Windows/Mac/Linux: Namehelp is a DNS optimisation tool that can significantly improve your web performance, whether you use a public DNS (like Google Public DNS or OpenDNS) or stick with your default ISP options. Developed by Northwestern University researchers, the app runs in the background optimizing your DNS configuration and automatically fixing the interaction between DNS and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs).
Many popular websites rely on Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to deliver their content faster. According to the researchers behind Namehelp, public DNS services aren’t very efficient at getting the content from CDNs, redirecting users to CDNs farther away than necessary.
Namehelp aims to fix that. Once you install the program and configure it (setting your computer’s DNS to 127.0.0.1), Namehelp will start improving your web performance. There’s a convenient Chrome extension to quickly access the Namehelp dashboard, where you’ll see benchmarking and performance graphs. In my tests, using Namehelp showed a 341% performance increase over the default DNS from my ISP.
Bear in mind that switching DNS providers can have consequences. For instance, if your provider offer unmetered access to certain types of content (such as file downloads or the ABC iView service), changing DNS will often stop that option working. However, if you’re suffering poor performance, Namehelp may be worth a try.