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How to achieve a Faster DNS Response

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) also provides a DNS (Domain Name Service) server to translate the address you type into the numerical address the internet needs to bring you the web page you're after. For most people the time this takes is insignificant, but if you want to tweak your system for every bit of speed you can get, this article is for you.

There are many DNS servers that are available free for you to use but you need a way to choose. Enter namebench!

namebench is a free utility that will test your current DNS server and many others to find you the fastest one. It's available at http://code.google.com/p/namebench/ and runs on Mac OS X and Windows. Choose the appropriate download for your operating system and in just a few seconds (it's tiny) you'll have a copy. When you run it, it will extract and open its interface.

If the interface looks confusing don't be worried. The defaults will be fine. Just click on Start Benchmark at the bottom right.
namebench

After a few minutes of testing the results will appear in your web browser.
namebench results

The top part is what you're really interested in because it tells you how much you can speed things up and which DNS servers to try.

The graphs below can give you some idea of how many milliseconds improvement you can expect. Yes, I did say MILLISECONDS.
namebench comparison graphs

So how do you use this information?

A follow-up document How to Change Your DNS Server will explain it all.