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    What is a DNS and how does it affect my internet use?

    DNS is an acronym that stands for Domain Name System. It's also fundamental part of how the Internet operates, and can impact browser speed, website performance, email clients, and much more – but what exactly is it?

    What is a DNS?

    A Domain Name System is a database that translates the user-friendly host names that we use to browse the Internet (e.g. plus.net) into a numerical format understood by computers, known as IP addresses (e.g. 192.168.124.1.).

    DNS is an integral part of how the internet works, as it allows users and hosts to utilise more memorable DNS names rather than having to use a website's IP address to access a website.

    What is an IP address?

    IP stands for internet protocol, and an IP address is the unique string of numbers that identifies devices that are connected to the internet. Every device, from a smart phone, to a tablet to a router must have one. IP addresses essentially allow one computer to communicate with another.

    An IP address is always structured in the same way, using four or six numbers separated by decimal points (.) e.g. 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.1.1.1.1. Each unique code holds information on the location of your computer and information on your internet service provider (ISP).

    Your device can have either a static or dynamic IP address. A static address stays the same, so is generally considered to be less secure as they are more easily tracked, however these risks can be avoided by safe internet use. A dynamic IP address changes, using a pool of addresses from your ISP that are shared among various computers.

    How does DNS work?

    When a user wants to access a webpage, they enter the address (or DNS name) into their browser's address bar. This information is then sent in the form of a 'DNS query' to their Internet Service Provider's (ISP) DNS servers. Every ISP has a database of DNS names and their corresponding IP addresses. If a user's initial query can be answered using this directory, an 'authoritative' answer is sent to the user's computer so they can connect with the website.

    If the ISP directory is unable to answer the initial DNS query authoritatively, then its next step would be to check its cache. A server's cache holds a record of all other previous queries. If it can answer a user using information from the cache, then it will still answer but with a 'non-authoritative' answer. This means that the information you're being supplied with isn't directly from your ISP's directory, but from a third party.

    If your query still can't be answered, then the DNS query process will use recursion. This is when your ISP's DNS survey uses the information it has on other authoritative servers in its root hint files to contact and get the information you need. Once an ISP has requested this information, it is sent to a user's computer, where a connection is formed. The ISP server then stores that information in its cache which can be then accessed for future queries.

    Problems with Internet service are often down to an issue with the DNS server – to check any current issues with your DNS status, use our Service Status page.

    How can DNS affect your Internet speed?

    Although DNS is not directly related to your Internet speed, it can influence how fast an individual webpage appears on your computer. Once a connection has been established though, it should not affect download speeds.

    If you want to amend your router's DNS servers however, this can help improve your overall speed. Many apps are available to help you find the best server for your router or computer, including namebench. Once you have your recommended DNS server addresses, you should:

    • Go to your router's administration page
    • Go in to your advanced settings
    • Note down your DNS server addresses for reference
    • Replace them with your recommended DNS server addresses
    • Your device will then be updated with these DNS servers and should give you an improved browsing speed.

    How can DNS affect your email?

    As well as acting as a record of IP-address-to-host-name mapping, DNS also contains information that can help with other functions, such as email. The Mail Exchanger (MX) record provides the extra information needed to allow emails to be forwarded on to your email server.

    An email address is made up of two parts, the recipient (which is you) and the host (your email provider) e.g. david(recipient)@hotmail.com(host). When you send an email, you will either send it directly to the target domain (the recipients email provider) or to another server known as a Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) mail server which acts as a 'middle man'.

    Find out more about changing your DNS address

    Head over to our Help and Support page.

    Here’s the legal bit

    You can see our full residential terms and conditions here.

    * The price for broadband, line rental, call plans and call charges will be increased each March from 2022 by the Consumer Price Index rate of inflation published by the Office for National Statistics in January of that year plus 3.9%. Other prices, content and terms may also change during your contract. See our CPI Plus 3.9% Guide for details.

    Line rental is included in all our broadband packages. The standard line rental price is £21.22 a month, except where you sign up to Unlimited Broadband on an 18 month contract, the standard line rental price is £19.99 a month for the first 18 months, then £21.22 a month (line only, no calls included). The standard line rental price, or where applicable the discounted line rental price, is included in the package price.

    Unlimited Fibre Extra (12 and 18 month contracts)

    Prices and terms are subject to change during your contract.

    For new Plusnet customers that sign up for 12 or 18 months (as appropriate). Line rental is included in the price (line only, no calls included). Price from month 13 or 19 (as appropriate) currently £43.50 a month (incl. line rental). Compatible line required otherwise a £49.99 installation charge may apply (excluding any external construction charges). We'll include a wireless router worth £99.99. Outside of your 14 day cancellation period, if you choose to end your service within the minimum period, you will have to pay an early termination charge.

