Some of the most frequent questions we get are about computer or Internet speed. Seems lots of folks don't care much for waiting, and waiting - and waiting some more - for the video to load, the movie to download or the upload to send. We don't blame them.
Even now, sometimes the Internet can seem horribly slow. But before you commit to paying your Internet provider for a faster connection, let's see if we can help you speed up the connection you have right now.
Or, at least it should take only a few seconds.
Of course, sometimes it takes longer than we'd like to pull up a website. There are plenty of reasons for slowdowns. It could just be you aren't getting the Internet speed your provider promised. Click here to see if that's the case.
If that's not it, there's other technical wizardry going on behind the browsing scenes that could be the culprit. There's one thing in particular that can give your Internet a real speed boost with little effort.
We're talking about your DNS, or Domain Name System. If you're a longtime reader, you've probably heard the term before. But for everyone else, here's a quick explanation.
Domain Name System
Every computer and mobile gadget has an IP address. This is what identifies it to other computers, and website servers are no different.
Google.com's IP address, for example, is "184.108.40.206". If that isn't hard enough to remember, newer IPv6 addresses look like this: "2001:db8::1234:ace:6006:1e". Who's going to remember that?
That's why websites also have more recognizable names, like komando.com. A DNS, also called a nameserver, is like the phone book of the Internet. It turns the memorable names that you use into those complicated IP addresses that computers use.
When you sign up for Internet, your provider assigns you to its DNS server. However, that isn't always the best one to use. It could be bogged down with traffic, running inefficient software or any number of other problems.
If your computer can't look up IP addresses quickly, it seriously slows down your browsing. Fortunately, there are other DNS servers out there you can use.
Keep in mind that speed isn't the only reason to choose a new DNS. Many DNS systems include filtering to block inappropriate websites or other sites you don't want to see. OpenDNS is one of our regular recommendations for filtering.
What DNS is best for you?
The big question is how to find a new DNS and how to know it will be any better than your current one. Google has a solution called namebench.
This lightweight program will test your DNS against other popular DNS servers. Once it finishes the comparison, it will give you detailed statistics on performance and recommend the best DNS for you to use.
To download the DNS program, navigate to the namebench download page by using the blue download buttons on the next page at the end of this article. Then, refer to these instructions as you set it up. This is the easiest way.
On the left side of the namebench download page, there is a green header labeled "Featured." Here is where you will find the program you need.
For PC users, click the second download link with the ending "Windows.exe". Mac users should select the download link ending in "Mac_OS_X.dmg".
You will be redirected to another page that has another download link. This link should be highlighted in green and have the same name as the previous download link you clicked.
Note: If the download link is not highlighted in green or the download link is different from the first, do not click on it. It is not the download link you're looking for.
Click the highlighted download link and your download will begin immediately. After the download is complete, extract the installation files. namebench will launch automatically.