Tag Archives: dns

How to Speed up Your Internet With Your DNS Settings

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Recently, someone asked on Lockergnome about the fastest type of DNS server. We’ve talked in the past about DNS – what it means, and why it could be important to you.

We exist within our Internet speed. Heck, some of us measure our worth by our connection and how quickly we can get our information. You can have a huge pipe coming into your home, but if your DNS server sucks your lookups between your IP address and the domain name could be slowing you down.

How do you know if your current DNS settings are optimized to their maximum capability? You can check out a good open-source project called namebench is a fantastic little tool that will hunt down the fastest DNS servers for your computer to use. It will run a very thorough benchmark using your browser history, a tcpdump output or standardized datasets in order to give you a personal recommendation.

namebench runs on Mac OS X, Windows, and UNIX, and is available with a graphical user interface as well as a command-line interface. It doesn’t matter what type of system you’re using – namebench can help you out with your DNS issues.

If you’re a power user, you definitely need to make sure you have the fastest and most optimized Internet speed you could hope for. Using a tool such as namebench to check your DNS settings will help you achieve exactly that.

How to Set Up Your Own Domain Name

Geek!This is Jonathan Bressie’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Having a domain name tied to your own computer is an extremely useful thing. You can remotely administrate your system with a greater degree of ease, run many kinds of servers, or one of a million other possibilities. Getting a domain name also tends to be a rather simple task, but there are a few things to watch out for. I aim to list the steps clearly, and you should be able to access your box from anywhere in the world in hardly any time at all.

  1. The first thing you’ll need to do is get an account with a Domain Name Server (DNS). I use DynDNS.com. An account is free and even comes with some support documentation. Since I will be using this site throughout the how-to, replace the name accordingly if you chose a different DNS. Head to the site and create an account.
  2. You’ll need to choose your DNS host, which will be the URL that you use to access your computer. Log in, and click on the “Account” tab. Underneath “My Hosts”, select “Add Host Services”, and you will be presented with a simple interface. You can type your user name in the “Hostname” box to keep things simple and select the domain name you would like to use from the drop-box to the right. In the “IP Address” section, I would suggest clicking on “Use auto detected”. The detection is accurate. There is no need to change any of the other options for a normal PC setup, so click “Create Host”. You may wish to write down these details for later.
  3. You will likely need to configure your router and/or firewall for the services you’ll be accessing. Each service generally has its own assigned port or port range, and it needs to connect through to the PC you wish to access. If you aren’t sure, listings are easily obtained online. Since routers vary, you will need to consult the manual, but most newer routers have a fairly simple interface compared to the horrible ones 5 years ago. My router even has an extremely easy to use “Virtual Server” for managing this. Regardless, you need to communicate through your router and into your box, and thus forwarding the port(s) is necessary so that the router knows where to send the connection. For SSH, you would want to enable TCP on port 22. I recommend security testing, as well.
  4. The last part is where an OS will differ. Unless you have a static IP address (meaning that it never changes), you will need a program called an “update client” that updates the IP address that your host name points to. Fortunately, DynDNS.com has update clients for the three major operating systems on its site. After clicking the “Support” tab, click the tab labeled “Update Clients”. If you are on Linux, you would be better served to simply download ddclient with your distribution’s package manager. If you are on Ubuntu, you can install ddclient with the simple command “sudo apt-get install ddclient”. On Windows, download the DynDNS Updater, and follow through the configuration. The DynDNS Updater for Mac is also a simple GUI configuration. Once the packages are installed on Linux, you would be presented with a text-based GUI for the initial configuration. Choose the web interface and an interval of 600 or higher.
  5. Now, just try logging in with the service you allowed access to. For SSH, you can log in normally with “ssh [email protected]”, where username is the log-in you would use when normally logging into the machine, and hostname.dyndns.org is what was chosen in step 2. Note that trying to log into your domain name from the same machine it points to with SSH will probably NOT work. You need to be on another machine, even if you simply used SSH to access that one too!

Now you can access your computer from anywhere in the world! It’s powerful tool to have. I don’t think you can consider yourself a geek without it! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post. Thank you for reading, and have fun.

Have You Updated Your DNS Settings?

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If you have your own website, sit still and listen closely. What I’m going to talk to you about is that important. Even more important is for you to pass this information on to your friends, family and coworkers. What happens when you go to open your favorite website and it’s not there? Well, it’s possible you have some malware there, yes. But it’s also likely it’s a security flaw in your DNS.

Recently, a significant threat to DNS, the system that translates names you can remember (such as www.doxpara.com) to numbers the Internet can route ( was discovered, that would allow malicious people to impersonate almost any website on the Internet. Software companies across the industry have quietly collaborated to simultaneously release fixes for all affected name servers.

The problem is, there is a flaw that is going through your DNS. You can protect yourself by setting yourself to OpenDNS. This can affect you no matter what computer or operating system you’re using, and no matter what ISP you may have. If you connect to the Internet, you need to have DNS servers. Your computer needs to know how to match an IP address with a domain name.

