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Speed Up Your Web Browsing with Google Public DNS

Are you looking for a faster way to browse the Internet and have pages load faster? If so, you might be interested in trying out Google Public DNS, here we will take a look at adding it to your router or home computer.

DNS (Domain Name System) translates an IP address to an easy to remember hostname. If you use your ISPs DNS settings by default, it may not be the fastest way to get to your favorite sites. We have previously recommended the service OpenDNS as speeds are usually faster than your ISP and it offers several other cool options. Google has recently launched a free public DNS service, and we’ll take a look at setting it up on your PC or router.

Add Google DNS to a Window Computer

To add Google Public DNS to your Windows 7 machine, right-click on Network and choose Properties.

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Alternatively, you can enter Network and Sharing Center into the search box in the Start Menu.

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The Network and Sharing Center opens and you’ll want to click on Change adapter settings which is located on the right side of the screen.

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Now right-click on Local Area Connection and select Properties. If you have a wireless connection, right-click on Wireless Network Connection and click Properties.

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The Local Area Connection Properties screen opens and you’ll want to highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) then click the Properties button.

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The Internet Protocol Version 4 Properties window comes up. If you already have DNS settings listed, make sure to copy or write them down in case you want to switch back. Select Use the following DNS server addresses and type in the following for Preferred and Alternate DNS server:

Note: According to Google you can interchange the Primary and secondary address, but don’t use the same number for both.

Preferred DNS Server: 8.8.8.8

Alternate DNS Server: 8.8.4.4

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Click Ok and then close out of the remaining windows and reboot your system, then you’ll want to test out the settings. Basically browse around to your bookmarked sites and make sure they display properly.

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Another test you might want to try is type in an IP address directly into your browser for instance you can enter http://208.43.115.82 into the address bar and make sure howtogeek.com displays properly.

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Add Google DNS to Your Router

In this example we are using a Belkin Wireless Router. Each router varies but the principle is the same. Go into your router configuration settings by typing the Router IP into your browser. For example for the Belkin router the default is 192.168.2.1.

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Enter the router password if you’re asked for it, then find the DNS settings. In our Belkin example it is under Internet WAN.

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Enter in the login password again if asked for it.

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Now enter in the primary and secondary DNS addresses and apply changes. Again according to Google you can interchange the Primary and secondary address, but don’t use the same number for both. We set ours up as the following:

Primary:  8.8.8.8

Secondary: 8.8.4.4

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After you apply the DNS changes your router may need to restart, where in the case of a Belkin it is a 40 second reboot. After the router reboots, go through and test the settings to verify they work.

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Add Google DNS to Ubuntu Linux

Here we will take a look at adding Google DNS to Ubuntu 9.10. Click on System \ Preferences \ Network Connections.

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Select the Ethernet or Wireless connection and click on Edit.

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Click on the IPv4 Settings tab and change the Method drop down box to Automatic (DHCP) address only. In the DNS Servers field enter in the two Google DNS addresses separated by a space then click Apply.

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Type in your system password and click on Authenticate and close out of the remaining screens. Then go through your browser and make sure the settings were successful.

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Conclusion

I’ve been using it for the past few days and pages load a bit snappier with Google DNS settings over OpenDNS, and extremely faster than my ISP. While pages display a bit quicker with Google DNS, it doesn’t have the extra cool settings of OpenDNS like Content Filtering, Typo Correction, user dashboard and more. Of course you can add it to your Mac computer as well and any servers if you wish. I’ve read varying reports, and it looks like international users will benefit a lot from using it. We’re interested in what you think. Have you been using Google Public DNS? If so, share your results by leaving a comment below.

Read More About Google Public DNS

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/7/09

Comments (28)

  1. Steve

    Changing on a fixed location computer (home/office) is fine, but changing to a fixed DNS address on a business traveler’s laptop can create problems.

    I used to use a fixed address, but found that in many hotels I was unable to get to the registration/pay/login screen for the hotel internet service unless and until I changed to allow DHCP to give me an address.

