There are so many things that have an effect on the speed and stability of your internet connection, it only takes one or two of them to misfire slightly for you to notice there’s a possible problem. One of the areas where it is quite common to notice something isn’t right is when the page just doesn’t seem to get started loading or is quite slow at finding the website. Or perhaps one or more web pages will not load at all and you know the sites are there.
This could point to a problem or performance issue with the Domain Name System or DNS you are using. Many of you will know what a DNS is, but a brief description for those that don’t; every website you visit has a name such as Raymond.cc or Microsoft.com which you type in or have stored in your favorites. But when computers connect to each other they don’t rely on those names but a set of numbers called an IP address. You have probably heard of or used an IP address like 192.168.1.1 to access your router and websites use the same system. Whenever a name is entered in to a browser etc. your traffic is routed to a DNS server which then looks up the correct IP address for the chosen website and then forwards that address on.
Most users will simply use the DNS that is the default for their ISP and quite often this is fine, but it’s not unheard of for DNS servers to have their own problems and obviously that translates to you as slow page lookup performance or being unable to access websites at all. This is why lots of users prefer to use other DNS services because as well as offering better performance and reliability, some of them also offer enhanced security and content filtering to block questionable websites.
It’s not particularly difficult changing the DNS server for your internet connection, but with newer versions of windows it is buried a couple of layers further down. A quick and easy way to change DNS servers is using a little utility called DNS Jumper. This handy tool allows you to select from a number of free services in a list which can then be applied at the click of a button. All of the DNS servers can be quickly benchmarked to find the fastest one for your connection. The program is less than 500K and is completely portable making it a great addition to the USB toolkit.
DNS Jumper is pretty easy to use; choose the network card from the dropdown list and select one of the free services from the list, then click ‘Apply DNS‘. A number of popular ones like OpenDNS, Google Public DNS, Comodo DNS, Ultra DNS or Symantec are included to try out. The IP addresses of the DNS server will show in the boxes and if the blue icon between them is clicked, a quick benchmark will be performed with the results underneath. To see which is best for you, it’s a good idea to test a few different times over several hours to see if the results are consistent enough. It’s easy to add your own custom servers to the list by clicking the blue plus button.
One of the programs features is being able to test all the DNS servers in the list by clicking ‘Fastest DNS‘, and automatically select which is the fastest. ‘Apply DNS Servers‘ will enter them into the box in the main window.
A useful button is the ‘Flush DNS‘ button which will flush and clear the DNS cache on the system which can sometimes fix problems connecting to websites when the cache contains errors or is corrupt. It’s the same as using ‘ipconfig /flushdns‘ from the command prompt.
It’s always a good idea to do a bit of research if you can on any DNS service you might like to use permanently for things like reliability, reputation, security and extra features etc. Compatible with Windows XP, Vista and 7 32bit and 64bit.