Have you ever browsed the internet and then suddenly, all hell broke loose and you got stuck with the dreadful “DNS address could not be found” message? Were there times when you would have done anything to get your favorite websites to load faster, even if only just a bit? Or have you been looking for a way to enforce parental controls all over your local network, without having to manually configure each and every computer and device in your home? All these questions and problems can be answered and resolved with the help of public, third-party DNS servers. Read on to find out why you should change the DNS servers used by your network, right now:
NOTE: If you need a refresher on what is a DNS server and what does it do, read this guide: What is DNS? How do I see my DNS settings in Windows?
1. Faster web browsing
The DNS servers offered by third party companies like Google , OpenDNS or Norton can be faster than those maintained by your local internet service provider. If that’s the case, using third party DNS servers can mean a faster web browsing experience. However, if those public DNS servers are too far from you geographically, the speed of your connection can be hindered greatly by the sheer distance. Either way, it’s worth investigating whether your web browsing gets faster or the opposite when using third party DNS servers.
2. Improved reliability
Some internet service providers are not investing enough money and resources in maintaining their DNS servers and in making sure that they have an uptime as close to 100% as possible. When DNS servers fail to work properly, you can have issues in accessing internet websites, or other resources. If your internet service provider is not well known for its reliability and professional services, changing your DNS servers to third party servers can offer you a more stable internet connection.
3. Improved security
Although it’s not the case with all the public DNS servers out there, some of them also keep updated lists of malicious websites, which are automatically blocked. If you use such DNS servers, than you will add an extra layer of protection between you and the malware that lurks all over the web. However, keep in mind that you should look at this more like a welcomed addition to your internet security suite, rather than a replacement for it.
4. Parental controls
Some DNS servers also offer parental controls options. If you are concerned about the safety of your children and the types of content that they access online, certain DNS servers can help you block their access to pornographic content, violent or otherwise inappropriate websites. Because DNS servers can also be set on your wireless router and not only on individual computers and devices, they are one of the best ways in which you can enforce parental controls throughout your home network.
5. Bypass censorship
Just like virtual private networks and some proxy servers , DNS servers can also be used to bypass censorship and other types of geographical limitations enforced in your country or region. DNS servers have nowhere near the efficiency you get from a good VPN service but they can help in certain cases where governments or internet service providers block your access through their DNS servers. You just use a different DNS server and you are done with the censorship.
6. Faster updates to the DNS database
Large public DNS services like Google or OpenDNS have the good habit of refreshing their database of IP addresses faster than the DNS servers of most internet service providers. Therefore, if you are dealing with websites which you can no longer access because they have changed their IP address and your DNS hasn’t yet refreshed its database, then using a large public DNS service will help.
There are many cases in which third party public DNS servers can prove to be a better choice than those provided by your internet service provider. Have you ever considered making the switch? Or have you already done it? Share your experiences with us, in the comments below.