One common recommendation to speed up your Internet connection is to change your default DNS (Domain Name System) server.
The DNS server is an important factor in how speedy your Net connection feels. That’s because when you type an address into the URL bar, such as Google.com or Bing.com, your computer and router don’t know where those servers live. They need the IP (internet protocol) address, which is a series of numbers. If your computer does not have this information cached, then the DNS server acts as an interpreter, converting human-readable URLs into machine addresses.
How To Find The Fastest and Most Reliable Servers
I use the open-source DNS benchmark utility Namebench. Download the appropriate file, double-click to run. Before telling it to start, be sure that “Include global DNS providers” and “Include best available regional DNS services” options are selected. Then check the drop-down menu to confirm your location before clicking Start.
Results will show in your browser. You can accept the Namebench recommendations or choose an alternate set of servers. At our house, Google DNS has been the fastest for as long as I’ve been tweaking these settings.
Configuring Verizon/Frontier FIOS Router
The default IP address for your router is http://192.168.1.1/ – type this into your URL bar and then log in. Go to My Network, and then click Network Connections.
Look for the Broadband Connection that is “green” (connected). Select the “edit” icon on the right; this will open a new page. Scroll to the bottom and click “Settings.”
The DNS Server drop-down menu is located about halfway down the page; select “Use the Following DNS Server Addresses,” then type in the DNS servers you want to use. I’m using Google (126.96.36.199) and OpenDNS (188.8.131.52) even though OpenDNS was not the Namebench recommendation for my secondary server.
Click Apply and wait for the changes to take place. Disconnect and reconnect your computers and portable devices in order to force the change.
Configuring Your Mac or PC
You can also set default DNS servers for a specific computer. For the Mac, navigate to System Preferences -> Network. Select Advanced and then DNS. Click the + to add DNS servers (left window); highlight and click – if you want to delete one. Be sure to put the periods in the right places! Re-order by dragging and dropping. Click “OK” and then “Apply.” [This setting has a UW DNS server listed from an earlier Namebench recommendation.]
For Windows 7, click the Start button, then type Network Connections in the Search box; press Enter. The resulting window shows all the network adapters installed on the system; you need to configure both the wired and wireless adapter if you use both connections.
Right-click the adapter you want to modify, select Properties from the context menu, and then click the Networking tab. Highlight “Internet Connection Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)” and then Properties. In the next window, click the General tab, then select the radio button labeled “Use the following DNS server addresses.” Type in your preferred DNS server and alternate DNS server. Click OK and OK again in the subsequent window. Close the list of network connections and restart your computer.