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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Changing your DNS Servers - Problems Accessing The Internet Due To DNS Issues Then Read This!

Changing your DNS Servers

Problems Accessing The Internet Due To DNS Issues Then Read This!

By Strictly-Software

Sometimes I get problems at home when my laptop cannot connect to the Internet due to DNS issues. This happens quite regularly and my ISP is Virgin Media.

If you really don't know what you ISP is then go to this site

Also you may get issues when your ISP blocks certain sites that you want to visit e.g. The Pirate Bay or other torrent sites and anti establishment iinformation clearing houses like

1. Default Set-Up

Your system will usually be set up by your ISP to use DCHP (Dyamic Hist Configuration Protocol) which from the article about DCHP says that your computer assigns a different IP address automatically everytine you access the Internet.

However my settings have been on DCHP for years and I haven't noticed my IP change except for a couple of times which can be very annoying. Especially if you have firewall exceptions and programs on other servers like Fail2Ban or DenyHosts to prevent you being banned (SSH, TCP/IP),

You could also have WordPress plugins that prevent you being blocked from your site if you forget your password 3 times. So if you run a site you want people to have a fixed IP really so you can ban them if they are being naughty.

This is down to DCHP which is used to issue unique IP addresses as well as automatically configure other network information for your computer.

In most home and small businesses, the router acts as the DHCP server. In large networks, a single computer might act as the DHCP server and changing your DNS settings could cause problems especially if you use internal networks to access websites.

For example at my company I have test sites on internal IP addresses so changing the DNS addresses would prevent me from accessing those sites.

You can read more about DCHP here.

However whilst it says that a new IP address is assigned to your computer I find my computers IP address stays the same for quite a while but every four or so months it will change.

Checking your IP address from your own PC without having to open a webpage and run a search for "What is my IP" maybe all you need. However if you would like a little script that you can run from the command line or at the click of a button to get a popup with your external IP address then you can read this article on obtaining your IP address from your computer without using a browser.

2. Checking your DNS address from the Command Prompt

You can check your current DNS settings from the command prompt with ipconfig /all which will show you all your network connections and DNS details.

I have shown you my own home computer settings and you can see the DNS settings I am using at the bottom are Google's.

C:\Users\rreid>ipconfig /all

Windows IP Configuration

   Host Name . . . . . . . . . . . . : stard0026w7
   Primary Dns Suffix . . . . . . . :
   Node Type . . . . . . . . . . . . : Hybrid
   IP Routing Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
   WINS Proxy Enabled. . . . . . . . : No
   DNS Suffix Search List. . . . . . :

Ethernet adapter Local Area Connection:

   Connection-specific DNS Suffix . :
   Description . . . . . . . . . . . : Broadcom NetLink (TM) Gigabit Ethernet
   Physical Address. . . . . . . . . : D4-BE-D9-95-40-DB
   DHCP Enabled. . . . . . . . . . . : Yes
   Autoconfiguration Enabled . . . . : Yes
   Link-local IPv6 Address . . . . . : fe80::fc53:2287:bb47:b8a9%11(Preferred)
   IPv4 Address. . . . . . . . . . . :
   Subnet Mask . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Lease Obtained. . . . . . . . . . : 23 February 2015 17:06:21
   Lease Expires . . . . . . . . . . : 19 March 2015 15:49:01
   Default Gateway . . . . . . . . . : fe80::20c:29ff:fe77:3876%11
   DHCP Server . . . . . . . . . . . :
   DHCPv6 IAID . . . . . . . . . . . : 248823513
   DHCPv6 Client DUID. . . . . . . . : 00-01-00-01-17-02-22-03-D4-BE-D9-95-40-DB

   DNS Servers . . . . . . . . . . . :
   Primary WINS Server . . . . . . . :
   NetBIOS over Tcpip. . . . . . . . : Enabled

3. Obtaining Different DNS Settings

So one of the solutions to this problem is to change your DNS server IP addresses to public DNS Servers like Googles free addresses and or you can use many others including

This provides security at the DNS level that protects your computer from malware and other threats including probes and hacks which could save you without installing any further software.

If you are a business you have to pay but for personal use you don't and can just use these addresses or

Read more about opendns here.

You can find a big list of other DNS server IP's to use here.

Some of them include:

ProviderPrimary DNS ServerSecondary DNS Server
Comodo Secure DNS8.
OpenDNS Home208.67.222.222208.67.220.220
DNS Advantage156.154.70.1156.154.71.1
Norton ConnectSafe199.85.126.10199.85.127.10

4. Changing DNS Settings

Every computer will be slightly different and you and you can search Google to find out how to do it on your computer, tablet, phone or even your smart TV.

This example is for Windows 7 but it not so different for other Windows machines:
  • Go to Control Panel and select Network and Sharing Center.
  • Select Change Adaptor Settings.
  • Select the network connection you want to change LAN or WIFI.
  • The panel will open showing you your connection details.that shows the network connection you want to change e.g LAN or WIFI.
  • Scroll down to Internet Prototcol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) (leave IPv6 for later!),
  • Click on that row then Properties,
  • In the bottom half are the DNS settings. Your ISP will most likely have ticked "Obtain DNS Server address automatically" so de-select that,
  • Select "Use the following DNS server addresses" and then enter first your preferred IP address e.g and then in the alternate DNS server put
  • Hit OK and the settings should be saved. Test it by trying to get to a web page. If you can access a webpage by the
  • If you are not sure the DNS settings are being used then go to point 2 and check from the command prompt that your DNS settings have been changed.

A good idea might be to set your DNS up so that it uses Googles primary IP for the preferred server and then the OpenDNS IP for the Alliterate DNS Server.

E.G Mix and Match in-case one of the servers goes down..

