Speed Up Your Internet Connection By Changing Your DNS Server

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.


Your ISP provides a DNS service; this is the default service that your router will use. However, Google DNS or OpenDNS may be faster and more reliable.

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.

Namebench window

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.

Namebench results

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.

Frontier-Verizon FIOS router setup

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.”

Frontier-Verizon router setup

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 (8.8.8.8) and OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) even though OpenDNS was not the Namebench recommendation for my secondary server.

Frontier-Verizon FIOS Router Setup

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.]

system preferences network DNS

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.

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3 thoughts on “Speed Up Your Internet Connection By Changing Your DNS Server

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Sonal Diwan

    July 20, 2017 at 4:58am

    Hello KATHY E. GILL,
    Thank you for sharing these useful information about the internet for me also.
    Keep updating

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Andrew

    July 13, 2012 at 9:56pm

    Great reminder that we aren’t powerless against telecomm!

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