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I have been hosting my dns with rackspace for years, formerly slicehost but I have been looking into a 3rd part host, as a result of running various speed tests, such as tools.pingdom.com to test the front end. I typically get ~75ms from dallas on the 1st lookup before it caches the dns.

I have been looking at Dyn and they had a speed comparison test. This is delivered by email and here are the results:

AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR ___.com   AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR DYN.COM 108 ms    2 ms

Your DNS could be performing 5300% better using Dyn Map of your DNS response times

TESTING LOCATION    ___.com DYN.COM
US (Austin, TX)     75 ms   2 ms 
Europe (London)     2 ms    1 ms
Asia (Hong Kong)    145 ms  3 ms
Australia (Sydney)  209 ms  1 ms

It seems that the results I am getting from pingdom match the time.

My question is: what tools or methods can I use to run a similar test on my own?

I basically want to try out a couple of different services and test the dns response time. So, current hosting, host a, host b from a couple of different locations, us west/dallas, us east/nyc, europe (uk).

Are there any free or low cost online tools to accomplish this? If not, are there any utilities that I can install on a VM to run my own tests?

  • I might be missing something here, but couldn't you just ping the DNS servers you want to test? – jski Aug 12 '14 at 3:07
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    Why would one care? DNS lookups are only a small part of the time required to do nearly anything on the internet, and they take even less time once the response has been (automatically) cached in the local DNS server. – MadHatter Aug 12 '14 at 5:53
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I've used Keynote to do this in the past. Their tool will show a whole end-to-end transaction, say an API request, and it will show you the time spent in each portion of the transaction.

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I have used namebench to test name server performance. It is quite thorough and produces nice HTML reports.

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