How do you know if your DNS settings have been compromised? Head over to DoxPara. Dan has done a fantastic job of putting all of this information together for you, along with the tool to help you see if you’ve been compromised. Whether you’re an Expert or a novice… you need to check your DNS now. You’ll be safe if you switch to OpenDNS.

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Home Networking Tools, Tips and Tricks

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I’ve talked before about OpenDNS. It’s an excellent free program that will speed up your online experience. However, there are many other features that allow you to enhance your browsing and network management.

OpenDNS is a completely free service. There are no programs to install. It’s easy to use, and easy to make changes to. Not only can it boost your internet speed by remembering the DNS of a site, there are also several other things you can do with it.

You can use OpenDNS to block domain names, Phishing sites, proxy or anonymizer sites, and even adult sites. They give you that control by providing the tools to block any website or DNS zone on the Internet, all through an easy-to-use interface.

There is also a Whitelist option. This allows you to choose which sites will never be blocked, regardless of content filtering. This can come in handy if a site you frequent accidentally has a post or picture that would normally be blocked on your network.

Another excellent feature is the typo redirector. How often have you typed .cm instead of .com? What about typing .ogr instead of .org? With the typo redirector, you can set up automatic redirects and corrections to your common typos.

Ponzi’s favorite feature of OpenDNS is the network shortcut. Let’s say you frequent a website about your dog. You can create a shortcut that will automatically redirect you to the website you choose any time you type the keyword into your browser.

Not only is this free, it works on any operating system and with any browser.

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Bandwidth Throttling

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – There are ways to adjust bandwidth on an application by application basis, or even a device by device basis. Unfortunately, it’s basically not possible to limit bandwidth by website. There are ways you can assign priority to certain applications to allocate your bandwidth where you need it most.

If you’re like me, you probably have more than five different programs running accessing the internet. We’re chatting, IM’ing, browsing web pages, and checking our emails. You have a limited amount of bandwidth to use. You can only squeeze so much data through, no matter how hard you may try.

Unfortunately, I know of no way to limit the amount of bandwidth by website. However, I use a handy little tool called Thibor15c with my Linksys router to manage my bandwidth by application. I can assign priority to the applications I need most. For instance, my Vonage is the most important when I have a phone call coming in. You can choose to have XBox at the top of your list, or any other program that accesses the Internet you may need.

Another way to not necessarily control your bandwidth….but to make your surfing experience much faster….is to use this wonderful free program called Open DNS. What Open DNS does is to caches the DNS info for websites, and shortens the time it takes them to load. It also has cool little features like allowing you to define shortcuts in your address bar. For instance, if I type the letters gg into my address bar, my browser will automatically go to the website I have assigned to that shortcut. You can also set up shortcuts for typos…to correct them, of course. Have you ever accidentally forgotten the letter o in the .com extension of a web address? This typo feature will automatically add that letter o back in, and take you to the right place.

I’m definitely interested in hearing from you if you know of any ways to limit bandwidth on a website by website basis. You can always find us live in our chat room at live.pirillo.com or you can email me at [email protected]

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.INFO Domains are .DEAD

Can anybody point me to a single .INFO domain that isn’t junk? All I see is .SPAM and .CRAP. The .INFO TLD has “officially” been co-opted by idiots. I can only think of a few reasons why you’d want to register a .INFO domain:

  • You’re a spammer
  • You’re a marketer (read: potential spammer)
  • You’re misinformed
  • You’re a brand masochist
  • You couldn’t get .COM, .NET, .ORG, .US, or .MXYZPTLK
  • You registered when .INFO was well-intentioned

If you’re a .INFO owner, sell it to a spammer and rebrand yourself – please. For goodness sake, let’s take a mulligan and pretend this whole .INFO thing never happened. I suppose .BIZ is just as .BAD! The only TLD the world really needs is .XXX – which would make filtering a helluva lot easier.

Boost Your Internet Speed – Free!

You can probably do two things, right now, to boost your Internet speed. They’re simple, they’re trusted, and they’re palpable changes:

  1. Open yourself to OpenDNS. They have configuration pages for your OS or hardware router. Both Scott Beale (LaughingSquid) and I have seen dramatic differences in speed since going through their DNS servers. Matt’s happy about it, too. My speed difference was probably even more dramatic, considering I’ve already implemented my second recommendation…
  2. If you’re on Windows, install FastCache: “Every time you go to a new website, or a website you haven’t been to in a day or so, your computer needs to locate the server again using DNS. Each DNS request can take anywhere from 50 milliseconds, to even a second or more, but most are in the 100 to 200 millisecond range. Want to save a couple hundred milliseconds? Probably not, but what about a couple million or more? That’s what AnalogX FastCache is all about.” I’ve been running FastCache since Mark released it on the first Helpathon. My stats are somewhat stunted, but I’ve saved 6d 18h 27m 53s worth of time (in 118w). It really adds up.

If you use a news aggregator, either one (or both) of these solutions is mandatory. Do not pass Go – do not spend $200. It’s all free for the taking.