How To Optimize Your DNS For Faster Internet

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Optimize DNS Intro   How To Optimize Your DNS For Faster Internet“The Internet is just a series of tubes” as one man so wisely stated. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. There’s a complex architecture that supports the Internet, and data packets need to travel some interesting routes in order to reach you. If you can optimize the paths that your data takes, you can boost your Internet speed.

Now, there are some limitations. Data packets are essentially light, and light has a fixed speed of travel. Internet data packets go from point A to B, and there’s going to be a point where it can’t travel any faster. So don’t expect to pump yourself up from 100 KB/s to 1 MB/s just by tweaking your DNS settings. However, you can noticeably improve your web browsing times just by optimizing your DNS records.

What Is DNS Optimization?

In simple terms, the Internet (at least the part of the Internet that contains webpages) is a network of computers where each computer holds a record of other computers on the Internet. These records are a list of “domain names” and these servers are “domain name system” (DNS) servers. That’s a drastically simplified explanation, but it’s enough to understand why DNS is important.

This network of DNS servers is how data packets traverse the Internet and reach their destinations. They hop from server to server, asking each server along the way for the correct route towards the target computer. This is called “routing”.

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Now, certain DNS servers may have outdated records. Some servers may have inefficient records that point your data packets towards the scenic route, taking you all around the Internet before the packets can reach the destination. If you can track the most efficient DNS servers paths, then you can cut away that excess travel time. Thus, DNS optimization.

Benchmarking Your DNS Performance

There are certain tools for “DNS benchmarking” that can help you determine sub-optimal DNS records and fix them. In essence, they compare the response times of various DNS servers that you’ve used recently against publicly-available DNS servers.

This DNS server comparison is used to rank the various DNS servers in order of their response times and a few other factors. By optimizing this list, your data packets are sent out to the most efficient (read: fastest) DNS routes, which ends up increasing your browsing speed – sometimes significantly.

optimize dns dnsbenchmark   How To Optimize Your DNS For Faster Internet

When it comes to benchmarking, I use Domain Name Speed Benchmark. The download is extremely light (only ~160KB) and the program is extremely easy to use. After you run the scan, there’s a handy little “Conclusions” tab that will summarize the state of your DNS connections. Full instructions, which are only 3 steps, are listed on the program’s website.

optimize dns namebench   How To Optimize Your DNS For Faster Internet

NameBench is another great program that can identify problems in your DNS records. It tells you where your Internet performance is failing and tries to find the most responsive DNS servers for your location. Use it before you use any DNS optimizer because if you already have high-performance DNS records, there’s little to gain.

Optimizing DNS Performance

So you’ve run some sort of DNS benchmark program and the conclusions state that your DNS connections are rather shoddy? Well, that’s when we know it’s time for you to clean up your records and improve web performance through a bit of optimization.

optimize dns namehelp   How To Optimize Your DNS For Faster Internet

That’s where NameHelp comes in. NameHelp is a program that was developed by researchers at Northwestern University. It sits in the background of your system and silently optimizes dns settings to contact the fastest servers for your location. All it takes is a quick installation and configuration. Once that’s done, you’ll see a boost to your web browsing speed (given that your DNS benchmark wasn’t so great to start with).

NameHelp is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems free of charge.


If you have a high-speed Internet connection but notice that your web browsing speed isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, then your problem may lie in the DNS records. By optimizing your computer’s DNS records, you can find the fastest routes for your data packets to take when traveling the Internet.

Again, it won’t be a massive boost to your Internet speed, but in some cases it can result in quite a noticeable improvement in web browsing time. Run the benchmarks and see if you need to fix your DNS settings.

Image Credit: Web Address Via Shutterstock

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32 Comments - Write a Comment


Alexandra Momo

This is really great, thx for the tips.


Trevor Lenten

Namebench is another great tool for this purpose.

Joel Lee

NameBench is mentioned in the article!

Trevor Lenten

Totally missed that :)



I used Benchedhelp



thanks for the tips. it is completely new to me


Alexander Carstensen

I have noticed a speed increase by changing my DNS to Google’s Public DNS that you can find here :

Joel Lee

Using a new DNS such as Google’s public DNS or OpenDNS is a great way to *potentially* speed up your Internet. However, due to way that custom DNS works, you may experience longer load times for CDN-related sites, like Youtube. Your mileage may vary!


Mac Witty

Tried namebench on a mac 10.6.8 and after running nearly 15 minutes I got an error message saying it couldn’t save JSON files. Grrrrr

Naz Lazar

I’m running on a MacBook Pro 10.8.2 and it seems stuck on “Waiting for wildcard cache queries from 22 servers (22 Threads) [0/2″

How long is this supposed to take?

Joel Lee

Sorry, I can’t really offer any troubleshooting help for the programs here. You may want to contact the support team for the programs or even ask MUO Answers.


EdmarJohn SanDiego



Ihtisham ul haq haq

nice article helped me enhance my knowledge…..!


Akshata Ptl

I have used it some 1-2 years back. Google DNS is the best or always in top 3 for me.
So use it or use something else to get rid of ISP restrictions.


Zviad Mikadze

great article,thx


R Michael Lacy

Thanks, I’m going to give NameHelp a try.


ion popa

I didn’t know this way to speed up browsing. I’ll try it out and let my friends know. Thanks!



will it make computer working more harder n make the lifetime become shorter?

Joel Lee

No, it will not affect your computer’s load, resource usage, or lifetime in any significant way.


Dane Morgan

Looks like Domain Name Speed Benchmark will not run on Win8 64.

Joel Lee

Thanks for letting us know. Hopefully they update it soon!


Running on my Windows to Go version 8 x64. Just had to right click the application and run as administrator. This is almost a default anymore for me to run applicatons on Windows 8.


Prasanth Mathialagan

Thanks for your information.


Catherine McCrum

Sending this info on to my Husband. He is my IT guy. I look forward to not only faster but smarter internet. Thanks for this article.


Augustine Correa

Was anyone able to download a working installer from the grc site? A 0kb exe is getting downloaded[tried it 3 different times] on my machine


Guy McDowell

Gibson utilities! There’s a blast from the past. His software was awesome then and is still awesome today. You need to see the other tools he has.


Jonathan Neiderbach

Excellent, well written story. Not sure the improvement in speed is noticeable, and OpenDNS offers some great features, but always good to learn more about the infrastructure we depend upon.



did the test and my ISP was the best but I am in New Zealand

This may allso help and it free TCPOptimizer.exe SG TCP Optimizer

Brian Lawrence

IOBit has a great TCPOptimizer also. You can adjust oit to meet the doiwnload speed of your IP connector. Does a great job optimizing this way.


Nancy B

Thanks for the info! I had no idea there were programs like this will definitely give DNS Benchmark a shot!


Brian Lawrence

I use Open DNS and notice considerable improvement of how my pages load, without having used any DNS Benakmark program. I would recommend Open DNS, which is free to anyone.

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