    I’m guessing that it was a matter of resolving the hotel’s login site’s address and could have changed back after the login, but that’s too much manual effort to be worthwhile.

  2. Christopher

    As long as i add it to my router is it still necessary to do it for each os?

  3. Tito

    In Canada, OpenDNS is supposed to be faster : http://www.manu-j.com/blog/opendns-vs-google-dns-which-is-better/405/

    Of course, I’d be interested in seeing a study over the course of a couple days.

  4. Francisco

    this is my first comment on the site and i have to say thank you for this tip. im from chile and i can really tell the difference in the speed while browsing. specially gmail that is ultra slow here, now it loads in 1 or 2 seconds.

    thanks!

  5. Rob

    Let’s not presume too much. A couple of people have set up testing programs where you can check who’s DNS is fastest. Seems it depends on where you live. For me, OpenDNS is faster but, according to one test, OpenDNS is the fastest, sometimes, while Google is faster on the average, but only barely.

  6. ddthesm

    I don’t know, isn’t this pretty much giving Google your entire life and saying “Well…here ya go. I submit to the Google.”?

  7. silverjim

    Which device takes precedence in regards to DNS, PC or router. If the PC has the address of one DNS server and ther router has the address of another DNS server, which does it go to first?

  8. dave hall

    I really like the way you present instructions. Good work :))

  9. Ryan Sullivan

    You should probably note that results will vary by region. The speed is determined by how close you are geographically to a google datacenter. A simple ping test will show whether or not using google DNS actually makes the web faster.

  10. KBPrez

    @ddthesm, I agree. This may be a worthwhile product, but the fact that it comes from Google makes me leery. No software company spends as much effort gathering info about its users as Google. I have a Gmail account and Google regularly offers “suggestions” for products that might interest me. ENOUGH ALREADY.

  11. wandersick

    Whether it is fast resolving addresses or not, 8.8.8.8 is one of the easiest IP address ever to remember, which is useful as we all keep a DNS server address or two in order to troubleshoot networking problems.

  12. Kyle

    Cool it works faster then my local ISP’s DNS. Thanks :)

  13. Grant

    @silverjim
    That depends… If you have your individual PC’s set to use DHCP, then set it on the router, the router will pass out that address to each of the machines, and you will be done. If you are not using DHCP on the individual machines, you will have to set them up one at a time.

    If you don’t know what you have set up, it is probably DHCP. DHCP is the default unless you change it for both Windows and Linux. I am not sure about Mac. I don’t have one.

  14. Grant

    @silverjim
    In relation to precedence. Usually your PC if set to use DHCP will get the address from the router. That means that the router’s address is the PC’s DNS address. There are some routers (not, many, but a few) that will intercept outbound DNS traffic, and route it where they say, rather than where the individual machine says.

    All of that said, I use OpenDNS because of the filtering options. Makes it a little easier to maintain my wife’s Windows machine, and keep the viruses at bay.

  15. Jeremy Steele

    Before you use the google DNS I’d recommend checking the speed with ping first. My local ISP server is usually around 7-15ms. Google was always 40-60. Much slower. It was very noticeable when I set it too.

  16. Dale

    How much more of our computing/internet experience are we going to rely on Google for. How much do we want Google to know about us? Where do you draw the line?

  17. Baseball Mike

    Actually, Google DNS may be *significantly* slower than your current DNS servers.

    In order to find out, use either (or both) of these tools to measure for yourself:

    GRC DNS Benckmark
    https://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm

    Google’s NameBench
    http://namebench.googlecode.com

    The biggest factor controlling speed of DNS resolutions is: distance to the server. So, if you don’t live in CA, Google is likely to be a very bad idea (as of this writing, its the worst measure DNS server from my home by more than a factor of 3 or 4).

  18. Jesse

    Regarding OpenDNS: When I used their DNS settings on my router, it interrupted file sharing on my home network. My ISP is Time Warner. When I went back to their DNS settings, my home network functioned once again.

