Configure Namebench

In the first two parts of this article, we learned about DNS and how it works (click here to read) and then we downloaded a program called Namebench that can help improve your Internet speed. (Click here to read)

Today, we’ll configure Namebench.

Now, once you’ve completed the download and installed the latest version of namebench, it’s time to configure the settings.

For Mac users, you will see the following window.

Note: the configuration options for namebench are exactly the same for Windows.


The first bar will show the IP address of your current DNS – for example, This is an automatically-filled field, so don’t worry that you see text in the example.

The next two options, “Include global DNS providers” and “Include best available regional DNS services,” are primary search functions for namebench. It’s recommended to leave both boxes checked, because that will allow the tool to search for the best available options in your area.

The section below, “Options,” includes secondary options. For example, it’s possible to block specific URLs if you select “Include censorship checks.” This option allows you to filter DNS servers and rank them by how powerful a DNS is at blocking unwanted websites.


If you want to give back to the developers of namebench, you can leave the second option, “Upload and share your anonymized results,” checked. This option allows the tool to anonymously send data back to the developers for potential improvements.

For the next section, you can leave “(automatic)” as the default setting for location, as it will determine your location based on your IP address.


“Query Data Source” stands for the browser you are using. In this example, we’ll go with Google Chrome.

In case you always surf online in incognito mode, and you don’t want namebench to have access to your browsing history, you can select “Top 2,000 Websites (Alexa)”:


Then, the “Health Check Performance” box has two options:


The “Health Check Performance” will test either 10 or 40 servers, depending on available bandwidth. For the sake of the example, we will go with “Fast.”

However, if you have an unstable network – for example, you regularly experience connection timeouts – simply pick the other option.

The last option is “Number of queries,” which basically stands for “the number of queries that are sent to each DNS.” By default, it’s set at 250. There’s no reason to edit the number of packages sent unless you’re on a slow network. If your internet connection can’t complete all the query requests, the outcome of the tested DNS servers analysis might not be accurate. In that case, I’d recommend to bring it down to 100 or 150 queries.

Completed all the steps?

Hit the “Start” button and let namebench search the best DNS for you. Note: this process can take up to a couple of minutes.

In the next part of this series, we’ll look at how to analyze the data and put it to work for you.

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