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Old 07-23-2009, 09:12 AM   #1
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dns nameserver [SOLVED]

Basically i'm looking for someone to give me some information in stupid terms so i can understand what i'm doing here. I'm using arch linux but i don't think that matters. My resolv.conf file is using as the nameserver. Now that's the address of my router. I changed it to after reading another thread. I found out by researching that this is a Verizon server. But i don't like making changes blindly so I was wondering if someone could help me out.

What is a nameserver and why does my internet go faster when I change it? Any help on this would be awesome.

Last edited by tkbonito; 07-23-2009 at 05:50 PM.
Old 07-23-2009, 10:38 AM   #2
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Routers; e.g., Linksys routers (that I know about) will provide DNS services (at, the default gateway address of your router) but will stop doing so after some time (why, I dunno, but that's what happens). What a DNS server does is a look-up of the web site name you enter; e.g., to get the numeric address of that site -- so you don't have to memorize all those numbers (that's about it, nothing esoteric about it).

Big honking DNS servers on the Internet; e.g., the Verizon server you're using, don't exhibit that "stop working after awhile" behavior -- and there are free DNS servers out there in the world you can use in addition to or instead of Verizon's DNS server; go look at for a couple of open DNS servers you can use (and a quick Google search for "open dns server" will pop up a whole bunch more).

A good default way to use the two serves at is to have these entries in your /etc/resolv.conf:
search com
Currently, /etc/resolv.conf will support up to 3 name servers, in the above the first will be used, if it's not available the second will be used, and if it's not available the third will be used.

You can also set up your system to be its own DNS server by starting bind at boot; if you have a high-speed connection, that might not be a bad idea. That may be a little beyond the scope of your question but you can look in /usr/doc for information about BIND and you probably have a start-up script in /etc/rc.d you can take a look at (it should be commented to give you some hints).

Hope this helps some.
Old 07-23-2009, 12:15 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tkbonito View Post

What is a nameserver and why does my internet go faster when I change it?
Basically, the problem is to do with latency. Latency is the time that you have to wait before anything starts happening, and even if you have a fast fibre optic link to your home (and therefore page loading, once it has started is effectively instantaneous, or at least, very fast), your net conncetion will still feel slow if you have to wait seconds before anything starts to happen.

If what happens is that you local box doesn't know the 'human friendly name':ip address mapping, you'll have to wait until it has been looked up. At the best case, you might have a short wait for, eg, your ISPs server to tell you the mapping, but, in the worst case, this is an overloaded server that works slowly and it doesn't know, but has to ask another server (which doesn't know, either).

To improve this situation somewhat, you can run a caching DNS server. This doesn't do anything dramatic, but it does store a copy of the mapping (until it expires and this expiry time isn't very long by default: say, typically, six hours). Because you only wait a short time for a mapping, when your local server knows the answer, this makes your net connection feel faster.

You can also set up your system to be its own DNS server by starting bind at boot;
Yes, but I would argue for a home user, or even a small business, Dnsmasq/Maradns/Djbdns/Pdns would almost always be a better idea.
Old 07-23-2009, 05:45 PM   #4
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Thanks guys that answered my question perfectly.


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