Google Public DNS

Category: Networking

Google recently announced its Public DNS service, which provides an alternative Domain Name Service (DNS) for any user connected to the Internet. Read on to find out why using this service could speed up your web surfing and provide other benefits as well...

What is Google Public DNS?

I wrote about OpenDNS, a service similar to Google Public DNS, back in April 2009; you can read it for some background on DNS in general and why a public DNS service may improve your Web surfing and other Internet experiences. This article talks about how to use Google Public DNS and how it compares to other public DNS services. First, a short review of how DNS works.

Every computer on the Internet is assigned a unique number called an IP address, which is registered to a more easily remembered domain name, such as AskBobRankin.com. To connect, your Web browser, email client, or other program must know the IP address. Translating a domain name such as www.askbobrankin.com into an IP address is the job of DNS nameservers. When you program needs to look up an IP address in a domain, it sends a request to a nameserver.

Google Public DNS

Authoritative nameservers are the final authority on which IP addresses belong to which domain names. There is a surprisingly small number of "authoritative" nameservers in the world. The one to which your program sends its lookup requests isn't one of the authoritative nameservers. Instead, it is a resolver nameserver that does nothing but handle lookup requests from users.

A resolver nameserver first checks its cache of things it's looked up recently to see if the answer to your request is in there. If not, it contacts one of the authoritative nameservers for the answer. It takes less time to deliver your answer from cache than to look it up in an authoritative nameserver.

Benefits of Using Google Public DNS

Google keeps more answers in its cache, and so lookups are faster overall. You can see how important fast DNS lookups are by viewing the source code of any Web page your browse. Typically, there will be more than a dozen URLs in a page, each of which requires a DNS lookup.

Google also provides more high-performance DNS servers distributed all over the world than most ISPs do. The faster the server and the closer it is to you geographically, the faster your Web surfing. So using Google Public DNS means your Web pages will load faster; that's the main benefit that users see.

Security of DNS servers is a big problem on the Internet, and Google has implemented a slew of features to protect users against malicious tampering with DNS results.

To replace your ISP's DNS service with Google Public DNS, you can change your computer's DNS settings manually. But there is a free utility for Windows users, the Google DNS Helper, that will do the job for you, even saving your old DNS settings so they can be easily restored if you wish.

Do you have something to say about Google's Public DNS? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "Google Public DNS"

Posted by:

Mark Jacobs
11 Jan 2010

I've been using Google Public DNS for months and it's been working well, not that I notices much of a differenc. I just figured Google was in the perfect position to be a DNS look-up because they have the whole net catalogued. Probably o the major sites all the DNS work the same, but Google might do better with the lesser use IPs.


Posted by:

Duane
11 Jan 2010

I'm not normally a cynic but isn't this just a way that Google can claim more traffic on their servers so they can increase the amount of money they receive for their ads and increase the numbers of ads inserted?

EDITOR'S NOTE: No, this doesn't increase the number of Google page views in any way.


Posted by:

Gary
12 Jan 2010

Using this, is it possible to be out of the US and still be able to watch shows on Hulu?? I plan on being out of the country for a while but would like to still be able to view some US TV and movies.

EDITOR'S NOTE: No, using Google DNS will not change your IP address. But you can spoof it. See http://askbobrankin.com/how_to_hide_your_ip_address.html


Posted by:

Danny
12 Jan 2010

Doesn't it make more sense to change the DNS on your router, if you have one, rather on each individual computer in your network?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, that would be the preferred method. The instructions in the Google help are a little vague on that, but they do mention the router.


Posted by:

Richard
12 Jan 2010

Is it possible to use this technic being resident out of the USA ? Thank you bob

EDITOR'S NOTE: I don't see any restrictions on it.


Posted by:

Danny
12 Jan 2010

So which is better "Google public DNS" or OpenDNS?


Posted by:

Gideon
13 Jan 2010

Is there any way to know if there's a Google DNS server in, say, the Denver area? I haven't used OpenDNS because of the lag time of information going between something like Denver and the Bay Area. I'd like to have a sense of the distance involved, or else to have a way of getting the lag times so I can compare my ISP's to Google's.
Any advice?


Posted by:

Bill Eastman
13 Jan 2010

I've been using www.opendns.com and it lets you do other things besides just dns. For example you control what is blocked (if anything)


Posted by:

Gary
13 Jan 2010

If this is not going to in some way affect Google's page views, or increase their ad revenue, then why pray tell is Google spending all this money to do this? They are not doing this out of the kindness or their hearts. There is some monetization scheme in this somewhere.


Posted by:

Shez
14 Jan 2010

Wondering why Google are doing this? It makes sense when you add in targeted ads. Think of it, an advertiser who not only knows which TV shows you watch, magazines you subscribe to, and which newspapers you read, but can then design a self writing ad copy to channel ads that are MUCH more likely to attract your attention. Then factor in what Google is doing with this "free" service of theirs when they know every single page of the internet you visit and what if any ads you happen to click on for a little extra info. Also don't forget that selling ad space is what Google does for it's income.


Posted by:

Mark Jacobs
15 Jan 2010

in response to will this work out of the US, ABSOLUTLY: I use it in Europe. As for Google getting advertising money, I don't know if this helps them or not, although it seems it would help them in their statistical analases but there are 2 choices 1. Charge users for internet services and content 2. give it for free and sell advertising. and an additional 3. folloing the cable TV path and some sites on the internet a mixture of both models.


Posted by:

Racecar56
24 May 2010

@Gary

I'm with you.


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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Google Public DNS (Posted: 11 Jan 2010)
Source: https://askbobrankin.com/google_public_dns.html
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