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Looking the fastest DNS with Namebench (Google, OpenDNS, CloudFlare)

I will explain very quickly what is a Domain Name System (DNS) before to start with this tutorial. A DNS is a Networking service that converts IP addresses to domain names, for example, if you enter this IP address in your browser it redirects to you don't have to remember the ip to enter to google because it is the job of the DNS.

By default the devices (router/modems) are configured to work with the Internet Provider Servers, no all servers have the same speed to convert IPs to domain names, so it could increase a little the load of the websites, it also can increase or decrease your ping, if you are a gamer this is very important.

There are a lot of DNS, but the most popular are maybe these:

Before to continue is important to say that they can come with different features for example Google and CloudFlare the content is private and unfiltered but OpenDNS blocks malicious domains and it has the option to block adult content.

How I know which DNS is faster than the others?

There are many tools that you can use to test which DNS is better for you, the results depend of your location. For this small tutorial, I am going to use a tool called NameBench, because it is easy to use, easy to install and also is multiplatform, available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.




You can download the installer in the website:

For MacOS you need to move the to the Application folder or you can install it using homebrew:

brew cask install --appdir="/Applications" namebench

How to use Namebench

There are few options in the interface, you can just click on the Start button and the test will start, is highly recommended to keep a low usage of Internet, do not add load to the network like YouTube videos, Netflix, download files, etc. because the results will be not accurate.

Name Servers

You can include extra DNS servers with a comma and space in the first option, I just change it for the CloudFlare DNS, because it is a new service, it is not included in the popular provider list.

Check the option: Include global DNS providers.
The new checkbox is optional: Best available regional DNS services it will test no popular DNS in your area, for example, your ISP.

Other options

  • Your Location: if you want to test a different location you can change it if is available. I just leave it automatic.
  • Health Check Performance: leave the option in Fast it will test more servers at a time you can change it to slow if you have an unstable connection.
  • Query Data Source: You can select the source of data (history of websites in your browser) that Namebench will use for the test if you have Firefox and Google Chrome it will appear in the list, if you select the one with more sources it will take more time.
  • Number of Queries: is the number of queries that are sent to each DNS, the default value is 250.


Namebench has problems with Mac OS 10.13.3, High Sierra #8. The issue is that Namebench doesn't show the results in the browser, but the results are stored in the hard drive, to resolve this issue, you will need open Namebench from the Terminal with this command:



As you can see in the image above from the popular DNS, Google is the fastest for me but the ISP DNS is even faster:

Namebench also generates graphics: