April 14, 2011
Ever been happily browsing the web, but found that you weren’t able to load web pages anymore?
Well, it’s either your computer, or your network. If it’s your network, you might want to see if your ISP’s DNS servers are offline. Go to an IP address of a known site (such as 22.214.171.124 for Facebook, 126.96.36.199 for Google) and see if you can browse those sites normally. If you can’t, then your problem isn’t DNS related and some other tutorial on the Internet may help.
First, the question some may be asking is “What is DNS, and why should I care?” Simply put, DNS is the phonebook for the Internet. You put in the URL “google.com” and a DNS server returns “188.8.131.52,” so that your computer can find the server that you requested. It’s easy to remember a domain name, but not so easy for a person to remember a huge amount of IP addresses. This system makes it easier to browse the web.
Now, if you have found your problem to be DNS related, here is what you should do: use a free DNS provider. Two good services happen to be OpenDNS and Google Public DNS. Google Public DNS is free, but OpenDNS has free and paid versions. I find that the free version of OpenDNS works well for my personal use. They even have a page for someone to visit when they know that their current DNS servers are not functioning (184.108.40.206) and they will offer assistance if you tweet them @OpenDNS.
If a friend asks what to do about their “broken Internet,” you can just tell them what you were told here and possibly save the day.