Home > Computers > BellSouth DSL has Slow DNS Lookups

BellSouth DSL has Slow DNS Lookups

I’ve used Bellsouth FastAccess DSL at home for nearly 3 years. Its never given me trouble. However, starting in March the time it takes to resolve a URL to an IP has suddenly increased from unnoticable levels to 10 seconds or more. Sometimes by browser gives up. To remidiate the problem I’ve setup a local DNS via BIND on SuSE. Frankly, I’m kind of pissed that Bellsouth can’t do better for the money I pay them.

Categories: Computers Tags:
  1. Bruce DeBoer
    April 22nd, 2005 at 18:44 | #1

    Thanks Tony. We’ve been screaming at our Bellsouth connection for months. My technology director at Synthesis thought it was a DNS problem; you confirmed the suspicion.

    Also, thanks for the Firefox tip. I reprinted it on my blog (credited to you of course) so my visitors can take advantage.

  2. June 5th, 2005 at 23:10 | #2

    I too have been using FastAccess for quite some time. DNS issues in the past few weeks have escalated to the point where routine daily browsing is always interrupted. The solution of running your own DNS server works well, even though one loses the benefit of BellSouth’s DNS cache. Hopefully BellSouth adds several more DNS servers to distribute the load their main servers are getting.

  3. rz22g
    June 16th, 2005 at 11:04 | #3

    Could someone point me to some detailed instructions on setting up a local DNS?

  4. rafiki
    March 10th, 2006 at 21:49 | #4

    how would i set one up? like i kinda got one i guess on Win 2003 Server, but i guess it only forwards, so how do i use another IP, like can i make my own kind of server (redirect to myself?) OR do i forward to another DNS?

  5. Sid
    July 23rd, 2006 at 11:34 | #5

    BellSouth Fast Access sucks lately. I have had it for years and it has worked great. For the last several months my 3.0 meg download has been averaging 90.8K to 1.79K. After having the repair crew come out about 5 or so times they told me they were unable to fix it and suggested that I suscribe to the 1.0 meg service….

    What kind of bullshit is that? One of the largest phone companies in the world can’t fix a problem and the tech suggests that you subscribe to a lesser service???

    Any suggestions??

    Frustrated in the South….

  6. jerry
    July 28th, 2006 at 22:25 | #6

    I need some help getting started on this computer I dont know the difference between DNS, and DSL

  7. Bob
    August 22nd, 2006 at 21:01 | #7

    DNS isn’t anything you have to worry about unless you know what it is. It is basically a thing that goes between your browser and the internet. When you go to google, your computer talks to a DNS (Dynamic Name Server) that gives your browser the real address.

  8. James
    November 1st, 2006 at 08:51 | #8

    Well it’s October 2006 and BellSouth’s DNS problems are still there. It takes a minimum of 5 seconds to get a DNS resolution – no matter what time of day it is. I have a 256K/256K Comcast cable connection as well and a DNS resolution only takes .05 seconds. So my little 256K connection is 100x faster than my 6MB connection with BellSouth. The problem is most people don’t realize the problem is with BellSouth – including BellSouth’s tech support employees. Don’t even get me started on that :) It’s a monopoly boys and girls. Even private ISP’s probably use their backbone, but might mitigate the problems above by hosting their own DNS servers.

  9. Donald
    November 2nd, 2006 at 22:47 | #9

    I’m the IT manager for a small firm in NC using Bellsouth Fast Access DSL and starting on Wednesday, 11/1 we suddenly lost our internet at 10:00 AM and started getting the Bellsouth screen referring to a change in the DNS servers. Only problem with that, I had already set the Netopia Modem/router we have to dynamically find the DNS server at Bellsouth and it was pointing at the right IP. So I call them up and after 30 minutes in the Queue, I’m told I have to point every machine in my network manually towards the Bellsouth DNS server. I do that, internet comes back but now we are having all sorts of internal issues because I’m no longer pointed at the Domain controllers’ DNS Server. Bellsouth has been no help with this problem, I’ve been bumped up to Tier II and I know more than the ones with whom I have talked. I’m more a database programmer than a LAN/Network guy and know just enough to maintain the server and where to look up answers when something goes wrong. If somebody here can help, I would appreciate it.

