CNET just rehashed a report (pdf of report) that our friends over at Nominum commissioned to look at the speed and reliability of ISP DNS servers. The verdict won’t shock any of you: ISPs are pretty bad at providing DNS.
Some of the numbers they put in the report are surprising. The report says that Verizon drops 3.14% of all DSL subscribers’ DNS requests. That is some messed up DNS!
The report goes on to talk about other ISPs including SBC, RoadRunner, Comcast, who all do relatively poor jobs at providing such a critical service. I’m bummed they didn’t review Speakeasy, an ISP I’ve always really liked and whose DNS servers have always performed reasonably. The report states that Comcast only drops 0.51% of queries which is amusing because most people tend to attribute bad DNS service with Comcast. We know that the reliability of the DNS is important and we keep our system reliability statistics totally open and accessible. I challenge Verizon or Comcast to do the same.
What’s the point of all this? This report really shows that there is a lot of room for improvement in the DNS space and it clearly starts with reliability and performance, two things we cover well. Reporters still don’t understand the importance of DNS because it’s much more than just about speed. That’s one important part but the other is that DNS is a major part of the Internet and just like there are firewalls and anti-spam solutions, users needs tools to manage their DNS too.
Bringing this issue to light is a good thing. Even though we didn’t pay for or commission this report, I can’t help to think it was made to open ISPs’ eyes to our service. We’ve created an opportunity for ISPs where there was none before. OpenDNS provides these kinds of tools to users.
As much as I would love an ISP like Verizon to work with OpenDNS to make their users’ Internet better I would be upset if it was done arbitrarily and not on an opt-in basis. If I were a Verizon user currently using their three-percent-query-dropping DNS I’d switch to OpenDNS in a heartbeat. It’s easy to get started with OpenDNS right now.