DNS Made Easy Review – Why I Moved to Premium DNS

When it comes to web performance, DNS is the backbone of your site. If you have a slow DNS provider then you could have slow DNS lookup times. I finally got some time to dive into some DNS testing and what I discovered was that my current free DNS provider was horrible! Check out my DNS Made Easy review below and find out why I migrated all my DNS records to them.

The Move to a Premium DNS Provider

First off let me make something clear, a fast DNS provider won’t necessarily show up in all your speed tests. In fact, most ISPs will cache DNS provider records in order to server your content faster. However, DNS queries are still being made on a regular basis, and so having a fast and reliable DNS provider is very important. It is the backbone of the internet. I didn’t realize just how important slow mine was until I did some testing.

I use NameCheap for all my domains and love them! I have used them for over 6 years and never had any problems. To make things easier I was simply using the free DNS that they provided. Little did I know that the free DNS from NameCheap is pretty crappy. Nothing against NameCheap, it is free after all! But I decided to do some research into more DNS providers out there. Here is a good list of free DNS providers. However, with free you usually have limitations or they might be a little slower. CloudFlare is probably the fastest free DNS provider out there, but I wanted the best.

Dedicated DNS hosting providers tend to have faster and more reliable infrastructure, designed from the ground-up for hosting DNS query traffic and nothing else.

DNS Speed Test Comparisons

There are two good websites that provide DNS speed test comparisons; SolveDNS and DNSPerf. Here is a DNS speed test from April from SolveDNS. They measure from Europe, Asia and North America (Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, London, Amsterdam and Singapore). The report displays the DNS speed from all the seven cities, including an average. As we can see DNS Made Easy was sitting in 1st place as the fastest DNS provider. If you look back a couple months ago they were in about third place. So it seems they have been doing some major work to improve their speeds.

dns speed test

Now if we take a look at a worldwide DNS speed test from DNSPerf, we can see that DNS Made Easy is 4th. Now, we have to take this with a grain of salt because the last time DNSPerf was updated was back in September 2015. According to SolveDNS, they have climbed the ladder somewhat since then.

dnsperf speed test

Now if we take a look at the North America DNS performance, DNS Made Easy is 2nd. Since they are were 1st on SolveDNS, and 2nd on DNSPerf in North America, which is where a majority of my traffic is, I decided to start testing with DNS Made Easy first. Edgecast is way too expensive and WordPress.com can’t be used with self-hosted sites, so it made sense to start there.

north america dns performance

I wanted to do my own tests because I never rely on 3rd party data. I want to see the results for myself. So here are the results after comparing four different DNS providers:

Tools I used to test DNS speeds include the following:

Basic NameCheap DNS

First I tested with the free version of NameCheap’s DNS which is included with every domain. This is what I have been using for years unfortunately.

namecheap dns speed

Here is another test using Neustar’s tool.

namecheap basic dns speed

Here is another test using KeyCDN’s webperf tool.

keycdn speed test namecheap

As you can see those speeds aren’t that great. I also tested NameCheap’s premium DNS and it was horrible, barely any better than the basic NameCheap DNS. It is powered by VerisignDNS and you can see from the comparison sites that it ranks pretty low.

CloudFlare DNS

I then tested CloudFlare’s DNS because free is always good. As you can see from the tests this is much better! So I knew I was on the right track.

cloudflare dns speed

Here is another test using Neustar’s tool.

cloudflare dns speed

DNS Made Easy

Last I tested DNS Made Easy. I was curious to see how it compared to CloudFlare’s 50+ POPs. Even though it is free, CloudFlare is known for having a very large infrastructure. And check out the results! My mind was kind of blown. And if you compare DNS Made Easy to NameCheap’s free DNS which is what I have been using, it is night and day. The clear winner here is DNS Made Easy.

dns made easy speed test

Here is another test using Neustar’s tool.

dns made easy fast dns

Here is another test using KeyCDN’s webperf tool.

keycdn speed test dns made easy

As you can see from the tests above, DNS Made Easy pretty much blows NameCheap’s free DNS out of the water. But what you can expect? It’s free after all. I don’t think some people realize though just how bad it is. Here is a quick summary of the results from each tool.

