How-To Geek

Find a Faster DNS Server with Namebench

One way to speed up your Internet browsing experience is using a faster DNS server. Today we take a look at Namebench, which will compare your current DNS server against others out there, and help you find a faster one.


Download the file and run the executable (link below).


Namebench starts up and will include the current DNS server you have configured on your system. In this example we’re behind a router and using the DNS server from the ISP. Include the global DNS providers and the best available regional DNS server, then start the Benchmark.


The test starts to run and you’ll see the queries it’s running through. The benchmark takes about 5-10 minutes to complete.


After it’s complete you’ll get a report of the results. Based on its findings, it will show you what DNS server is fastest for your system.


It also displays different types of graphs so you can get a better feel for the different results.


You can export the results to a .csv file as well so you can present the results in Excel.



This is a free project that is in continuing development, so results might not be perfect, and there may be more features added in the future. If you’re looking for a method to help find a faster DNS server for your system, Namebench is a cool free utility to help you out.

If you’re looking for a public DNS server that is customizable and includes filters, you might want to check out our article on helping to protect your kids from questionable content using OpenDNS. You can also check out how to speed up your web browsing with Google Public DNS.


Download NameBench for Windows, Mac, and Linux from Google Code

Learn More About the Project on the Namebench Wiki Page

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 05/6/10

Comments (12)

  1. GhostLyrics

    What does the “NXDOMAIN hijacking” in your graphic stand for? (the one with the big green percentage)

  2. Mysticgeek

    @GhostLyrics: This is directly from the FAQ section on the project wiki page

    “It means that the DNS server falsifies the result when a non-existent host is requested. This is usually used so that the DNS provider can place advertising when you make a typo when typing in a URL.

  3. GhostLyrics

    Ah. well. Should probably have looked that up myself, but thank you anyway. *ashamed*

  4. Jeffrey Paul Zacher

    NXDOMAIN hijacking is a scary sounding term. But I’m pretty sure how this is the way my ISP sends me to a custom page when I make a typo in a URL. It can be used the same way as a custom 404 on a single server…

  5. Random Geek

    what effect does switching to one of the suggested DNS servers have on privacy? I’m sure the IPSs default DNS server is logging torrent downloads and tracking other things of interest but how does UltraDNS compare when it comes to privacy and issues such as bandwidth throttling? Does your ISP have less control and/or less ability to monitor user activity when using another DNS?

  6. Chronnotrigg

    I just did a test here at my office and at home. The office’s DNS server has a average response time of 2079.16ms (30 errors). Mine at home has 16.32ms (0 errors). Man, our office DNS sucks.

  7. Xeogin

    I was just testing this program out the other day, but the Alexa Top 10,000 results kept failing to show. I hope the next build fixes it, I already submitted a format bug report.

  8. Raymond

    I downloaded namebench-1.3-Mac_OS_X.dmg and installed it on my Mac. It seems to run but I have not seen any output.

    What can I do or check to see the output?


  9. Daryle

    Well, I’ve already changed the dns servers through my LAN connection and also my modem,still it doesn’t see that I’ve changed it. ipconfig shows the changes though. What am I missing?

  10. Greg Zeng

    “However, it was Simon Hackett, CEO of Internode, who I bumped into at a function who warned me off using third party DNS servers located overseas, such as Google DNS or OpenDNS.”

    “The key reason they’re bad is that they stuff up your computer’s ability to find the closest Akamai server to you. Akamai is the worldwide system which places massive file servers inside ISP data centres worldwide — so that when you download a big file like a Windows or Mac OS X update, or a TV show or movie from iTunes, it downloads from a server that’s very close to you, and therefore pumps down your line as fast as your ADSL2+ can handle. (The primary selling point of Akamai is that it avoids server overload when everyone tries to download something at once, but a secondary selling point is that you’re downloading a file from a local server inside your ISP or at least in your country, so that the trip between the file server and you is as short/fast as possible.)

    If you use a US-based DNS server, your closest Akamai cache will instead be chosen as being in the US, and you’ll get crummy download speeds as your file trickles over the international link.”

    Retired (medical) IT Consultant, Australian Capital Territory

  11. Greg Zeng

    Follow up on the above sample? Should you set to OpenDNS2 or QWest US?

    Seems to me that the much famed Google PUBLIC DNS is not the best in the example above.

  12. angelatc (@AngelaTC)

    I sure could use a step-by-step piece on how to change the DNS settings, now that I know my server isn’t the fastest one available.

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