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April 4, 2011

Free DNS Hosting Performance Tests

by Dan

UPDATE May 2011: Namecheap’s DNS service has recently experienced two outages: one due to a denial of service attack and the other caused by a misconfigured DNS entry at another registrar. Their service is relatively new, so I hope they handle these types of issues better in the future. I appreciate the honesty and openness with which they have reported these issues. ClouDNS is also experiencing intermittent downtime, but has not mentioned anything.

UPDATE July 2013: A few months ago, I switched to using CloudFlare’s Free plan. I’m really happy with the service, which is faster than what I’ve been using before. And I really like using a company specializing in DNS security and performance. SolveDNS’s DNS Speed Comparison Report agrees. Highly recommended.


Way back in April 2009, I read two articles about using Pingdom to test hosted DNS services. Pingdom has a limited free account, includes several types of web-related performance tests and has test servers in over 25 locations throughout North America and Europe. I started using it immediately and have been very pleased with their product and service.

I’ve been wanting to test the performance of hosted DNS services that include at least one domain for free. Two years later, I finally got around to it. All tests were done with my own domain name.

Each test covered eight days (except Afraid, which I ended early after six). I would have preferred to run the tests concurrently over a longer period of time. If I missed anyone, please let me know and I’ll add them to the list.

NameUptimeResponseStd DevNotes
Namecheap100.00%82 ms175 msIncludes free email forwarding.
ClouDNS100.00%93 ms319 msExcellent user interface.
Moniker100.00%114 ms248 ms*** Included with domain registration. ***
ZoneEdit99.65%91 ms280 ms
GeoScaling99.78%103 ms332 ms
XName100.00%117 ms325 ms
DNS Exit99.98%256 ms1025 ms
FreeDNS100.00%187 ms530 msWebsite down for days recently. No comment on why.
Afraid80.45%223 ms1022 msSub-domain sharing. Down 4 mins every 19.

I recommend Namecheap and ClouDNS. If you are willing to pay for DNS services, there may be faster and more reliable options. I’d love to try out easyDNS and DynDNS but neither have a free option.

Here are the charts to give you a visual idea of the test results. Pingdom needs to allow customers to control the vertical scale. I’m just too lazy to make my own charts using their cool API. :)


Namecheap performance results


ClouDNS performance results


Moniker performance results


ZoneEdit performance results


GeoScaling performance results


XName performance results

DNS Exit

DNS Exit performance results


FreeDNS performance results


Afraid performance results

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