5. Other Quick Options To Try

Other options you can try to attempt to sort your WIFI out without getting "techie" include just turning off WIFI fr a 30 seconds then back on.

Or you could turn your machines Airplane mode on and waiting a minute before turning it back off.

Turning your router off by unplugging it or taking the power cable out of the back of it. Wait a good 5 minutes then turn it back on.

Using the computers online diagnostic tool to test why your system is down. If it says DNS problems then this article might be for you.

6. Conclusion

Remember all modern devices like phones, tablets and even Smart TV's can connect to the internet and they all have options to change their DNS settings if you are having problems.

Also you must be cateful if you are on a work computer as changing your DNS might not be a good idea as you could have internal routing going on to locally hosted sites on the companies internal network.

Therefore changing them might prevent you from viewing some websites (especially dev/demo sites).

You can always test by checking an internal site to see if you get a workable screen or just a "cannot connect" message.

© 2015 Strictly-Software

Friday, 27 February 2015

What Do You Want To See In The Next Version Of Strictly AutoTags

What Do You Want To See In The Next Version Of Strictly AutoTags

By Strictly-Software

Hello, this post is to ask my users of  the paid for version of my plugin, Strictly AutoTags what features they would like to see in the next version.

What would make you spend another £40 to get a new version of the code?

Here are some ideas I am thinking about but I welcome comments. You are the buyers so you know what would make it better or which bugs need fixing better than me.

My Thoughts On Options

One option is to add the title of the article into any links converted from plain text into clickable links - good for SEO.

Also an "Auto Categorisation" feature. So not only Auto Tagging but Auto Categorisation.

This would be done through boxes that you could add to the admin form one by one.

One to hold a number of words, the other a number/count of words that needed to be matched, the other a category.

So the logic would be that if the number of words specified in the box, e.g 5 words related to terrorism, al-Qaeda, ISIL, ISIS, Jihad John, Islamic State, then the category "Terrorism" is added to the post

A "limit" to the number of tags you can have. Once this limit is reached no new tags are added OR you could specify that the auto clean function is run so tags with less than 2 posts using them are removed and then tagging can continue.

A similar option for when for when the tagging stops working for no apparent reason. This may just be me as no-one has complained about it. However it does happen on my sites with 25,000+ tags. Usually after an update of WordPress or Jetpack plugin code.

Personally a re-save of my admin settings or a clean out of old tags seems to fix this for me.

So a CRON job feature to run regularly and check for recent non tagged posts and then these articles are re-tagged.

Or an auto memory manager feature, a bit like my Strictly Sitemap plugin, which checks the amount of memory used on the last posting and keeps setting the memory to the right size on each post e.g the last size + 10%, or if it goes down, the last size used. Or allow you to specify an amount to be set in admin.

Tell me which feature you like or would like to see in the next Strictly-Software AutoTags plugin!

You can let me know here or on my Facebook page at

Monday, 9 February 2015

Speeding up Chrome can KILL IT!

Speeding up Chrome can kill it!

By Strictly-Software

Lately I have been really disappointed with the performance of my preferred browser Chrome.

I moved from FireFox to Chrome when the amount of plugins on FireFox made it too slow to work with however this was when Chrome was a clean, fast browser. Now it has just as many plugins available to install as FireFox and the performance has deteriorated constantly over the past few versions.

I am a developer so having 20+ tabs open in my browser is not unusual however when they are all hanging for no reason with "resolving host" messages in the status bar something is wrong.

I have even removed all my plugins that I had installed and decided to leave that to FireFox if I need to test different agents, hacking and so on. However even with a simple install the performance has been crap lately!

Therefore looked up on the web for tips on speeding up Chrome and found this article:

It basically tells you some tricks to speed up Chrome by modifying some settings by going to chrome://flags/ in your address bar.

There is a warning at the top of the page that says:

WARNING These experimental features may change, break or disappear at any time. We make absolutely no guarantees about what may happen if you turn one of these experiments on, and your browser may even spontaneously combust. Jokes aside, your browser may delete all your data or your security and privacy could be compromised in unexpected ways. Any experiments that you enable will be enabled for all users of this browser. Please proceed with caution. Interested in cool new Chrome features? Try our beta channel at

So these are all "experimental" features and from the sounds of it they could even make it's security and performance worse not better. Even a few of the tweaks suggested by the article had already disappeared from the settings page.

I did what was still available and a few more tweaks after careful consideration and what happened?

Well at first some pages seemed to load quicker but then I found that:

  • Some sites without a www. sub domain wouldn't load.
  • Some pages wouldn't load at all.
  • When I came into work today even though a Chrome process was running with 0 CPU usage nothing was displayed.
I had to re-boot, and try 3 times to open Chrome before getting back to the chrome://flags/  page and restoring all the defaults. Since then everything has been okay.

So if your going to tweak be careful - it could take down your whole browser!

The best way to speed it up is to remove all the plugins and add-ons and leave that to FireFox. Turn off 3rd party cookies and any 3rd party services that involve constant lookups and try to keep it clean and simple.

It seems that with the over usage of AJAX and sites like Facebook/LinkedIn/Google+ where as you type it constantly looks up the word to see if it matches a name or contact that this "API JIZZ" as I call it has really slowed down the web.

Just by having Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn open at the same time can eat up your memory and I'm on a quad core 64 bit machine.

In my opinion there should be settings to enable you to turn off the API JIZZ and flashy features that rely on lots of JavaScript and AJAX.

It slows down your computer and is not needed most of the time. Having big database lookups on each keystroke is obviously going to use up lots of memory so it should be an option you can disable.

Anyway that's down to the developers of all these social sites who seem to love AJAX for everything. A simple submit button would do in a lot of cases!