Thursday, September 11, 2008

Speeding up internet access without spending a dime

I have always been a constant traveler. And in many of these travels, my trusted companion is my dear old Dell laptop.

By things are not always peachy with my laptop especially when it comes to accessing the internet in remote third world countries. Whether I am in an office network or a wi-fi hotspot coffee shop, I just usually plug in my laptop to the network of just activate my wireless connection. But the most of the time in Asia, I get slow connection even if the internet service provider is providing broadband connection.

The reason for this could have something to do with the DNS server. As a little backgrounder for those who are not familiar, DNS, which stands for domain name system, is responsible for translating domain names into IP address which computers and routers in the internet understand. For example, if one types, a DNS server translates the address in its IP address which is (try to ping

In most cases, the DNS server provided for by my internet service provider and slow and overloaded. Perhaps their IT infrastructure still needs upgrade to accommodate their many subscribers. So every time I would open a page, I would end up with slow response which I suspected is due to the slow response of the DNS server of my internet service provider.

My friend recommended using openDNS service and I wasted no time visiting the website at In less than a minute I was able to create an account with them. And another less than a minute, I was able to configure my internet connection to use the openDNS server.

Configuring was easy. Since I use Windows XP on my laptop, I went to the Windows control panel and then the network connections. I open the connection I used and clicked the TCP/IP properties. In the preferred and alternate DNS servers area I typed in the openDNS server IP address which are and respectively.

I have indeed noticed a significant speed in my internet activities. But more than an increase in speed, the best thing for me with openDNS is the safety of my internet activities. There is an anti-phishing feature with openDNS because phishing sites are automatically detected and the internet user informed. In fact, as a user, I can specify which domains I want to block by just adding the domain name or IP address. As stated in their website, all sites which are being blocked are also reviewed by humans.
I never thought that such procedure could created such a tremendous impact. The DNS I think is the single most overlooked aspect of many people's internet experience. In this case, one simple change in DNS configuration is being handled by openDNS site somewhere thousands of miles away. They brag about having a lot bigger cache and tougher infrastructure compared to others thus making their service more stable and dependable. I believe them.

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