Finding fast forwarders for your DNS server to speed up internet speeds – John Gamboa

Why do you want the fastest DNS servers listed as DNS forwarders on your domain name server? Mainly, to get your internet experience to speed up. Having slow DNS forwarders can affect how long a browser takes to find and load a web page or to start downloading a file. In bad cases I’ve seen some sites become inaccessible because of bad DNS forwarders. Major sites like Google.com and Yahoo.com were getting “Page cannot be found” errors for an entire office!

There’s a quick way to figure which forwarders to set on your server. First, use a DNS benchmark utility. I’ve been using DNSBench and it’s served me well. It’s a free utility that test numerous DNS servers from your location so you can find and use the fastest ones for your computer and network. Even within a city like San Francisco, different locations will get the best results with different forwarders even inside the same building.

DNSBench-Screenshot-John-Gamboa

Download it from here. It’s self contained so you don’t have to install it, just put it in its own directory somewhere on your computer or external drive and run it. Click on Run Benchmark and wait. It’s best not use the PC as much as you can so it can test the DNS servers better and give you a more accurate result.

Once you get the fastest two or three identified, you can put those as your forwarders on your DNS server. Here is a screenshot of one of my DNS servers forwarders page. I set the priority based on the speed results I got from my DNSBench results. You can get by with 2 or 3 but as you can see from my screenshot, you can put more. You’ll notice that even DNS servers provided by the same companies can have differing speeds. After setting this up for one of my clients and changing the forward queries time out to 1 second – which you have to be careful of because slow internet plus short timeouts can result in the forward query loop because you’re not giving enough time for the request to go out and come back – internet surfing drastically improved.

Hope this helps.

DNS Forwarders John Gamboa

Is Windows or Mac slow, getting pop-ups, seeing too many ads, or is it freezing?

You probably have some form of malware. I consider malware to be software that causes your computer to act funny when you know the hardware is in good working order. Whenever I get reports that a person’s computer is suddenly doing things out of the norm, I immediately suspect malware as the cause. If it boots up into safe mode and acts like it should, then that’s a confirmation something is wrong on the software side of things.

If it still acts shows symptoms in safe mode then I may be some other problem. It could be a bad hard drive, motherboard, memory, or even malware that’s embedded itself in the lower levels of the operating system. A hardware diagnostics will more than likely tell us if it’s hardware. Most big name manufacturers include diagnostics software. You just have to find out how to get to it. In most cases it’s in the form of interrupting the normal boot up process with an F-key. Those keys at the top of your keyboard – F1 through F12, usually. If that comes back with everything passing, then you have malware.

If a system restore doesn’t rid your computer of the malware symptoms, I have three anti-malware tools that I use often in situations like these. Other techs have theirs and there are several out there. Here are the tools I use.

1. Kaspersky’s TDSSKiller

2. Malwarebytes

3. ComboFix

All are free to download and use. I usually run Malwarebytes first. Nine times out of 10 it’ll find what’s infected your computer. If problems still persist then I run TDSSKiller and ComboFix.

While Malwarebytes is scanning away, I’ll do couple other things.

I’ll check add/remove programs and see if there are any recently installed programs. If they look suspicious, I just remove them. If I’m not sure, I ask the owner or user if they’re familiar with and use the programs in question. If not then it’s removed. I find a lot of coupon or shopping applications as well as so-called “tune-up” programs that aren’t really viruses but cause the computer to run really slow. These are usually culprits for slowness and freezing problems. If you downloaded freeware from an unknown site and right afterwards the computer started acting up, then guess what, you probably got a Trojan malware.

It doesn’t really matter how you got malware. By virtue of being connected to the internet, you are prone to get some malware sometime. The good news is that you can get rid of them most of the time. Even the dreaded CryptoLocker. The way to remove it that worked for me several times is this. Google how to remove it manually – seriously. There are steps you can follow. Follow them. Run a Malwarebytes and ComboFix scan. You may get some message that CryptoLocker has been removed or tampered with or something like that and that your files are still locked and you still need to pay to unlock them. You won’t be able to open any files. Before paying the ransom try this. Create a brand new user profile. I don’t guarantee it’ll work for everyone but it’s worth a shot.

Running these free malware removal tools is free and easy. If you feel like you might have malware, try using them. Other tools that are free to download and use are SuperAntiSpyware, Spybot Search and Destroy, Avast, and Ad-Aware by Lavasoft. Malware is a fact of life in the connected world but with diligence and knowledge as well as these free malware removal tools, you can get your computer back to normal in no time.

What about Apple’s Macs?

Believe it or not, there are malware programs directed at you too! Don’t worry, big name antimalware companies have products for you. There are a couple free ones as well. Sophos Free and ClamXav are two I’m familiar with.