namebench – Updated for 2015

namebench is a fantastic piece of software created by Google and last updated in 2010. I’ve updated it for 2015, and download links are below. namebench promises to speed up almost any internet connection by testing DNS servers around you and recommending the fastest, most reliable option for you.

namebench-1.3.1-kcspaceman

Any webpage you visit may have images, ads, or other content from multiple internet addresses (domain names). Each time your computer needs to load something from a site like “apple.com”, it has to first translate that nice looking name into an IP address like “17.172.224.47”. This translation is done with a DNS server, and so if you are using a slow DNS server it will take longer to load web pages.

Most all internet companies run their own private DNS servers for their customers to use. However, if your internet company doesn’t keep their DNS server in tip-top shape, or if they attempt to hijack/redirect your domain name translation attempts to other sites (it happens more than you think!), then you may really want to consider using a different public DNS server so you get fast, reliable and unfiltered internet.

namebench started off as a Google project in 2009, but has been mostly abandoned since 2010. I’ve updated the configuration files with new source data and fixed a couple bugs, particularly for Safari (Mac) users.

I took a list of valid public DNS servers from public-dns.tk (May 2015), meaning those which do not hijack DNS results. I then culled out all DNS servers younger than 180 days, or ones less than 90% reliable over 30 days. What’s left is a list of the most reliable, longest-lasting public DNS servers from around the globe. My config files are about 60% smaller than in the original namebench, and all the servers should be valid. The public DNS server list in the original namebench is only about 20% valid, meaning lots of wasted time testing servers that no longer exist.

I also updated the list of top 2000 sites from Alexa, and fixed a bug for Safari users that prevented namebench from picking up the domain names in Safari’s website history.

For convenience’s sake, I assembled new complete versions (unofficial) of namebench 1.3.1 here:

Mac OS X:   namebench1.3.1-kcspaceman.app.zip (1.5MB)
Windows:   namebench1.3.1-kcspaceman-Windows.exe (5.2MB)
Source code:   namebench1.3.1-kcspaceman-source.tar.gz (1.3MB)

However, if you would prefer to download just my changed configuration files, they are here:

alexa-top-2000-domains.txt
(replaces the one in the data directory)

data_sources.cfg
(replaces the one in the config directory)

namebench.cfg
(replaces the one in the config directory)

If you have any questions or comments, please post below.

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3 Comments on “namebench – Updated for 2015”

  1. Scott Sanders Says:

    Hi,

    I have used namebench in the past and just tested you updated version. How did you come up with your specific list of valid public DNS servers?

    I am located in Canada, and am curious of how to make a list of just USA and Canadian nameservers with your criteria.

    # KCSPACEMAN: replaced all regional DNS entries with latest VALID servers
    # from http://public-dns.tk that existed before Nov 26, 2014 and scored a
    # reliability of at least 0.90. VALID means a response time from public-dns.tk
    # of less than 3 seconds, no redirect/hijacks, and correct resolution of
    # wikileaks.org, youporn.com, archive.org, rotten.com and thepiratebay.org
    # This reduced list from 4.5k entries to ~1.7k.

  2. Wanderer Says:

    Thanks for doing this, i was testing namebench and noticed that it gave me some weird results. Gonna test this out. thanks.

  3. Sam Says:

    Can you please publish your new version on github, and include the link here?

    Thanks!

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