DNS Anycastis a topic not directly related to WordPressbut which has an impact on how quickly a page can load, which means better quality results. However, let's start with what DNS even is.

As I always try to explain things as simply as possible, I will do the same this time. Imagine that you go back in time and hold a telephone directory in your hand. What do you find in it? You will find a name and a unique phone number associated with a person. DNS servers are just such a phone (address) book. You will find a domain name (example-nazwa-domeny.pl) and a unique number associated with it called an IP number.

In simple terms, such a book is used by your computer when you type a domain name in the address bar of a web browser. Entered name is searched in the book and after finding it, the IP address is read and you know exactly where the page is located. This way you can see it in your browser.

DNS Anycast

A domain needs at least two books (two nameservers), but of course it can have more. In standard configurations the minimum is usually provided, sometimes some people add a third server to spread out a bit more the queries the dns has to handle.

Well, it's the queries for a domain's home address that can be problematic. Yes, if you have your dns serving several domains, there is little chance of overloading, unless you experience DDoS attacks, in which case the DNS servers may not be able to withstand them and problems will start which may affect the visibility of sites using those nameservers.

DNS Anycast, is a technology that allows you to spread your dns across the globe. As a consequence, you can have, for example, two DNS names that actually use multiple address books scattered across different continents.

Benefits of using DNS Anycast

  • SecurityThe movement is dispersed over many points and even if one or many of them fail, another one will take over. The movement is dispersed over many points and even if one or many of them fail, another will take over the task.
  • PerformanceThis is the undoubted advantage of DNS Anycast, because the records in the address book (your DNS zone) is in fact stored not on two or three servers, but on a much larger number of them. In principle, there are no restrictions in this field, except for your budget, because you need to be aware that a larger number of DNS points, also means higher costs associated with the maintenance of infrastructure. What is the best in DNS Anycast, is the fact that each DNS query is sent to the nearest server, which reduces the time associated with finding the IP address of the site.
  • Another advantage of using DNS Anycast is simply SEOand thus a possible increase in conversions, e.g. in webshop. Have a look at the recently added post on this topic: Which online shop sells better. In short I will answer that fast 🙂 .

If you follow my articles, you've probably read about Google's new ranking indicators Core Web Vitals. If not, take a look. With these indicators, every millisecond counts. And even though times like 300ms may seem insignificant to you, because it's how long it takes to blink an eye, they do matter. Google doesn't pay attention to where someone connects to your website from, whether it's Poland, Australia, the USA, etc. Google doesn't care where someone links to your site from, whether it's Poland, Australia, the US etc. It analyses the data collected by the Chrome browser and gives you a rating based on that.

You may say that your clients are only from Poland, but I bet that if you look at the statistics you will find traffic coming from distant geographic regions. They may be Poles living in North America, which is not a small number there. If they open your site and the DNS query time is 300ms, then if you add other elements such as TTFB, rendering etc... it will turn out to be a few hundred milliseconds too long, which may have a negative impact on Core Web Vitals results, and consequently on search engine rankings.

DNS Anycast allows this problem to be eliminated or significantly reduced as address books will be scattered all over the world, so if someone from the US wants to open your site, they will find its IP number on the server located closest to them, which instead of 300ms can give a time of 30ms, so you are 270ms faster 🙂

DNS Anycast in Poland

I have searched several major hosting providers operating in Poland to see if they use DNS Anycast and on what scale. Below are the results of my search with a brief commentary. I analyzed the main domains of the providers, and tests were conducted from over 200 different locations around the world using the tool DNS Performance and others for verification.

The above maps show the points from which DNS tests were conducted. Each point has a response time in milliseconds. Green is a fast response, red is an average response and red is a lengthy response.

home

Tests of home.pl DNS Anycast

Home as you can see concentrates on Europe and North America. The other areas i.e. Asia, Oceania and South America fare less well and apparently Home does not locate its DNS points in these areas, but at least there are two of the most relevant regions of the world.

name

Performance tests of the DNS network in nazwa.pl

This operator also uses DNS Anycast technology and you can see that in addition to Europe and North America there are DNS points in Australia or Japan, where the response time is 1 ms. However, there seems to be a lack of more points in North America, as the times are largely over 60 ms.

cyberFolks

DNS performance in cyberFolks

North America appears to be undeveloped, but you can see points in Africa, South America and Australia. However, there are not many of these and for the most part DNS response times are not the best. Even in Europe you see long response times in some places.

See the WordPress hosting comparison: DiDHost vs cyberFolks.

OVH

Map of OVH DNS response times

In the case of the OVH site, it seems that the DNS Anycast technology has not been used at all, as sensible times are only seen within Europe. I do not know why they did not use this technology if they have it in their range of services, did it not work the best?

LH

Map of LH DNS performance results

And analogous situation as above. Good response times of DNS servers are within Europe, and the other continents, the responses are from 60ms to 339ms.

As you can see it looks a bit different for each operator. Some have their own DNS Anycast structure others don't seem to use it like OVH or don't have it.

I bet it never occurred to you to analyze your hosting for this 🙂 Only a few actually do it, but it's worth being aware of because as I mentioned this factor can affect Core Web Vitals results. Especially if you have a multilingual site and different languages indexed in search engines. Then you can expect significant traffic from remote areas and if DNS is slow in those areas, then it can affect the results that Google records.

