Find the Fastest DNS to Optimize Your Internet Speed

Gavin Phillips Updated 16-08-2019

Google’s Public DNS is a free Domain Name System (DNS). It is an alternative to your ISP’s default DNS settings which aren’t always the fastest option, and other public DNS services such as OpenDNS or the privacy focused DNS.


Which of these options best optimize your internet speed? Is one DNS better than its competitors? And how can you tell if it is? Read on to find out how you find the fastest DNS and optimize your internet speed in the process.

What Is DNS?

The Domain Name System translates a human-readable website name to an IP address. When you enter the name of a website in your browser address bar, your browser sends that name to a DNS server What Is a DNS Server and Why Is It Unavailable? A DNS server matches a host and domain name with its server IP address. When a DNS server is unavailable, you can't reach the URL. Read More . The DNS server helps route the request to the appropriate IP address of that website.

Each website has an IP address. But the IP address for each site is a long string of numbers and unless you are a mnemonist, you cannot remember the IP address for every site you want to and need to visit.

When your ISP configures your internet connection, it is set to use the ISP’s default DNS. The default ISP DNS settings aren’t automatically bad, but some are known to have connection and frequent name address resolution issues. Furthermore, you are free to use one of the free DNS alternatives.

You want a fast and stable DNS. For some, their DNS should provide extra security and privacy features, too. To find your fastest DNS option, try one of the following free DNS speed tests. Here’s how you change your DNS settings in Windows and how to change your DNS settings on Mac.


1. NameBench

namebench dns test tool

NameBench is an open-source portable application (no installation, you can run it from a USB flash drive) that works on Windows, macOS, and Linux distributions. It runs a DNS benchmark test on your computer using your internet browser history or a standardized test data set. The NameBench DNS test then returns the fastest DNS settings for your location and current connection.

Head to the NameBench code repository and download the latest version of the tool for your operating system. Please note that NameBench ceased development in 2010, so the release dates are correct. Alternatively, use one of the following links.

Download: NameBench for Windows | macOS | Linux (All Free)


How to Use NameBench DNS Test

namebench results chart

Before you run NameBench, close any applications using your internet connection. Closing programs using an active connection can distort your NameBench DNS test results.

Open and extract NameBench. The Nameservers you see are the DNS servers you use currently. Keep the default NameBench settings, then hit Start Benchmark. The NameBench DNS test takes 10-20 minutes, so grab a cup of tea and wait for the results.

After the NameBench DNS speed test completes, your browser launches to show your results. The box in the top left shows the fastest DNS server for your current connection. For example, I should switch my primary DNS server to the privacy-focused How Cloudflare DNS Helps Solve 4 Big DNS Privacy Risks Cloudflare has released a free new security tool. Here's how Cloudflare DNS helps improves security, privacy, and even speed. Read More . You can also scroll down your results page to see DNS speed test comparison charts.


2. GRC Domain Name Speed Benchmark

dns bench dns test tool

The Gibson Research Corporation Domain Name Speed Benchmark tool provides a detailed analysis of the optimum DNS settings for your connection. Like NameBench, you can run DNS Benchmark from a USB flash drive, requiring no installation. There is a Windows application, but no support for macOS or Linux.

Download: DNS Benchmark for Windows (Free)

How to Use DNS Benchmark

dns bench fastest dns list


One thing I like about DNS Benchmark is the constantly updating DNS list. As the DNS speed test progresses, the servers with the fastest response move to the top of the list.

Download and open DNS Benchmark, then select the Nameservers tab. Let DNS Benchmark update the list, then select Run Benchmark. The first run through only takes a few minutes. At the end of the first DNS speed test run, however, DNS Benchmark announces that you should create a custom DNS benchmarking list for DNS testing results that accurately reflect your system, connection, and locale. That’s because the default DNS server list heavily favors US-based users.

Building the custom list takes “around 37 minutes.” But the result does provide a much clearer picture of the fastest DNS for your system.

