In recent outage to Roger’s Internet infrastructure last night which not only affected their Cable service but also their Cell data, I am creating this tech tip to advise people that they do not need to rely on Roger’s DNS servers to get onto the internet and how it’s a good idea to use multiple DNS servers.
THe problem all started when Roger’s DNS servers went down. This did not bring the Internet down for customers like everyone reported. If you knew the physical ip address to the website you were still able to access it by typing in the ip address in your browser and the internet would still work.
The DNS server is responsible for translating the human friendly hostnames or domain names into IP address. It’s like looking up a phone book for a person or company name to find their phone number or address. Without the phonebook you’d be required to memorize the address of the place to get there. Same concept as the internet, except it’s all digital.
By default of course for Rogers customers, you’d be using Roger’s owned and managed DNS server which Rogers does not spend alot of time or money to improve on it. And compared to third party DNS services are considered inferior.
The easiest way to change the DNS setting is through the router (assuming you have access to your router’s configuration page). If not you can always set it up on your network configuration page.
All router configuration pages are different depending on the make, model and firmware of your router. So you’ll have to check your users manual to know where the setting it. It normally should be very easy to locate.
If you do get there, you’ll notice that there are two available fields for DNS 1 and DNS 2. This allows you to set a primary DNS and a secondary DNS. In case the primary DNS stops working it will use Secondary DNS. If you use 2 separate DNS servers then you shouldn’t have an issue resolving domains, unless your Internet is completely down. This article only covers what happens when the local DNS servers go down.
Another reason to use a third party DNS server is not only because it might be able to prevent this situation from happening again. third party DNS services like Google’s free public DNS or OpenDNS which is also free. Spend money on maintaining it and improving the technology.
Google’s DNS server is operated by Google obviously. They have data centers located all over the world, the chances of them having an issue in all their datacenter causing the DNS to crash is very slim, but they can still happen. Google’s DNS servers tend to be faster at resolving domain names, quicker to update. Though Google’s public DNS server is still not as powerful as services such as OpenDNS which I will get to in a bit. Google’s Public DNS servers uses the following address 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. Remember you do not need to be using Roger’s DNS service to be using their Internet. They operate on a different structure.
On to OpenDNS is more privately owned DNS service. One of the best in the market for individuals to enterprise. It allows the user more control on the content it allows. OpenDNS requires you to sign up for their service which offers both free and paid. Both offer the option to detect the content and based on the filters you set it can reject content from being sent to any device in your network or allow. An example would be if you have a family and you don’t want them access to content you deemed inappropriate you can filter those out and they’d receive an site blocked message whenever they access that website. It’s how companies and or countries limit access to people or try to block access to certain sites. They just put either the IP address, domain name, or a category into their filter and it will block it.
This does not require an expert to do, OpenDNS has made is very simple for the average computer user who is willing to take the time and play around with it to learn some of the settings to make good use of it.
Hope this is helpful.