A crazy thing called DNS

No worries if you haven't heard of DNS, or know what it is. For most of us it’s a foreign acronym that commonly gets tossed around in technical conversations regarding websites or email. DNS stands for Domain Name Service, which is just as crazy as the acronym.

So let’s skip all the geek talk, and try to break this down into a simplistic and understandable way.

So what the heck is it?

Simply put, it’s a "phone book" for the Internet. Computers use these phone books like a road map, to discover where to pass information to - to the next computer/server, which repeats the cycle.

So when you type in in your web browser, servers are able to connect the dots to where the website is (returning what you see).

DNS is really important. Without it, we could not experience the Internet or communicate with others on mobile phones. It’s vital and complex.

Did you know: There are countless servers that span the internet that hold different phone books – unveiling small pieces of the entire Internet. When all these map pieces are put together you get a complete MAP of the Internet. There are exactly 13 major DNS servers which act as the root for all DNS servers around the world.

The Good, Bad and Ugly

DNS represents an amazing and crazy network of pathways that make up the Internet. It’s a great thing, when it works.

The Good: Like roads today, there are dirt roads, two –lane roads, freeways and express ways. Each road has the ability to travel at set speeds and travel times to get to a destination. Roads undergo maintenance and improvements, and roads change. DNS is and does the same. If you have a great DNS you can improve reliability getting where you need to and efficiency getting there – the result is a quick response when using the Internet.

Did you know: Computer geeks take advantage of DNS by using only reliable DNS servers, like Googles DNS , to optimize their experience with blaze fast performance.

The Bad: So what happens when information is wrong, incorrect or out of date in these address books? Errors, non-response, and slowness occur. A common message of “The site can’t be reached” is displayed. Or, how about a webpage that takes forever to load. There is nothing you can do but wait or move on.

The Ugly: What about your privacy? DNS represents pathways to destinations and the requests from computer users and their computers. Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t matter if the website is encrypted or not - who would have thought!. All this information and traffic represents a collection of data that is collected by those that own the DNS.

For example: If your Internet service provider is COX and your computer is using COX DNS, then they can collect communications to and from your computer (where you go, what you see, and who you communicate with). By the way this includes any device communicating through the local network, including phones, if connected to wireless. All that you do, see or participate with can be collected data.

Now the Great News

So now that we know what DNS is, how important it is, and what impacts are associated with it has, let’s take a look at how we can take advantage and control it to meet our own personal needs – like geeks do.

The top 3 public DNS servers we recommend using are:

  • For mere reliability and dependability we recommend using Google's DNS. They do collect data, so as long as privacy isn’t a concern, this is the best choice.
  • For focus on customization and identity theft protection, OpenDNS offers a couple different solutions that are free to paid.
  • Addressing privacy concerns, hands down we recommend using a Privacy-Focused DNS. Cloudflare is our top choice – they are one of the largest DNS networks in the world (35%)

It’s your choice, on what you want to do:

  • You have the ability to choose what DNS servers you want to use
  • You have the ability to choose who collects the data
  • You have the ability to stop/minimize the collection of data

We can help

MyITAssistant can help you plan for, setup and use a DNS solution that meets your needs – don’t just take what is give you. We also after Web Protection services to extend and enhance your privacy.

If you have any questions or need assistance, feel free to reach out to me through our Support Center.

From the desk of Russell Kirkpatrick

MyITAssistant LLC
Managed Services & Security Services Provider

PO BOX 30096, Phoenix, Arizona 85046
(480) 535-6661 | (855) 694-7848

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