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Best DNS Servers in North America

February 10, 2022
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Heather Oliver is a Technical Writer for Constellix and DNS Made Easy, subsidiaries of Tiggee LLC. She’s fascinated by technology and loves adding a little spark to complex topics. Want to connect? Find her on LinkedIn.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/heather-oliver

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Internet is pivotal in today’s world economy. This couldn’t be more true in the United States, which has the third-largest number of internet users by population. A recent study by Alibaba revealed as much as 93% of US companies do business at least partially online and Nasdaq predicts a staggering 95% of sales will be e-commerce by 2040. As the demand for online products and services grows, so does the necessity for highly efficient and reliable DNS.

This blog covers internet usage trends and the best DNS options for the US in 2022 and beyond.  

United States Online Trends and Behavior

At least 93% of Americans are internet users (Pew Research Center), up 41% since 2000. While much of this can be contributed to casual browsing, gaming, and social activity, an impressive 76% of Americans shop online and spent 431.1 billion in online shopping 2020 alone. To drive this point home even further, three in 10 Americans (31%) are online all the time, and nearly half of US internet users are online multiple times per day. 

That is a lot of online activity!

Suffice it to say, most Americans couldn’t fathom life without the internet at this point in time—the world for that matter. This makes having a strong online strategy monumentally important in 2022 and beyond. What is a crucial part of online success?

Hands down, DNS.

What is a DNS Server?

The domain name system (DNS) operates via nameservers that are strategically positioned across the globe. These servers are what make the internet seem like magic, as they operate in the background and are “invisible” to users. The main purpose of a DNS server is to convert domain names into machine-readable IP addresses that are in either IPv4 (the current standard) or IPv6 format. You can think of an IP as a postal address but for websites, and DNS as a dynamic phonebook for the internet. 

There are several different DNS servers: root, top level domain (TLD), recursive, and authoritative nameservers. While each of these servers has unique functions, none of them could work without the other. The server most critical to your business is the authoritative nameserver. It is this server that holds the most up-to-date information about your domain. It’s also the one that provides the final (authoritative) answer to recursive servers when a user queries your website or application. Without authoritative DNS, no one would be able to find your business online.

Tip: To learn more about DNS and the different server types, read our blog on Authoritative vs. Recursive DNS.

Best DNS (America)

Though the US comprises less than 5% of the world's population, Americans account for more than 20% of the world’s total income (Office of the United States Trade Representative). Considering that America is the largest national economy, as well as the competitiveness of the online marketplace in general, it’s vital that organizations conducting business in or with the US have fast, secure, and reliable websites and applications.

An excellent user experience starts with DNS.

That’s why Tiggee LLC (AS16552), parent company of DNS Made Easy and Constellix, has points of presence (PoPs) in eight major US data centers, alongside other major DNS and cloud providers and large corporations.

Tiggee US PoPs

  1. Newark, New Jersey
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. Chicago, Illinois
  4. Dallas, Texas
  5. Ashburn, Virginia
  6. Miami, Florida
  7. Seattle, Washington
  8. Silicon Valley, San Jose, California

Fastest DNS

In total, Tiggee has 23 PoPs strategically positioned around the world that run on Tiggee’s own bare metal infrastructure—as close to the edge as possible. With more than 3,200 peers, 540 Gbps of peering capacity, and 730 Gbps of transit capacity, Constellix and DNS Made Easy provide superior DNS speeds and quality, and have the highest uptime history in the entire industry—zero outages in over 12 years.

The Tiggee network affords US-based DNS Made Easy and Constellix customers a competitive edge. 

Every millisecond counts when it comes to DNS.

Today’s internet users demand expediency and have little tolerance for slow-loading websites and applications. This explains why just a one-second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions. Speed is also a factor for SEO rankings. Since every online query involves DNS, it’s imperative you have the fastest and most reliable DNS available. 

DNS Speed Comparison

DNS speeds are largely affected by a provider's infrastructure, but there are other factors that impact efficiency. Location is a prime example.  Some providers have an enormous infrastructure and feature PoPs in major US cities, but while near data centers, their servers are often located off-premise. This may seem like a non-issue, but external locations result in an additional step in the DNS process and thus add precious milliseconds to each query before a record can be provided. 

Let’s see how this plays out in the real world. Below is a graph (using PerfOps) that compares notable DNS and Cloud providers based on US speeds.

 

Provider    Speeds Percentage comparisons to Tiggee Network

Cloudflare    5.98 ms 29% faster

Constellix    8.02 ms

DNS Made Easy  8.02 ms

NS1    8.63 ms 7% slower

DNSimple    9.97 ms 22% slower

Cloudfloor    10.1 ms 23% slower

GoDaddy    10.47 ms 27% slower

UltraDNS    11.47 ms 35% slower

Dyn    13.27 ms 49% slower

Route 53                15.09 ms 61% slower

Azure           22.47 ms 95% slower

EasyDNS    22.7 ms 96% slower

Google Cloud    39.4 ms 132% slower

ClouDNS    44.95 ms 139% slower

Akamai    52.3 ms 147% slower

If you’re reading this blog, then you do all or a substantial amount of business in the United States. The data above is important because it shows you how your current or potential provider performs in the area your customers are located. If you are state or regional-based, you can compare by state(s) or city to refine your results even further.

DNS Performance on a State Level

For example, let’s say that Pennsylvania is a critical area for your business. If we compare the same providers for just this state, we get vastly different results, with GoDaddy performing at 4.4 ms followed closely by DNS Made Easy and Contellix at 4.63 / 4.69, whereas Cloudflare comes in 6th in speeds here (5.55 ms). 

