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Old 22. Jan 2010, 04:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Understanding DNS (re: Free DNS Benchmark)

Okay folks, please forgive my ignorance, but I have some questions about DNS.

I downloaded and installed the new Hot Find (which I really recommend) called DNS Benchmark. Then, I ran it.

My PC shows up as an IP address (192.__.__.1), but it scores way down the list. Then, I went into my DSL router and found the DNS servers that it was pointing to (Qwest DNS server) and added that DNS server to the list. Lo and behold, it scored the best during several tests. I'm confused.

My second question is this: Would it make any difference for me to change my TPC/IP settings within my control panel (DNS settings)? Right now, my settings are "obtain DNS settings automatically". Should I change that and pick my DNS servers automatically and have them point to the fastest DNS servers found via DNS Benchmark?

What is the relationship between picking DNS servers via control panel versus what DNS servers my DSL router uses? Should they be the same and do they need to be?
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Old 22. Jan 2010, 06:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm not knowledgeable enough about how the router settings might be interacting with this, but if you like a good argument, some intrigue, a whiff of scandall and some good info then this is worth a read

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r229...DNS-vs-OpenDNS
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Old 23. Jan 2010, 05:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow. No comments other than MC. I guess this isn't an easy a question(s) as I thought it might be for some of our members/users.
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Old 23. Jan 2010, 02:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Okay, I'll have a stab at the second question. I have my DNS settings typed into TCP/IP via control panel and not to 'obtain automatically' and it works fine. I did it because I was experiencing slow page loads and timing out at certain times of the day. This was the result of my ISP's DNS servers being slow, so I changed the settings and I no longer have the problem. I didn't do anything to the router, I leave that alone.

I use DNS Advantage. I've also been using that program from hot finds for quite a while and it shows that DNS Advantage is not the quickest available... sometimes, it varies from test to test and day to day. I'm not necessarily interested in the speed as much as I want sites to load reasonably fast, but reliably, and that's what I get now.

The tests show that Google DNS and one or two others would be faster for me, although having tried them I don't see the difference to be honest, but the choice is yours to make.

I know there are people here who can explain the difference, and maybe advantages, in changing the router settings as opposed to doing it via the control panel so I'll leave that to them. But in my case it was mainly this machine that had the problem, the other machines on my wireless network load sites quite reliably for whatever reason using my ISP's servers so I opted to change only the settings on this machine.

If you change the settings in a wireless router then all the machines on your network will be using the same DNS servers, doing it the way I do it means you change the settings only on one particular machine, the others are not affected by the change.

Have a click around here

It might explain it to you better than I can, although I'm not saying use that particular service. It's just the one that I use, but the step by step guides are good for people who aren't sure.
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Old 23. Jan 2010, 03:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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It seems to me that the DNS provided by ones ISP is usually the fastest with these benchmark tests, but I still find it more desirable to choose a DNS with the added security features of DNS Advantage, Comodo Secure DNS or Open DNS for example (of these 3, it appears that the first 2 offer more protection than the free version of Open DNS). In practice, the speed difference is difficult to notice in any case.

I don't know which service gets used if your router is set to use a different DNS to your PC (I believe my router does not allow this to be changed with a dynamic IP address - so I'm guessing on this). Personally I would try to change the router settings to use the same as the PC if possible and see what happens. I know Open DNS homepage displays info telling you if you are using their service or not so this could also be used as a tool to confirm which DNS is being used by your system.
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Old 02. Mar 2010, 11:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendall View Post
My PC shows up as an IP address (192.__.__.1), but it scores way down the list. Then, I went into my DSL router and found the DNS servers that it was pointing to (Qwest DNS server) and added that DNS server to the list. Lo and behold, it scored the best during several tests. I'm confused.
Your Windows OS (at least from Win2K forward) includes a caching nameserver (Windows calls it a DNS client). What a caching nameserver is supposed to do is save frequent DNS queries to speed up subsequent name resolutions and load your intended website faster. Where it fails is that if the site in not cached locally, then the request is forwarded to the next DNS server in the chain (your DSL router in your case). The more DNS servers roped into the query, the longer it takes and the worse the score. By putting a direct DNS server into the loop first (called an authoritative nameserver) you cut all the additional hops out of the loop, and your load time improves and thus the score.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kendall View Post
Should I change that and pick my DNS servers automatically and have them point to the fastest DNS servers found via DNS Benchmark?
I would manually add and test DNS servers from several third parties, including your DSL service (Qwest), OpenDNS, Level3, Granite Canyon and others. I state no (as in ZERO/NONE/NADA) preference for providers as implied by the order listed above. Once you know who is fastest of those for your unique geographic location, that is the DNS server(s) you should use on your router. Keep in mind that you are free to choose several, so I normally take the top two and add as primary and secondary entries.

Quote:
What is the relationship between picking DNS servers via control panel versus what DNS servers my DSL router uses? Should they be the same and do they need to be?
It does make a difference on where you set your DNS. If set DNS in your network settings on the computer, then it will ONLY forward DNS queries to the IP address specified in that setting. It will override any other settings in the chain including any settings in your DSL router. If set to auto, then your computer will poll your DNS client first and then forward to whatever DNS your DSL router specifies next, and onward until an authoritative answer is received. To directly answer your question, do the IP need to be the same or can they be different. Does not matter as the IP set on the computer wins the battle every time.

Maybe I am just a lazy admin (there's even a website dedicated to guys like me ), but I take the 10ms hit and leave computers set to auto and rely on the DSL router to do the work. Less to setup on your computer, but more importantly, fewer places to look for settings when they change or you need to troubleshoot connectivity. Seems like every time I have to T/S connectivity issues, it comes down to poorly set DNS IP's and almost always because they were hard set at the computer level.
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Old 02. Mar 2010, 11:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks a ton Freedog! You really seem to know your stuff. Thank you for your many contributions and expertise in our forums. It is much appreciated.
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Old 03. Mar 2010, 12:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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@kendall: NP

I get a ton back from the Gizmo's community in areas that I am weak, so it is mutual.
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Old 01. Sep 2010, 07:29 AM   #9 (permalink)
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How can I tell which DNS server I'm using currently ? Is there some browser-based method? Jojoyee had provided this for the current IP address.
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Old 01. Sep 2010, 09:37 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vasa1 View Post
How can I tell which DNS server I'm using currently ? Is there some browser-based method? Jojoyee had provided this for the current IP address.
NirSoft to the rescue

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/awatch.html

Also works with Windows 7 or at least it does on my x32 system.
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