How to Find the Best DNS Servers

  Matt Cone       June 12, 2012      Tutorials Network

We’ve previously discussed how to change the DNS servers on your Mac, iPad, and AirPort Extreme. But how do you know which DNS servers to use? There are dozens of free DNS providers, and all of them claim to offer the best service. Don’t worry. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to find the best DNS servers, no matter where you’re located or which device you’re using.

Why Can’t Anyone Tell Me Which DNS Servers to Use?

Nobody knows which DNS servers are the best and fastest for you, because there are many different factors that can impact the speed of DNS service. Just like the quality of cellular network service, which varies widely from location to location, DNS service can also be influenced by your geographic location and Internet service provider. In short, there’s no one DNS server that is right for every individual.

Using Namebench to Find the Best DNS Servers

To find the fastest DNS servers for your Mac, iPad, or AirPort Extreme, try using Namebench. It’s an open source DNS benchmark utility that can quickly and accurately find the fastest DNS servers for your location. It does this by running a series of tests on your computer and comparing your current DNS servers to many other free DNS services. When the test is complete, the results will recommend the fastest DNS servers for you, personally.

Here’s how to use Namebench to find the best DNS servers:

  1. Download Namebench, if you haven’t already.

  2. Open the Namebench application. The window shown below appears.

    The Namebench DNS application

  3. Your Mac’s current DNS servers are displayed in the Nameservers field. Just leave these alone for the time being.

  4. Select the Include global DNS providers checkbox to test all of the popular DNS services.

  5. Select the Best available regional DNS services to test smaller, lesser-known DNS services that are available in your area.

  6. Click Start to run the test. Be patient - the test could take a couple minutes to complete.

  7. Once the test is complete, Namebench will open your web browser and display the test results, as shown below.

    Namebench DNS results

  8. The recommended DNS servers for your Mac, iPad, and AirPort Extreme are shown in the Recommended configuration box. For best results, you should change your DNS to these servers.

In our example, OpenDNS was a whopping 54.5% faster than the DNS servers we were using. Hopefully you can realize similar gains!

Changing Your DNS Servers

Once you’ve used Namebench to find the fastest DNS servers, you should change the DNS servers on your devices. You can use the tutorials below:

Now sit back and enjoy the speed that comes with using the fastest DNS servers available to you!

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