3. DNS Jumper

DNS Jumper dns test tool

On first impressions, DNS Jumper appears to be a more basic DNS speed test tool. However, once you start using the DNS Jumper, you’ll notice that it has many similar features to NameBench and DNS Benchmark. For instance, DNS Jumper completes a fastest DNS test, and is portable application, too.

Regarding DNS speed, DNS Jumper has the option to scan for and select the “Fastest DNS.” Once the DNS speed test finishes you can select an option, then use the integrated “Apply DNS” button to use those settings. The DNS Jumper test list has some limitations and does favor US-based DNS providers.

Download: DNS Jumper for Windows (Free)

How to Use DNS Jumper

DNS Jumper fastest dns test list

Download and open DNS Jumper.

First, select your network adapter from the dropdown list. Unsure which network adapter to select? In your Start Menu search bar, input view network status and select the Best Match. Select Change adapter settings from the left column. One of the network adapters will have the name of your current connection underneath the adapter type. Wi-Fi connections will also display a reception bar. Note the name and select the corresponding hardware on the DNS Jumper dropdown list.

Once you have the correct hardware configuration, select Fastest DNS. A new window opens, listing the available DNS speed tests. Keep each selection checked, then hit Start DNS Test. The DNS Jumper test does not take long. When it completes, you can use DNS Jumper to update the DNS settings for your connection automatically.

How Do You Find the Fastest DNS?

Using one of the above DNS speed test tools will help you figure out the best DNS settings for your connection. NameBench and the GRC DNS Benchmark offer the most thorough tests and will give you the most accurate answer regarding DNS speed.

For another side of DNS, check out the best free dynamic DNS providers The 5 Best Free Dynamic DNS Providers A DDNS service can help you connect to your home PC while on the move. Here are the best free dynamic DNS providers to consider. Read More .

Related topics: Bandwidth, DNS, Troubleshooting.

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  1. ipnpo
    September 7, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    DNSBench works on linux with wine.

  2. Brian
    August 17, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Unfortunately if you're beta-testing Catalina, NameBench will not work as it is a 32 bit application. Anyone have another option for the Mac?

    • dragonmouth
      August 23, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      When you say "32-bit application" are you referring to Catalina? Because Namebench runs on 64-bit systems.

  3. Pollux
    May 16, 2015 at 2:24 am

    I agree with thios. Google knows too much about us already. Especially when they are reading our free gmail accounts. Why is gmail free? Same reason that Open DNS is free.

  4. 500gb disque dur externe
    January 10, 2010 at 10:18 am

    These tweaks just adjust the time to open the taskbar, force shutdown of programs, and turn off Aero. These features were intentionally added by Microsoft you dumb piece of shit. Jesus, comments like these really get me raged because you're probably 12 years old sitting there and is the future of our society.

    • @500qb disque dur externe
      January 30, 2010 at 8:04 pm

      Did you fall down and bump your head?
      DNS has absolutely NOTHING to do with taskbar times, forced shutdowns, or Aero....or Windows (all OS's use DNS or provide their own).

      From a BS in CS from an accredited uni., net. eng. III, CCNA, RHCE, Net+ certs. You need to stop passing along information on subjects you absolutely know nothing about.

    • sl0j0n
      January 28, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      Hello, "500gb Disque Dur Externe";
      What "tweaks" are you referring to?
      This article is about DNS, Domain Name Service, which is ONLY used for internet access. [*NO* "tweaks" for the windoz 'features' you mentioned.]
      Oh, BTW, nice way to address a "12 years old", if you talked to my "12 years old" like that I'd be giving you a 'manners lesson', even if I had to take legal action.
      Lastly, how dare you worry about "the future of our society" when you obviously are a danger to "our society"? [My advice? GROW UP!]
      Have a GREAT day, 'Neighbor!'

  5. thios
    December 15, 2009 at 4:51 am

    Google knows too much already about our preferences via their search. No need to browse from their DNS-I prefer a slower internet, thanks.

  6. willemijns
    December 15, 2009 at 4:49 am

    The goal is not to have the biggest list of DNS but the high QoS list...

  7. Rick S.
    December 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I prefer the much more thorough freeware tool
    DNSBench from grc. It has many more dns servers to test and it a great explanation/advise after running the test.