Thursday, November 1, 2012

Google DNS: What you need to know

Yesterday in the article about Hurricane Sandy, I discussed that the DNS server that I was connected too was knocked out of service for about 10 minutes. It was still online, but DNS requests were pretty much lost. I decided to try out Google DNS, which was mentioned in an IRC room by Allan Jude (co-host of TechSNAP). I decided to look into it.

First of all, DNS stands for the Domain Name System. It is the system that translates a domain name (such as into an IP address. Without it, you would have to remember stings of numbers.

Most ISPs are not fully compliant with DNS. They can censor, have their own redirects for accessing a not found domain, etc. Google DNS is a bit different because they promise to conform to the DNS standards, so they do not censor and they do not do any custom redirects. If a domain is not found, a domain really is not found.

Google DNS has two different IP addresses. They have 2 IPv4 addresses, and two IPv6 addresses. You can follow that page to get all of the IP addresses, but I'm covering IPv4 since that is still the most widely used. However, if you do use IPv6 for your internet connection, then please visit that link. If you don't know if you are using IPv4 or IPv6, then click here to find out.

The IP address for Google (Public) DNS via IPv4 is:
 Both of those IP's are functional, and they are legit. You can use one or the other, but don't put the same IP for the primary and secondary DNS.

What they log
Google does log information on their servers. However, the amount of privacy you are given is up to you. They clearly tell you what they do, but it is up to you to consider whether to use the service or not.

Google does log your IP address. They say that this information is not permantely stored on their servers, and is deleted within 24-48 hours. However, your location and other information such as the domain you are requesting, the time the total request took to get resolved, the location (already mentioned), the IP that was returned to your client (the target IP of the website or service), and a little bit more. This is included in permanate logs.

One thing that they do not do is tie your Google account to Google DNS. Please read their privacy policy for the full information.

I have been using Google DNS for about 2 days now, and I can say that it is okay. I don't notice any real speed difference, but now I know that I have a more reliable DNS service conpared from the default Verizon one. I am currently not really that much concerned over the privacy risk because I do not do anything suspicious online. If that was not the case, then I would be using something like OpenDNS or just go back to the default DNS server provided by the router.

If you want to change your DNS settings from your computer, and do not know how, drop me a comment below and I'll give you a step by step on how to do it.