24 March 2011

Top 3 online DNS testing tools

Here is my list of favorite DNS testing tools:"

  1. IntoDNS (www.intodns.com)
    Completely free and really sophisticated information about you domain name. 
  2. DNS Check (http://dnscheck.iis.se/)
    Also very good tool but not as sophisticated as IntoDNS
  3. How is my DNS? (http://www.howismydns.com/tools.php)
    Not my preferred tool but I always use it to cross-check results with previous two tools.
All mentioned tools are free and without any subscription payments or so.

If I had to pick one paid tools I would definitely go with this one:

Cloudns.net DNS management service - experience

I have been using paid version of this service for some time and I think I have enough information and experience with the service to describe it to others. Some facts:

  • free or paid version
  • paid version is very cheap
  • it is not anycast (go and try godaddy.com)
I dont know whether to start with good or bad. So I guess I'll start with bad things:
  • Seems to be popular target for DDoS attacks, so far there was one 12 hour failure (sometime between Christmas and New Year's Eve)
  • Very slow to respond to any questions or suggestions
  • Main NS1 machine is the same one as API/web control panel machine
  • It doesnt have templates (yet, but not showstopper as you can copy records mega quickly. see good things.).
50/50 things:
  • because they are slow to respond you just hope there is no technical problem. they have 4 servers on quick lines so intodns.com is really giving good results with cloudns.net. if all works (which it does most of the time)
  • stability? it seems like small company or clever individual effort, so dont know what happens if something happens? They seem to be improving constantly so for now I have all domain with them. I just exported all records into bind back files and if something happens I will be back in no time with other provider. I have also 5th nameserver which is mine which mirrors all records.
Good things:
  • It is cheap, mega cheap for that service 
  • It has 4 independent nameservers
  • You can create vanity servers
  • You can easily import existing bind zones
  • You can see live statistics for your domain
  • You can specify all sorts of settings (A, AAAA, CNAME, MX,  TXT, NS, SRV, web redirects)
  • It is fast (if it isnt under DDoS attack). Working with control panel is approximately 1000x quicker than Godaddy.com control panel. You can easily copy all required records between domains, it is really fast and quick.
  • You can create Cloud domains. Basically you create one domain and all records and if you have other domains with exactly same settings you just put them into domain cloud and they all work immediately with same records.
I hope this helps you with potential dns hosting selection. There are more services online but I am quite happy with cloudns.net. I have been using them since december 2010 and so far they had 3 ddos attacks I am aware of. The first one was really bad but it seems that they learnt good deal about how to secure their servers and other attacks were problems free and all worked well (except control panel, but zones were working correctly)

For questions please use discussion

HeadJS script? Is it really necessary?

I have read articles and forum posts about HeadJS script and how good it is, how it can speed up your site and basically do miracles with your sites :)

Head.js (http://headjs.com/) is tiny script which improves loading speed of your websites/pages.

The latest version is version 0.9. Demo on the headjs.com has some problems,  I find it really strange that developer has not yet updated javascript links within headjs demos (there are 404 errors and js wont load). So they are basically worthless if you try to measure speed.

I have removed all github links and added various CDN javascript libraries. Now all the libraries are working, return status 200 OK. Point of CDN usage is that scripts wont be slowed by speed of my web server and most of these javascript get loaded from CDN anyway.

Original test is from head.js website, it calculates how long it takes to load page either using classic <script> within <head> or using just one <script src="head.js"> library and rest specifying as javascript call:

head.js("https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/yui/3.3.0/build/yui/yui-min.js") .js("http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.5.1/jquery.min.js") .js("https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jqueryui/1.8.11/jquery-ui.min.js") .js("https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/dojo/1.6.0/dojo/dojo.xd.js") .js("https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/mootools/1.3.1/mootools-yui-compressed.js") .js("http://cdn.jquerytools.org/1.2.5/all/jquery.tools.min.js");

You can try amended benchmars here:

HeadJS demo with script src (i am ignoring bottom <script> locations):

HeadJS demo with head.js

I have disabled all extensions, addons, plugins for all browsers to make it as fair as possible. Still this is not any scientific test and methods used are pretty lame. But it works for me as this is how normal person browsing a page will see it.

And my results (please feel free to post your times in discussion):

Chrome 10.0.648.151


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 261ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 38ms


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 24ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 14ms

Results are quite clear, head.js loads page much faster than classic <script> method.

Firefox 4.0


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 263ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 111ms


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 261ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 108ms

Really interesting this one. FF 4.0 basically wont show any difference with 1st run, same numbers for both first runs. Even more interesting is that cached run is the same speed for both versions. 

Internet Explorer 9.0


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 368ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 116ms


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 18ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 8ms

This is really surprising result, IE9 loads head.js fastest from all browsers. Yes, I have tried everything, I deleted cache, closed whole IE9, deleted cache and loaded page. Times are very consistent and it really is mega fast. It is even faster than Chrome 10. 

Internet Explorer 8 (IETester)


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 361ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 206ms


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 16ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 14ms

Again huge time difference. I am only using IEtester but it seems that it really is such a difference when loading site. Again, I am loading page without cache for 1st run, and then cached for 2nd.

Internet Explorer 6 (IEtester)


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 670ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 180ms


  • 1st  run, empty cache: 21ms
  • 2nd run, cached files: 15ms

This is most visible difference when loading the page. Old IE6 just won't die and head.js can quite improve loading time. 

It seems that head.js really can improve webpage loading times. However, I won't be putting it into my projects until I am 100% sure it works well with all the JQuery plugins and javascript codes.  But big thanks to developer for creating such useful tool, I am sure that many sites will use this soon (or in fact use it already).