The fastest public DNS providers in 2015

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 3, 2015
Updated • Aug 22, 2019

Public DNS services may offer advantages over the DNS servers used natively by Internet Providers. These advantages may not be limited to speed only as you may get additional functionality on top of that.

This may include filtering options, for instance to block malicious sites or phishing sites straight away, but also options to bypass network or country-wide Internet filters.

ISPs in Spain for instance blocked access to The Pirate Bay website recently on the DNS level and a workaround for that was to switch to a global DNS service to access the site again.

There may be other advantages. Some ISPs may display custom error pages when look-ups fail in order to earn additional revenue. If you prefer to see the browser's error page instead when that happens, you could switch DNS providers to ensure that.

Speed may not seem important at first but since DNS is one of the cornerstones of the Internet and used a lot during Internet sessions, you may be able to load web pages and resources faster and improve the overall experience as well.

There is a third factor of importance: privacy. Since the selected DNS provider processes all of your connections on the Internet, you end up revealing information that you may not want to reveal to some companies.

That is out of the scope of this guide however. I suggest you check the privacy policy of services that you are interested in to find out how they handle this.

The program used for the test is Namebench, a DNS benchmarking system. The following settings were used in the benchmark:

  • Query the top 2000 Alexa websites.
  • Number of queries: 250
  • Include global DNS providers.
  • Include censorship checks.
  • Health Check Performance: fast

In addition to those settings, the following providers were added to the list of nameservers:

The following providers are included natively by the program:

For your own tests, it makes sense to include regional DNS services as well as they may provide faster access than global providers.

Note: It is highly recommended to run the tests on your end as well. The reason for this is that access time and overall performance may differ depending on your location in the world. A provider in France may work well for central European users for instance but not so well for someone from Australia or Japan.


IP Descr. Avg (ms) Min Max Google Public DNS-2 103.02 23.2 3500 OpenDNS-2 163.86 31.4 3500 215.9 31.6 3500 222.89 99.5 1545 DynGuide 238.74 42 3500 244.34 78 3500 245.65 36.8 3500 UltraDNS-2 247.83 30.3 3500 249.66 99.9 3500 268.87 86.3 3500 305.71 36.3 3500 308.92 23.1 3500 322.23 140.2 3500 336.97 181.4 3500 344.19 159.3 3500 344.23 36.6 3500 349.45 31.3 3500 380.54 31.2 3500
409.89 31.3 3500 526.07 23.5 3500

As you can see, there are major differences between providers. While average may not always be the best metric for comparison, you will notice that the fastest response time of some providers is slower than the average response time of the fastest providers.

Run your own benchmark on your computer

It is easy to run your own benchmarking test to find the fastest DNS provider.

  1. Download Namebench from the project website. It is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
  2. Run the program and set the preferences as seen on the screenshot above. In addition, check the regional DNS services option as well.
  3. Wait for the benchmark to run its course. This takes several minutes and I suggest you don't use the computer in that time to avoid result inconsistencies.
  4. The results are displayed on a local web page. There you find listed the recommendations of the program on how to set the DNS providers on your system. In addition, notes are giving for sites that appear to work incorrectly when using the DNS service.

Changing the provider

There are two core options when it comes to changing DNS providers: you can change them on individual devices or in routers or servers. The latter has the advantage that all devices connecting to the router or server use the provider automatically.

I suggest you check out the instructions on the Open DNS website for that. They cover all scenarios including home routers and computer workstations, laptops and mobile devices. Note that you need to switch IPs if you don't select OpenDNS as your provider of choice.

If you use Windows, you may also use programs such as DNS Switch, Dns Jumper, or QuickSetDNS to change DNS servers quickly.

Now You: Which provider is fastest and which are you using on your systems?

The fastest public DNS providers in 2015
Article Name
The fastest public DNS providers in 2015
A list of global public DNS providers and benchmark results highlighting their performance.
Ghacks Technology News

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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 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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