DNS servers are what map domain names (such as itworld.com) to the IP address of the server hosting it. Sometimes your ISP's default DNS servers are best to use because they're closer to your location, and sometimes third-party DNS servers like OpenDNS and Google are faster and/or offer additional features. If you want to, however, you can set the DNS servers for specific domains, so you can set Netflix, for example, to your ISP's DNS servers and OpenDNS for everything else. As a bonus: some DNS services allow you to unlock region-specific content (such as free access to all the NFL games).
Lex Friedman offers these instructions on his blog for how to set custom DNS servers for specific domains on a Mac:
As explained by OS X Hints, you can use custom DNS servers for specific domains by creating simple text files. Create a directory called resolver in the /etc/ folder. (You’ll need to do this as root.)
I created a file called gamepass.nfl.com. Inside that file, I pasted a couple lines of text:
(I made those IP addresses up. In reality, this is where you’d put the DNS servers of your third-party provider.)That’s the only step. Immediately, when you go to visit the domain in question, your Mac will use the custom nameservers you provided in those text files.
Undfortunately, there doesn't seem to be an easy, built-in way to do this in Windows. There is, however, a utility called UnoDNS ($5/month; 8-day free trial) that lets you configure custom DNS servers on your computer, and routes traffic intelligently.
Friedman uses a service called Ad-Free Time ($2/month) for complete access to every NFL game, without the expensive sports passes:
Third-party services like AdFree Time offer up a DNS-based solution: Pay a monthly fee and use their DNS services, and the NFL’s website treats you as if you’re coming from Europe. You thus get to watch every NFL game streaming online in high definition, since the league offers that option to folks in Europe at no charge. Americans, usually, miss out. I could pay for DirecTV’s insanely overpriced Sunday Ticket, but I think it’s a ripoff when I’m only looking to watch about six to eight Eagles games that won’t show here.
Combine the DNS service with the DNS switching/customization, and you could speed up streaming for specific sites and access content you normally wouldn't be privy to. [via kottke.org]
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