One of the joys in life is getting to do things with your computer.  You might be a social butterfly and spend all your time tweeting about how your Facebook page absolutely trashes that MySpace coverage of LinkedIn.  You might be exercising your photo and captioning skills for that one perfect photo.  You might be setting up a spreadsheet to figure out gear ratios.


No matter what you want to do, you don’t want to be dealing with the plumbing behind the scenes.  Here’s one thing you can do to help that along.  Set your DNS and don’t worry about it.

Oh (you say), which DNS service should I use?  I gave you a couple ideas not long ago, but now we can be scientificker.  Steve Gibson has written a cool utility that will go knock on the doors of several DNS providers, and tell you which one works the best.  Steve G writes great, small utilities in assembler.  He writes real close to the metal, so these things are dinky (this one is 150K) and fast.

Download it, run the test, and see who’s the fastest.  It will take a couple minutes to run.  The red bar is the cached lookup – checking out something the DNS provider already knows about.  The green bar is an uncached lookup, where the provider has to go look deeper.  The blue bar is going out to that provider’s dotcom provider for more info.  In all cases, shorter bars are better.

The program defaults to showing you response time (the pretty bars).  You can switch back to the Name tab to see who’s doing well.  And you can check on their Conclusions page to see the recommendation from the program.  All tabs are clickable – it doesn’t forget the information until you close the program.  Interestingly, for me, the number 3 provider is from the same company as the very bottom-performing provider.  Not sure if something is very wrong with that one, but I was surprised.

So you makes your choice and makes your changes.  For me, this time, OpenDNS came out above Google.  Not by a lot, but both OpenDNS entries scored better than either Google provider.  Now understand, we’re talking hundredths or thousandths of a second.  Either one would do fine.  I’m going to stick with OpenDNS for now.

For actually making the change, use Microsoft’s write-up, or one with a picture here.  Write down your original settings in case you want to go back.

And then forget it!  Unless you make a drastically, intentionally wrong choice for your DNS provider, it will crank along happily in the background, freeing you up to design the perfect Christmas guitar cupcake cake.   And a big Oh Oh Oh to you, too!

(Thanks to Dave Farquhar for the DNS utility tip.  He had nothing to do with the failures.)