Blog Post

A deep dive into global DNS connection performance with IBM & Catchpoint

Explore how Catchpoint and IBM’s research reveals crucial DNS performance benchmarks and insights to keep your site running fast and smooth.

Imagine: Your executive team spent the last year developing messaging. Your design team worked for weeks on a compelling awareness campaign. Then, your marketing team deployed the perfect lead generation campaign. Your new customer, ready to make a purchase, eagerly clicks on your website link... only to be met with a frustratingly slow loading page.

It's not just a minor inconvenience – it's a missed opportunity and a potential loss of business. Domain Name System, or DNS, the unsung hero of web navigation, ensures that when your users click a link or punch in a website address, they’re swiftly, accurately and seamlessly directed to the right digital destination. When it comes to impressing today’s consumers and users, every second counts—and a slow DNS can be the nail in the coffin for a business of any size or industry. The impact can be far-reaching, as demonstrated with infamous cases like Akamai’s 2021 DNS failure. That one-hour outage reverberated across the likes of Amazon, Delta, Capital One and Costco, making headlines with immeasurable costs to business.

Despite the critical importance of DNS performance, the lack of reliable metrics that network operators can use to benchmark their own applications often acts as an obstacle to IT teams. In a shared mission to address this crucial need for reliable DNS performance metrics, Catchpoint teamed up with the IBM NS1 Connect team to provide you with concrete numbers to benchmark your applications effectively.

Leveraging Catchpoint's unparalleled Global Observability Network and robust DNS monitoring capabilities, IBM embarked on a journey to analyze DNS performance worldwide. The study combined public data on the DNS architectures of top websites with our deep insights into application performance, offering a comparative look at DNS performance "in the wild.”  

With Catchpoint’s suite of comprehensive solutions spanning Synthetic Monitoring, Real User Monitoring (RUM), and Endpoint Monitoring, IBM gained access to unmatched visibility into Internet performance and user experience across diverse digital environments. This allowed them to measure the velocity of DNS connections to thousands of unique sites and to create benchmark metrics in a historically uncharted space.  

How was the study conducted?

Our collaborative study leveraged a total of 2,271 sites with Catchpoint’s Global Observability Network and powerful DNS monitoring capabilities for a comparative look at performance. The research leveraged Response Time to categorize performance, measuring how swiftly the DNS server responds to queries. Along with determining a global average for DNS Response Time, the research explored the role of geography and traffic volume in DNS performance. It also closely compared the performance of self-hosted DNS setups vs. a Managed DNS option.  

What did the research uncover?

Calculated across various geographical regions, local ISPs, and authoritative DNS providers, the average DNS response time across the websites studied was 263ms.1 Note that this value is a technical baseline that does not include any DNS acceleration tools or other factors; the DNS resolvers could autonomously choose the best nameservers (for details, check out the report).  

In comparing self-hosted DNS setups vs. managed DNS options, managed options outperformed in both speed and reliability. In fact, tests found that data used for self-hosted DNS was 35% slower than the data provided for the average global response time.

When it came to geographic factors, the study separately found that North America and Europe typically exhibit superior DNS performance due to factors such as higher infrastructure density, including a greater concentration of data centers and DNS servers, robust internet backbones, connectivity between major cities, and closer proximity to DNS servers – each an element of reduced latency.

The bottom line?

When it comes to early DNS issue detection, optimization, and geographical considerations, paying attention to your DNS game is non-negotiable to protect performance and user experience. Investing in a robust and performative DNS infrastructure is about protecting your business and preserving your hard-earned customer base—and Catchpoint is to help you maximize that investment.  

How does your site measure up? Download the full report (no registration required).  

1 The methodology of findings can be found in the full report. Specific information on Catchpoint’s Global Observability Network and its nodes can be found at

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