The DNS (Domain Name System) server settings on your laptop, phone, or router are your gateway to the web—converting easy-to-remember domain names into actual internet IP addresses, just like your contacts app converts names into actual phone numbers. You can change which DNS server your devices use though, and perhaps get yourself a faster, more secure internet connection along the way.
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There's something magical when it comes to porn. At least when it comes to porn popping up in the most unintended of places, like the web browser of your brand-new smartphone. Luckily you have me to help you figure out how they got there. Because I know you never tapped, clicked, or typed in anything that you wouldn't say in front of a nun.
Programmer Brannon Dorsey wrote up a fascinating and fairly technical piece about the perils of DNS rebinding the other day. It's worth a read if you have even the slightest interest in how web browsers work to prevent one site — a scammy site, let's say — from sending a request to another site — your bank — and draining your accounts or manipulating your credentials (without the site's explicit permission).
Over the weekend, Cloudflare announced a new DNS service, in partnership with APNIC, that promises faster performance and improved privacy. And while those are good things, making such an announcement on April Fools Day left may people shaking their heads and wondering if the whole thing was a hoax. It turns out, it's not a hoax with the new service offering faster address resolution and a promise to wipe all logs of DNS queries within 24 hours.
Customised 404 error pages for web sites are a sensible idea. You arguably don't need a customised 418 page, but that didn't stop Google creating one -- complete with an animated teapot.
As you may have heard, DynDNS is shutting down its free plans, which is a bit of a bummer. Still, those plans are not the only option if you need a hostname to use to access your home computers from anywhere, and you don't want to spend money for it. Here are some alternatives.
Amazon's Route 53 DNS service is well-regarded for its ability to manage complex domain allocations. New features added to the service enable more sophisticated "health checks" to see if your site is up and running.
The most frequently-discussed elements of Amazon Web Services (AWS) are its EC2 virtual server options and S3 cloud storage. Yet some long-term AWS customers reserve their highest praise for a rather more obscure product: the Route 53 scalable DNS management service.
The web site for the New York Times was taken offline today by the Syrian Electronic Army, using credentials from a reseller for Melbourne IT. One tactic that might have helped prevent that? A registrar lock.
Windows/Mac/Linux: Namehelp is a DNS optimisation tool that can significantly improve your web performance, whether you use a public DNS (like Google Public DNS or OpenDNS) or stick with your default ISP options. Developed by Northwestern University researchers, the app runs in the background optimizing your DNS configuration and automatically fixing the interaction between DNS and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).
On July 9 (US time -- we're already there in Australia), the FBI will be switching off the temporary solution it set up to help people work around the DNSChanger malware. Lifehacker readers are often the go-to tech support for their friends and family, so if you want to avoid a phone call tomorrow from someone whose internet access has suddenly stopped working, it could be worth reminding them to check.
Windows: If you're a fan of editing your hosts file so you're not tempted to visit some of your most distracting and time-wasting websites while you're trying to work, Bluelife Hosts Editor is a utility that looks up the IP addresses of the sites you want to block and adds them to the block list, all in one app.
Every millisecond counts when you're browsing the web, and if you'd like to eke a bit more speed out of your internet connection, you can change your DNS server to make those pages load a bit faster. Here's a brief introduction to what DNS is, how it affects your connection speed, and how you can easily change your computer's settings to use the fastest DNS possible.