Faster web browsing: Using a public, local and geographically-strategic DNS server

Much as I am annoyed with Globe’s broadband Internet services right now, I have just switched back to using one of its DNS server. For almost four years now, I’ve been using Open DNS in a bid to speed up my web browsing. But why revert back to using my own ISP’s DNS server?

Digital Inspiration has a convincing argument for doing so:

You know about Content Delivery Networks like Amazon, Akamai, etc. that have data centers located across the globe and they serve content from the one that’s closest to you geographically. A site like Adobe hosts its files on Akamai so when you download that 1 GB Photoshop installer from Adobe.com, the file will be served to you from the Akamai data center that’s nearest to you.

A CDN uses your computer’s IP Address to determine your current location and then redirects you to the server that’s nearest to you. However, if you use a public DNS service, the CDN may not get to know your accurate location as your IP address is masked by the public DNS Service. The CDN could therefore serve content from a server that’s not closest to you and hence it will take more time to download files.

Makes sense right? So even if the ISPs in the country are notorious for their slow connections, in today’s reality where most websites are using Content Delivery Networks to serve up content and such CDN are scattered throughout the world, the only way to make sure that your are downloading content from the nearest data center would be to use your own ISPs DNS server.

But I still want to use a public DNS server because they are still better than my own ISP’s. Good thing I found about namebench – a cross-platform, open-source utility that looks for the fastest DNS server over at Lifehacker.

Since I’m using Ubuntu Linux, I first had to install Python to prepare the system.

sudo apt-get install python-tk

Then I downloaded the .tgz file which contained the source for namebench here.

Extracted it to my home folder:

tar xvzf namebench-1.3.1-source.tgz

I then navigated to the namebench directory and double clicked on the namebench.py file to run the program immediately.

After the tests were completed, it gave following recommendation:

Namebench recommended DNS servers
Namebench gives a combination of public, local and geo-strategic DNS server

It found Google Public DNS to be 8.2% faster than Open DNS, and to address the points raised by Digital Inspiration, namebench recommended that I use the Globe’s DNS server as my secondary while another DNS server in Japan to be the third.

For now I couldn’t say for certain if the new DNS settings has indeed increased my web surfing speed because my connection has yet to be returned to normal. I am confident though that it is a good combination of public, local and a geographically-strategic DNS servers.

What do you think about Digital Inspiration’s case for going this route? Do you also use public DNS servers?

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