For the longest time I have been a big fan of using OpenDNS‘ DNS servers. For any of you that are not familiar, you can point your DNS to their servers (208.67.222.222 & 208.67.220.220) and have about perfect domain name resolution. With some ISPs that I can name, this is a huge benefit. Also with their free DNS, you can manage a blacklist and whitelist from their site. Also available from their dashboard is the option to use their precompiled denied categories, e.g. pornography, drugs, etc.

Recently I came across other open DNS servers that were about 3x faster (for me), but they don’t contain any of the great features that OpenDNS supplies. The other DNS servers are: 4.2.2.1 – 4.2.2.6. Using traceroute I found that I reach all these 4.2.2.x servers in only 7 hops (~18ms) while I reach the OpenDNS servers in 15 hops (~50ms).

Since in my household a blacklisting option is a great plus, I decided to keep the OpenDNS servers enabled on the desktop machines and the router. On the other hand, my laptops and servers are now pointing to the newly found 4.2.2.x servers.


1 Comment

John Roberts · August 31, 2007 at 7:19 pm

Glad you’ve been a fan of OpenDNS… thanks!

Faster DNS is not just hops… it’s a combination of network latency (the traceroute measurement) + software speed/cache + intelligence.

You might (might) notice 32ms, but that’s only part of the story.

OpenDNS’s custom-written software and huge caches mean that the hops to OpenDNS and back are usually all you have to do. With other DNS, with small caches and overloaded software, you’ll have to wait while they query the roots and traverse the net.

Regarding intelligence, other DNS don’t fix typos for you, like .cmo –> .com and hundreds of others. It’s “faster” to not have to re-type when you fatfinger a domain.

I’m glad OpenDNS is part of your network for its several features. I’d encourage you to revisit the speed measurement and learn why hops != the only factor in DNS speed.

Cheers,

John Roberts
OpenDNS

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