Once upon a time life was simple. While setting up your internet connection, you simply had to enter the DNS servers you had received from your ISP and forget about it. Most of the chaps didn’t even have to do that; Windows’ was smart enough to automatically figure it out. But then along came OpenDNS. It promised speed. It claimed to rid you of your ISPs pathetic DNS server and help you get to the page you wanted faster.
Life was still great. You were satisfied with OpenDNS, content with knowing that your DNS server was faster than your friend’s.
But as they say, good things never last. Even before you realized there were dozens of similar services each touting to be faster than the rest. The market was filled with the likes of DNS Advantage, ScrubIT, TreeWalk DNS and Google Public DNS. You had more alternatives than you ever wanted. How was one supposed to know which one is really the fastest? Confusion and chaos reigned.
Ok, enough of my babble. So, how do we know which DNS server is the fastest? We can’t rely on other users benchmarks, since the results often depend upon one’s geographic location. The simplest way to determine your DNS server’s speed is to use the DNS Benchmark tool released by GRC. DNS Benchmark comes with a list of all popular public DNS servers and automatically includes the DNS servers being used by your system. You also have the option of manually adding any DNS server you wish to benchmark.
Using it is simple. Just click on Run Benchmark. It will automatically test all the nameservers present in the list and sort them in descending order of performance. Like any truly smart software, it offers a helpful summary and list of recommendations based on the result of the benchmark.
GRC has built a reputation for developing high quality freeware. DNS Benchmark is no different. Like all GRC freeware, DNS Benchmark is a tiny download which doesn’t require any installation. Use it, if you want to find out which DNS server is fastest for you. In my case, I found my ISP’s DNS servers to be the fastest. SpeakEasy and DNS Advantage lost out by a narrow margin. OpenDNS was handsomely beaten by my ISP, but it still managed to outperform Google.
Did you get similar results? Or were they completely different? Don’t forget to let us know.
Download DNS Benchmark (150 KB)
Version Reviewed: 0.0.3630.1
Operating System: Windows all (Linux and Mac through Wine)