I’ve discovered a way to potentially speed-up your Internet access. Before we get to that, it occurs to me that the way in which computers find each other on the Internet may be a bit of a mystery to many. If you’d like to understand how it all works read this first.
Your devices (computers, tablets and smartphones) are constantly accessing their assigned DNS server and since they often can’t continue until a response is received, the speed of your DNS server can have a big effect on the speed of your Internet access. If you’re using any of the Internet classes in Xojo, this will of course affect the performance of your apps as well. Not all DNS servers are created equal. You are probably using one at your Internet provider and it may not be the fastest DNS server available to you. But with all the DNS servers out there, how can you know which one is fastest?
You can find out with an open-source app called Namebench that goes through thousands of DNS servers to find the one that responses the fastest for you. I say “for you” because the distance between you and a DNS server is one factor in how fast it can response. For me, the results were startling. The report Namebench created indicated that Google’s public DNS server was 1999% faster than the one I was using (from my Internet provider). I switched to Google’s and it is faster. This is especially noticeable when accessing links from sites such as news sites where you are likely to be clicking on links that point to domains you haven’t accessed before or in many days.
The app is simple to use and updating your DNS server address is pretty simple too. There are instructions for OS X, Windows and Linux here.
UPDATE: Xojo Developer Jared at Quick Start Software pointed out you can also change the DNS settings on your router so all of the devices on your network use the new DNS settings. This article explains the how to do this for an Apple Airport router.