  10. Rick Gonzalez
    November 15th, 2006 at 12:59 | #10


    I have been having this problem starting the same day as you here in Miami. I have had so many different level of technicians on the phone and here in person trying to figure this out. I haven’t even had the chance to talk to anyone that knows more than me about what is going on. The last guy that came to my office didn’t even believe me about the Bellsouth DNS screen. Finally it came up again and he has been on the phone with Bellsouth headquarters back and forth and they have NO IDEA what the problem is. Finally Last friday they said they would physically check for problems on their servers and that it would take 2 business days. It’s been 3 now and they have absolutely no idea what is going on. If you want me to bring you up to speed on my situation – send me an email – gonzrick@gmail.com

  11. Woody
    November 20th, 2006 at 21:11 | #11

    BellSouth DNS problems today in Southern Georgia, including very slow responses and timeouts. My modem’s diagnostics page shows dns.mia.bellsouth.net, so maybe its related to the previous poster’s comments. I pointed my Mac (using the Network preference panel) to one of the OpenDNS servers, and things are much better. Off to go set up BIND on the Mac to see if that helps.

  12. Jason Yim
    November 20th, 2006 at 22:00 | #12

    Well since everyone is complaining about their bellsouth experiences here, I’ll share mine. So today, November 20, 2006, around 7:00, I went to my Tae Kwon Do dojo and my master asks says to me that he had just gotten his box refromated. but he says that his internet was exceptionally slow today. I looked and sure enough, google.com took like 5mins to load. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was… until I got home.

    Once I got home, a friend of mine started freaking out saying that her ie wasn’t working and that all the BELLSOUTH friends she talked to said the same thing. I asked her some questions and relized it was the same problem as my masters, i got interested and started asking some others and test out my own ie. Mine too took like 3mins to load a single page. Myspace is a joke. Some pages sometimes loads up and then sometimes shows a “page cannot be shown” error. I went to pcpitstop to see if it was downloading issues. My downloading speed was just the same as before: ~1200 kbps, the stupid 1.5mb “ultra speed” that I subscribed to which they wouldn’t even update for me even after all these years as their “valued customer”. anyways. Since the downloading was the same, I figure it was the problem with the dns. So I looked it up on google, found this page, and here I am writing this 2 page essay and wasting time I could use for my school homework.

    I’ve had many problems with bellsouth before and was meaning to transfer to comcast… but im just too lazy to pick up that damn phone and make the stupid call. I dont think many of you guys read up to this far, but if you have, any suggestions of making a local dns, if possible, would be great. lol.

  13. Will
    November 21st, 2006 at 10:05 | #13

    Nov. 20, 2006 – Columbia, SC

    Same problem started here at my home yesterday. Luckily I have a Windows 2003 DNS server (Local). So I just stop using Bellsouth DNS and started using my own DNS server.

    Maybe it is something to do with the AT&T merger? Migration problems?

  14. Patrick
    December 10th, 2006 at 21:03 | #14

    the best bet is to go to properties for your bellsouth fastaccess connection, double click on the internet protocol(tcp/IP)…set DNS manually to primary: 2445 and secondary to 2446 click ok, then click ok again…

  15. Daryn
    December 11th, 2006 at 09:51 | #15

    I had cable internet at home. we moved the pc to the office and had DSL installed. It is so slow. I think its from our pc. Are they a setting that needs change. I can have a pc thats never been on cable internet and it works fine on dsl

  16. January 26th, 2007 at 02:35 | #16

    oh I had the same issue the last two weeks my bellsouth been so slow it was like a dialup ping rates were high
    i pay for 6mb down and 512 up. all this slow junk started when they desided merge with AT&T i hope they get this DNS problem resolve soon.

  17. SVT
    January 29th, 2007 at 22:46 | #17

    Slow? You have no idea. DSL Extreme(ly slow) 3.0 – I’ve had two cards in the tower replaced, one card in the MUX replaced (Bellsouth equipment) Now I’m going after them for DNS mitigation – or litigation for not supporting the advertised speed. 241/90 Down/Up

  18. Bob
    February 4th, 2007 at 13:59 | #18

    I have also had these slow Bellsouth DNS lookup problems for several months. Today I finally decided to try to fix the problem. I googled the issue, came to this page first, felt comforted in not being alone with the problem, tried the suggestion by Woody’s November 20th post of using an openDNS server instead of Bellsouth assigning me one automatically and VOILA! everything is back to fast page displays. Here’s a link to a page that provides instructions for the change over. I was up and running with the new DNS servers in three minutes. Thanks Woody.

