DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

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Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 13,948

DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide

 

The first thing is to describe is what DNS is.  DNS stands for Domain Name System.

 

When you try to browse to a web page, and you type in www.google.ca into your web browser, your computer then goes out to your selected DNS server, it takes this address of 'www.google.ca' and translates it into an IP address (which is the protocol uses between devices and servers on the internet.  The DNS server for example would translate www.google.ca to 74.125.225.183 or similar.

 

What many do not realize is that speedy DNS performance is an important, if not the most important factor to the average person doing normal web access/surfing activities.  In order to bring up a given web page, numerous DNS requests can be required.  Improving DNS response times gives continual positive paybacks in speed and overal browser response.  Without a proper or stable DNS server, you can have issues of pages loading slowly, to not being able to access pages at all.

 

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The Sections covered in this document is:

  • DNS Optimization: To provide a means of finding the most optimal DNS servers for you in your location
  • Selecting the right DNS server: Select which ones are best for you
  • Chaning your DNS: Provide some common examples of how to change the DNS server on the supplied rogers hardware, as well as some common devices

 

 

 

DNS Optimization

 

Many people beleive that they must use the DNS servers supplied from their ISPs.  Typicaly, they are not enforced, and you can use any number of other available free DNS servers available.

 

For this, we need to find out which servers are best to use.

 

Step 1: 

We will need to aquire a DNS benchmark tool.  For this document, we will show the steps for the recomended NAMEBENCH, but other DNS benchmarking tools can be used as well.

Download Namebench from HERE > http://code.google.com/p/namebench/downloads/detail?name=namebench-1.3.1-Windows.exe&can=2&q=

to your desktop or another location.

 

Step 2:

Run NameBench, it will ask to temporarly expand some files.

 

It will bring up a screen similar to as follows (shown MAC OS). http://namebench.googlecode.com/files/screenshot-1.3.png

 

  • Name servers listed at the top, should be what your current DNS servers are set to.
  • You will want to make sure the two check boxes below it, Include global DNS providers and Include best available regional DNS services, are checked.
  • The two check boxes below options, are optional
  • Make sure country is on Canada, health check is on FAST.
  • Query Data Source - allows you to choose what data you want it to look at.  You can choose your local cache for some browsers, or you can choose the Top 2000 Websites, etc.
  • Number of queries, will allow you to sample more pages, potentialy making the spread a little more refined, but will take longer.

Step 3:

Click Start Benchmark.

 

After this finishes running, it will pop up a browser window, with the results, similar to as follows: http://namebench.googlecode.com/files/screenshot-1.3-table.jpg

 

There is alot of information here.. but the main things that you will want to look at are:

  • IP/Descr.: This will be the DNS server its tested.
  • AVG(ms): The average response time, in miliseconds
  • Diff: The percent Faster than your current DNS server.

From this information, we can then choose the best servers for us.

 

 

 

Selecting the right DNS server(s):

 

There are many different views on this. Which is the absolute correct answer, is subject to interpretation.  We will list a few of the options, and you can choose which is the correct one for you.

 

Fastest Response Time:

Choosing this one, you would select the DNS servers that gave you the fastest repsonse times (so the lowest ms / Highest % diff).  This way overall, you would potentialy get the fastest response times alway.  But even though they may be the fastest response times, they may not be the closest ones to you, and are dependant on the routing being well to those servers.

 

Fastest & Nearest:

This gives you a better spread, compared to just fastest.  Your fastest one, again may not be the closest to you.  If there is a major outage somewhere along the route to the fastest one if it is futher away, it could severely raise the response times.  Compared to one that is closer (your ISPs one for example), would have minimal hops. Fastest and Nearest, gives you a little bit of both, having a faster one to check with first, but if it unavailable, it will check with the next ones, which are often more local. On the results page of the NameBench output, in the top right corner, it will show the fastest & nearest results recomendation.

 

Usualy, with either case, its recomended not to 'put all your eggs in one basket'.  while your fastest results, may be say both DNS servers from one place, putting both of them, you take the risk, of if they go down alltogther, you will have no DNS server to connect to at all (which is what happened in the case of the Rogers DNS outage recently for most). You would be advised to put at least two different locations.