The data doesn’t lie! Now, will the average user notice a difference? Probably not, but I definitely will. And remember, when it comes to performance, it is all about tackling it from every level. You should look at DNS lookup times, TTFB, the speed of your server, every HTTP request, it all adds up. Once you start making this a habit, you’ll end up with a blazing fast WordPress site!

DNS Made Easy Review

DNS Made Easy has been providing DNS services since 2002, over 14 years. So they definitely know what they are doing.  They currently manage over 800,000 domains, and work with very large clients such as DuckDuckGo, Under Armour, Tumblr, eHarmony, Hyundai, KissMetrics, Source Forge, Sega, and the BBB .

dns made easy logo

They operate an IP Anycast+ network with 16 POPs around the world in the following locations:

  • Seattle
  • San Jose
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • New York
  • Washington, DC
  • Miami
  • London
  • Amsterdam
  • Frankfurt
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Sydney

So you are probably wondering now just how much they cost. Well, the great news is that they are very affordable! They have three plans available, and for most the small business plan will work just fine. This costs $29.95 per year and includes 10 domains, 400 records, and 5 million queries per month. If you need more their business plan starts at $59.95 per year, and they also have higher priced corporate plans. If you are curious, I am using the small business plan.

Another great feature they have is two-factor authentication. This was a must have for me. I have two-factor authentication enabled at NameCheap because there is nothing more important to me than my domains! The last thing you want is someone redirecting your DNS records somewhere else and hijacking your website. Two-factor authentication is included with every plan.

Here is a screenshot of their dashboard. It might not be the most well-designed dashboard I have seen, but who cares if it does everything I need and is fast.

dns made easy dashboard

They also have great reporting.

dns queries reporting

How to Migrate DNS to DNS Made Easy

Migrating my DNS only took a few minutes. Here are the steps I followed.

Step 1

I added DNS records to DNS Made Easy control panel.

  • A record to point to webhost
  • [optional] CNAME for “cdn” to point to my CDN provider, KeyCDN.
  • [optional] MX records to setup my free email forwarding.

migrating DNS

Step 2

Then I pointed my DNS in NameCheap dashboard to DNS Made Easy so they could handle my DNS.

namecheap custom dns

And that’s it! It will take a couple hours to propagate, but you shouldn’t experience any downtime.

Summary

All in all I have been very impressed with DNS Made Easy. They have a 30 day free trial so feel free to give them a try. If you are simply wanting a good free DNS provider, then CloudFlare is probably a good solution. If you want the fastest DNS provider, then DNS Made Easy is definitely worth checking out. Here are some other features they offer I have yet to try out.

  • Secondary DNS
  • Real-time Analytics
  • Automatic Failover (requires additional setup)
  • Global Traffic Director (Geo targeting)
  • Round Robin load balancing
  • Vanity DNS

Visit DNS Made Easy

Was this DNS Made Easy review helpful? If so, feel free to leave me a comment below. I love chatting about web performance.

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DNS Made Easy Review
  • Speed
  • Customer Support
  • Features Included
  • Architecture
  • Price
4.6

Summary

If you are looking for a fast and cheap DNS provider, then look no further than DNS Made Easy. It blew NameCheap and CloudFlare out of the water.

22 thoughts on “DNS Made Easy Review – Why I Moved to Premium DNS

  1. Thank you, Brian, for another great post of information. We just started with this service – anything that we should consider in the basic configuration? Hoping you do some write up on the other options. One thing we did notice is a pretty significant increase in connection speed to the CDN by using ANAME records instead of CNAME. Haven’t a clue as to why, but I’ll take it.

    Thanks again for the great information.

    • Thanks for reading Kris!

      My setup is pretty basic. Just have my A name record, CNAMEs, and a couple MX records as I use Office 365 for a couple domains for email. Interesting about the A name. I will have to look into that as I am curious now.

