DNS Servers – Why They Matter

An important part of keeping safe while on line is having safe DNS servers configured either on your home network, or your individual computers.

What Are DNS Servers?

DNS servers translate the friendly domain name you enter into a browser (like nscompservices.com) into the public IP address that’s needed for your device to actually communicate with that site.

Your ISP automatically assigns DNS servers when your smartphone or router connects to the internet but you don’t have to use those. There are lots of reasons you might want to try alternative ones, particularly for speed & privacy.

Why Use Different DNS Servers?

One reason you might want to change the DNS servers assigned by your ISP is if you suspect there’s a problem with the ones you’re using now. An easy way to test for a DNS server issue is by typing a website’s IP address into the browser. If you can reach the website with the IP address, but not the name, then the DNS server is likely having issues.

Another reason to change DNS servers is if you’re looking for better performing service. Many people complain that their ISP-maintained DNS servers are sluggish and contribute to a slower overall browsing experience.

Yet another common reason to use DNS servers from a third party is to prevent logging of your web activity and to circumvent the blocking of certain websites.

Know, however, that not all DNS servers avoid traffic logging. If that’s what you’re interested in, make sure you read through the FAQs on the DNS provider’s site to make sure it’s going to do (or not do) what you’re after.

If, on the other hand, you want to use the DNS servers that your specific ISP, like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast/XFINITY, etc., has determined is best, then don’t manually set DNS server addresses at all—just let them auto assign.

Finally, in case there was any confusion, free DNS servers do not give you free internet access. You still need an ISP to connect to for access—DNS servers just translate between IP addresses and domain names so that you can access websites with a human-readable name instead of a difficult-to-remember IP address.

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