AskMisterWizard.com Reviews the free "DNS Benchmark" tool from Gibson Research Corporation
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Whether you know it or not, you use DNS services. You use those services a lot!

Every time you access an Internet website, your computer needs help finding it.

Every Internet web service is given a unique, numeric IP Address. Valid IP addresses look like this:

74.125.67.106

There are more than 4 billion numeric Internet addresses. Some are assigned, while others are not.

That particular IP address actually belongs to google.com

So the next time you want to use Google's search engine, instead of typing "google.com" into your browser's address bar, you could just type "74.125.67.106", and you'll probably get a faster response.

If you type "google.com" instead, your response will be slightly slower, because your computer needs help from somebody that knows how to translate domain names like "google.com" into Internet address numbers like 74.125.67.106.

The most important mechanism for translating domain names into Internet Addresses is known as the "Domain Name Service", or "DNS". Your computer's operating system is always configured with the numeric IP address of at least one Domain Name Server so it can ask for help in these situations.

Ideally, the selected Domain Name Server is physically close to you, your computer shares a high-speed connection with it, it is based in a high-speed, powerful computer, and it has high-speed connections with the rest of the Internet.

If all of these conditions are optimized, then DNS name lookups will require only a few milliseconds, and you'll probably never notice the lookup delay, even if your daily surfing patterns access hundreds of web sites and thousands of pages.

However, it is commonplace for one or more of those conditions to have problems, and some DNS servers are better than others. Some individual web pages load frames or images from many other sites, and each of those pages might need to perform dozens and dozens of DNS lookups. In these cases, slow DNS performance will make your browsing experience seem dull and halting.

When you first set up your DSL or Cable Modem Internet connection, your ISP probably configured your DNS settings for you, and they may never have been optimized or adjusted for years. Those settings may reference a DNS server that is physically located thousands of miles away from you. The server hardware may now be old and slow, or overworked. Tens of thousands of other users may be clogging its resources during busy portions of the workday. The server may suffer from an inadequate connection to you, or to other services out on the worldwide Internet.

If you need help understanding this technology and vocabulary, you can learn all of the basics of Internet Addresses, Domain Name Servers, ISPs, etc. from other video clips in the "Networking Fundamentals" Section here at AskMisterWizard.com.

Once all of these basics are understood, you can optimize your own DNS configuration. There are thousands of free Domain Name Servers that you can use. No matter where you live, some are near you. Others will be far away. Some are fast. Some are slow. Some are underutilized. Some are overworked. Some are reliable, while others are not. Some are constantly monitored for security weaknesses and updated with the latest security upgrades and patches. Others are vulnerable to attack and compromise.

Until recently, it was quite difficult to evaluate the performance of the many DNS servers that are available worldwide.

Now, that has all changed. Thanks to the generosity and skill of Steve Gibson (of Gibson Research Corporation), it's free and easy for anybody to find a good, fast Domain Name Server. Most people will notice improved Internet performance if they use Steve's free "DNS Benchmark" utility to locate good Domain Name Servers near them and then configure their PCs or routers to access them accordingly. Sometimes this process can provide dramatic performance improvement.

In this AskMisterWizard.com report, we'll show exactly how we downloaded and used Steve Gibson's "DNS Benchmark" utility to learn about our existing DNS configuration, to measure the performance of thousands of Domain Name servers offering free service to our location, and to select two new DNS servers (Primary and Secondary) for improved performance.

First: a quick review of our AskMisterWizard.com network: We have 9 PCs, 2 Skype phones, 2 fileservers, 3 media servers, a security camera, and 1 print server that all have Internet access through our single DSL connection. All of these systems receive private IP addresses behind a single NAT router. The NAT router maintains a list of 2 Domain Name Servers to which it relays all DNS conversations on behalf of all of the other equipment. Thus any change we make to the router's IP configuration will instantly affect all of the other computers and Internet devices in our local network.

Let's get started!