It might not be clear from a glance, but there are a lot of underlying protocols and processes happening in the background for your computer to do even basic tasks. One important component of accessing websites is DNS, which stands for Domain Name System.
Essentially, DNS translates web addresses that are easy for humans to remember (e.g. www.wikipedia.org) to IP addresses that browsers can use to access sites (e.g. 188.8.131.52 is an IP address owned by Wikipedia).
It’s important to note that DNS is not handled by one system. In a corporate environment, it might be handled by a firewall or server, while at home it’s probably handled by your ISP. However, you can change your DNS settings to whatever you like. This could benefit you with increased stability, performance, and/or security if your current DNS setup isn’t up to snuff.
In Windows, this is accomplished by first typing Network into the Start Menu to access the Network and Sharing Center. Next, click on the name of your network near the top-right by Connections: and choose Properties in the resulting window.
To access your DNS settings, you’ll need to double-click on Internet Protocol Version 4. If IPv6 is enabled, make the same changes on that entry, too. At the bottom of the IPv4 or IPv6 window, you’ll probably have Obtain DNS server address automatically checked. Go ahead and select Use the following DNS server addresses: to choose your own.
Now, you’ll need to actually provide a DNS address. Thankfully, there are plenty of these available. Have a look at the Public DNS Server List for more than you could ever want, or just pick one of these two popular choices:
- Google DNS — 184.108.40.206 for primary, 220.127.116.11 for secondary.
- OpenDNS — 18.104.22.168 primary, 22.214.171.124 secondary.
I'm using OpenDNS and I have no freaking idea what the rest of you are complaining about. The Internet works fine. pic.twitter.com/54GP48lPm8
— SwiftOnSecurity (@SwiftOnSecurity) October 21, 2016
Depending on where you live, changing your DNS server could also allow you to access region-restricted content. Try it out and see what you think!
Are you running with automatic DNS settings, or did you pick an alternate address? Let us know if this helped you in the comments!
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