If you are like most internet users, you do not pay much attention to your DNS server unless it starts acting up. However, there are several reasons why you should look at the DNS server that your internet service provider assigns you and consider changing it if necessary. This guide will show you seven reasons why you should change your DNS server, and how to change it in several different situations.
Prevent your ISP from hijacking your connection
DNS servers—your connection’s last stop before making its way to a website’s server—can be hijacked or manipulated. That manipulation could mean your Internet service provider (ISP) is getting paid by another company to make sure you never see their competitor’s site.
It could also mean your ISP has decided it no longer likes a particular website and would rather give you a better version of that site, even if that means changing search results or a product page. The idea behind using third-party servers is that they are not likely to have any biases when serving up traffic.
However, despite security benefits and fast download speeds, they can also be more difficult to troubleshoot and fix.
Security through encryption
When you connect to a website that uses encryption, your browser and server swap secret coded messages so nobody can listen in. This protects you from eves dropping by hackers or governments. Unfortunately, it also prevents websites from telling you if something is wrong with their server. But by changing your domain name system (DNS) server, you can force a website to speak in plain language—even if they do not want to—so that any issues will be revealed.
A good example of how insecure encryption can be is in governments’ banning of certain sites. In many cases, such as China, Egypt and Iran, people are not allowed to visit blocked websites. Governments do that by using a technique called deep packet inspection (DPI) on their citizens’ Internet traffic. DPI allows them to inspect encrypted data packets and censor any with prohibited content—like Facebook or Wikipedia pages—before they reach your browser.
Access blocked content
One of DNS’s most common uses is to provide Internet users with an alternate way to access websites that their ISPs have blocked. In some cases, ISPs choose to block certain websites for ideological reasons, but other times it is due to legal obligations (such as copyright laws).
Whether you are a teenager looking to sneak onto Myspace at your parents’ house or work for a company that does not want its employees visiting porn sites on company time, changing your DNS server can unblock these sites in just a few minutes. All you need is an alternative provider.
Improved browsing speed
No matter how speedy your internet connection is, there is no denying that DNS servers can slow you down. In fact, one study showed that some DNS servers slowed browsing speed by up to 77%. Once your customers are on your site, make sure they do not bounce off quickly by installing a quality Domain Name System (DNS) server.
A good name server provider will offer increased speed and reliability with reduced chance of error. Imagine yourself in a room of people all having an extended conversation—with each person speaking a different language. If you do not understand what is being said, then how likely are you to stay in that room? Keep your customers on your website longer with improved browsing speed!
Unblock Netflix anywhere
If you are tired of being blocked from watching your favorite shows on Netflix when you travel, a terrific way to access American Netflix is by changing your DNS server. If you live outside of America and want to unblock Netflix to access US Netflix, use a VPN. A VPN will allow you to change your IP address, making it appear as if you are located somewhere else (in this case, inside of America) so that you can unblock all those great movies and TV shows that are only available in America. Good luck!
Unblock YouTube anywhere
If you are trying to access your favorite video streaming site, only to find out that it is blocked at work or school, here are some tips on how to unblock YouTube. All you need is a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and an internet connection.
Even if your network has a security system and blocks VPNs, there are ways around these restrictions that do not involve violating any regulations. Here are five diverse ways you can unblock YouTube with a VPN.
Protect yourself while traveling abroad
When you are traveling, especially internationally, it is especially important to make sure your data is secure. Use a virtual private network (VPN) so that only your computer connects to public hotspots while hiding your IP address and encrypting all your traffic.
If you do not want to pay for a service, just download software like Free VPN — HideMyAss! or CyberGhost (among others).
Keep in mind that free VPN services are not necessarily as safe as paid ones, though—while they can be useful for securing data on unsecured public Wi-Fi networks, there are cases where hackers will set up their own free VPNs that act more like honeypots than anything else.
Most Internet users have never even heard of DNS servers, let alone know why they should be using them. Thankfully, with a little more information on what these services are and how they work, you can easily choose a better provider to help make your web browsing experience faster and more secure.
We have also covered seven reasons why you may want to change your own server today—whether you are new to digital security or not!