TechSutra

Google DNS vs OpenDNS: Google Rocks for International Users

Slow DNS resolving is one of the major causes of browsing slowdowns. (If you don't know what is DNS look at the end of the post). The DNS services provided by the ISPs were often crappy and erratic and  OpenDNS had emerged as the de-facto alternative. OpenDNS was not without its faults. Though it was rarely erratic, the performance was not blazing fast. Also if OpenDNS did not find a site, it redirected the user to a generic search page. This was not good user experience. Another alternative was the DNS server 4.2.2.2 (owned by Level 3 I believe). But this server was not that fast outside United States.

Google in its quest to make the internet faster has stepped into the arena with Google Public DNS. In their own words -

As web pages become more complex and include more resources from multiple origin domains, clients need to perform multiple DNS lookups to render a single page. The average Internet user performs hundreds of DNS lookups each day, slowing down his or her browsing experience. As the web continues to grow, greater load is placed on existing DNS infrastructure.

Since Google's search engine already crawls the web on a daily basis and in the process resolves and caches DNS information, we wanted to leverage our technology to experiment with new ways of addressing some of the existing DNS challenges around performance and security. We are offering the service to the public in the hope of achieving the following aims:

Google Promises us good Performance, Security and Correct Results. Correct Results here refer to the practice of redirecting the user to an alternate page when the domain was not found (like OpenDNS does).   Google has provided an extensive guide to help users start using their DNS service.

In my tests, Google  DNS consistently outperformed both OpenDNS and Level 3. For  Americans the Level 3 server (4.2.2.2) might offer as good performance as Google. But if you are living outside US and  you care about your browsing experience you should switch now :). The results are below

The shell script I used to get the results is this.

Updated: Reader Stevan Bajić sent in an awesome bash script which gives you nicely formatted results.

