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When tuning a web site/service for performance, is there a downside to using a less common top-level domain (e.g. 'nu', 'tv', 'io') for your hostnames? My concern is that if you're using a TLD assigned to a specific country, then initial DNS lookups will somehow involve network resources in or near that country. Or are all TLDs pretty much location-independent, logically?

If you'd care to comment on other potential issues in using non-standard TLDs, I'd be interested in that too. Thanks!

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Given the very tiny effect a DNS lookup will have what are you concerned about? You'll gain far more performance improvement by removing a few words from a web page than you will by changing the TLD. –  John Gardeniers Feb 24 '11 at 20:28
    
I'm trying to tune a client's site using Steve Souder's High Performance Web Site rules. They advocate paying attention to DNS lookups, even though we are indeed talking about milliseconds. I think one of the driving factors is the fact the user perception of site speed is highly influenced by how quickly the the page appears to be loading, so you want to cut down initial request overhead as much as possible. –  michaelg Feb 25 '11 at 23:17

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Perhaps you'd have a little more latency on the first query versus something heavily anycasted like .com or .net, but after that it's cached. So, no, not really anything to be concerned about.

Civil unrest could be a concern, possib.ly.

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Thanks. I'm feeling better about the performance aspect after learning the specific TLD I'm interested in (io) is handled by five geographically diverse data centers. –  michaelg Feb 25 '11 at 23:20
    
The civil unrest aspect, such as with Libya and the 'ly' TLD (well played), was also a concern. Reading up on the potential impact on bit.ly, my impression is that the DNS system can somewhat insulate itself from rogue countries trying to block access to their TLD. In the longer-term, however, a country can impose restrictions or revoke registrations as they choose. So a functioning government could be more trouble than a chaotic one. –  michaelg Feb 25 '11 at 23:30

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