Poor Streaming Performance? Change DNS Servers!
Bypass broadband provider throttling by changing your DNS server address
DNS is an acronym for "Domain Name Service" and/or "Domain Name Servers". A (DNS) is much like a telephone book except for the internet.
When you sign up with your internet provider you are provided with DNS servers that are used in your router. This is typically their own DNS servers that filter traffic through their account. They can block certain sites or filter traffic that goes through their network DNS servers. Some unscrupulous cable providers will even throttle traffic (slow it down) when it goes to their competitors sites.
When streaming sites are throttled this can have a negative effect on streamers. For example, when streaming movies from Netflix or Amazon Instant, if their websites are throttled it can cause more buffering and actually stream in lower quality. Netflix will adjust the HD quality based on your internet connection speed.
Fight back against internet provider induced poor streaming performance
One thing you can do is change the DNS settings in your broadband router. You will need to dig out your router instruction manual or look online for your model number to find them.
While DNS Server addresses can be changed on individual computers. When streaming most media players do not give you the option to change DNS servers and will use the DNS servers that are entered into your Router.
How to Change DNS Settings on your Router
Changing the DNS settings on your Router is pretty easy. We highly recommend you write down and keep your old DNS settings. Should you ever have an issue connecting to the internet, just enter the old DNS numbers or alternative DNS server addresses from another provider.
While each router is slightly different, it is actually very easy to change your DNS server settings. Look at the following image links to get an idea of how to do this with popular routers.
Enter your router access page usually you type this IP address in your web browser (192.168.0.1/), At the top of the page click "SETUP". Then on the left hand side click "INTERNET" and then at the bottom of the next page click "Manual Internet Connection Setup". In the bottom DHCP section, type in one of the IP addresses listed below in the Primary DNS Server box, and the second IP address in the Secondary DNS Server box. You will then have to click "SAVE SETTINGS" near the top of the page.
On Apple Airport Routers go to Applications / Utilities and open your AirPort Utility. Near the bottom of the window you will see an image of your Router with your user name. Click on the image of your AirPort Router and in the small pop-up window click Edit. In the new window at the top click the Internet Tab. Enter your primary and Secondary DNS Server IP addresses from the ones listed below.
Best Public USA DNS Server Addresses
Google Public DNS:188.8.131.52
Change your DNS servers to one outside your country
While the above public DNS Servers are based inside the USA, you can also change your DNS servers to ones outside your country. This can sometimes offer certain advantages, like bypassing regional sports blackouts or geo-blocking. It can also cause issues, for example if your Roku is registered to a USA account, and you change your DNS settings to one from DNS Watch who is located in Germany, you may no longer have access to your channels or be able to watch the same movies if you were DNS server were located in the USA.
Censurfridns.dk Uncensored (Denmark):184.108.40.206
Safer Web Surfing for your Kids
Changing your DNS Servers can also be used to filter out content you don't want your kids to have access to. Sign up for an account at DNS watch, enter their DNS Server settings into your Router and your kids will be filtered and blocked from all adult content on the web. When they are fast asleep simply change the DNS server settings back to the public uncensored ones and you will have full access to the wide open internet.
While this is information your broadband provider will typically not tell you. As you can see by changing your DNS Server settings, it will actually give you quite a bit more control over your internet connection and your media streaming experience.