What is DNS

What is DNS? And Why Should I Update/Change it?

Domain Name System, also known as DNS, in short, is a system that works by pointing a domain name to a physical IP address. For example, if a user types in www.purepvpn.com in their browser and then hit enter, the DNS servers attempt to resolve it to the IP address to where the website is hosted.

The primary purpose of the Domain Name System is to use easy-to-recall domain names for websites as opposed to their numeric IP addresses. Additionally, the Domain Name System enables the owners of websites to change their web hosts without altering their domain names and also point to their web host’s name servers.

What is a Name Server?

A name server keeps all the records of a user’s domain name’s DNS entries. For example, if your website is hosted on a hosting site (let’s take XYZ as an example), then name server that is used to manage the DNS records will be the generic name servers of the hosting site such as the following:

  • NS1.xyz.com
  • NS2.xyz.com
  • NS3.xyz.com

Each domain name should have at least two name servers, with the first one being the primary server. But again, if the primary server isn’t responding, then the secondary name server is used in resolving the domain name.

Learn how to change your DNS server on Windows 10.

DNS Difficulties

DNS is essential to your entire internet activities, and any problems with such a system could bring about cascading effects on the experience of a user. If the ISP-supplied DNS servers are slow or misconfigured, then they amount to slow connections. But switching to DNS servers that are optimized for efficiency will end up speeding a user’s surfing experience, whether in a business or home setting.

Talking of a business setting, some organizations offer DNS servers that come with business-friendly add-ons. Some can effectively filter out malicious websites so that such pages don’t reach the browser of employees. Others may also filter out pornographic content or sites that may not be appropriate at the place of work.

Name server changes typically take between 24 to 48 hours to start working, though, with improved technology, such may soon take only a few hours.

Learn about DNS hijacking and how it works.

Reasons Why You May Have to Update/Change DNS

There are plenty of reasons as to why you may have to change or update your DNS settings. While the reasons could be made, a majority of people choose to alter such settings for purposes of speed, privacy, security, customization, and reliability.

First, speed and matters to do with reliability will be boosted the moment you choose to alter DNS settings. While we can’t comment on the response time of every ISP out there, you could attempt to change settings to see if you’ll notice improved speeds. If you intend to amend the router’s DNS servers, this can help in improving the overall speed of your connectivity.

Secondly, there’s the aspect of customization. You stand a chance of unblocking sites that have been blocked by your ISP provider or your government. Still, you can prevent sites at the domain level. If you are prepared to put in some time, then you can blacklist and subsequently whitelist sites for your wifi network, restrict any online ads, and so on.

In terms of privacy, you need to be aware that switching DNS servers do not prevent your ISP from seeing the sites that you are accessing. If you intend to hide your browsing, then you may have to get yourself a VPN or, if possible, use an encrypted DNS system.

Learn how to flush your DNS cache.

How to Change Your DNS settings 

Are you finding it somewhat complicated when it comes to changing your DNS settings? There’s no need to worry, such doing so is not difficult, as you may imagine. But again, you need to be aware that you may have to do it for every device and for any network that you choose to connect to. You can save yourself some extra work by going ahead and configuring any alternative DNS servers on your router at home.

If you do the above, then there’s no need of configuring every other device independently, but only when you head out and subsequently connect to other independent wifi networks. If you intend to take the router approach, then you need to be aware that the method will vary, all depending on your router.

But if you choose this approach, then you will first have to log in to the settings of your router using your browser. After that, you’ll need to find the DNS settings, and it could be a good idea to read online articles or find a helpful guide for your particular router and ISP. This process should be relatively simple to carry out, as long as your router can support the feature.

You need to be aware that you’ll require the IP addresses of your new DNS server, and again, you may need to jot down the old DNS server address in case you may have to go back to them at some point –or if you encounter some troubles switching-. The moment you complete the switch, you may have to reboot your device for everything to work well.

On Windows, first, open up the Settings using the cog icon found on the Start menu. After that, click on the Change adapter options icon. Right-click on the wifi connection then choose Properties. After this, scroll down and select Internet Protocol Version 4. After you are done, click the Properties icon and then specify the new address.

If you are using an Android device, first, you need to change the device’s IP address to static. This will require some reconfigurations on the router of your home to accept it. Again, it is always a good idea to choose the router method if you could. Are you using android 9 Pie? If so, then you can use Private DNS features as another alternative.

For macOS devices, you will have to follow the steps listed below:

  1. Open up Systems Preferences from the Apple menu
  2. Click the icon named Network
  3. Choose your wifi connection
  4. Select Advanced
  5. Switch to the DNS tab
  6. Using the Plus button under DNS servers, add both primary and secondary servers
  7. Close down the dialogs

As you can see, the steps are not the same but depend on the type of device that one is using.

Conclusion 

So, here is the rundown. DNS servers can be equated to human-friendly domain names to what we can say to be machine-friendly IP addresses. Right now, you are probably using a DNS server that is supplied by your internet service provider, one whose quality may be unknown.

However, switching to third-party DNS services or changing the settings can effectively speed up your internet connectivity. Additionally, doing so can protect you against tricky DNS-based attacks that are currently on the increase. There are plenty of ways of changing DNS server settings, and all of these depend on the type of device that one is using. Again, the router method is the best, and the easiest way of doing this.

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Ather Owais Ather Owais is a tech and cybersecurity enthusiast. He is a strong advocate for online privacy and security, following technological trends and their impact on today's digital era.

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