Google Public DNS: Faster Internet Access?

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You may have heard about Google’s recent release of Google Public DNS which, amongst other claims, aims to speed-up your browser’s interaction with DNS servers thereby making the internet appear faster. Well, that’s my interpretation anyway.

Google states that “…Google Public DNS takes some new approaches that we believe offer more valid results, increased security, and, in most cases, better performance.”

I was particularly interested in the possible speed increase after finding these benchmarks where the comparative speed of Google Public DNS (8.8.8.8), Level 3 (4.2.2.2) and OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) were tested.

Using these same DNS servers, here are my results for a handful of sites I visit regularly:

- macrumors.com -
Google DNS (8.8.8.8) | 40 msec
Level 3 (4.2.2.2) | 120 msec
OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) | 100 msec

- apple.com -
Google DNS (8.8.8.8) | 38 msec
Level 3 (4.2.2.2) | 116 msec
OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) | 101 msec

- bbc.co.uk -
Google DNS (8.8.8.8) | 48 msec
Level 3 (4.2.2.2) | 121 msec
OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) | 101 msec

- tech-otaku.com -
Google DNS (8.8.8.8) | 39 msec
Level 3 (4.2.2.2) | 121 msec
OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) | 101 msec

OK. So Google Public DNS is the clear winner in terms of speed.

But I live in Tokyo where we are fortunate to have home internet access advertised at 100 mbps as standard. Let’s throw my ISP’s own DNS into the mix.

- macrumors.com -
My ISP (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) | 6 msec
Google DNS (8.8.8.8) | 39 msec
Level 3 (4.2.2.2) | 122 msec
OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) | 101 msec

- apple.com -
My ISP (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) | 6 msec
Google DNS (8.8.8.8) | 39 msec
Level 3 (4.2.2.2) | 115 msec
OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) | 102 msec

- bbc.co.uk -
My ISP (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) | 7 msec
Google DNS (8.8.8.8) | 38 msec
Level 3 (4.2.2.2) | 110 msec
OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) | 101 msec

- tech-otaku.com -
My ISP (xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx) | 15 msec
Google DNS (8.8.8.8) | 40 msec
Level 3 (4.2.2.2) | 120 msec
OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) | 101 msec

Hmmmm….. No contest. With regard to speed, I think I’ll be sticking with my ISP’s DNS for now.

For those interested, here’s the shell script I used in Terminal to get these results.

It was adapted from the one published here.

#!/bin/sh
dns=("My ISP" "Google DNS" "Level 3" "OpenDNS");
for i in "macrumors.com" "apple.com" "bbc.co.uk" "tech-otaku.com"
do
	x=0
	echo - $i -
	#Replace xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx with your ISP's DNS
	for j in "xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx" "8.8.8.8" "4.2.2.2" "208.67.222.222"
	do
		echo  ${dns[x]} "("$j") |" `dig @$j $i | grep Query | awk -F ":" '{print $2}'`
		x=$x+1
	done
	echo ""
done

About the author

A native Brit exiled in Japan, Steve spends too much of his time struggling with the Japanese language, dreaming of fish & chips and writing the occasional blog post he hopes others will find helpful.

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