    The date your broadband and line rental activates, or where your services do not activate at the same time, the service that activates first, will be used as your monthly billing date. If your broadband or line rental service are not activated at the same time, for the service that is activated at a later date, charges will be pro rated for the first month and any applicable discounts for that service will apply once the service starts.

    Subject to availability and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. No cash alternative. Exclusions and terms apply.

    Unlimited Fibre (12 and 18 month contracts)

    Prices and terms are subject to change during your contract.

    For new Plusnet customers that sign up for 12 or 18 months (as appropriate). Line rental is included in the price (line only, no calls included). Price from month 13 or 19 (as appropriate) currently £38.20 a month (incl. line rental). Compatible line required otherwise a £49.99 installation charge may apply (excluding any external construction charges). We'll include a wireless router worth £99.99. Outside of your 14 day cancellation period, if you choose to end your service within the minimum period, you will have to pay an early termination charge.

    The date your broadband and line rental activates, or where your services do not activate at the same time, the service that activates first, will be used as your monthly billing date. If your broadband or line rental service are not activated at the same time, for the service that is activated at a later date, charges will be pro rated for the first month and any applicable discounts for that service will apply once the service starts.

    Subject to availability and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. No cash alternative. Exclusions and terms apply.

    Unlimited Broadband (12 and 18 month contracts)

    Prices and terms are subject to change during your contract.

    For new Plusnet customers that sign up for 12 or 18 months (as appropriate). Line rental is included in the price (line only, no calls included). Price from month 13 or 19 (as appropriate) currently £32.88 a month (incl. line rental). Compatible line required otherwise a £49.99 installation charge may apply (excluding any external construction charges). We'll include a wireless router worth £99.99. Outside of your 14 day cancellation period, if you choose to end your service within the minimum period, you will have to pay an early termination charge.

    The date your broadband and line rental activates, or where your services do not activate at the same time, the service that activates first, will be used as your monthly billing date. If your broadband or line rental service are not activated at the same time, for the service that is activated at a later date, charges will be pro rated for the first month and any applicable discounts for that service will apply once the service starts.

    Subject to availability and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. No cash alternative. Exclusions and terms apply.

    Unlimited Broadband (no contract)

    Prices and terms are subject to change during your contract.

    For new Plusnet customers that sign up for a 30-day rolling contract. Line rental is included in the price (line only, no calls included). Price from month 13 currently £34.48 a month (incl. line rental). Compatible line required otherwise a £49.99 installation charge may apply (excluding any external construction charges). We'll include a wireless router worth £99.99. You may terminate your services at any time without having to pay an early termination charge.  Outside your 14 day cancellation period, you'll have to give at least 14 days' notice.

    The date your broadband and line rental activates, or where your services do not activate at the same time, the service that activates first, will be used as your monthly billing date. If your broadband or line rental service are not activated at the same time, for the service that is activated at a later date, charges will be pro rated for the first month and any applicable discounts for that service will apply once the service starts.

    Subject to availability and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer. No cash alternative. Exclusions and terms apply.

    Existing customers

    Please see our price guide, log into your account in the Member Centre or call us on 0800 073 1120 to discuss your contract.

    Speeds

    Φ Broadband speed is described as 'average download speed of 10Mb', as it is based on speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (8-10pm). Your actual speed will be dependent on your location, phone line, home wiring, Wi-Fi connection and time of day. Find out why speeds vary. Check your speed and products available at your location via 'check availability' on our home page.

    † Fibre broadband speed is described as 'average download speed of 66Mb' and 'average upload speed of 18Mb' on Unlimited Fibre Extra and 'average download speed of 36Mb' and 'average upload speed of 9Mb' on Unlimited Fibre as it is based on speed available to at least 50% of customers at peak time (8-10pm). Your actual speed will be dependent on your location, phone line, home wiring, Wi-Fi connection and time of day. Find out why speeds vary. Check your speed and products available at your location via 'check availability' on our home page.

    Ө Up to 6x faster: based on a comparison between the average Unlimited Fibre Extra download speeds with the average Unlimited Broadband speeds. The actual speed you'll get depends on your location, phone line, home wiring, Wi-Fi connection and time of day. Find out why speeds vary. Check your speed and products available at your location via 'check availability' on our home page.

    ** Plusnet Reward Card

    Once your broadband and line rental are activated you will be issued claim information via email. Follow the instructions in this email to be issued with your Plusnet Reward Card. You must submit your claim within two months of the email being issued. The card must be activated within three months of it being issued.

    Your Plusnet Reward Card is issued by GVS Prepaid Ltd, an Electronic Money Institution authorised in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority with Firm Reference number 900230; pursuant to license from Mastercard International. Mastercard ® is a registered trademark of Mastercard International Inc. GVS Prepaid Ltd's company registration number is 09193070 and its registered office is at Westside, London Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP3 9TD.  See Plusnet Reward Card terms.

