Optimize Your Internet Connection For Speed With DNS Benchmark

In our quest to find better ways to speed up your Internet and to enhance your browsing experience, this article talks about optimizing your computer DNS services so that you get connected faster than ever. DNS stands for Domain Name System and is a database that contains resolutions for all the domain names present on the Internet.

To find out resolved addresses of any domain, you use a Domain Name System Service. It takes a little time before your DNS servers fetch resolved address of any URL. Only after your DNS service fetches resolution, your browser can connect to related websites. You can read  more about Domain Names and Domain Name Systems.

The early days of the Internet saw only the Internet Service Providers offering DNS services. It was these companies who gave you the facility to lookup DNS resolutions before you could open related websites. As the need for faster and secure DNS arose, many companies started offering free or paid DNS services. Such companies have dedicated servers that involve not only in DNS resolution but also in checking out URLs for malware and phishing.

Companies such as OpenDNS, ClearCache and Comodo provide you DNS services that protect you from redirection to malware-laden sites and phishing websites. Some DNS services give you additional features such as parental blocking of websites and protection from Phishing.

DNS Benchmark – Increase Your Internet Speed

When you get a new Internet service, your ISP configures your router and/or computer to use his own DNS servers. Though they work, they are not always optimal for you. Upon a little research, you may find that other DNS service providers are better performing. Since there are many DNS services available, it becomes difficult to check out each one manually. This is where DNS Benchmark comes in. The free tool by Gibson Research helps you in two ways:

  1. Runs a check of pre-listed DNS services to see which ones are the fastest and where does your own DNS service stand
  2. Helps you create a custom list of DNS services based on your geographical location so that you can use the best ones available for you.

Both of the above reports help you choose DNS services that are fastest for you – thereby helping you increase your Internet speed.

Other than checking your DNS service for speed, it also checks to see if your DNS service is reliable and if it can stop redirection to custom pages. A DNS service is unreliable if it is not able to resolve domain names each time. Some DNS services redirect you to its own ad loaded page when you enter a wrong URL instead of showing you “Page Not Found” error.

DNS Benchmark – Compare Your DNS Service With Others

There are some 50 known DNS services listed in DNS Benchmark. To run this test, click on the Nameservers tab and click Run Benchmark.

When you run this test, DNS Benchmark compares your DNS service with all these 50 DNS services and then, shows you a detailed report with data on:

  1. DNS services that are not reliable for your location
  2. DNS services that redirect you to a custom page
  3. If your DNS servers are listed properly – in order of speed.
  4. If all of your DNS servers are responding
  5. DNS servers that are faster than your DNS services

Note that your DNS service refers to the DNS service you are using, currently. To know what IP addresses you are using for DNS, click on Network icon in the Windows System Tray. Click Open Networking and Sharing Center. In the window that appears, click Change Network Adaptors. In the resulting dialog, click to select your network. Right-click to select Properties. In the dialog box that appears, click on IPv4 and again click on Properties. You can see your current primary and alternate DNS towards the bottom of the dialog box.

Following is the image where DNS Benchmark tells me that my DNS servers are not ordered properly and hence, I am not able to utilize maximum speed. It also tells me which DNS server should I make primary and which one should I enter into Alternate DNS. The one numbered 1 should be my Primary DNS and 2 should be my Alternate DNS.

DNS Benchmark – Create Custom DNS List Optimized For Your Location

This feature of DNS Benchmark allows you to create a list of DNS servers that are optimal for your location. It checks out the different public DNS services available and sorts them in order of speed. It also marks the different rows showing the DNS servers with Red and Orange if it finds any faults with those DNS servers. It tells you the meaning of these Red and Orange DNS servers in the Conclusions tab. Based on these sorted result, you can choose to replace your current DNS service with the fastest ones available without any issues.

If you intend to change your DNS servers after running the tests, check those DNS servers for their capability to handle phishing and malware. You may run a search with the DNS owners’ name to know if they offer ample phishing protection. In my case, though DNS Benchmark showed Google DNS on the top of Comodo, I preferred to use Comodo DNS as the latter offers both malware and phishing protection.

For DNS Benchmark to function properly, it is necessary that it is the ONLY program using the Internet when you are running the tests. Close any applications that use the Internet and then run DNS Benchmark tests. This tool is available here.

Moreover, it is advised that you run the DNS Benchmark test two-three times – at different times – before concluding the best DNS servers for your location. This will help you remove the element of doubt that creeps in due to the fact that DNS server speed varies according to traffic.

Do share your experiences, if you have used this tool.

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Arun Kumar is a Microsoft MVP alumnus, obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN