- It speeds up your browser when it looks up a website.
- It enables your browser to find critical websites even when your DNS servers are down.
How does it work? Let me explain with a familiar analogy. When you telephone someone, you either:
- memorise the number. - look it up in your address book. - look it up in a paper phone book. - look it up in some electronic phone book. - call directory assistance.
When your browser goes to a website, e.g. mindprod.com, similarly, it needs to look up the number to get the IP 126.96.36.199. Your computer does this automatically every time you visit a website by first visiting a computer on the web called a DNS server to look up the name for you.
DNS Lookup vs Hosts. Lookup
There are two problems with this:
- it adds an extra second or more to fetching a web page. It is a bit like looking up the number in an electronic phone book every time you make a phone call.
- if there is anything wrong with the DNS server, you are dead in the water, even if the website you want to visit is fully functional. What you can do is create a little electronic address book of commonly visited websites called C:\Windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts. The computer does not have to pester the DNS server to get these numbers. You can create this file manually with a text editor such as Notepad. You can manually look up the IPs of your common servers with the ping utility, e.g. on the command line type: ping mindprod.com
The problem is, from time to time, the IPs change and your browser gets sent to the wrong IP. You need something to keep the list of IPs up to date. That is where QuickDNS comes in. You might run it every week or every time you reboot or every time lookup seems to be failing.
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