Namebench is a free tool that will help you increase the speed of your web browsing. Developed at Google, Namebench hunts down the fastest DNS server based on your browsing history and your location.
There are numerous factors that impact your speed when you are web browsing and domain name resolution is the first step in the chain of events. In a nutshell, domain resolution is the process of converting web addresses such as Google.com or downthewind.com into IP addresses, like 188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.2068.
It has a graphical user interface for Mac OS X, Unix, and Windows, plus there is also a command line interface. Installing it is a breeze. For Windows, it is a portable executable, so all you have to do is download namebench and then run it. If you are using it on the Mac OS X it needs to be installed, and if you are using it on Unix it requires you to have Python 2.4 – 2.7.
Options and settings for Namebench
When you load namebench, just about everything you will need to filled in is already done for you. It will even guess your router’s IP address in the first textbox (220.127.116.11 or 10.2.1.2), and in the majority of cases, you will not even need to make changes.
Include global DNS providers (UltraDNS, OpenDNS, Google Public DNS, etc.)
It is wise to include the global DNS providers, because they are the alternatives that we recommend often, for reliability, speed, and security.
Include the best regional DNS Services that are available.
There are pros and cons to the regional DNS services option. Your ISP’s DNS server usually fall into this category, and sometimes, it might be fastest. But namebench can also pick up other regional nameservers that were not meant to be public.
Analyzing Namebench results
After running the queries, namebench opens the results in a browser tab.
The left-hand panel tells you how much faster the best DNS server is compared to your current primary DNS server. In the right-hand pane it tells you your recommended configuration. If you decide to choose the recommended configuration, follow the same steps that you use for adding Google Public DNS to your computer. Just replace the IP address with the IP address namebench gives you.
If you drill down deeper, you will see notes on the actual domain name resolutions, which sometimes will flag hijacking attempts, potential hacking, or censorship. Usually these are false positives, so be aware of this.
Namebench is a quick and easy tool to use providing you with personalized benchmarks for your different DNS server options, and best of all it is free. You can spend your days seeking out the fastest DNS server, but namebench provides these variables and lets you know which DNS servers you should choose.