      I don’t use 365 for all my sites because obviously it costs money per email. For some of my smaller projects I just use email forwarding. I will be writing a post this weekend about what I am using for free email forwarding. Works great with the DNS Made Easy setup, as they don’t provide alias/email forwarding.

    • I did! I saw quicker DNS lookup times across the board and slightly lower TTFB. You are only really talking about a fraction of your site when it comes to DNS lookup times, but every part matters. I will never go back to free DNS ever again. They have a free trial, I recommend at least trying them and use some of the DNS speed tools above that I mentioned to test before and after.

  2. Hey Brian smart choice man DNS Made Easy (DME) is an excellent DNS company. I have to be 100% forthright I use Dyn because of traffic director but it’s not an apples to apples comparison because the cost is $250 a month compared to $29 a year. I always recommend DNS Made Easy to people who need solid extremely fast DNS something that should never be looked over. Edgecast is expensive as well as very difficult to work with. As far as setting up the records it’s nothing like DNS made easy where you can create templates and basically should be used on any site that somebody cares about. I’m about to tell another friend about DNS made easy right now because their name servers are failing.

    • Hey Thomas! Ya Dyn is a great choice as well… but like you said, not really a comparison for <$100 providers. Ya I was actually surprised at how cheap DNS Made Easy was. They could easily be charging more, because their service is pretty hard to beat. They also have the highest uptime for past 10 years of any DNS provider on the web.

      • As far as value for the money and realistically what you get out of DNS Made Easy is a company that could charge what The same price as Verizon/edgecast and easily compete. There network is fantastic. like you stated if they wanted to they could charge same/slightly less than Dyn, NS1, UltraDNS, VeriSign DNS ( VeriSign’s kinda slow) easily still be a strong competitor. the idea of one payment per year instead of monthly is so nice and the amount of queries is tremendously high.

        Built on the back of DNS made easy is constellix

        • Ya, ironically I was just chatting with the CEO of DNS Made Easy. I was looking into Constellix as well and it looks awesome! Basically the enterprise version of DNS Made Easy, with lots of amazing bells and whistles. And since they are utilizing the same infrastructure and technology you know Contsellix will be just as fast :)
          He said they have no plans on merging them, which is good. DNS Made Easy will basically be the consumer option and Constellix the enterprise grade.

          • that is going to be a great platform. It can already do some things that no one else on the mark in the market can. If they have the pops that’s going to be one amazing system

  3. We switched do DNS Made Easy for the performance and failover – which is great… but their backend systems, web interface and payment/purchase processes are absolutely HORRIBLE. Be prepared to pull your hair out trying to buy services or manage your account. Their client web interface was designed in 1997 and must have zero real-world scenario testing. I.E… enter all your payment information but get the captcha incorrect? guess what, you need to start from the beginning and re-input everything. There are tons of interface misses like this. Tons. We considered moving everything here and moving to enterprise level services – but its just not worth it, and with a terrible client setup like this, we just dont really trust it.

    • update: after posting our complaint about the system to dnsmadeeasy support, we received a ‘take a hike’ style response from their support. The exact message was, and I quote “Thanks for trying. Good luck.”

      • As for support, that is one area I really can’t comment on simply because in the couple years I have used them I have never once opened a support ticket. 100% uptime and nothing has ever broke. I can’t say this about almost any other services I use on the web. But perhaps we have different setups.

    • You can check my DNS :) and easily see that I use DNS Made Easy for this site. If you knew me better you would know that I only write about products I actually use. Also, stats don’t lie.

  4. Interesting, though to put this all into perspective, the time between projecting the single frames of a motion picture is a whopping 41.7ms, which is only moderately above human persistence of vision. And due to client-side caching of DNS, this is a delay that any given visitor will only experience once per visit per domain. Reliability metrics are probably a lot more meaningful when it comes to DNS.

    Some of their added DNS features look potentially useful though. Actually, I’m more interested in their mail bagging service..

    • Totally agree. I can also add that I have never had a single outage with DNS Made Easy. And I know other DNS providers have, within the same time period. So that alone definitely has value.

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