One of the best ways to improve performance to your website is to move your content closer to your website visitors. This means that companies with visitors coming from Europe should also have their content hosted in Europe so that requests don’t have to travel all over the world on every page load. However, moving your content closer to your visitors is only effective if you’re also able to route each visitor to the optimal endpoint, based on their geographic location (e.g. you want to route your European visitors to a European data center instead of your data center in New Jersey).
DNS-based Geolocation is the best way to ensure each visitor reaches this optimal endpoint, as it allows users to be routed at the earliest step of the resolution process, rather than requiring multiple separate routing decisions on the way to the optimal endpoint. Unfortunately, building and maintaining a database that maps every IP address to its geographic location within the ever-shifting public internet is a daunting task for any provider.
Here at Dyn, we’ve developed several methods that have enabled us to constantly improve our geolocation database, which in turn improves our Traffic Director capabilities.
1. ISP Partnerships
Through the years, Dyn has developed close relationships with many of the world’s largest Internet service providers. These relationships have enabled Dyn engineers to work closely with each ISP to ensure their physical locations are properly represented in our mapping database.
As the first step of the DNS resolution process, your website visitors query their ISP’s Recursive DNS server to determine the IP address that their web browser should route to in order to display the website. The ISP then queries authoritative DNS nameservers to learn where to route the visitor. In order for the DNS provider to serve the optimal geotargeted response, it needs to understand which of the ISP’s servers this visitor has queried. Based on this information, it can get a good indication of the physical location for that end user, and provide the corresponding best location to route them to your website.
2. Community Feedback
Dyn has created a submission form enabling ISPs, Dyn customers, and partners to submit IP ranges that they believe are incorrectly routed. Customers may have gathered this information from networks they use for testing, through the use of Real User Monitoring (RUM) tools, or other techniques for monitoring website performance.
All submissions are reviewed and thoroughly tested by Dyn Engineers to ensure the highest level of accuracy, prior to implementing any changes.
3. Dyn Internet Intelligence
Dyn’s recent acquisition of Renesys has provided us with an unprecedented view of the Internet and transit routes throughout the world. Given this view, our Engineering teams are able to analyze millions of data points regarding IP addresses and the various routes to reach them. One of the benefits of this data is that we’re able to create overlays for our base mapping database, iteratively improving our geolocation maps. This will be an ongoing process, but has already resulted in significant improvements to our geolocation quality, providing us with a single source of truth for ensuring the best mapping database in the industry.
As a company committed to Internet Performance, Dyn is determined to continue improving our geolocation maps until they provide the most accurate representation of IP address locations possible. By leveraging these maps alongside our Internet Intelligence and Traffic Director products, Dyn customers can create online experiences that exceed the expectations of their visitors.