DNS benchmarking tools are used mainly for DNS server speed testing. DNS services tend to advertise high speeds and claim they can significantly help organizations improve website performance and the general pace of web browsing. However, performance varies based on the actual speed of the DNS server as well as how far away those servers are from the user’s location.
It is similar to the promises often made by home internet service providers. They usually claim a fairly high amount of performance, but average rates can fall far short. For DNS servers, therefore, speed tests are done to determine which service is faster for a specific situation.
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Best DNS Benchmark Tools
ServerWatch evaluated many DNS benchmark tools. Some are designed for power users, while others are for less knowledgeable users. In the latter case, you just enter your domain and results pop up automatically with recommendations. Note that these services may not be as thorough as the more detailed DNS benchmarking services.
Here are some of our top picks, in no particular order. We choose from across the range of simple and complex tools. However, there is no best-for-all-uses DNS speed test. Results will vary based on compute environment, location, type of application, and workload.
GRC’s DNS benchmark has plenty of features for basic as well as demanding internet users. This tool can drill down into the many facets of DNS performance required during an in-depth investigation. It is also said to be easy to run for first-time users.
- Gain visibility into what’s going on with currently assigned DNS servers
- Automatically compare server performance with publicly available alternatives
- Detailed comparison of the performance and reliability of up to 200 DNS servers
- Identifies all DNS servers the user’s system is configured to use and adds them to the list
- Characterizes each DNS server to determine suitability
- Tests each server to see if it returns an error, or redirects to a marketing page
- Results are continuously displayed and updated while the benchmark is underway
- Dynamically sorted and scaled bar chart and table of each server
- Queries for the IP addresses of the top 50 most popular domain names on the internet
- Also queries nonexistent domains
- Compatible with all versions of Windows, as well as Windows emulations running on Linux and Mac
- Coded in assembly for precision and small size: 147 KB
- Nothing to install, just run a small executable file
DNSPerf by PerfrOps can be used to compare DNS providers and their performance in different regions throughout the world. Its big data platform ingests billions of metrics from hundreds of locations, then processes that data and streams it to a dashboard endpoint in real time. In addition, it is an efficient tool when it comes to debugging and testing self-hosted DNS servers.
- Tests run in real time
- More than 200 available locations around the world
- Compare DNS providers and their performance in different regions
- Results are stored for 30 days
- Also offers a load balancer and data analytics platform to simplify global traffic management
- FlexBalancer helps improve routing decisions
- CloudPerf is its cloud benchmarking service
- CDNPerf is its content delivery network testing service
NameBench is a free, open-source DNS benchmarking utility available for Windows, macOS, and UNIX. By default, it tests current DNS servers while also letting users enter specific addresses of other servers. One of the original DNS servers, it is lightweight and portable.
- Option to include popular public DNS servers, such as Google, OpenDNS, and UltraDNS
- Can test the fastest regional DNS servers in an area
- Censorship checks to test those that provide filtering services
- Shows the fastest DNS server available based upon the exact sites visited using the browser cache
- Checks are based on the top 2,000 websites
- Users receive a prioritized list of three server addresses as final recommendations
- There is a macOS version
- Can detect when an ISP is disregarding the user’s custom settings and redirecting DNS traffic
Sordum’s DNS Jumper aids in finding and setting the fastest DNS for a particular system. It is lightweight, portable, and includes plenty of features.
- Pre-configured list of 27 different DNS services
- If the DNS service desired is not listed, it can be added easily
- Benchmark all DNS services on the list
- Displays the fastest one for a specific use case
- Helps the user to switch to a preferred DNS server
- Measures resolve time concerning incorrect domain names entered by users
- You can create DNS groups that divide DNS servers into folders
DNSChecker offers many tools related to DNS and DNS performance. If a user has recently changed DNS records, switched web hosts, or started a new website, it offers a toolset so address the problem.
- Free DNS lookup service to check against DNS servers located in multiple regions worldwide
- Performs a DNS propagation lookup for any hostname
- Checks data collected from all available DNS servers to confirm DNS records are fully propagated
- DNS health checkup for the user’s domain, including which DNS parameters need attention
- Check which blacklist services contain the user record
- Reverse IP Lookup tools resolve a given IP to Host
- Also includes NS Lookup and MX Lookup services.
MXToolbox offers tools such as DNS Check and DNS Lookup. It will run a comprehensive DNS report for any domain based on a DNS lookup against root servers. If a mail server has been blacklisted, it may have been flagged as a source of spam. This tool helps users detect this problem.
- Queries each name server to make sure DNS servers all respond
- Measures performance and audits the results against common best practices
- Supertool brings together all MX record, DNS, blacklist and SMTP diagnostics in one integrated tool
- Input a domain name, IP address, or host name and receive a chronological history of results
- A blacklist check will test a mail server IP address against over 100 DNS-based email blacklists
The DotCom-Tools DNS lookup test queries root servers to find DNS lookup records detailing the path taken to retrieve authoritative DNS server details. The DNS server returns the IP addresses associated with the requested DNS record.
- Check DNS propagation from dozens of root locations
- The DNS trace test automatically attempts to resolve IPv4 and IPv6 addresses if available
- Test results include the time to receive a response from each node along the path, as well as the answers returned from each node
whatsmydns.net is a free online tool that lets you quickly and easily perform a DNS lookup to check DNS propagation. You can also see the information of any domain from DNS servers located in many countries around the world. It provides immediate insight into how users globally may be resolving DNS records for certain websites, email, or other online services.
- Tests changes made to new or existing domains
- See if they have been updated correctly without the need to manually query remote servers
- Makes the process of performing global DNS checks easy by maintaining a range of DNS servers
- Results are parsed and displayed on a map
What Is a DNS Server?
Domain Name System (DNS) could be considered to be a directory for the internet. Domain names such as “serverwatch.com” need the help of DNS servers to translate the domain name into a numeric IP address so users will arrive at the right site.
Most ISPs provide their own DNS servers. As they are generally close to the users they serve, they often deliver adequate performance. But they may not be the fastest around. They may also fail to satisfy the reliability or security requirements of some organizations.
That’s where third-party DNS servers come in. Users can switch to a preferred server. Before they do, however, they test those DNS servers thoroughly to ensure they perform well in their environment.
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