3 ways to hack DNS to speed up your Web browsing

Here's how to speed up your Web browsing without paying for extra bandwidth.

Want to browse the Web faster, without paying extra for more bandwidth? It's simple to do. Just use one of these three free services to hack the DNS system for faster and more reliable surfing.

All these tools improve your computer's access to the Domain Name System (DNS), which is the core technology for browsing the Web. Web servers and Internet routers don't understand the URLs you normally type into your browser, such as www.itworld.com. Instead, they require numeric IP addresses, such as That's where the DNS system comes in. When you type in a URL, a DNS server translates, for example, from www.itworld.com to

If the DNS server takes its much resolving the address, or if there's a delay in your contacting the DNS server, there will be a delay getting to a Web site, no matter your bandwidth. So speeding up name resolution can speed up Web surfing. That's where these three tools come in. They're faster, more reliable and potentially more secure than your ISPs' DNS servers. With that background, here are three to try.

OpenDNS's Premium DNS service

This is my favorite DNS service, and one that I've been using for years. It's fast, it's reliable, it's secure, and it gives you lots of extras as well. Not only have I found it to be faster than my ISP's DNS servers, but more reliable as well. There have been times when because of my ISP's DNS problems I couldn't browse the Web. But using OpenDNS fixed the problem. There are plenty of extras as well, including phishing protection and more.

When you sign up, you'll also get instructions about how to to use the service. It'll only take you a few minutes, and will be well worth your time.

Google Public DNS

This is another worthy free DNS service. Google knows a thing or two about DNS, so it's fast and reliable. I've used it on and off since it's launch, and have never had a problem with it. If you're looking for instructions about how to use it for Windows, the Mac, or Linux, check this page.


This free, open source software works slightly differently from OpenDNS or Google Public DNS, and requires some additional work. With those services, you don't download any software. Instead, you make some minor system changes, and your work is done. namebench, instead, is free downloadable software for Windows, the Mac, and Linux. When you run it, it tests many different DNS servers, including OpenDNS, Google Public DNS, your ISP's DNS, and many others, and tells you which is fastest. At that point, you go in and change your DNS settings to use the fastest DNS, in the same way that you would change them to user OpenDNS or Google Public DNS.

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