    £75 Plusnet Reward Card with Unlimited Broadband

    £75 Plusnet Reward Card offer ends 27 October 2021, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Broadband on an 12 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    £70 Plusnet Reward Card with Unlimited Fibre

    £70 Plusnet Reward Card offer ends 27 October 2021, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Fibre on an 18 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    £65 Plusnet Reward Card with Unlimited Fibre Extra

    £65 Plusnet Reward Card offer ends 27 October 2021, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Fibre Extra on an 18 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    £75 Plusnet Reward Card with Unlimited Fibre Extra

    £75 Plusnet Reward Card offer ends 28 October 2021, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Fibre Extra on an 18 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    £50 Plusnet Reward Card with Unlimited Broadband

    £50 Plusnet Reward Card offer ends 30 September 2022, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Broadband on an 18 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    £50 Plusnet Reward Card with Unlimited Fibre

    £50 Plusnet Reward Card offer ends 30 September 2022, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Fibre on an 18 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    £75 Plusnet Reward Card with Unlimited Fibre Extra

    £75 Plusnet Reward Card offer ends 30 September 2022, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Fibre Extra on an 18 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    Amazon.co.uk Gift Card

    Once your broadband and line rental are activated you will be issued claim information via email. Follow the instructions in this email to be issued with your Amazon.co.uk Gift Card. You must submit your claim within two months of the email being issued. The card must be activated within three months of it being issued.

    Amazon.co.uk is not a sponsor of Plusnet, line rental vouchers promotion or otherwise affiliated with Plusnet. The logos and other identifying marks attached are trademarks of and owned by each represented company and/or its affiliates. Please visit the Amazon.co.uk website for additional terms and conditions.

    Amazon.co.uk Gift Cards may be redeemed on the Amazon.co.uk website towards the purchase of eligible products available on Amazon.co.uk. Gift Cards cannot be reloaded, resold, transferred for value, redeemed for cash or applied to any other account. Amazon.co.uk is not responsible if a gift card is lost, stolen, destroyed or used without permission. See Amazon's website for complete terms and conditions. Gift Cards are issued by Amazon EU S. à r.l. All Amazon ®, and © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

    Cashback Cheque

    Once your broadband and line rental are activated you will be issued claim information via email. Follow the instructions in this email to be issued with your cashback cheque. You must submit your claim within two months of the email being issued.

    Please note that your cashback cheque may be automatically sent to you without having to claim for it as set out above.  If this applies, this will be confirmed to you in the order journey.

    £25 Plusnet Cashback Cheque with Unlimited Fibre

    £25 Plusnet Cashback Cheque offer ends 15 January 2025, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Fibre on a 18 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    £25 Plusnet Cashback Cheque with Unlimited Fibre Extra

    £25 Plusnet Cashback Cheque offer ends 15 January 2025, and is available to new Plusnet customers ordering Unlimited Fibre Extra on a 18 month contract online at www.plus.net or by calling Plusnet. Subject to availability.

    Broadband Extras

    Plusnet Safeguard

    Included with all of our broadband packages, Plusnet Safeguard filters inappropriate web content for your household. Further information can be found here.

    Plusnet Protect powered by McAfee

    Our security package protects you from online threats. Charges apply for Unlimited Fibre broadband customers. Further information can be found here.

    Evening & Weekend UK & Mobile calls:

    Evening & Weekend calls: Calls of up to an hour to UK landlines beginning with 01, 02, 03, 0845 and 0870 numbers made Monday-Friday 7pm to 7am and any time Saturday or Sunday (except calls to indirect access numbers (which include calling cards) and dial-up internet access). Calls must be started and finished within these times to be inclusive (non-chargeable). A fair usage limit of 150 calls or 1000 minutes a month (whichever is reached first) applies to calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers (if you exceed this limit, we have the right to charge you for further calls made, suspend and/or terminate your service in accordance with our terms and conditions).

    Mobile calls: Calls to UK mobiles and 070 personal numbering services made Monday-Friday 7pm to 7am and any time Saturday or Sunday. Calls must be started and finished within these times to be inclusive (non-chargeable). A fair usage limit of 1000 minutes a month applies (if you exceed this limit, we have the right to charge you for further calls made, suspend and/or terminate your service in accordance with our terms and conditions). Hang up and re-dial before 60 minutes and you won't be charged. Some 07 numbers do not constitute mobile numbers and may not be included as part of an inclusive mobile package.

