DNS Servers Facts & Myths

Well as you know I enjoy a good round of World of Warcraft every once in a while. I was having some issues with low MS and dropping connections. Looked thru all the WOW tech support posts and did them to no avail. I was getting frustrated as you can imagine that Blizzard was unable to “fix” this issue, as my issues were only with wow and I had know issues with other games or online apps.

I started seeing DNS server being mentioned as a possible solution in my “wider” online search’s. It got my mind going as I am very aware that DNS servers can be used to “spoof” your location, to enable such things as watching movie/tv content from other regions and countries.

But I was unaware that changing your DNS could help improve gaming. So I decided to look into it further as I had pretty much lost hope in Blizzard stepping up and fixing things.

So, since I already knew how to change DNS servers I set about creating a simple test to see if ping times actually were affected by your DNS.

I’m going to out line just what I did in easy to follow steps so that if you want to try these tests for yourself you can. But, I strongly recommend to write down your settings before making any changes as you will want to return to those settings after the testing.

In windows 10, press the windows key and “I”, this will bring up your system settings, from there click on the Network & Internet option.

Once loaded, click on Change adapter settings. This will open a window another window with numerous options for your internet. At this point you’ll want to click on “Change adapter settings”. This will open a separate window where you can view and edit the setting for each adapter card that is connected to the internet.

Now keep in mind that this is my set-up. I have 2 NIC cards and have chosen to set each one up for a different network protocol. (Something I’m saving for another article) You will probably only have one, if you do have two though, be sure to make your changes to the one that has a valid network status. If it says network cable unplugged, then that is NOT the one you want to be testing as it doesn’t have a connection to the internet/network.

From the above screen, right click on the adapter you want to change the DNS setting s for testing purposes. This will open another window with a list of options that you can change on the physical adapter itself.

Almost there, in the settings for the adapter you’ll want to find the two following options. First is the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4), and the second is Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6). these are two different means of addressing and communication. If you really want to learn more about IP addressing you can jump over to my other article called IPv4 vs IPv6.

DNS Explained in Simple terms

  1. You open your web browser to check Facebook, so you type facebook.com into your browser’s address bar
  2. Your browser checks the DNS to see if a valid IP address is assigned to facebook.com
  3. DNS responds with a valid IP address, and provides it to your browser
  4. Now that your browser has the IP address of Facebook’s web server, it asks for the files needed to load the site
  5. Facebook’s web server provides your browser with all the files that are needed to load facebook.com’s homepage, and voila!, your Facebook feed appears

This is a somewhat simplified version, but for most people, it’s more than enough to grasp a basic understanding of how DNS works.

Now where was I? Oh yes, there’s that thought…

Highlight Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) as in the picture above, then click on the properties button, this will bring you to one last window. This is where the real magic happens.

This is where you will be changing the default DNS settings. I’m only showing you the IPV4 window as it is Identical in terms of where the DNS settings are located. Just follow the earlier instructions, but choose the IPV6 protocol instead.

I’ve compiled a few sets of DNS servers which are “free” to use by anyone.

Google Public DNS

  • (IPv4) are as follows: primary DNS 8.8.8.8
    • secondary DNS 8.8.4.4
  • (IPv6) are as follows: primary DNS 2001:4860:4860::8888
    • secondary DNS 2001:4860:4860::8844

OpenDNS

  • (IPv4) are as follows: primary DNS 208.67.222.222
    • secondary DNS 208.67.220.220
  • (IPv6) are as follows: primary DNS 2620:119:35::35
    • secondary DNS 2620:119:53::53

So armed with the above information, we can now move forward and actually begin the testing process. With that, we need to open a browser window to the following site: (just click the link)

Meter.net

First thing, we need is a baseline for comparing these DNS servers results. So first test you should do is with your existing settings, these are usually set by your Internet service provider. Here are the results of my baseline test using my ISP’s (Shaw) supplied DNS servers. The median Value is the one we are tracking.

Shaw’s Baseline DNS ping test

As you can see my ISP’s DNS baseline is performing at an average speed of 68ms (milliseconds).

Now With next couple of snapshot, I’ll show you my results using both the Google DNS servers, and the OpenDNS servers. (keep in mind, I actually ran 5 tests on each set of settings, but I’m only showing the final result of each test here.

Google DNS Ping Test
Open DNS Ping test

As you can see, there is little to no difference in performance between the 3 DNS servers I tested. I also repeated this test with Meters Vancouver test server as well. The results were pretty much the same, with no noticeable differences in the Median results.

In conclusion, I have to say that based on my tests results, There really is no speed to be gained for gaming purposes by switching your DNS server over to another One. That being said though, you should try and do these tests yourself, because one thing I do have to comment. the DNS itself might not noticeably speed up your gaming, but it will route your data thru the shortest route giving a boost to browsing speeds.

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