DNS Speed

While I unfortunately can’t remember who linked this on Twitter, (Sorry! Twitter doesn’t allow searching just the people I follow.) I was pointed to this evaluation by BrowserMob of Google’s new DNS service compared to OpenDNS and the run-of-the-mill ISP. The results were surprising, and I suggest you take a gander at what they found.

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At the end of their post, they provide a downloadable Java application that they built to perform the test. It queries for the DNS for the top 1000 Alexa sites worldwide via Google’s DNS, OpenDNS, and whatever local DNS you specify. It runs the test three times.

Here are my results from just outside New York City using Optimum Online:

Test 1: Google
45164 ms for 1000 records
Test 2: Google
40363 ms for 1000 records
Test 3: Google
35965 ms for 1000 records
Test 1: OpenDNS
98885 ms for 1000 records
Test 2: OpenDNS
26778 ms for 1000 records
Test 3: OpenDNS
17898 ms for 1000 records
Test 1: Your DNS
79021 ms for 1000 records
Test 2: Your DNS
71502 ms for 1000 records
Test 3: Your DNS
58576 ms for 1000 records

Now right off the bat, I see the Google isn’t at impressive as I thought it would be. That said, my Google results are still about twice as fast as BrowserMob’s. OpenDNS once again had the slowest response of all with their first test, but quickly made a comeback. In fact, in terms of the fastest results OpenDNS takes the cake. Looking on, I think the most important piece of information lies in the Optimum Online results. They were slower than Google every time, and much slower than OpenDNS with the rather obvious exception.

BrowserMob came to the conclusion that while OpenDNS provides nice features, and Google claims to be cutting down on DNS query times, their local ISP was still the best option. This was true in their case, but very wrong in mine. Logically, it takes less network hops to get to my own ISP’s servers than either Google or OpenDNS. So why so slow? I really couldn’t tell you, but looking over the comments on BrowserMob’s blog there’s a good mix of results like theirs and results similar to my own.

I think that when choosing which DNS service to use (something that most computer users will never even think about) a test like this proves beneficial. You can’t just make a broad statement that Google is better due to their web presence or that OpenDNS is better due to their experience in the field (though they do have nice features that Google doesn’t yet). Some will find that their tried-and-true provider’s DNS may be best. For me, I don’t know which I’ll stick with yet. I don’t use very many of OpenDNS’ features but their horrific first test and Google’s slower average leaves some food for thought.