 

Whichever you choose, you can always change them around later if need be.

 

Changing your DNS:

(this section in the FINAL product, will be in the main body.. but for this preview will be in the reply(s))
(Need to collect the different ways for the rogers gateways, basic OS and phone changes, and some basic router instructions)
(citations will be down at the bottom as well.. to anyone that contributed... SKINORTH being a big one 🙂



I'm an Advisor
Posts: 842

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

@Gdkitty:

 

I like your approach, and the flow of your posting.  Based on personal experience I suggest though, that you split up the posting into possible three or four sections each of which would be a separate posting.

 

I suggest this because today, in an age of short little text messages and tweets that are, what? max 144 characters long, people seem to have lost the ability to concentrate on anything that is much longer, no matter how good the content might be.  About the only exception are YouTube videos, which might be max three minutes long, and require little concentration and no reading on the public's part.

 

I suggest splitting into three or four postings:

 

1. DNS: What it is;

 

2. DNS: Benchmarking and what it tells you

 

3. DNS: Selecting the right DNS servers for you

 

4. DNS: Changing your DNS setting: principles

 

5. DNS: Changing your DNS settings: Detailed procedures

 

Having attempted to write procedural postings like this myself, I know that it is not a simple process.  But the key here is "divide and conquer".  Please note that I said "attempted".....  I am not sure I have yet been as successful in this as I would have wanted to be.

 

skinorth

 

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 13,948

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

I do get with what you are saying. That was my initial idea/plan and how I have done similar on other boards.

Only downside, would be with the editing. As we are not able to go back and edit older posts, could make it more difficult to update the thread in the future.
So not really sure on the final layout, but I do agree with you on the breaking up. Smaller bits, less long, easier for many to digest.

Content wise seems ok?


I'm an Advisor
Posts: 842

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

@Gdkitty:

 

the content is good.  Technically, I think you have it down pat.  Any one of us could word-smith ad nauseum, so I would not want to do that.

 

The editing might be more manageable, if you not only break it up into multiple postings, but give each one its own thread.

 

Also, my original suggestion had been to simply repost the whole item after revisions/edits were applied.  In that way, any subsequent comments on that revised version would show up immediately following the reposted and revised item.

 

skinorth

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 13,948

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

Giving each its own thread.. then this article plus possibly others.. you would have the whole first page stickied possibly >.<

I'll still have to think on it a little more.. still have to write the 2nd half (havent had a slow period at work yet to do so).

..

 

Is it just me or have i not seen the little escalation arrow thing on here before?



I'm an Advisor
Posts: 842

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

@Gdkitty:

 

I suspect that writing what you call the second half is going to be the most challenging.  I would think that many of us have relevant experience on a few platforms.  But to be able to address the issues for all platforms, and to then to test the procedures, is more of a challenge.

 

I, for instance, deal with Windows and Linux.  My wife recently acquired an Android phone, so that could be something I should look at (if she will let me).

 

Perhaps an approach here would be to identify as many different platforms as possible, and then to prioritize them so the more popular/in demand ones get done first.

 

skinorth

 

Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 13,948

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

Yeah, there would have to be a disclaimer that it can't cover all.

I can do widows, Mac, iOS, android, blackberry. Can do the Cisco and smc gateway.


I'm an Advisor
Posts: 842

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

I go all soft and mushy over good-looking widows..........

 

But here is where the group effort needs to kick in.  Whomever has experience with, and preferably actually uses a particular platform would be asked to assist in testing a given procedure, and providing criticism based on their direct experience with that platform.

 

OK ladies and gentlemen, who do we have on board here that can offer up some help here?  We really don't want to post untested procedures for general consumption on the Forum, do we?

 

skinorth

 

I'm a Senior Advisor
Posts: 1,299

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

Are you going to do screen shots?

Will you add a section about running my own dns server? 😉
Resident Expert
Resident Expert
Posts: 13,948

Re: DNS Optimization & How to Change It Guide - ROUGH DRAFT

Debating on the screenshots.

Imbeding images requires them to be approved, so could be a pain. Linking could work, but need to host somewhere.