    Unlimited UK & Mobile calls:

    Anytime calls: Calls of up to an hour to UK landlines beginning with 01, 02, 03, 0845 and 0870 numbers at any time (except calls to indirect access numbers (which include calling cards) and dial-up internet access). Calls must be started and finished within these times to be inclusive (non-chargeable). A fair usage limit of 150 calls or 1000 minutes a month (whichever is reached first) applies to calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers (if you exceed this limit, we have the right to charge you for further calls made, suspend and/or terminate your service in accordance with our terms and conditions).

    Mobile calls: Calls to UK mobiles and 070 personal numbering services made at any time. Calls must be started and finished within these times to be inclusive (non-chargeable). A fair usage limit of 2000 minutes a month applies (if you exceed this limit, we have the right to charge you for further calls made, suspend and/or terminate your service in accordance with our terms and conditions). Hang up and re-dial before 60 minutes and you won't be charged. Some 07 numbers do not constitute mobile numbers and may not be included as part of an inclusive mobile package.

    Anytime International 300:

    Anytime calls: Calls of up to an hour to UK landlines beginning with 01, 02, 03, 0845 and 0870 numbers at any time (except calls to indirect access numbers (which include calling cards) and dial-up internet access). Calls must be started and finished within these times to be inclusive (non-chargeable). A fair usage limit of 150 calls or 1000 minutes a month (whichever is reached first) applies to calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers (if you exceed this limit, we have the right to charge you for further calls made, suspend and/or terminate your service in accordance with our terms and conditions).

    25% discount to top 35 international destinations: (Anytime International 300) Get a 25% discount on chargeable calls to all countries listed in our top 35 international destinations. For more information see our tariffs guide.

    300 Anytime minutes: (Anytime International 300) Means 300 inclusive minutes to USA mobiles, Canada mobiles and all landlines listed in our top 35 international destinations. Hang up and re-dial before 60 minutes and you won't be charged.

    Other call information:

    Mobile minutes: Are available to Line Only and the Anytime International 300 call plan and adds 100 inclusive minutes to UK mobile numbers and 070 personal numbering services at any time. Hang up and re-dial before 60 minutes and you won't be charged. Some 07 numbers do not constitute mobile numbers and may not be included as part of an inclusive mobile package.

    Service calls outside of your inclusive minutes: The charge for calls to service numbers beginning 084, 087, 09 and 118 consists of a 9.58p per minute access charge from Plusnet, plus a service charge set by the company you called. For more information visit www.plus.net/ukcalling.

    Calls to Plusnet Support and other Plusnet line rental customers are included in all line rental packages. Calls to other Plusnet phone customers are included for the first hour. Hang up and re-dial before 60 minutes and you won't be charged.

    For more information on our landline tariffs, see our guide here.

    For more information on call rates for service numbers, see our guide here.

    Phone Line Extras

    Voicemail

    1571 Voicemail: Included as standard, our answer phone-style feature takes messages when you can't get to the phone.

    Voicemail Extra: This advanced voicemail service lets you record your own greeting, store up to 30 messages and listen to them when you're not at home. Voicemail Extra costs £3 a month. Further information about Voicemail Extra can be found here.

    Caller Display

    See the number of the person who is calling you (you'll need a phone that supports this service). Further information about Caller Display can be found here. Subject to availability.

    Plusnet Call Protect

    Included in all line rental packages, this blocks nuisance calls on your landline and sends them straight into your junk voicemail. Further information about Plusnet Call Protect can be found here. Subject to availability.

    BT Sport from Plusnet on the Sky Digital Satellite Platform

    BT Sport is available to existing UK Plusnet residential broadband customers with a Sky satellite receiver box, a satellite dish installed and an active viewing card. No access to any online content is made available by BT via www.btsport.com or via the BT Sport App. Excludes Multi-room. BoxNation available in SD only. There is a minimum term of one month starting from your next billing date following sign up.

    † BT Sport HD requires a Sky HD satellite receiver box, HD cabling and an HD-ready television to view the HD channels.

    You don't need a Sky viewing card to order, but if you already have one you'll need to give us the viewing card number.

    BT Sport App from Plusnet

    BT Sport App from Plusnet is available to existing UK Plusnet residential broadband customers. There is a minimum one month term starting from your next billing date following sign-up. Monthly rolling contract.

    You can access BT Sport online or via the BT Sport App in the UK and in over 25 European destinations. Requires minimum 400Kbps line speed or good Wi-Fi/3G/4G signal and a compatible device. Maximum of two devices may be used simultaneously. Must be aged 17 or over. TV licence required. Terms apply.

    Our award-winning, UK based customer support is available 7 days a week

    0800 432 0200

    8am - 8pm Monday to Friday
    9am - 7pm Saturday
    9am - 6pm Sunday

    0800 432 0080

    8am - 8pm Monday to Friday
    9am - 7pm Saturday
    9am - 6pm Sunday