Setup Google DNS For Your Computers

>> Saturday, December 5, 2009

Holiday season seems to be a time of festivity even amongst Google engineers. Last year, they unleashed a slew of Google Labs features upon the world, each more innovative than the other. It seems like they are upto it again with some useful as well as fun ideas coming through. This year we've already seen the Default Text Styling Labs Feature, Google's initiative to send your holiday card for you (US only), and now they've come up with Google DNS.

I can hear you swearing under your breath. Fear not comrades, for DNS isn't the devil. It's not even half as complex as it sounds abbreviated. I'll delve into DNS today and also show you just how to go about configuring Google DNS for your computers.

DNS (or Domain Name System for those who love it long) is actually one of the cleverest innovations of the Internet. DNS is what enables you to sit your ass in a chair, type a website into the browser, and whistle happily as the browser serves up your page.

This is how it works. When you enter a website into the Address Bar of your browser, the browser is initially clueless about what you want to see. This is because computers are nasty, arrogant dudes who simply fail to understand the finer nuances of human lingual abilities. All they understand are numbers. So when you hit the Enter/Return key on your keyboard, something called a Resolver kicks in and takes the text from the browser. Then, it compares that text to a huge, collosal database that contains numbers associated with the entered text. These numbers, called IP Addresses (Internet Protocol Addresses), make the Internet (or in fact any network) work. This database of IP Addresses is called a DNS Cache, which is stored at with your local ISP (the company that gives you your Internet connection). A website is displayed if the IP Address corresponding to a particular text is found. If it isn't found, the resolver broadens its search and looks for the IP Addresses in nearby DNS Caches until the website is found (now you know what they mean by "Website Found. Waiting for Reply..." in your browser status bars).

So what Google has done, is made a consolidated database of websites, which they've deemed safe (read malware free) and stored it across various datacentres across the world. They have also implemented certain mechanisms that enable the browser to redirect to the nearest DNS when you request a page. What this does is reduce latency and brings up your webpages quicker. So, with a bit of work on their part, Google has made the Web safer and faster.

Now that you have the background, I'll show you how to configure your computer(s) for Google DNS in Windows Vista/7:

  1. Go to the Network and Sharing Center (Start > Control Panel > Network and Sharing Center)
  2. In the sidebar, click on "Change Adapter Settings" or something similar. This will show you a list of network adapters configured on your PC.
  3. Right click the adapter you are using (say Local Area Connection, or Wireless Network Connection) and select "Properties". This opens the Property sheet for that adapter.
  4. In the Networking tab, double-click the "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" entry. This makes another window pop-up.
  5. In this new window, select the General tab and then click the option that says "Use the following DNS server addresses". This enables the two boxes below the option.
  6. In the first box "Preferred DNS Server", enter the value (look at the screenshot left above).
  7. In the second box "Alternate DNS Server", enter the value (look at the screenshot right above).
  8. Click OK for all the windows.
  9. For optimal performance, go to a command prompt (Start > Run > cmd.exe) and type "ipconfig /flushdns" (without the quotes) and press Enter.
  10. That's it! Welcome to the safer, quicker web!
For people who think Google is just a big company trying to get into each of your lives with every product, use OpenDNS. You can also configure Google DNS to work for your entire network of devices by entering the above settings in your router configuration page (usually

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This blog was created out of my passionate following for technology. After spending most of my life behind a monitor, and bent over a keyboard, I decided that it would be wonderful if I could pass on a bit of my knowledge to fellow netizens. And with that, I realized that it's time to start my first Blog. I hope that I will be able to keep posting quality content regularly. Please drop your comments about the blog on the Feedback page. I will do my best to respond.

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I am a final year Engineering student. This blog is my attempt to provide perspective on technological developments (computers and the Internet) from around the world. This is my first attempt at blogging and any feedback (good or bad) is welcome.

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