    This seems to be a knowledgeable group, so I wonder if I didn’t set something properly. I’ve got he standard WRT54G Linksys router.

  19. John

    I am from from Shanghai, China. I tried ping the DNS IP address.
    OpenDNS 208.67.222.222. Average = 220ms
    Google Public DNS 8.8.8.8. Average = 77ms
    So, I think the Google Public DNS is my better choice.

  20. ssc73

    I have been using Google DNS for a few days, will have to check out openDNS next.

    But using Google DNS is much faster than ISP, particularly when using Chrome it seems. Difference is even more noticeable with hotspots on laptops.

  21. Chouf

    I also did the ping test and have the following results:

    Stats based on 10 ping (used “ping -t”)
    *********************************************
    Google 29ms
    OpenDNS 23ms
    My ISP 17ms

    I’m just wondering if this is a valid test or not. The real test would see how time the server takes to process the DNS query, not how long it takes for the server to reply to a ping.
    I found via the OpenDNS forums the following cool little free application DNS Performance Test (DPT) http://swmirror.org/drupal/node/93 which is a DNS query tester. With this tool I have the following results:

    Stats based on 50 successful queries
    ********************************************
    - Best query time: ISP-16ms / Google-31ms / OpenDNS-15ms
    - Worst query time: ISP-1045ms / Google-1108ms / OpenDNS-873ms
    - Average query tyime: ISP-134ms / Google-170ms / OpenDNS-154ms
    - Overall rating: ISP-great / Google-Ok / OpenDNS-Ok

    So the two tests gave me the same results:

    N°1 ISP :-)
    N°2 OpenDNS :-|
    N°3 Google :-(

    I’ll definitively not choose Google DNS, and might opt in the future for OpenDNS when my son will be older and I’ll have to filter the content.

    By the way I’m located in Belgium and I have a VDSL connection with my ISP Belgacom.

    Hope this helps people choose.

  22. Tom

    Anyone have any ideas about how I can use Google Public DNS on my Google/Android phone?

    I’ve found several links to “hacks” that seem to (occasionally) work when the phone is in W-Fi mode, but nobody seems to have posted anything regarding how to make the phone use alternate DNS server settings when on 3G.

    Thanks in advance.

  23. best ISP offers

    Thank you for the information.
    this is very useful.
    keep going on.

  24. xeon927

    Nice tip. It works for me. I felt the difference straight away.

  25. John Mack

    Another option is to put the IP addresses of frequently downloaded websites in your HOSTS file (this is for Windows PCs). Windows loads the HOSTS file and its IP addresses into memory every time it boots. When you type a web address in your browser, Windows will first check the HOSTS file in memory to determine the corresponding IP address of the website. If it can’t find it in the HOSTS file, it will then query DNS. Obviously, checking the HOSTS file is a lot faster than checking DNS. There is a freeware utility called FastDNS (the latest version is 3.8) that will resolve the IP addresses of websites and put them into the HOSTS file for you. In fact, it will in addition actually put the resolved IP address in memory so you don’t have to restart Windows. FastDNS is compatible with Win XP and can be run in Win 7 using XP mode.

  26. John Mack

    One thing I should mention is that if your browser can’t connect to a website, it may be because the IP address in the HOSTS file has become outdated. You will need to run FastDNS to input the new IP address into the HOSTS file.

  27. John Mack

    I just today did a scan of FastDNS 3.8 on VirusTotal and saw 2 virus detectors flag FastDNS. All I can say is I’ve been using FastDNS on multiple computers and haven’t had any noticeable problems. I emphasize “noticeable” because I can’t be 100% sure it’s not doing something. However, a full scan performed by Microsoft Security Essentials hasn’t flagged FastDNS. I myself have decided to keep FastDNS on my computers, but everyone has to make their own decision.

  28. Rohit

    hi
    i have win xp but my system is very slow when i try to open the internet exp it takes a long time please help me

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