DNS Server Benchmark Namebench

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 4, 2009
Updated • Jan 7, 2017

Google's entry as a DNS server provider (read: Google Public DNS) has caused quite a stir on the Internet. Some users have had privacy concerns while others started testing and using the new DNS servers right away.

Tests whether Google DNS is the fastest DNS provider available are inconclusive leaving the individual user with no choice but to benchmark the DNS servers to discover the fastest and most reliable. The reason for this is simple: while a DNS provider may work for users in some regions, the same DNS provider may not be the best choice for users in other regions.



Namebench is a free and portable software program for Microsoft Windows, Linux and Apple Macintosh computers that can perform these DNS benchmarks for the user.

The program is designed to test the speed of DNS services on the computer it is run on. For that, it pulls the nameservers used on the computer it is run on, and will include publicly available DNS servers in the testing and available regional DNS services as well.

Users can add custom name servers to the listing if they are not supported. Please note that Namebench does not list all DNS providers that it supports out of the box. This makes the process a bit tricky. The best option is to run the test using the default options once, check the results to see if the test included all DNS providers that you wanted tested, and re-run the test if that is not the case by adding the missing providers.

The program uses the browsing history as a source for performing the tests. You may furthermore modify the following test parameters:

  • Enable a check for censorship.
  • Change the number of queries from 250 to a different value.
  • Set a location.
  • Change the data source from Chromium to Firefox, Alexa's list of the top 2000 websites, or run cache latency tests.

The tests will take some time to complete. Namebench will check for nameserver availability first before it starts to benchmark DNS queries. Considering that you will end up with a couple thousand queries if you keep the default values, it will take a while for the tests to complete.

Namebench performs calculations in the background, and creates a local HTML page with the results which it launches automatically afterwards.

The program displays the performance gain if other DNS servers are faster than the ones currently used to connect to the Internet. Namebench highlights the DNS servers so that you know what you need to change to improve the performance of your device's DNS requests.

namebench results

A detailed report follows that displays the test results of the tested DNS servers. This includes their IP, average, minimum and maximum response time, errors, no answers and notes. The servers are listed from fastest (on average) to slowest.

Various graphs are displayed in the end that display the response times of the tested DNS servers. You need to compare the performance with the error level to select eh best suitable DNS provider. While you may be inclined to pick the fastest, if that provider produces more errors than others, it may not be the best option.

Namebench can be downloaded from it's Google Code project page.

You can download Namebench currently from third-party download repositories such as Softpedia. The project moved to Github in 2012, but there are not any binaries available on the site, only the source code.

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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