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Author Topic: Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You [SOLVED]  (Read 6910 times)

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Offline perknh

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Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You [SOLVED]
« on: May 03, 2015, 10:56:39 pm »
Okay, my neighbor and I live right next door to each other, and both he and I are running Peppermint on our computers.  My neighbor runs his computer using cable from one ISP, and I connect through the Ethernet and have a different ISP. 

We both are using the same DNS provider, but when I run a test on his computer to see which DNS servers are closest to him, he gets Missouri and Texas.  When I run the same test for me, I get New York, New Jersey, and California!

He's cable, I'm Ethernet, we both are using Peppermint, and we live 20 feet away from each other.  Why would we get such different results saying which DNS servers are closest to us when we're using the same DNS provider?

Logic tells me we both live closer to New York than Missouri, so I've configured both modem/routers using the exact same DNS servers using this logic (using New York and New Jersey).  I just don't understand why he consistently gets that his closest servers are located in Missouri and Texas as being closest to him, while I consistently get that my closest servers are located in New York and New Jersey --which is geographically true. 

My only guess as to why this is happening is that his cable company is a nationwide cable company while my ISP is regional.  Still the closest DNS servers should be the same I would think if we're both using the same DNS provider --and we both live closer to New York than Missouri!

This doesn't make a lick of sense to me, and I'm stumped as to why this would be happening!  :-\

Can anyone come up with a good reason as to why this would be happening?  And, although this is counter intuitive, would my neighbor be better served by having his DNS servers many states further away than mine if it is recommended that he use those servers?

Thank you,

perknh

« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 12:41:00 pm by perknh »
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2015, 12:08:01 pm »
Because your ISP is your connection to the interweb not your router (which just connects you to your ISP's network) and because ping request timing is used to calculate the location of the nearest DNS

Your ISP joins the interweb at a different physical location than his.

This is why IP addresses are not considered an accurate measure of location .. it just tells you the ISP's location,  and it's quite possible for someone in Scotland to be using an ISP from London

Searching for the nearest DNS is in itself not accurate anyway and relies on ping request timing, which relies on the routing between endpoints.

The internet was desinged to be self healing as far as routing goes .. lets say the whole internet goes down across the whole of the central states in the US .. someone from New York could still talk with someone in California because the packest would get roueted around those states, either via Canada or even the other way around the globe.

With those two peices of information where your neighbour joins the interweb might give wildly different ping timings that where your connection joins, for a LOT of reasons .. if his ping can't get to the physically closest DNS and has to go the other way around the globe, theen one on the other coast will appear to be the closest US DNS.

You shouldn't use IP address or ping timings to measure location .. the web just doesn't work that way .. ON PURPOSE, it was originally designed to be able to route around infrastructure damage caused by a nuclear strike ;)



On different days even from the same computer you'll get different "closest" DNS reponses because it is NOT bound to location, it's bound to which gives the fastes ping response, and that is settled by a LOT of external factors.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 12:10:23 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline perknh

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Re: Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You [SOLVED]
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2015, 12:52:14 pm »
It was such an odd experience for me, I really didn't know what to make of it.  I take it that today my neighbor's ISP's DNS could be the fastest for him, and tomorrow, or even late today, it could be Google's Public DNS.  There are just too many out side variables to make any absolute conclusion on which DNS server would be best for him, or anyone else for that matter.

Wow!  :o

This is a very  interesting, and a very complicated, subject matter all to itself.

That was a great answer, PCNetSpec!  ;) 

Thank you very much.

perknh
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Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You [SOLVED]
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2015, 01:27:20 pm »
yeah, even the amount of traffic a particular DNS server is handling can affect how quickly it responds to a ping request

it's probably NOT the best method to solely determine which is the best DNS server to use .. but it certainly can't hurt to try the one that consistently gives the quickest ping response (irrespective of physical location) .. though it's perfectly possible that a server could respond quickly to pings, but take forever at actual DNS translation.

Generally your ISP's DNS will be the quickest as it'll likely be on the same network your router is initially connecting to .. but even this isn't always the case
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 01:30:21 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline perknh

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Re: Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You [SOLVED]
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2015, 02:08:56 pm »
Thanks, PCNetSpec.

That's exactly what I did.  I just put him back on his own ISP's DNS.  I backed him up with Google's Public DNS just in case something unusual happens to his company's DNS servers.

My wife and I seem to go faster on this other DNS.  Maybe it's throttling us less.  We're on what's called a lower speed, high speed, Internet --meaning we're being throttled.

But that's what makes the Internet access affordable for us.

perknh
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 05:30:24 pm by perknh »
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Online VinDSL

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Re: Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You [SOLVED]
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2015, 06:33:33 pm »
I've been using this utility for years.

By necessity, it's slow and meandering, but it's works a treat.

EDIT

Here's some purdy pics, if you're interested.   ;D
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 06:38:28 pm by VinDSL, Reason: Addendum »

Offline PCNetSpec

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Re: Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You [SOLVED]
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2015, 07:01:08 pm »
They're all rubbish and can only give you what MAY be fastest at any given point in time .. and that WILL change from minute to minute.

BEST is also subjective .. is "fastest" but with a possibility of nefarious redirecting, "better" than trustworthy ?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2015, 07:03:49 pm by PCNetSpec »
WARNING: You are logged into reality as 'root' .. logging in as 'insane' is the only safe option.

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Offline perknh

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Re: Finding the Closest DNS Server Near You [SOLVED]
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2015, 08:35:03 pm »
They're all rubbish ...

Yeah, I'm seeing that.

Back in my Windows days, I watched Comodo and NortonDNS (Norton ConnectSafe) catch malware before the antivirus I had even had a clue.  But, with Linux, there's no need for those tools.

I've had some sort of a problem with every DNS server I've tried --slowness, redirection (hijacking) or some darn thing.

Rubbish is a good word.  (I intend to use that word more often.)

Thanks, PCNetSpec, I'll live with the problems I'm seeing with DNS.  We're all living with these problems in one form or another, I'm sure.

@vinDSL

Sorry, I didn't see your post.  Yes, that's how I started --with namebench.  It gave my neighbor some nutty regional DNS server called that's called an Opt-Out US service, but it was not very good.  I gave him back his regular DNS provider after this.  I'll try putting Norton ConnectSafe DNS on his computer today.  My computer seems faster when I use it.  Now I'll see what Norton can do for his --if anything.

(What I don't like about Norton's DNS is that it partners with Ask.com and seems to keep all your info forever.  I like Google's privacy policy better than Ask's!)

By the way, I found we have namebench is in our software repository!  :)

Thank you.

perknh

P.S.

Update:

Strangely enough, the Swiss Privacy Foundation's DNS servers, which are located in Zurich and Amsterdam, have been about as good as any we've encountered.  There was an attempt to redirect me once when I was using this DNS service, but the benefits appear to outweigh the risks from what I've read and seen about it.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2015, 06:40:06 pm by perknh »
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