The Robservatory

Robservations on everything…


macOS app: Test DNS servers with namebench

If you’ve got a speedy internet connection at home, but it seems slow, it’s possible its’ not the connection itself but the speed of your chosen DNS server.

To figure out if the DNS servers are part of the problem, check out namebench, a DNS server benchmarking app. namebench compares your existing DNS servers to a large list of other DNS servers, and shows you how they all perform.

When namebench launches, you’ll see a window populated with your current DNS server addresses, and a few other settings you can modify:

Click Start, then go ahead and find something else to do for a while—the benchmarking process may take 15 minutes or more, depending on how many name servers it can see.

When it’s done, though, your browser will open showing a page with results, including some “eye candy” charts like this one:

The report may tell you your current DNS is the fastest, or it may have recommendations for other servers. Note: You may also see lots of scary messages about a DNS being hijacked; you really don’t need to worry about these. (CHeck the FAQ for answers about hijacking, and anything else in the output).

namebench can also be built from source, so you could use it in Terminal, but I haven’t tried that. It’s not new code—the latest version (1.3.1) is from 2010. However, it seems to run fine in Sierra (and Mavericks before that). If you’re curious about your DNS servers, I haven’t found a better tool than namebench to investigate their performance.


Add a Comment
    1. Sorry to hear that, but I’m not directly involved with the app in any way, so I can’t really say why you didn’t see any results. You could try submitting an issue, but the newest entry there is almost two years old.


  1. Since I started running Namebench on High Sierra, the webbrowser doesn’t open after it runs, and doesn’t provide any alternatives. Anyone else having this issue?

    1. This was a problem back in May 2017, too, so it’s not High Sierra. I don’t know what changed, but it no longer works for me either. Given the app was last updated in 2010, it’s doubtful it’ll ever be fixed.


Leave a Reply

The Robservatory © 2017 Built from the Frontier theme