Recently, Google made a big splash in the world of domain name servers (DNS), when they offered their own free (open) DNS service. Shortly after Google’s announcement, I posted an article telling you How to Use Google Public DNS on Windows 7 and Windows XP. In that article, I also explain the general idea of what DNS actually does and how it can affect your overall surfing speed.
That wasn’t the end of the story. There were plenty of people who had concerns about the whole Google DNS idea, since Google already influences so much of the Internet with their search engine, advertising and free services.
There are hundreds of alternatives for free and open DNS services but OpenDNS is still the premier (and one of the largest) since it offers all kinds of filtering options for internet safety. For many out there, popularity or safety aren’t a big concern. They feel the need for speed.
Often times, your fastest DNS service is the one provided to you by default from your internet service provider, but sometimes it isn’t. How can you find out which is the fastest?
Here are two free tools that you can use to determine the speed king when it comes to DNS services at your location.
The first, namebench, is a fairly new, free and open source project (FOSS) which is hosted at Google Code. So, once again, Google has their finger in the pie, in a sense. Since it’s open source, I don’t fear that it’s results will be lopsided in favor of any service. It was easy to use, you only have to click a single button (Start Benchmark) to get it started on it’s 10 to 15 minutes of benchmarking. (for Windows, Mac, Linux)
The second, Steve Gibson’s DNS Benchmark, is also fairly new from what I understand. Steve is an old security expert who’s earned our trust with years of service. He codes all of his programs using assembly language and this tool is very compact, weighing in at 176k. It’s just as easy to use , since all you have to do is click a single button (Run Benchmark) to fire it up. I did notice that it finished a bit faster than the other tool did. (Windows only)
Both of these tools will let you make all kinds of changes to the options before you run them. I won’t spend any time here going into those options because they’ll both work fine with their default settings if the average joe needs to use them.
I used both of these freeware tools. Based on the results, I’ve determined that although UltraDNS was slightly faster, I am willing to trade some of that speed for the extra safety of OpenDNS. I used a freeware tool named DNS Jumper to quickly set my DNS settings.
Techie Buzz Verdict:
Since both of these tools are free, there’s really no need to make a choice between them. Take a few minutes and run both of them. However, if I had to choose only one, then Steve’s DNS Benchmark would be my choice, only because I’ve used his freeware security tools for years and I trust him implicitly.
Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (both tools are good)