  19. Bob
    February 4th, 2007 at 14:00 | #19

    Forgot the link to the page…. http://www.opendns.com/start/

  20. Chuck Burgess
    February 12th, 2007 at 11:52 | #20

    I’ve been living with recurrent DNS issues with BellSouth DSL for two years. It has continued to worsen. The one day I wasted with their tech support was a bad DNS problem that I called to report, explicitly told them I had network connectivity to the internet fine and only had DNS failures, asked for different DNS IPs to try… and patiently went though their entire 1st tier script which included “use WinXP’s System Restore to roll your PC back one entire month”. When I told the tech I was ready to give up, this being the fifth time I’d said this and she perceived she wasn’t going to convince me to keep going, she put her “boss” on. I told him the exact thing I told her to start with, he understood exactly what I said, agreed with my assessment after looking into my details for under 20 seconds, and gave me different DNS IPs to use. All this happened about a year ago.

    I’ve continued to have this problem, enough to notice it every week or two. Sometimes bouncing my DSL connection would result in different DNS IPs being given, which worked. Other times, I just had to wait it out (i.e. no internet for a few hours).

    In the past month, my internet service has been completely down more than it has been up. My router’s connection logs show hours and hours of connection attempts, enough to completely fill up my router’s log capacity. This has been true every morning before I leave home for work, and about half of every afternoon when the kids get home from school. I know better than to waste time with their tech support. My only problem is feeling like I have no other options for broadband. I hear more complaints from cable users than from BellSouth users. I don’t really think that anyone RESELLING BellSouth’s service is able to provide better service, since the source of the problem (BellSouth’s network service) is the core problem.

    What alternatives does a fed-up residential user have?

  21. Bill
    February 21st, 2007 at 23:43 | #21

    Same here… I continue to have these same issues with BellSouth DSL. I have tried everything I know to improve my
    system performance in hopes things would improve. It is so frustrating when you cannot get into your email because your browser cannot find the server!!! I’m going to try Woodys solution (Nov 20 post). If I come up with anything that may b helpful I’ll post info… However, I think I will have to live with this as it is unless the service improves…

  22. Bill
    February 21st, 2007 at 23:45 | #22

    Oh!!! any news since Feb 12th that anyone could share??

  23. CAG
    February 22nd, 2007 at 17:23 | #23

    Bill, how is OpenDNS working for you?

  24. Latana
    March 6th, 2007 at 20:12 | #24

    THANK YOU!!!! I literally thought I was going crazy! for the last month suddenly I am spiking and getting timed out all the time. My Vonage fax number will not work anymore and it worked fine for months. My high security websites (I am in banking) will not let me log in because the connection many times is very poor. Now I just have to find another DSL service that services South Florida without these problems!

  25. Technically There
    March 15th, 2007 at 15:38 | #25

    I had Bellsouth (now AT&T) 1.5mb DSL for 2 years now and last week I upgraded to the 6mb DSL Xtreme, I couldn’t even tell when the change took effect!

    I followed Bob’s advice and assigned OpenDNS servers as the static DNS servers in my router and BOOM! I can tell a BIG difference now, it’s insanely fast like it’s loading off cache!

    Bellsouth DNS sucks, follow Bob’s advice if you have 3mb or 6mb DSL you’ll notice a difference if you think it’s slow.

  26. March 30th, 2007 at 21:15 | #26

    Here’s a nice little solution for you. Treewalk DNS. (sorry guys forgot the link look it up on google) Anyways, I installed it on my XP computer. went into tcp ip settings and manually told my computer to look for DNS servers @ (this was after I installed treewalk). Resolution will be slow at first, but it will get better as it learns what sites you visit.

  27. cathy
    April 24th, 2007 at 08:32 | #27

    I thought the “new” slowness had to be in my computer, but even after I cleaned it up , is was still very very slow. It started the same time as everyone else on this site…
    even timed out on some things. Even email takes forever to load, that is if it loads at all.
    Anyone out there that has switched to someting better? For high speed Bellsouth stinks.

  28. Dallas
    April 25th, 2007 at 11:36 | #28

    The postings here habe been fascinating to read.

