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July 26, 2015

Why DNS Response Quality is Paramount to Your Application’s Performance

When it comes to people looking at web pages, speed is king. If your page doesn’t load fast enough, or if there are bits of content that lag far behind, the visitor is likely to click the back button and vanish forever — Kissmetrics found that 40% of e-commerce users abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

The most common way to ensure page load speed is to host your application in many locations, and route each visitor to the closest location. This literally reduces the distance of the wire between their browser and your server to the minimum possible.

But there are two big challenges when it comes to deciding which service location is closest to a given visitor: first, knowing exactly where that visitor is; and second, choosing the closest server both accurately and quickly.

The first challenge, of knowing exactly where the visitor is, stems from the fact that the only real information about the visitor that’s known when they first go to view your web page is their IP address. And even that isn’t guaranteed: with the advent of huge public DNS server pools, such as Google’s, the visitor’s IP address can be lost when they query Google for the IP address of your site, and Google in turn queries your authoritative DNS servers. Unless your authoritative DNS servers support edns-client-subnet, the source of the query will appear to be Google—which means your DNS routing decision will act as if the visitor is Google. That’s bad, because Google’s DNS servers might be thousands of miles away from the real visitor. The good news is NSONE is the only major authoritative DNS provider that fully supports edns-client-subnet, which means that we can make a DNS routing decision based on the real IP address of the visitor, since Google passes that information along to us with the query.

But even knowing the true IP address of the visitor doesn’t help you if your geolocational database is inaccurate or contains approximations, such as netblock 1.2.3.* is somewhere in mid-Texas. If you’ve got two or three data centers in Texas, then it’s a crapshoot if “mid-Texas” is routed to the closest data center. What we do is use a great baseline geolocational database from MaxMind, and then continuously refine and improve it through an exclusive machine learning technology we developed that uses billions of real-time data points from end users and our diverse infrastructure to continuously refine and improve our location data. Thanks to this technology, NSONE’s geolocational database is hands down the best and most accurate in the industry.

One common complaint we’ve heard over the years from people who use other DNS services is that those other guys’ DNS is fast until they turn on geolocational services; at which point, DNS answer speed tanks and the service dramatically slows down. Our geolocational services aren’t bolted on, but are an integral part of our platform thanks to our unique Filter Chain DNS routing engine.The performance “cost” for adding one (or more!) geographic routing filters to a record is measured in microseconds No matter how much or how little geolocation targeting you do with a given record, the speed is consistently screaming fast.

You might think that a super-accurate geolocational database, knowledge of the actual visitor’s IP address, and screaming-fast query response times would be enough, but we’ve gone one better! We have some secret sauce that enables the use of actual page load time telemetry to improve DNS routing above and beyond simple distance calculations. In other words, if your visitor is next door to a data center that’s currently being sluggish for whatever reason, but a few cities away from a second data center that’s got loads of spare capacity, our system will override the basic geolocational calculation and send the visitor to the data center that’s actually the fastest, not merely the closest. To learn more about this next-gen traffic management tech and how you can take advantage of it, sign up for a free Trial account or drop a note to our experts and we’ll give you the low-down.

As a result of all this technology, NSONE’s platform is the most accurate in the industry when it comes to delivering quality DNS routing decisions, and quickly and consistently sending your visitors to servers that are best positioned to serve your application and content fast. With NSONE’s incredibly accurate and fast DNS responses, your visitors will enjoy the superlative level of website experience you’ve always dreamed of delivering. This directly translates to reduced page abandonment, higher revenue, and extraordinarily happy users.