United States DNS Best Servers Based on Speed

Let’s switch coasts and look at Texas as another example.

Texas DNS Best Performance

Here, we see DNS Made Easy and Constellix leading the pack at 2.84 / 2.84 ms, followed by NS1 (3.59), CloudfloorDNS (3.93), Cloudflare (7.09), and so on.

DNS on a City Level

If we compare by city, results change once again. Let’s take a look at Ashburn, Virginia, where the Tiggee corporate office is located.

City specific DNS speed - PerfOps (Ashburn, VA)

Here, DNS Made Easy and Constellix perform highest, at 2.79 / 2.84, followed by GoDaddy (2.86), DNSimple (3.51), Cloudflare (3.79), NS1 (4.14), and so on. 

Let’s take a look at a larger city, such as New York City. 

New York City - Best DNS Speed

In NYC, DNS Made Easy and Constellix are top performers, coming in at 2.98 / 2.99 ms, followed closely by GoDaddy (3.12), NS1 (3.63), Cloudfloor (3.73), Cloudflare (4.29), and so on.

Tip: Speed data in the above examples were gathered from PerfOps, and represents speeds for each provider within the last 30 days of this writing. Speeds can and do fluctuate, so it’s best practice to check your DNS provider’s performance regularly. 

Why DNS Speed and Uptime Are So Important

As stated earlier, speed affects SEO rankings and conversions, but most importantly, it affects your user experience. So speed should always be a major consideration when looking for a DNS provider. 

Of course, there’s more to DNS than that.

You also need to consider uptime history. Even if a provider is fast, if they have a history of outages, that speed boost is negligible in comparison to the cost of downtime. Studies have shown that the average cost of an outage is $5,600 per minute. Considering most outages last several hours, that really adds up—just a two-hour outage can have you dancing to the tune of $672,000 or more—and it won’t be a “happy dance.”

A Historical Timeline of Provider Outages

Below is a list of just a few of the notable regional and global outages within the last decade.

  • Cloudflare  June 2021, Aug 2020, Jul 2020, Apr 2020, Jul 2019
  • Constellix - NONE (over 8 years of 100% uptime)
  • DNS Made Easy - NONE (over 12 years of 100% uptime)
  • Neustar UltraDNS - May 2021, Oct 2015, Apr 2014, Jan 2013
  • NS1  - 2021, 2016
  • Network Solutions - Mar 2021, May 2021
  • Route 53/AWS - Nov 2021, Sept 2021, Nov 2020, Oct 2019, May 2019, Apr 2019, Mar 2017 
  • Dyn  - Mar 2021, Oct 2016
  • GoDaddy  - Nov 2020, Mar 2017, Sept 2012, 
  • Azure    -    Oct 2021, Mar 2021 (2), Mar 2019
  • Google Cloud - Jun 2021, Dec 2020, Nov 2020, Aug 2020, Nov 2019 
  • Akamai    -      Jul 2021, Jun 2021
  • Fastly   -     Jun 2021

As you can see, it’s critical that you look into the uptime history of a prospective provider. 

When it Comes to DNS, Don’t Neglect Redundancy 

Outages do happen, it is the nature of the internet. However, this can be avoided entirely and should not be accepted as a point of fact. Another wildly important factor when looking for a DNS provider is redundancy. Do they offer solutions that cover every point of failure? Do they support secondary DNS or primary/primary DNS? 

Redundancy is the true key to staying online 100% of the time. 

Whether your own server(s) or network experiences issues or your provider has an outage, there are services that will ensure you stay up and running, even when other domains go down.

Solutions such as Failover ensure your customers can still visit your site or use your applications if one of your resources becomes unhealthy or unavailable. Secondary DNS or Primary/Primary DNS, however, is the ultimate redundant solution for provider and DNS-related outages. With a second DNS configuration, your traffic will be picked up the secondary provider if your primary provider goes down.

1. Constellix

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes (primary/primary*)

*Constellix has integrated secondary support via API with Azure, Route 53, and Google Cloud DNS

2. DNS Made Easy

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

3. Akamai

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes 

4. AWS/Amazon Route 53

Supports Secondary DNS: No*

*Primary/primary configurations are possible with API 

5. Azure DNS

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

6. Cloudflare

Supports Secondary DNS: No*

*You can add Cloudflare as a secondary provider, but they do not allow you to add a secondary DNS provider if they are your primary.

7. DNSimple

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

8. Google Cloud DNS

Supports Secondary DNS: No*

*Primary/primary configurations are possible with API 

‍9. Neustar UltraDNS

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

10. NS1

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

11. Oracle Dyn

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

12. GoDaddy

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes (premium only)

13. Cloudfloor

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

14. ClouDNS

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

15. EasyDNS

Supports Secondary DNS: Yes

A bonus that can come along with having two DNS hosting providers is a potential performance boost. Since resolvers often learn which authoritative nameserver is the fastest, and typically prefers the faster one, your domain or application will benefit if one of your providers has faster speeds. 

The Best DNS: The Big Three Factors

Speed, uptime, and redundancy should weigh heavily into your decision when choosing a DNS provider. As the saying goes, time is money. Speed impacts SEO, user experience, and conversions. Outages affect your bottom line. Redundancy protects your bottom line and your brand’s reputation. Once you narrow down which providers fit these three categories, you can focus on which provider has the services that best fit your needs.  

Related Resources:

What is DNS Vendor Lock-in and Why You Should Avoid It

Authoritative and Recursive DNS: What’s the Difference?

Best DNS + CDN Provider Solutions and Examples for Redundancy

Economy & Trade, Office of the United States Trade Representative

Choosing a DNS Hosting Provider: Best Practices

Priority DNS Security - image

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