DNS Services the 2013 edition
November 8, 2013 5:48 PM   Subscribe

I've had some odd slowdowns in internet surfing over the past month or so (now resolved), and in trying to diagnose why, I started thinking about DNS services. Currently I'm running through my ISP (TimeWarner), but wondering whether there's any advantage to switching to Google Public DNS or OpenDNS, and what are the possible disadvantages, and if it is worth it, which one would be better?

Again, the slowdowns have somehow resolved, so it's not a pressing issue from that point of view at the present moment, but it did start me thinking.

I've googed around to answer these questions, but a lot of the info is pretty old, or pretty vague, so I was wondering what the state of the art is in 2013, sample:

1)Why using Google DNS / OpenDNS is a bad idea - 2010

2)Understanding Google Public DNS – Features, Risks and Benefits - 2009

3)A Closer Look at Google Public DNS - 2012

quote from OpenDNS honcho:

"In that vein, I’ll reiterate my view that I think Google controlling search, the browser, and the network or DNS layer is a dangerous trifecta that the consumer will probably be best served avoiding."

4)Huge News For Internet Security – Google Public DNS Is Now Performing DNSSEC Validation! - March 2013

All rather outdated and handwavy. So,

a)Is there any compelling, or semi-compelling, or just good-practice reason to switch away from my ISP DNS to either GPDNS or OpenDNS or X(?)

b)What are the possible disadvantages - if any - of doing so?

c)Is this overthinking a plate of beans, or the equivalent of expending mental energy on worrying about the shape of the clouds when trying to pick clothes for tomorrow's weather?
posted by VikingSword to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I mean, you could try it and then just change it back. I used OpenDNS and then Google DNS for a while, but I found it really fouled up streaming video services, especially Netflix, so I switched back.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:33 PM on November 8, 2013


All the DNS choices are free to use and there is zero cost to switch (it takes, what, 10 seconds of your time?).

In fact, you have literally wasted more of your life simply writing this question and reading its responses than you could possibly ever recoup from having it answered.
posted by dmd at 6:56 PM on November 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

What dmd said. Also, it's not TOO difficult to set up a local caching nameserver, as well.
posted by destructive cactus at 7:02 PM on November 8, 2013

Namebench - Open-source DNS Benchmark Utility
posted by bluecore at 7:17 PM on November 8, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'll second bluecore. Download and run Namebench. It will tell you if your existing DNS server is the best for your location and ISP and list other options that may be faster. I switched to Open DNS (from Cox DNS) and have seen a noticeable improvement. Runing Namebench before and after confirmed that the switch was the best move for us. Of course, you can read up on reasons not to switch to Google DNS or Open DNS and make up your mind, but there are dozens of other good options, some of which might improve your Internet speeds. Ours increased by about 35% by switching. YMMV.
posted by flyingrock at 5:10 PM on November 11, 2013

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