One of the key building blocks of the Internet is DNS (Domain Name System). It is something that most of us give little or no thought to. So it is something that often gets ignored when we are trying to speed up our websites. In this article, we will look at DNS and how we can use it to improve our page load speeds.
What Is DNS
DNS (Domain Name System) allows us to use the Internet through language instead of numbers. When we want to find some information on the Internet a lot of us will go to Google. To get to Google, we type in www.google.com into our web browser. But the devices that connect us on the Internet do not understand this address. All they understand is numbers. To visit www.google.com, you are actually visiting a server with the IP address 126.96.36.199. The reason that we need DNS is that google.com is a lot easier to remember than a bunch of numbers.
DNS works by your computer requesting the IP address of a website when you try to visit it. Your ISP DNS resolver server will look up the domain name in its cache. If it finds the domain name it will answer the request. If not it will request the record from a DNS root server. The root server will then send information about where about the domain details are. After another query, the DNS resolver will request information from your domain’s name server. This process gets explained in the video below.
If your domains DNS server is slow or unreliable then this will cause problems for your website. Most people use DNS servers supplied by their Domain Registrar or Hosting company. When we are optimizing our sites we should look at DNS to make sure it is not slowing us down.
How To Test Your DNS Server Speed
To test our DNS server speed, we used a free online tool from Ultratools. This is a tool where you enter your domain and the tool gives you a report on your DNS server speed. We tested using one of our test domains with the domain server set as the hosting providers.
With our default set up we had a result of an average response time of 240 msec. This is a pretty good result, but it does add some time to the loading of our page. If we are aiming for a 1 second load time, this is a quarter the total time. If we compare this to google.com we see their DNS server speed is 12 msec. Is there anything we can do to improve DNS speed without spending a lot of money?
Using A DNS Hosting Provider
Like other web services, DNS hosting providers that offer benefits over default offerings. We use DNSMadeEasy for our DNS servers. DNSMadeEasy provides DNS services that give you enterprise-level performance at a great price. You setup your DNS records on their servers and update your name servers. You then manage your DNS records using their web interface.
We tested the effectiveness of DNSMadeEasy and the results were fantastic. Before using their service, we had a DNS response time of 240 msec from our hosting provider.
When we compare this with Google.com who have a response time of 12 msec we used DNSMadeEasy.
After using DNSMadeEasy, we had a DNS response time of just 2 msec. This is six times faster than Google!!. If we consider a page load goal of around 1 second this is a great result.
DNSMadeEasy is not free, but you can sign up for a 30-day no credit card required free trial. This will allow you to test how effective the service is for your site. After the trial, it is just $29.95 per year for up to 10 domains. Click here for the free trial.
DNS is one of the services that is required for the Internet to work. It works in such a way that we do not even think about it. For this reason, it is often overlooked by site owners when they are optimizing their sites. Use the tools above to test your DNS speed and if you find it slow try DNSMadeEasy to help speed it up. DNSMadeEasy will give you enterprise grade performance for just $29.95 a year.