Public DNS Servers – For Speeding Up Web Browsing

Anphicle June 4, 2010 1

Domain Name System (DNS) Servers are like phone-books for the web. Every domain name (such as anphicle.org) are for human convenience whereas computers talk in I.P. addresses, four sets of numbers between 0 and 255. Every node on the internet (PC, server, iPhone) has an individual I.P. address (theoretically). The term for domain names representing numbers is called the Domain Name System. A DNS server converts those names into the numbers.

When you request ‘domain.com’ a request is sent to the DNS server first to figure out for you which server to go to for that site. With that extra server communication needed every time you need a new site it makes a lot of sense to have a fast, preferably geographically local and constantly updated DNS service. It’s a bit like directory enquiries.

Although it isn’t hard to set up a DNS server its nice to have a reliable resource on a fast connection. Different DNS services have different features so here is a list of some to get you interested.

DNS Advantage

  • 156.154.70.1
  • 156.154.71.1

Tested and I didn’t like returning to a sponsored results page and what I will call hijacking of my typing errors. Instead of correcting my mistake I have to type the entire domain again. Fast and reliable though so not discouraging.

OpenDNS

  • 208.67.222.222
  • 208.67.220.220

Tested and I didn’t like it. Though enjoying popular success as it has the word ‘Open’ in its title though it still returns sponsored options and it has capital gain at heart. I found OpenDNS had trouble finding some sites and at times was slow. It does have the feature of a dashboard so you can block/snoop on your housemates/family/employees surfing. I found that scary so left. Reckons it blocks phishing/unsecure sites but I can not test/verify this.

Level 3 Communications

  • 4.2.2.1
  • 4.2.2.2
  • 4.2.2.3
  • 4.2.2.4
  • 4.2.2.5
  • 4.2.2.6

The service I am using now and am happy to stick with. There’s nothing flashy about this one, no control panel, no search options or sponsored results for when nothing exists/something is wrong. I wouldn’t actually call it very public because they don’t seem to advertise the fact they provide the service but it is recommended by me.

ScrubIT

  • 67.138.54.100
  • 207.225.209.66

Untested by me. Claims to be speedy and reliable but why wouldn’t it. Also claims to have a filter for unwanted porn (?!), malicious software and typo corrections.

Google DNS

  • 8.8.8.8
  • 8.8.4.4

Untested by me as I do not trust Google regards storing data. Not with personal data as they can’t see your communication with the site but a search engine may use site visits in ranking search results. If Google didn’t own the internet already I would have no problem with this. Some reviews I have read claim it to be quite slow too but people love a recognisable brand so here you go. Google will probably keep buying smaller providers too until they control the market.

As I said before there are more and it isn’t hard to do but most of these listed above are global players in the DNS serving game and will automatically hook you up to the nearest server. If you are happy with the default your ISP set you up with then there probably isn’t need to change. If there are any I have missed out please send me a message by carrier pigeon, or hang fire until I enable comments, I’d like to know what others are good and your thoughts. Have a really poor DNS analogy on me though…

Poor DNS Analogy

One Comment »

  1. Jorge June 9, 2010 at 02:34 - Reply

    great list! but I use google dns and it is great.

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