Originally Posted by tkbonito
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.