OK - DNS is the address book of the internet, translating friendly names (http://www.google.com) into IP addresses (184.108.40.206). Every time you pull up a web page, open CA to play, etc, DNS queries are made to translate the names into IP addresses. The speed that your DNS servers respond can definitely impact all your actions on the internet.
I'm sure that measuring the speed of your local DNS servers provided by your ISP and the publicly available DNS servers is a burning question that you're dying to answer, so here's how to check it, and experiment with changing yours if you find a faster DNS server.
First head on over here and download and install Namebench. This is a free tool released by google that measures DNS response times of all the DNS servers close to you and some freely available ones - including Google Public DNS. The download links are on the left side of the page.
Now once you have Namebench downloaded just run it. It will extract and open. The default settings are fine as it will detect your local DNS servers. Namebench actually uses your browsing history to query the available DNS servers and determine which ones are the fastest. The test can take about 5 minutes, and you really don't want to do much on the internet while it runs. Once finished namebench will display a sweet report that will tell you which DNS server is the fastest for you. There are some screenshots on the main Namebench page which display some of the reporting it produces.
Now if it so happens that there is a faster DNS server out there than the one you are using, you can try out the different one very easily. In Windows 7 go to Control Panel, Network and Sharing center. On the left hand side you should see a quick link to "Change Adapter settings". Choose that and then you should see a list of all the network adapters on your system. Right click the adapter you use to connect to your home network (or the internet) and choose "Properties". Scroll down to "Internet Protocol Version 4", click to select and choose properties. More than likely you will see the setting "Obtain DNS server address automatically". Choose instead "Use the following DNS server addresses" and plug in the numbers that Namebench recommended. Click OK a couple of times and close the Network and Sharing center. You may want to reboot just to clear the DNS cache and then you can take it for a test run.
If you don't like the settings just head on back into the network adapter settings and change back to "Obtain DNS server addresses automatically".
Good luck benchmarking!
Here you will find answers to some questions as well as post about any issues you have here with the site
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