The other day I thought my Comcast internet connection was out… weird thing was my Vonage VoIP internet telephone service was still working… i just couldn’t browse the web. This led me to the conclusion it was the “Com-crap-stic” DNS servers that were out, not their entire network. Good news is you can change your DNS numbers on your computer or router… and sometimes it may even make your internet browsing faster!!!
In layman’s terms, One of the most important jobs for a DNS server is to point what you type in the web addresses of your internet browser to the the actual “intent address” known as an IP. So when you type “www.google.com” in… your computer talks to a DNS server that tells it your actually trying to get to 126.96.36.199… because google is easier to remember than those number, but try pasting those numbers in your web address and it will get to google all the same.
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Well… when you sign up for internet service and you plug your computer into a the modem they give you (weather its cable, DSL, or whatever) your computer talks to thru the modem to your ISP’s network, in my case its Comcast. The ISP talks back and gives you 4 important address’s that you need to access the internet and do other online functions.
1. You IP address
2. Sub-net Mask
3. Primary DNS server
4. Secondary DNS server
The first two you need to take whatever they give you, you can’t change your IP or Subnet Mask to any thing you want… well you could… but your internet probably wouldn’t work anymore. The last two numbers are the DNS servers that your ISP uses and gives to its costumers. After Googling and Bining with my problem I found other people leading to the same conclusion that I had… which is most ISP guys, whether its Comcast, Verizon, TimeWarner, or whoever… don’t manage their own DNS servers very well…making the internet sometimes slower for you than they need to. Good news is you can change these DNS numbers in your router or computer settings to use some public ones, which in my case were way faster than the Comcast ones, even when they are working.
Now you can do this one of two ways. Change your DNS numbers on your router for all the computers in your house to use, or just change it at the local computer you want to use. I changed it at the router level because its easier to manage the entire house that way. But if you want to do it on your local computer simply go to (on a windows 7 machine)
Control Panel -> Network and Internet -> Network and Sharing Center -> Change Adapter settings (on side menu) -> Dbl Click your “internet connection” -> Properties -> highlight your internet protocol and hit properties… navigate to the advance features and add your DNS servers… If your doing this at the router level just log in to your router and look for the similar settings to manually add your DNS servers, rather than use the ones your ISP assigns to you with your modem.
There are a few public DNS server addresses you can use… I recommend trying a few of them out, see which one is faster for you, if you don’t like any of them you can always go back to the ones your ISP gives you.