Customization, White-/Blacklists, Web Content Filtering and so on.
A very good reason to use a specially customized DNS is that is can be setup on all the computers in your household or company – setting global rules – thus avoiding your kids (or employees) to access material they shouldn’t. Let’s face it, filters and other software installed on your computer can easily be overridden (and kids especially are good at that). Setting the rules on a remote server is a bit trickier to override.
Security an Issue? Change it Once!
If you only want to add extra security and control to your Internet Connection you’ll be happy to change the settings once on each computer.
Once you have set up an account with a DNS provider you need to change (each) computers DNS settings. The Procedure is different on Windows XP and Windows Vista/Seven.
You can find good tutorials here:
SPEED an issue? Change it Often!
If you are more concerned with speed and are constantly tweaking your system to squeeze more juice out of your connection then you should also look to your DNS provider.
A great tool (which is not new by any means) is DnsJumper. The developers recently released a new version (1.0.3 beta).
With several new improvements, DnsJumper has become what I always expected it to be.
The two most important changes; is the ability to add your own DNS settings, and the ability to test all given DNS’s to find which one is faster for your current system (Google also has a tool for this (see here), but having the ability inside this program is way better if you ask me).
DnsJumper does not need any installation. Simply unpack the RAR file and copy the utility to a folder of choice.
DnsJumper, Speed Test
Start up DnsJumper and click on “Fastest Dns”. This will invoke the speed-test where DnsJumper test the connection speed for each DNS-setting in your list (even your custom ones). After it is done, you can choose to change your DNS accordingly. As simple as it gets.
For me the possibility to change the DNS on the fly has another great advantage. I want my kids to be safe when they use Internet so I’ve set my OpenDNS account very restrictive. Much so, that my own research abilities gets very limited. After all, many sites that offer free information, software etc. rely on ads to survive – and some display ads I don’t want my kids to see.
By using DnsJumper I can switch to a less restrictive DNS while working, then switch back to the family safe DNS when I’m done, and even, when I leave my computer on, to do other chores. All in a Click.
Download DNS Jumper