    I am in the process of trying to change from SuddenLink fast cable modem to BellSouth fast DSL. The first problem (I thought I would lose my mind) was trying to make a wireless router work with the (black) Westell DSL mode. That was fixed by a BS tech support person talking me through the installation

  29. Dallas
    April 25th, 2007 at 11:44 | #29

    Fascinating postings.

    I had problems (apparenlty) with BellSouth’s DNS, though not as severe as the ones described above. Only a few of my browser Favorites timed out before connecting. I intended to, and still may, try openDNS (recommended above), but decided to give BellSouth tech support a try first. The tech talked me through some changes to my Microsoft browser (Internet Explorer) which seems to have fixed my problems with BellSouth’s DNS. We will see.

  30. Fernando
    May 12th, 2007 at 08:51 | #30

    I had the same problems that most people mentioned plus my telephone lines are also old contributing to the problems house build in 1975. I called bellsouth and they sent a very knowlegeble tech, He isolate my DSL line to the outlet where the modem is and optimized the the DSL to by going to:


    just follow the process. youll need to restart. Hope this help, I went from 1.8 to 5.8mps dowload and my upstream kept fine at aprox 450mps. Hope this help you

  31. Mitch Sanner
    May 26th, 2007 at 14:09 | #31

    I have been using DSL for over 10 years. I used PacBell in California and Bell South in Texas for 10 years. I moved to Raleigh and have had Bell South DSL for 10 months and I am very disapointed in the speed. Now that Bell South and SW Bell are part of AT&T why can’t they use the same technology. My speed test shows it to be only slightly above a fast dial-up. Any suggestions? Are they trying to get us to go to their more expensive service?

  32. July 2nd, 2007 at 20:59 | #32

    THANK all of you for posting here. Bellsouth has been such a pain in my side! To me the issue has always been their DNS. I never load Bellsouth DNS on client servers, etc.. Now I called and asked to upgrade from 1.5 to 6.0 and was told that because I have a fiber network, they can only provide 1.5mbps!! If I want faster, the rep said to look into Comcast!.. I laughed and verified that if I had a copper line I could get 6.0 but because I had fiber lines it only went upto 1.5. He said yes, that fiber was slower than copper when it comes to Bellsouth DSL.. So much for progress. I have used Fernando and Bob’s suggestions. I will post back if I have any more issues.
    Thanks again for verifying I not nutty when it comes to Bellsouth DSL!

  33. July 20th, 2007 at 03:11 | #33

    To Fernando who posted this link


    Is it legit? it looks like it try to download some active x utility. Looks suspicous.

  34. September 4th, 2007 at 17:55 | #34

    I’ve had the exact same issue with Comcast, in Portland, OR. DNS lookup was NEVER an issue until one day in July. Now it’s 10-20 seconds, gets cached for a while, then back to slow lookup.

    Has anyone accounted for why it happens suddenly and then never gets better? I have a theory that it’s simply a hardware failure. I’ve noticed that Comcast here keep NO DATA to track problems as trends. They will literally show up to connect new service in a neighborhood that is experiencing an all day outage.

    Bottom line, they actually might not know there’s a piece of bad hardware somewhere. Oh, the other calculated strategy is to offer to come out and look at everything. This is done as pure harassment. They’re trained to keep rebooting your PC as a harassment. Do what I do. Don’t let them in the house unless they have a laptop, and let them reboot THAT all day. They don’t touch the computer. When their laptop works I sign and they leave.

    This has nothing to do with overall performance. I regularly get 2500-5000K…AFTER the 15 second DNS lookup.

    Another thing to look at is intermediate voice over IP boxes. Some provide DNS resolution. Ditto for firewalls.

  35. GT-Force
    September 15th, 2007 at 13:13 | #35

    My GOD!

    I am not alone, after all! I thought that my problem was with the BellSouth DNS, but since I switched to Vista around the same time I started having problems with slow lookups, I wasn’t 100% sure.

    Moreover, last week’s Sunday and Monday (9 and 10 Sep.), I also had VERY serious problems with their PPPoE server. My connection kept dropping randomly, and stayed like that for random periods of time. It was not my DSL signal, since the modem did not loose sync, but tech support sent a line technician, who told me that I was too far away from the central office, and he was going to advise the center to drop my already slow 3000 speed back to 1500! Ridiculous! I told him that I was using it at around 2700-2800 for several years, and I never had such a problem, and luckily he agreed not to drop my speed.

