Why is DNS important?

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On the internet every connection is given a unique address, this is given as 4 sets of 3 digit numbers with a full stop between them, for example the BBC site is 212.58.253.68 The trouble is that we can’t remember numbers as easily as we remember names – so we need a way of changing names into numbers – this is what DNS does.

So, rather than typing http://www.bbc.co.uk you could type http://212.58.253.68 – trouble is that DNS can be slow.  If you type the number into the browser and you find that the page seems to come back faster than usual then it could be that your DNS is slow.

Many home broadband connections suffer from this. 

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NameBench is a utility (from Google) to help you to see if you can get a faster service somewhere else.  It takes 5 minutes to run but it has identified that my home connection currently takes an average of 109ms to get a name back where as UltraDNS would take 53ms on my connection – more that twice as fast

Google have just created their own free DNS service – on my connection this doesn’t seem particularly fast though.

REMEMBER

Every web page you request goes through a DNS server (unless you use the number) so the DNS server knows what you are asking for – best check their privacy policy really carefully.

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