Saturday, July 11, 2009

DNS... which one?

So many times have I searched for a decent, fast-resolving DNS server. It's tough to find one that fits all these qualities. But before you ask what DNS is, why not head over here and familiarize yourself (or if you're too lazy, a small explanation is as follows: when you enter "", it goes to a server that translate the ABCs to 123s i.e. IP addresses, which are the REAL way of communicating).

I live in Pakistan, and the DNS servers here are only useful for their low latency, but their reliability tends to wander waaaaaaay off the median. Even my ISP's resolver is quite flaky.

Then I decided to check out the foreign providers. It's not an easy job, mind you, but I managed to get a few (read: two)

One of them is DNS Advantage.

This company boasts 15 different locations for their DNS servers - which is amazing, I'd say. They aren't popular, and they don't have a proper control panel for flexibility - you're stuck with what they give you. No ads, no frills, it's a pretty good service so far, and considering there are 15 other locations (you get routed to the shortest/quickest), you'll probably be happy.

OpenDNS is another service, and much more popular than DNS Advantage (or any other service that is out there). They've got a DNS service customizable, and used by many (head over to their website to see their clients - it's too long a list to mention here). For the customized DNS service to work, you need to have a static IP otherwise install a program on your PC that will sync their records with your current IP address. They have 9 different DNS servers, mostly located in the USA. One server is on the UK, and they have plans for introducing a server in Asia (so that our pings are reduced).

Which would you pick? It's up to you. If you want customization, OpenDNS is the way to go. If you want a no-frills service, DNS Advantage may be more helpful. I'm using DNS Advantage as my secondary service for the following reasons
  • If a web page doesn't resolve, I don't get a huge search page - OpenDNS has a search page, with Yahoo results. Not my type
  • DNS Advantage gives me a lower ping - from anywhere between 50ms to 100ms!
  • OpenDNS has/had an issue with the domain - something related with the Google Toolbar and a malfunctioning search page. You can head over to their blog and read more details. A small issue, nevertheless.
So what do you prefer? Comments open.

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