    They even sent me a new modem for free (that is, if you call paying $20 for S&H free), since the tech-support thought it was my modem (it was not!).

    BellSouth (now AT&T) tech support is absolutely clueless about what’s going on their servers. They fail acknowledging any problems, too; by trying to put the “blame” on your side (they treat you as if you’re ALWAYS the one with the problem, and that they NEVER have a problem on their side).

    I am writing these, so that, people like will see that they are not alone, and when call the tech-support, they can point this out to them!

    Cheers all…

  36. GT-Force
    September 15th, 2007 at 13:20 | #36

    BTW, I am running Vista, and I tried installing TreeWalk after reading about it here, but when I run the TreeWalk Control panel, and hit Start Service, it crashes. On their site, they wrote they were in the process of compiling for Vista, so looks like it is currently no go for Vista users. :(

  37. TekFan
    September 20th, 2007 at 09:25 | #37

    Thank God I found this site! I’m having the same problem as the rest of y’all. On my end it started yesterday. I am able to connect to the Internet but some sites — including BellSouth/AT&T’s Webmail site — give me a “Service unavailable – DNS Failure” message.

    I checked my connection speed on speakeasy.net and am getting the ussual: 3.1MB up/325kbps down, so it’s not a connection iusse but a DSN one.

    I called tech support and the person I spoke to tried to help with setting different settings in IE7 and LAN but nothing seems to work. Eventually he told me that there were some maintenance being done in my area (Miami, area code 305) but my cordless’ battery died and I wasn’t able to hear what else was going on.

    If this continues again tomorrow, I’ll call support again.

  38. October 9th, 2007 at 09:37 | #38

    I too have HellSouth DSL…now ATT I guess?

    Anywyas, my solution was the following:

    Change the DNS settings in my ROUTER/modem to and

    THEN, on every machine on my network, I also changed the DNS addresses in the TCP/IP v4 adapter to those addresses as well :)

    Thus far, no problems!

  39. December 4th, 2007 at 12:59 | #39

    Im in the same boat, I’ve since moved on towards OpenDNS, using and :)

    Between them, and my Local DNS Cache, AnalogX FastCache, I never have DNS problems now….

  40. Russ
    January 10th, 2008 at 00:14 | #40

    I ran across OpenDNS while running into some issues with Comcast, and eventually cut ties with them due to multiple billing mistakes. Move to BellSouth DSL 3.0 and have excellent results. One more advantage is by signing up at there website, you can filter and block objectionable sites. And the best part IT’S FREE!!!

  41. bev
    February 24th, 2008 at 01:19 | #41

    I have Bell South’s DSL 6.0 Extreme. I’ve already been using OpenDNS since last fall when BS had many problems with their DNS servers. So I’m a bit CONFUSED as to WHY I’m having S-L-O-W web pages over the past 2-3 days!! I’ve read the above posts, and took Fernando’s suggestion of May 12th, about using the link to Bell South’s DSL Enhancements, and ran that. I finished just a few minutes ago, so I hope this will help. I double-checked my Network systems after it finished, and it’s still using the OpenDNS servers….I was afraid it would automatically revert to Bell South’s DNS servers, but it didn’t. So now I’ll see how it goes over the next day or so. Thanks for all the tips, and to know that I’m not alone as well!!

  42. Satch
    February 26th, 2008 at 15:44 | #42

    Bell South connectivity just is plan poor. We have been having trouble with long wait times for DNS and no connectivity problems. This creates issues when trying to work from home.

    I will be moving soon and intend to change service providers. Simple web browsing should not be this poor. Analogous to dial up.

    AT&T sucks.

  43. Deb
    March 12th, 2008 at 18:27 | #43

    Stop complaining and do what Bob said (Feb 4, 2008). Go to http://www.opendns.com/start/
    I was about to pay for a clean up program. This is free and takes 3 minutes. Started running fast immediatly! YIPEE! There must be some fault in the Bellsouth DNS set-up.

  44. Craig
    October 1st, 2008 at 08:49 | #44

    Just do it! I was skeptical, but it solved all of my speed and connection problems that I was having with Bellsouth. Thanks a million!!!!!!!!