DNS Performance Test

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 20, 2011
Updated • Jan 16, 2013

DNS speed and reliability made the news last year when Google introduced their own open DNS system that every Internet user could make use of. The topic has lost much of its forward momentum since then and has taken the backseat once again. DNS in layman terms is used to "look-up" IP addresses of domain names. Ghacks.net for instance resolves to Most Internet users will probably agree that it is easier to remember domain names than IP addresses, and that's the main purpose of the system.

Not every DNS server is equal on the other hand, and it is not only a performance question either. Performance on the other hand plays a big role and it is quite possible to speed up the connections on the Internet by switching to a better performing DNS server.

Besides speed, it can also benefit the freedom of speed and other functionality. Internet Service Provider, the state or organizations make use of the DNS system to block access to websites and services on the Internet. It is not a foolproof protection but it has the effect that the DNS server resolves to a different IP, or none at all so that the website cannot be accessed by entering its domain name in the browser. That can be easily bypassed with anonymous proxies, virtual private networks, entering the IP directly or switching the DNS server.

Some DNS providers add filters and blocklists to their services as well, for instance to block known malicious websites automatically in order to protect their users. Open DNS does that for instance.

DNS Performance Test is a free tool for Windows, Macintosh and Linux that queries a random set of 10,000 urls to determine a DNS server's mean query time. The list is generated randomly on startup, the only available option for the user is to start the performance test.

dns performance test

The DNS test takes time to complete which should be clear as each connection can take anywhere between 10 and a few thousand milliseconds.

dns performance

Statistics are displayed on the Stats tab. They can be accessed even while the performance test is still running. It shows the best, worst and average query time, the number of successful queries, the timeouts and gives an assessment of the overall DNS server performance.

If the DNS server performance is bad it may make sense to try another DNS server provider to see if the situation changes. This would mean that the DNS performance test needs to be run again before the results can be compared.

DNS Performance Test is available for download at the developer website.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. w1re said on January 26, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    I use Namebench: http://code.google.com/p/namebench/

    gives very nice summary at the end

  2. Transcontinental said on January 20, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Statically speaking, 1,000 (perhaps even a 100) random url tests rather than 10,000 would proove as significant, especially random. Time waste, IMO of course.

    1. Martin said on January 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Well you can stop at any time.

  3. Thomas said on January 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    I’ve read an article over at scareware.de about DNS alternatives. Therefor I tried Steve Gibsons tool DNS-benchmark http://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm

    Just to let you know.

    1. RichF said on January 20, 2011 at 3:25 pm

      The GRC benchmark software is *much* better than the one mentioned in this article.

      1. Mushaf said on January 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm

        I found the one described in the article more simpler. GRC’s one looks geeky.

    2. Anonymous said on January 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Thumbs up for this one!!

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.