How it looks on DiDHost tests

We have thought long and hard about the solutions we could implement for our clients WordPress hosting In the context of DNS Anycast. We've done a lot of testing and analysed providers, because it doesn't always make sense to balance open days. Above all, we care about quality, not a service that will work half-heartedly.

We were close to CloudFlare, one of the best DNS Anycast networks in the world, but after more extensive testing it proved less attractive than Amazon's Roure 53. We're still testing, but the results we're getting on WordPress hosting (for now the DNS Anycast service is not yet available to clients) are promising. Example:

DNS Anycast on DiDHost

And another example of another contender for DNS support (NS1), which we are also testing intensively. Its results are also satisfactory.

ns

The landscape has gone green, hasn't it? On practically every continent. As a result, response times in particular geographical areas are simply better.

CloudFlare

I mentioned CloudFlare above. In basic performance tests the results are very good. Here is an example from another WordPress Hosting account whose domain was hooked up to CloudFlare.

DNS speed results for CloudFlare

The problem, however, is that when we test times with real queries, they are not necessarily better than those achieved by Amazon or NS1. Why did we choose (at least at this stage of testing) Amazon/NS1 over CF? In testing they don't deviate as much from CloudFlare as the above maps might suggest.

GTMetrix tests from two locations

Let's take a look at another test. This time performed via GTMetrix with London (United Kingdom) and Sydney (Australia). As you can see I chose a distant distance 🙂 .

We started from home so we will keep that order this time as well. The best result I could achieve is underlined with a red line. Home achieved just under 23 ms for London and just over 10 ms for Sydney in this test. Very good times!

London (United Kingdom)

home time

Sydney (Australia)

au home

Another supplier on the list is name. Here the result is slightly worse, as it exceeds 50 ms for London and 47 for Sydney. These are fairly standard times.

London (United Kingdom)

time name

Sydney (Australia)

au name

In turn cyberFolks performs worse. Above 60 ms for London and over 300 ms for Sydney - we caught the blink time 🙂

London (United Kingdom)

cyber time

Sydney (Australia)

au cyber

OVH It achieves a similar result to home when it comes to London, but with Sydney the time is longer. Earlier maps may suggest that OVH.pl does not use DNS Anycast, but the following data shows that it does. Not surprising since they have their server rooms running in various places around the world including Australia 🙂 .

London (United Kingdom)

ovh time

Sydney (Australia)

ovh au

We still have LHwhich performs similarly to the name, but also worse than it in the Australian test:

London (United Kingdom)

lh time

Sydney (Australia)

au lh

Important: You have to take into account that the times may vary depending on the time of day (higher, lower loads on the infrastructure and network). I did the above tests on a Saturday between 6pm and 7pm, so rather at the weekend and in the evening the loads are slightly less than on a weekday during office hours. In Australia, my testing time is roughly 1-2am so the network is resting.

Let's take another look at how the tests of two of our domains performed. The first is the one you're currently viewing and is tested on CloudFlare DNS, but without a proxy. Here a small digression. Unfortunately with the proxy active on CF the times of the other metrics drop. If you decide to go with this DNS provider keep this in mind and consider whether it's actually worth using their proxy especially since at WordPress Hosting we use advanced technologies to protect your site.

Here is the result CloudFlare:

London (United Kingdom)

cloudflare time

Sydney (Australia)

au cf

You probably suspected that CF would be the best, but... it fell somewhere in the middle for London for Australia the result was very good indeed. Practically the same as for home, less than 11 ms. This was to be expected 🙂 .

As you know our area of interest is DNS Anycast Amazon. Take a peek at how the above tests performed in this case?

London (United Kingdom)

amazon eu

Sydney (Australia)

amazin au

Best so far. London: 8.1 ms, Sydney 6.9 ms. As you can see here we have better times than CloudFlare especially when it comes to London. But let's see one more operator NS1, which we are also seriously considering and magnifying in the context of deployment on DiDHost. Results:

London (United Kingdom)

time ns

Sydney (Australia)

au ns

Sensational figures for DNS in both locations. London: 7.9ms, Sydney: 6.4ms. Very similar to what you saw with Amazon, in fact you could say almost identical.

Which one will it ultimately fall on? I don't know yet, but as soon as the final decision is made the customers WordPress hosting will be informed.

Just note that the individual times shown in the above screenshots are added together to give a final result that Google takes into account.

Summary

A lot of testing is behind us, and the results are quite mixed. Little attention is paid to how long it will take to resolve a domain name to its IP address, but you can see that these can range from a few ms to several hundred.

As I mentioned this time is added to the overall page load speed score. By taking care of these little bricks you have a chance to improve the performance of your website. It is worth to be aware of that.

Coming back to DNS Anycast operators, basically only one of the aforementioned operating in Poland is included in the overall rankings. That's OVH, which today is in 37th position, unfortunately quite far behind CloudFlare, Amazon and NS1.

Once testing is complete, we will handle the implementation of the service and provide our customers with the best possible DNS Anycast solution that will make their sites on every continent run faster.

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