If you haven’t heard about it, Google announced their free Public DNS service in early December. According to Google’s Blog, Google Public DNS will provide increased DNS lookup speeds, making the end-user experience faster.
Google isn’t the first company to provide an alternative DNS service. The popular OpenDNS has been around for a few years now and claims to provide the same benefits as Google DNS.
Are these public DNS services really better than the DNS services provided by your internet service provider (ISP)? I decided to find out for myself, and you can check out my results below.
Setting Up The Tests
I ran across the DNS Performance Test utility to help answer my question. This application will test the performance of your DNS server by performing random DNS lookups from a list of 10,000 domain names. The time of each DNS lookup is recorded and compared with other results to give you an overall lookup time average.
I performed my test by setting my DNS to three different DNS servers: Google Public DNS, OpenDNS, and my ISP’s DNS (Midcontinent Communications). Each test was performed to 5,000 DNS lookups with the domain list randomized before each test by the utility.
The test results to Google Public DNS are shown below. Out of the three DNS servers tested, Google DNS performed the worst with 145 ms.
The test results for OpenDNS are shown below. OpenDNS came in 2nd Place of the three DNS servers tested with 128 ms.
ISP DNS (Midcontinent Communications)
Of the three DNS servers tested, my ISP’s DNS performed the quickest average DNS lookups at 116 ms.
Although Google Public DNS had the slowest average of the three DNS servers, the differences between the three results were negligible with first and last within 30 ms of each other. My testing method might not have been the most scientific, but I believe the results accurately represent that many other users would experience. Since Midcontinent is a large ISP for the Midwest, I believe that explains my good results when compared to Google Public DNS and OpenDNS. I believe that your results may vary depending on the size of your ISP.
Although speed is important, something that can’t be overlooked with a public DNS service is the added security features. DNS providers like OpenDNS and Google Public DNS claim to have added security features to prevent various types of DNS security breaches.
What are your thoughts on public DNS services such as Google Public DNS and OpenDNS? Can you see any improvements as a user of these DNS services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.