If you been following the tech blogs, there has been a lot of talk about DNS (Domain Naming System) and which DNS nameserver settings to use that will ultimately optimize and make your internet experience faster and safer. For example, instead of using my internet service provider’s default DNS settings, I have opted to the DNS settings from a provider called OpenDNS. OpenDNS is claimed to be faster than your provider’s DNS and has the ability to filter out the bad content, when properly setup. There are other popular DNS services such as Norton DNS and Google DNS.
Why does DNS matter?
The DNS protocol is an important part of the web’s infrastructure, serving as the Internet’s phone book: every time you visit a website, your computer performs a DNS lookup. Complex pages often require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading, so your computer may be performing hundreds of lookups a day. – Google
Changing your DNS settings is very easy to do and is not complicated at all. Once you decide which DNS provider to go with it is a matter of inserting a set of numbers at the computer level (under your Network Connections) or you can actually do it at the router level. Instead of rewriting those instructions on “how to”; best instructions I have found on how to change your DNS is reflected in Bill Mullin’s recently posted article “Norton DNS – Another Layer of Computer Security“. Those same instructions (found toward the end of the article) will apply to using any of the DNS providers.
Once you get a general understanding about DNS and what all the fuss is about, you are probably wondering how do you benefit from changing your DNS settings and which DNS provider is best? One tool to help you benchmark the various DNS providers (or servers), AND answer these questions, is the small (154K) portable tool called DNS Benchmark.
“You can’t optimize it until you can measure it”
Now you CAN measure it!
DNS Benchmark – This little puppy will help you determine your DNS performance by comparing (or benchmarking) your performance with other DNS nameservers. What you will learn is it is all about location; where you are located relative to the DNS nameserver you are using.
GRC’s DNS Benchmark performs a detailed analysis and comparison of the operational performance and reliability of any set of up to 200 DNS nameservers (sometimes also calledresolvers) at once. When the Benchmark is started in its default configuration, it identifies all DNS nameservers the user’s system is currently configured to use and adds them to its built-in list of publicly available “alternative” nameservers. Each DNS nameserver in the benchmark list is carefully “characterized” to determine its suitability — to you — for your use as a DNS resolver. This characterization includes testing each nameserver for its “redirection” behavior: whether it returns an error for a bad domain request, or redirects a user’s web browser to a commercial marketing-oriented page. While such behavior may be acceptable to some users, others may find this objectionable.
In my testing, using DNS Benchmark, I found that OpenDNS, from my geographical location, was top dog and utimately made a noticeable difference in my browser page loads. Remember DNS is like a phonebook. Everytime you visit a website in your browser, your computer performs a DNS lookup using the DNS provider that you have selected. It really does make a difference!
Other interesting articles about DNS: