In my article about public DNS servers, I've been mentioning some reasons as to why one would want to use alternative DNS servers, and amongst them: speeding your internet browsing. However, as DNS queries are usually very fast, it is quite difficult to measure whereas a given server is faster than the one you're currently using. But that time is now over, thanks to Namebench: a multi-platform DNS benchmark utility running on Linux, *BSD, Mac OS X and Windows as well.
Once you order Namebench to start its job, it will run a serie of tests using your browser history if available or standardized datasets otherwise, and process the results to output some nice performance results graphs along with a list of the fastest DNS servers for you to use. Here are some screenshots of the output:
Mean Response Duration:
Fastest Individual Response Duration:
Response Distribution Chart (First 200ms):
Response Distribution Chart (Full):
In my case, no surprise occured as the fastest DNS servers available are the ones from my ISP and another regional server, popular public servers UltraDNS, Google Public DNS and OpenDNS came just behind. However, I will continue to run namebench from time to time just to ensure my DNS settings are optimal: definitely a great tool I would strongly recommend.