Namebench: Google's 20% Project To Find The Fastest DNS Server

Screen shot 2010-01-01 at 6.26.30 PMWhen Google launched its own DNS service last month, one of the main stated goals behind the project was speed. The problem is that most Internet users have no idea what a DNS server is, let alone how to configure one, or test how fast it is. But one Googler has taken it upon himself to create an easy tool for testing DNS and recommending what you use with his 20% time.

Thomas Stromberg, a Google engineer based in Belgium, created Namebench, a piece of software to find the fastest DNS server available for you to use. The program is available for OS X, Windows, and Linux, and the entire thing has been open sourced by Stromberg.

Once you install it, Namebench couldn’t be easier to use. You simply load it up, hit the “Start Benchmark” button and let it do its thing. Depending on the number of test you run (you can set that), it will come back with the results in a few minutes. The results open in your web browser, showing you the first, second, and third best DNS options right up top. There are also a number of charts and and graphs if you want to drill down into the numbers.

Now, you might worry that since Namebench was created by a Googler, it would promote Google Public DNS above all others. But actually, in the test I just ran, Google’s solution ranged from the middle of all the DNS offerings to the slowest. OpenDNS, considered Google Public DNS’ biggest competitor, was actually the fastest.

Are you a power-user with 5 minutes to spare? Do you want a faster internet experience?,” is the way Stromberg pitches it on the site for project. If that applies to you, you should check it out. Stromberg wrote more about the idea a few months ago before Google Public DNS was a reality.


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