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Fastest DNS Servers – How to find?

DNS oversimplified

DNS oversimplified

Fastest DNS Servers – How to find?

Since you are reading this guide on finding fastest DNS servers, I believe you already know about the basics of DNS – if you do – then scroll down to the heading “Required Software” . And for readers who don’t, let me first go through the basics of DNS :

What is DNS or Domain Name Server?

Lets take a common example – we all like to talk to our friends on phone – but how many phone numbers can we remember? All mobile phones & most of the landline phones have the address book which comes to our rescue, it stores the phone numbers and names of our contacts and allows us to look up and call contacts by name. But in the background, our phone actually dials the number not the name. DNS works similarly.

Websites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo! are all hosted on different servers around the world. Each server has a unique internet address which is called IP address and it is a pretty long number. Without a DNS, google.com would be 74.125.131.105. It is difficult for us to remember 74.125.131.105, but very easy to remember google.com. That is where a DNS comes to our help. When we enter google.com in our browser, our computer network contacts the DNS of our internet service provider which then translates google.com to the IP address of closest Google server and then connects to that server.

Why would one need to change the DNS Server?

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) already provides you access to its DNS server so that you can enjoy web browsing the moment your connection is active. So if you already have access to your ISP’s DNS server then why change it? Check the reasons below :

  1. You need the Fastest DNS servers – a DNS server faster and more reliable than what your ISP provides.
  2. You need Censorship free DNS Servers –  if your Country’s Laws mandate your ISP to block certain website addresses at the DNS Server.
  3. You need a DNS Server which can block most of the known harmful and porn websites without the need of installing any additional software.
  4. You need access to region locked websites like Netflix – which do not work in many countries.

In this guide, we will search for a Fastest DNS Server which is also Censorship free. I will cover the safer DNS Server option as discussed above in point # 3 in a separate article & point #4 on how to bypass region locks of popular websites like Netflix using a DNS Server in a separate article too. Let’s start (finally)..

Required Software :

1. Namebench (Available for Windows, Mac and Linux)

Download the appropriate version of Namebench from the link above. I will be using the Windows version for this guide, but the core functions remain the same for all versions.

Finding Fastest DNS Servers – Let’s begin :

Step 1 : Save and Close all the programs which use internet, specially if you have any torrent software running on any of your computers.

Step 2 : Run the Namebench software, the following screen will pop up :

Fastest DNS Servers - Namebench Settings

Verify the final Settings

As you can see in the above screenshot, leave the nameserver field populated with default options. Also check/tick the boxes the way they are selected in the above screenshot. I have chosen Query Data Source as “Top 2000 Websites (Alexa)” which I think is the best way to test the performance of the DNS Server – by running the tests to check connection speeds to the most popular websites in the world. Once you have configured Namebench, click Start Benchmark.

Alert : Benchmark can take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes to finish !!

Step 3 : Once the benchmark finishes, your web browser will open up with the results :

Fastest DNS Servers recommendation

Namebench recommendation

As you can see, Google’s Public DNS is a lot faster than my internet service provider’s DNS. Namebench has recommended me to use Google’s Public DNS as my Primary DNS, my ISP’s DNS (192.168.0.1) which is configured in my wifi router as a Secondary DNS. Namebench has also recommended a 3rd DNS, but we should be fine with two servers. You can make a note of these recommendations as the results are stored in the temporary folder on Windows. (c:/users/accountname/appdata/local/temp/namebench_yyyy-mm-dd_testnumber.html)


Step 4 on the next page  …

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