Google Apps Users Should Use Google Public DNS

Maybe everyone knows this, but it took me a while to realize that almost all of my performance issues with Google Apps were related to my DNS configuration. Once I switched all my machines and routers to Google Public DNS all of my performance problems went away.

It’s remarkable. Simply hard code DNS to and Problem solved.

My office, condo, and house in Keystone are all on Comcast. For the last month I’ve been struggling in each of them. There are days that Gmail feels almost unusable – five to ten second waits between messages. Web performance was “good enough” so I assumed it was a Gmail problem.

Nope – it was a Comcast DNS problem.

In hindsight, this is kind of obvious. But wow, what a difference it made.

  • Adam Cookson

    Awesome tip! I switched over when I saw you briefly mention this in your decluttering post – huge difference – Thanks!

  • heuristocrat

    I didn’t know this and I bet most others don’t either. Great tip. I hate it when the service providers gunk up your services.

  • Weird. I have Comcast in the Stapleton area in Denver and I’ve never had any problems.

    • Try changing it and seeing how much faster it is. I think it’ll surprise you.

      • So, I tried this starting yesterday afternoon. It did make my web browsing maybe a little faster however… CoD Ghosts performance went into the ground. Switching back.

        • Must be the CDN issue that others are flagging for Apple TV.

  • bobmonsour

    When I read your post about decluttering your network, and being a Comcast internet customer, I immediately changed my laptop and Apple Airport to use Google DNS. What a freakin’ difference. We would, from time to time, have horrible days of internet delays that were totally inexplicable. Thanks for explaining the inexplicable.

    • Yeah – it’s really amazing. Comcast DNS is awful.

  • Chris Shiflett

    In my experience, downloading from iTunes is substantially slower when using Google DNS, presumably because you lose the gains of Apple’s CDN. When I want to start watching a movie immediately, and it’s a 2-hour movie that’s going to take 3 hours to download, that means I have to wait an hour. Removing the Google DNS override fixes this for me.

    This isn’t a reason not to use it, but it’s a good thing to know in case you ever find yourself waiting on an iTunes download.

    • Interesting – I hadn’t realized that. We noticed it a little on streaming last night on Apple TV – first time I’d had a delay at my place in Keystone on Apple TV.

      • Just to confirm that hardcoding Google’s DNS also screws up all updates from Apple when not in the US, since they don’t recognize your location. I reverted, very sadly, to my Australian ISP DNS servers after experiencing like 3 hours delay to download Apple updates 🙁

    • Agreed, Google DNS renders AppleTV useless for HD downloads. Switching back to Comcast’s DNS and HD starts instantaneously. It’s a known problem.

      I do use Google DNS whenever traveling though!

      • Interesting – yes – I’m now running into the AppleTV issues. Grr.

  • been using these for some time too on the East Coast and always happy, however if you ever vpn/cisco into corp networks and have odd resource access issues, keep this change in mind as a possible cause….

  • Weirdly the Amazon Instant Video app built into my TV stopped playing videos, so I contacted Panasonic who told me to change to Google’s DNS. I was sceptical, but it worked!! (My ISP is Cox and apart from this issue I find the service incredibly quick and reliable).

    • I’ve resolved two peoples broadband issues by doing this, using Googles DNS. Extraordinary.

  • Phillip Luebke

    I use OpenDNS. Is switching to Google going to do anything for me?

  • DaveJ

    Opportunity for a meta-DNS service? Comcast when using AppleTV, Google when using Apps?

    • I think there is a way to config my AppleTV to use Comcast’s DNS so their CDN works. Playing around with that today.

  • Brett_Freeman

    I highly recommend giving namebench a try. It’s a benchmark utility (Mac & Win clients) that test your access to 1000’s of DNS so that you can use whichever works best for your particular location, ISP, etc. (However, for web apps within a given cloud environment, ie Google Apps, you may want to use a DNS that works best with that particular cloud as Brad has indicated here for using the Google Public DNS for Google Apps.)