Results are in ms

OpenDNS 4.2.2.2 Google Domain
224ms 259ms 110ms lifehacker.com
197ms 258ms 112ms facebook.com
215ms 259ms 112ms manu-j.com
202ms 259ms 159ms reddit.com
tb4.fr 111ms 440ms 195ms
bbc.co.uk 111ms 256ms 220ms
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 21 22 19
facebook.com 20 22 19
manu-j.com 21 44 42
reddit.com 30 73 20
tb4.fr 125 22 157
bbc.co.uk 103 22 98
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 11 24 88
facebook.com 12 23 88
manu-j.com 12 22 88
reddit.com 12 22 87
tb4.fr 12 22 88
bbc.co.uk 12 22 88
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 73 21 50
facebook.com 72 18 54
manu-j.com 74 103 52
reddit.com 72 19 53
tb4.fr 72 290 50
bbc.co.uk 72 134 52
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 29 125 13
facebook.com 24 47 18
manu-j.com 179 32 13
reddit.com 742 56 15
tb4.fr 43 57 14
bbc.co.uk 67 29 24
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 23 33 116
facebook.com 23 30 108
manu-j.com 24 30 108
reddit.com 181 33 118
tb4.fr 24 32 114
bbc.co.uk 24 29 107
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 36 174 168
facebook.com 36 163 186
manu-j.com 36 163 186
reddit.com 38 163 191
tb4.fr 37 174 183
bbc.co.uk 37 174 173
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 18 17 10
facebook.com 17 17 10
manu-j.com 19 16 9
reddit.com 224 17 10
tb4.fr 24 122 562
bbc.co.uk 19 98 92
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 40 158 167
facebook.com 41 157 168
manu-j.com 40 156 165
reddit.com 45 170 166
tb4.fr 39 156 171
bbc.co.uk 39 160 165
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 65 12 52
facebook.com 65 16 50
manu-j.com 62 11 56
reddit.com 63 13 52
tb4.fr 62 11 51
bbc.co.uk 63 9 51
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 23 34 39
facebook.com 22 28 40
manu-j.com 22 28 42
reddit.com 332 199 41
tb4.fr 22 27 40
bbc.co.uk 24 26 40
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 31 52 39
facebook.com 29 60 39
manu-j.com 30 51 41
reddit.com 105 50 41
tb4.fr 28 49 42
bbc.co.uk 30 48 40
najdi.si (local site) 33 52 88
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 78 59 27
facebook.com 80 48 31
manu-j.com 78 280 28
reddit.com 81 183 28
tb4.fr 77 48 27
bbc.co.uk 79 47 28
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 25 49 118
facebook.com 27 43 118
manu-j.com 24 44 125
reddit.com 431 43 118
tb4.fr 25 50 115
bbc.co.uk 25 44 116
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 158 185 184
facebook.com 159 185 185
manu-j.com 158 184 183
reddit.com 158 184 183
tb4.fr 157 184 183
bbc.co.uk 432 184 183
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 53 111 47
facebook.com 58 113 47
manu-j.com 57 113 47
reddit.com 63 108 51
tb4.fr 58 107 46
bbc.co.uk 57 110 50
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 17 18 21
facebook.com 24 17 24
manu-j.com 19 22 22
reddit.com 183 25 16
tb4.fr 15 17 32
bbc.co.uk 15 20 18
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 205 135 196
facebook.com 206 135 199
manu-j.com 208 133 195
reddit.com 205 143 330
tb4.fr 207 194 195
bbc.co.uk 205 133 414
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 160 174 167
facebook.com 159 178 170
manu-j.com 167 176 169
reddit.com 383 389 192
tb4.fr 159 175 162
bbc.co.uk 165 253 258
OpenDNS 4.2.2.2 Google Domain
21 41 14 lifehacker.com
32 44 10 facebook.com
29 36 8 manu-j.com
25 233 90 reddit.com
tb4.fr 13 37 19
bbc.co.uk 8 35 20
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 13 16 14
facebook.com 14 182 15
manu-j.com 14 13 10
reddit.com 13 177 13
tb4.fr 13 179 14
bbc.co.uk 14 180 13
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 37 355 30
facebook.com 40 46 32
manu-j.com 37 196 32
reddit.com 60 44 29
tb4.fr 36 89 31
bbc.co.uk 37 47 30
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 16 34 33
facebook.com 16 31 34
manu-j.com 17 355 33
reddit.com 18 31 33
tb4.fr 16 54 34
bbc.co.uk 84 34 32
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 181 143 151
facebook.com 186 151 186
manu-j.com 146 180 154
reddit.com 196 143 158
tb4.fr 156 182 150
bbc.co.uk 152 142 166
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 24 41 30
facebook.com 26 23 35
manu-j.com 29 29 37
reddit.com 27 26 190
tb4.fr 23 58 54
bbc.co.uk 25 26 39
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 69 81 60
facebook.com 71 68 61
manu-j.com 68 68 63
reddit.com 74 66 63
tb4.fr 70 67 63
bbc.co.uk 86 89 60
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 55 58 53
facebook.com 54 53 63
manu-j.com 54 53 72
reddit.com 667 195 53
tb4.fr 55 52 55
bbc.co.uk 55 51 59
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 70 77 98
facebook.com 70 54 98
manu-j.com 98 271 63
reddit.com 75 78 96
tb4.fr 99 236 399
bbc.co.uk 224 77 98
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 102 67 102
facebook.com 107 73 100
manu-j.com 102 66 103
reddit.com 107 67 108
tb4.fr 103 65 271
bbc.co.uk 103 66 101
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 18 723 27
facebook.com 18 699 27
manu-j.com 20 732 27
reddit.com 20 651 28
tb4.fr 17 899 28
bbc.co.uk 17 644 27
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 36 110 123
facebook.com 49 110 125
manu-j.com 38 268 121
reddit.com 38 111 133
tb4.fr 40 462 707
bbc.co.uk 38 110 124
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 22 22 24
facebook.com 21 21 21
manu-j.com 31 38 29
reddit.com 19 20 22
tb4.fr 29 29 34
bbc.co.uk 30 37 29
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 58 143 74
facebook.com 59 80 140
manu-j.com 58 145 71
reddit.com 60 79 140
tb4.fr 58 79 137
bbc.co.uk 58 144 73
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 111 390 279
facebook.com 111 399 274
manu-j.com 107 399 281
reddit.com 108 400 279
tb4.fr 107 397 278
bbc.co.uk 132 399 351
Domain Google 4.2.2.2 OpenDNS
lifehacker.com 32 40 49
facebook.com 32 40 53
manu-j.com 33 39 49
reddit.com 210 40 51
tb4.fr 34 38 48
bbc.co.uk 33 39 51

What is DNS

DNS is what helps your browser to identify the correct machine which corresponds to the domain names like "google.com", "facebook.com" etc. Each machine has a unique record called an IP Address (like zip code). DNS is like the postal system of the internet which helps to identify which domain name (like google.com) belongs to which address.

The wikipedia as usual has an in-depth article.

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