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Speed & Consistency: How Does Your CDN’s DNS Perform?

Bundled services and products usually provide a great value to customers. Take car tires, for instance. You often hear of deals where you get a fourth tire free with the purchase of three tires, which is wonderful since A) cars have four tires and B) car tires can come with a hefty price tag.

Now, consider the value of the deal if you bought three high-quality tires and the free tire was not on the same caliber. Its performance may be questionable and you’ll never be quite sure if it will last as long as your other tires. Would free really be worth the price of decreased performance?

In the world of websites, content delivery networks (CDNs) are a great way to deliver your content to your end users with fast, reliable performance. DNS is another service that can greatly improve your website’s performance, and often times CDNs will offer free DNS, or at least discounted DNS, with the purchase of their service.

However, while CDNs tend to have vast, global networks that allow for high performance, since DNS isn’t their main product (or main concern), the performance of a CDN’s DNS may have some consistency issues. We wanted to dive deeper into this discrepancy and wanted to see how DNS from CDNs compares to DNS from a dedicated provider. To do this, we compared Dyn’s regional DNS nameserver response times with that of a leading CDN provider’s response times in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region.

CDN DNS versus Dyn DNS

Click for a larger view.

 

Taking a look at the results, it’s evident that not only are Dyn’s response times on average quicker than those of the CDN provider’s, but they are also more consistent. Why does consistency matter? Imagine visiting your favorite website and one day it loads quickly while the next few days it loads slowly. Not having a consistent gauge of performance can become frustrating for end users because they never really know what to expect. Plus, if your website is in a slow lull, you might miss out on some visitors who will never return because of that one bad experience.

While the CDN provider did in fact managed to have a response time that was faster than Dyn’s in both Europe and Asia, it was an exception and the deviation of response times was much higher which accounted for the higher inconsistency in performance (all that “noise” you see on the blue line versus the fairly straight green line).

You might in theory be getting a better deal when you use the free DNS service offered through your CDN provider, but is the value really there?


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Whois: Kelly O'Hara

Kelly O'Hara is Dyn's Content Marketing Specialist, powering some great Message Delivery & Traffic Management content. Follow her on Twitter (@KellOHara) & Dyn (@Dyn).