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What is Fast DNS & How can you get it

The absolute first thing a visitor to your website does is make a DNS query to connect to your website’s domain. If that DNS query is slow, it drags down the every single DNS request visitors make which can be 1-10 depending on how you’ve architected your website.

Fast DNS is one of the easiest optimizations you can make for your customers.

How do you define Fast DNS?

Anything over 100 milliseconds is terrible.

If your site is 50-80ms that’s ok, Good is less than 50ms.

DNS Speed Comparison Report

Less than 10ms is excellent. Good to Excellent is where you want to be.

SolveDNS has been tracking DNS performance for years and issues a monthly report. 

Most of the sub-10ms DNS providers are more enterprise focused, so expect to spending hundreds or thousands each month. Enterprise DNS is only usually only necessary once your DNS server is receiving 100s of millions of queries a month.

It’s hard to ignore that CloudFlare offers free sub-5ms DNS. There are other cheap options from AWS Route53, DNSmadeEasy, and Azure DNS.

DNS Server reply times: average 5.01ms

I’ve personally used CloudFlare, Route53, Dyn, DNSimple, and UltraDNS. I used GoDaddy’s DNS as well but would not recommend it.

Typically domain registration websites and cheap web hosting companies have terrible DNS. Their DNS are typically hosted on 3 or 4 servers, likely all in the same geographic region.

What you really want is DNS servers, everywhere your customers are located.

The Fast DNS services are fast because of low latency. They have low latency because they have many, many datacenters for your DNS. CloudFlare proudly promotes their network of 175 data centers around the world. If your customer in Los Angeles has to talk to a data center in New York, the best it can do is about 60ms. Why can’t it be faster across the United States? The speed of light only has one speed.

If you customers are all over the world, you probably want DNS all over the world.

How close are your DNS servers to your customers? 

Test your DNS

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