What is DNS and how does it work?     

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In the age of the internet comes internet terminology, with the term DNS coming across on numerous occasions. Think of it as a phone directory that binds the entire internet together and without it, we’d be hopelessly lost.

Introduction

So, what does DNS mean and how does it work? DNS stands for Domain Name System and its primary function is to link an IP address with a domain name, which is also known as the website URL. For example, if the URL www.facebook.com is punched into the browser search bar, the person will arrive to Facebook yes? Of course they will, but the process that makes this happen is a little tricky to understand but it has been broken down to explain it in a simpler manner.

Network entities are controlled by IP addresses and a DNS matches the name to the IP address so the person goes and visits where they are required to go. Now when that person enters in the URL www.facebook.com, the DNS server is going to be handling all of the data, so depending on how fast that DNS is, the quicker he or she will arrive at facebook.com and start browsing freely.

How DNS affect browsing speed?

An internet service company or ISPs will often use its own DNS servers and the speed of these servers can vary tremendously. Others use public DNS servers, which belong to companies like Google, OpenDNS, DNS.Watch and others. Switching to a different DNS server for better speed and performance will depend on several factors.

● The speed and location of the server and where the individual’s exact location is. If they are living far away from the DNS server then obviously they will run into speed problems.

● How busy that DNS server is at that current time when it comes handling traffic.

● Is the domain cached or not?

These three factors are going to determine how fast or slow switching to a new DNS is going to be.

What are the privacy concerns due to DNS leaks?

While switching to a new DNS server can greatly impact the speed and performance of an internet experience, there can also be other drawbacks if people are not careful enough. What is being talked about is a DNS leak. No one likes to have their private browsing activities being monitored by others. It will obviously be a breach of privacy not to mention that such browsing activities can also compromise sensitive user data like passwords and usernames.

So how do DNS leaks happen? When a web browser is sending DNS requests to an ISP DNS server which is a default set up in most of the situations, the browser sends a request to the ISP telling that the user wants to access a particular website. This makes the ISP aware of that user’s browsing activities.

In order to hide the browsing history from ISPs, most of the users will switch to using VPN services, hence masking the browsing data. Unfortunately, sometimes what happens is that while being connected to a VPN, the DNS requests should be transmitted to the VPN DNS servers, but the DNS requests a leak to the ISP servers and all of the people’s browsing activities are exposed?

This normally happens when the VPN is not monitoring DNS requests. It is often recommended that users are engaged in using reliable VPN services or refrain from using them entirely if they are gravely concerned about DNS leaks.

Advantages of using a speedy DNS server?

Switching to a more reliable DNS server will mean that the performance improvements will greatly affect video streaming and gaming performance. If users have a IP camera system installed in their homes, the streaming performance can also be improved if footage is being viewed from a computer or smartphone.

Since we are living in an imperfect world, it will obviously be up to the people to test out which DNS server can provide them with the best possible performance at a given time. Happy testing.

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