Finding fast forwarders for your DNS server to speed up internet speeds – John Gamboa

Why do you want the fastest DNS servers listed as DNS forwarders on your domain name server? Mainly, to get your internet experience to speed up. Having slow DNS forwarders can affect how long a browser takes to find and load a web page or to start downloading a file. In bad cases I’ve seen some sites become inaccessible because of bad DNS forwarders. Major sites like Google.com and Yahoo.com were getting “Page cannot be found” errors for an entire office!

There’s a quick way to figure which forwarders to set on your server. First, use a DNS benchmark utility. I’ve been using DNSBench and it’s served me well. It’s a free utility that test numerous DNS servers from your location so you can find and use the fastest ones for your computer and network. Even within a city like San Francisco, different locations will get the best results with different forwarders even inside the same building.

DNSBench-Screenshot-John-Gamboa

Download it from here. It’s self contained so you don’t have to install it, just put it in its own directory somewhere on your computer or external drive and run it. Click on Run Benchmark and wait. It’s best not use the PC as much as you can so it can test the DNS servers better and give you a more accurate result.

Once you get the fastest two or three identified, you can put those as your forwarders on your DNS server. Here is a screenshot of one of my DNS servers forwarders page. I set the priority based on the speed results I got from my DNSBench results. You can get by with 2 or 3 but as you can see from my screenshot, you can put more. You’ll notice that even DNS servers provided by the same companies can have differing speeds. After setting this up for one of my clients and changing the forward queries time out to 1 second – which you have to be careful of because slow internet plus short timeouts can result in the forward query loop because you’re not giving enough time for the request to go out and come back – internet surfing drastically improved.

Hope this helps.

DNS Forwarders John Gamboa

This network issue threw me for a loop

I got sent to a network problem for one person in a office and some troubleshooting took place as well as some remediation steps. Basically the user had no network access all of a sudden. The computer had already been rebooted (the first thing IT people seem to recommend, right?)

The network card was removed from device manager and reinstalled. At that point I was dispatched to the client. I tried some basic stuff – swapped network cables. That didn’t work. Rebooted the switch. Forced the NIC into 100 Mbps Full – nope. 100 Mbps Half – nope. 1 Gbps – nope, nope. Scanned for malware. None found. I started working on it in the server room and after updating the NIC drivers, I got internet. Cool! It’s fixed.

Then I moved it back to the user’s desk and no internet again. Hmm…I guess it’s the cable drop between the network closet and the office. Temporary solution – move his computer to another desk. So we move all the components – PC, monitors, cables, keyboard, etc. And???

NO NETWORK AGAIN? Okaaay

Moved to another office on a different switch. Still no network. What? Back in the server room it started getting spotty network connectivity. Weird. Contacted Dell support and my manager. Ran a BIOS update and did a clean uninstall of the NIC from Device Manager. Reinstalled the NIC with fresh drivers from Dell. Seems to have network connectivity. Moved it back to the temporary desk. No network!!!

What is going on??

I’m scratching my head trying to figure it out. So on a whim, I decided to try 100 Mbps Full and I got network! Hooray! 1 Gbps doesn’t seem to work and Auto-negotiate doesn’t work either. So in the end it took a BIOS update, NIC driver refresh, and forcing the NIC to connect at 100 Mbps.

Nothing changed as far as I can determine. No updates were installed and the user didn’t change anything. Why it didn’t work all of sudden? Who knows? I’m just glad it’s working!