Our underlying mission at Verizon Digital Media Services (formerly EdgeCast) is to make using the internet a faster and safer experience for all. We work behind the scenes to speed up some of the world’s most trafficked websites — including Twitter, WordPress, Hulu and over 6,000 more. However, from an end-user perspective, a number of optimizations can be made to ensure the fastest browsing experience. One simple optimization is utilizing the fastest DNS server for your area.
DNS servers are an essential link between your home computer, phone, or tablet, the website you want to visit. DNS (Domain Name System) is the standard communication protocol for translating a domain name “edgecast.com” to an IP address “126.96.36.199.”
A slightly updated analogy for a DNS server is that they act similar to the contact list in your smartphone — the name of your friend is associated to their number, no need to remember a string of digits.
A slow DNS server can act like a bottleneck when connecting to a website. Even though the underlying website server architecture is heavily optimized and has plenty of capacity, the actual time it takes you to lookup and translate the domain name to the IP address can tack on an additional 500ms – 1s to overall load time. Or, worst of all, because the default DNS server has an outdated list of addresses, it can’t find the website at all.
Enter Namebench, a multi-platform open-source DNS benchmark utility created at Google. Namebench runs a series of tests on your local computer to determine what DNS servers have the quickest response times for your area.
In most cases, settings for DNS servers are defaulted to whichever your ISP prefers. ISPs will often run their own DNS server in order to intercept bad requests and serve ads. Unfortunately, these ISP run DNS servers are usually much slower than dedicated and free DNS servers.
After finding the fastest DNS server for your area, you can make the change in your router configuration, or in the control panel of your OS of choice. Here’s a guide that explains how to make the change.