Travel Tech Tips: Resolve That DNS

DNS problems

Have you ever gotten frustrated with a technical issue?

No? Me neither.

Well, this newest segment is for all the other people who occasionally can’t fight the urge to take a baseball bat to their computer when things go awry. So to help prevent further damage to your their electronics, let’s jump in to the first installment of Travel Tech Tips with Shaun!

To ease my way into your hearts, I thought I’d start off with a simple tip and talk about Google public DNS. But before we dive into that, lets first use super simple terms to find out wtf DNS is.

DNS (Domain Name System) is essentially the internet’s phonebook. When you type in a URL or click a link, the DNS tells the network which server has the requested website info. Once that connection has been made, the server can then send the information back to your computer to load the website. Now, keep in mind this is super simplified but you now have the gist of DNS! (Grats!)

So on to the next question.

How can I use this knowledge of DNS to become an internet pro?

Get websites to load faster.

Speed is probably the single most important aspect of the internet and we hate waiting for sites to load. This is why many individuals and businesses decide to invest in high quality T1 connections. However, oftentimes you’re at the mercy of the bandwidth of your current connection. Or are you? This is where Google public DNS comes in.

Google public DNS are the addresses that keep the cached information Google gathers while crawling around the web for SEO purposes. These addresses are able to pull from load balanced, shared caches- often being able to return information without needing to communicate with the individual servers for every request. You may or may not experience noticeably faster loading times but it can’t hurt to give it a shot.

Aside from better performance, what else does Google public DNS provide?

Safer browsing.

DNS is vulnerable to exploits that can redirect you to malicious websites. Google is much better than your ISP at preventing this from occurring.

Any other benefits?

Yes.

Browsing freedom.

Google does not block, filter, or redirect any websites.

So now that you are incredibly excited about DNS, all that you have to do is update your connection settings to use the following DNS IP addresses:

8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4

Additionally, the IPv6 addresses are:

2001:4860:4860::8888
2001:4860:4860::8844

However, it should be noted that your network probably doesn’t use IPv6 (though it is possible if you have a new 4G mobile device). You can tell what your network uses by looking at the auto-populated settings. It is also a good idea to write down or save your current addresses before changing them.

DNS problems

Crabby invaded conskeptical’s image from Flickr.

Fear not, Crabby! Here are the steps to change your DNS server settings for the big 3:

Microsoft Windows 7

1. Open Control Panel.
2. Click Network and Internet, then Network and Sharing Center, and click Change adapter settings.
3. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:

  • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, right-click Local Area Connection, and click Properties.
  • To change the settings for a wireless connection, right-click Wireless Network Connection, and click Properties.
  • If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

4. Select the Networking tab. Under This connection uses the following items, select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) or Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) and then click Properties.
5. Click Advanced and select the DNS tab. If there are any DNS server IP addresses listed there, write them down for future reference, and remove them from this window.
6. Click OK.
7. Select Use the following DNS server addresses. If there are any IP addresses listed in the Preferred DNS server or Alternate DNS server, write them down for future reference.
8. Replace those addresses with the IP addresses of the Google DNS servers:

  • For IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4.
  • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844

9. Restart the connection you selected in step 3.

Mac OS X

1. From the Apple menu, click System Preferences, then click Network.
2. If the lock icon in the lower left-hand corner of the window is locked, click the icon to make changes, and when prompted to authenticate, enter your password.
3. Select the connection for which you want to configure Google Public DNS. For example:

  • To change the settings for an Ethernet connection, select Built-In Ethernet, and click Advanced.
  • To change the settings for a wireless connection, select Airport, and click Advanced.

4. Select the DNS tab.
5. Click + to replace any listed addresses with, or add, the Google IP addresses at the top of the list:

  • For IPv4: 8.8.8.8 and/or 8.8.4.4.
  • For IPv6: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and/or 2001:4860:4860::8844

6. Click Apply and OK.

Linux

If you are a Linux user, you already know how to do this.

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8 Responses to “Travel Tech Tips: Resolve That DNS”

  1. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures March 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    This post is sooo over my head haha!

    • Erica April 8, 2012 at 11:16 pm #

      @Andi: All good lady – it is why I have Shaun write these! lol

  2. Laurence March 24, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Great post, love the Linux instructions 🙂 I use Google DNS and find it fixes all sorts of problems when connecting to public routers, which can often have crappy DNS settings. It’s also easy to remember the numbers. Yay Google 😀

    • Shaun April 8, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

      @Laurence: Yup, I couldn’t agree more! ^^

  3. Albino Polarbear April 30, 2012 at 5:59 am #

    Not really 100% convinced here. It really depends on the website you load; and if they load a 100 pictures, scripts, videos or flash content you probably wont notice much difference at all since your operation system already has a DNS cache.

    I use NoScript and Adblock here, so i wont have to wait for ads to load or those pesky “Share me!!!” widgets. It’s pure self defense; some of them start playing videos WITH SOUND (some frikken perfume product). You may know that some hostels or even hotels still charge you per MB…

    • Shaun February 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

      @Albino Polarbear: It definitely will vary, and things like NoScript and Adblock are great- I totally agree! But the best thing about using Google’s public DNS is that it can only get better. 🙂

  4. Alex Gibson February 3, 2013 at 11:17 am #

    Thanks for the google public DNS tip, looking forward at implementing the same. Cheers 🙂

    • Shaun February 13, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

      @Alex: Awesome! Hopefully it’ll help speed up your loading times and make it easier to join public networks too! 😀

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