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 Can different DNS servers make your internet faster?
marko
May 17 2010, 10:34 AM
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Having suffered my fair share of internet problems recently, I stumbled upon a few topics which spoke about DNS servers, the importance of such and how using different DNS servers could potentially speed up your internet and make it more reliable. Now for anyone who doesn't know what DNS is, simply put it is the system which translates IP addresses into domain names. Each domain name (or website) on the internet has an IP address, this could be something like 20.10.60.44, although if you wanted to reach that website it would be difficult to remember all those numbers. So, instead, the DNS (Domain Name System) allows you to type in the domain name (such as freewarebb.com) and it will find which IP address is associated with that domain name.

All this is done in the background and extremely quickly, or at least it should!. And this is where the argument for many starts, how fast can a DNS server process this info?. Well, some have argued that the fastest DNS servers are those closest to you, whereas others have argued that you're better using foreign DNS servers if you browse foreign websites most often. The problem is, how do you find the best DNS servers to use?

Well, I stumbled upon a nifty little program called namebench which claims to find the fastest DNS servers for your connection, so I decided to give it a whirl. The program takes a few minutes to make it's tests so do be patient while it runs and my results were as follows ...

(IMG:https://freewarebb.com/images/Capture.GIF)
206% faster is a pretty steep claim, so I dived into my broadband router configuration and changed the DNS settings as recommended, gave it a few minutes and started browsing as normal. Hmm, does seem faster, but is it noticeably faster?. Well, the answer has to be yes, browsing FreewareBB (located in the US) on my internet connection from the UK would actually appear to be a lot quicker!. I decided to head over the www.speedtest.net and check their results - previously I remember getting somewhere between 4Mb-5Mb connection between the UK and Dallas where our server is located, this time though we had a connection of nearly 7MB! Check the image below ...

(IMG:http://www.speedtest.net/result/817045882.png)

It has to be said that there is obviously more to consider here than just DNS servers, your own ISP will ultimately dictate what speeds you get from the web but it most certainly can't do any harm to change your DNS settings based on the recommendations of 'namebench', if it means you have a faster connection 50% of the time then as far as I'm concerned that's got to be a winner!
 
 
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James (Jim) Hill...
May 17 2010, 11:01 PM
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Wow, nice find Marko!!

But, what about the safety factor mate? OpenDNS not only claims to be quite fast but also extremely safe.

I'm going to download that "nifty little program" and see what it recommends for me in Oz. Let you know mate.

Cheers...Jim

UPDATE:

Blimey, it does go through a rigmarole doesn't it mate....so many checks. Took quite a while to complete for me.

Anyway, I have been using OpenDNS...the results were that TGP/PowerTel in Sydney Aus is the recommended DNS server and would be 62% faster.(makes sense).

What a great little tool!! Still a tad concerned over any safety issues though.

 
marko
May 18 2010, 12:09 AM
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Yep, meant to put a little about OpenDNS in there Jim, I've always recommended them as a sure-fire way to control what the kids are allowed to access on the internet, often better results than parental controls found in firewall software but unfortunately a lot of parents rely on the kids to manage their internet connections!. Still, if safety isn't an issue then I guess this tool could indeed be a useful addition to anyone's quest for more speed (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
Cheers
Marko
 


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