At Liquid Web, we are continuously improving our customer’s experience by increasing reliability and performance. In that spirit of continuous improvement, we have been working on placing additional DNS servers spread around the world for the best first-time global load times.
These additional servers are strategically positioned so that they provide a local DNS server option for visitors to your site (wherever they are), and this significantly reduces first-visit load times.
First-visit load times are critical as this significantly impacts SEO scores and is a top indicator if a customer will stay on a website or not.
Before we get into what this means to you, let's review some basic terms.
What is DNS and Why is It Important?
Think of DNS as a phone book.
Whenever someone opens a website, downloads a favorite recipe, or clicks on a link to their favorite sports highlight globally, DNS resolution is used. Global DNS resolution is often used several times with a single click as every page has lookups for any embedded links.
The Domain Name System (DNS) converts text-based human-readable domain names (e.g., www.liquidweb.com) into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses (e.g., 126.96.36.199) and IPs back into domain names.
The connected devices communicate via these IPs, so DNS acts as a phone book of sorts that resolves the text-based domain you enter in your browser into that device-ready IP. These IPs get even more challenging with the advent and proliferation of IPv6 addresses (e.g., 2a03:2880:f127:283:face:b00c:0:25de), making global DNS resolution even more necessary.
Having a highly stable and performant DNS system becomes very important for customers as it is used for every click and every query.
What is Anycast?
Anycast is a network addressing and routing methodology in which a single destination address has multiple routing paths to two or more endpoint destinations. Routers will select the ideal path based on the number of hops, distance, lowest cost, latency measurements, or based on the least congested route.” - Wikipedia.com
Why is a Global DNS Approach Better?
Liquid Web has its DNS service available on a global Anycast network which provides all the benefits of Anycast for the queries made to them. Our Anycast resolvers provide a speed boost to you by allowing your customer’s browser to make requests to the nearest (least latent) nameserver available.
This global approach also alleviates the problem of a slow localized DNS server that may cause lag before the website starts to load.
Additionally, it solves issues related to down servers which deny a client the ability to access any sites at all. Having multiple locations that can pick up traffic at all times increases the availability of the requests placed.
Using this globally distributed approach, we broadcast the IP addresses of our DNS servers from these universal locations simultaneously.
When a visitor loads your website, this technology allows their Internet service provider (ISP) to route the visitor’s DNS requests to the closest Liquid Web Global DNS server(with the least number of hops and best latency) to that visitor.
Performance Numbers for Global DNS
The following is a real-world example of our Liquid Web Global DNS in action. Using a tool provided by KeyCDN.com, we tested latency (round trip time) from 14 locations around the globe, then compared our latency from Nov 2019 to Jan 2020.
Look at these latency differences!
The sub-millisecond latency times are incredible. These results show our commitment to improving performance and reliability for our customers.
Real-World Before and After DNS Resolution Times
Global DNS Server Locations
Here is a list of the current locations Liquid Web has DNS servers available around the world:
- Chicago (2)
- London (2)
- Los Angeles
- New York (3)
- San Francisco
What Does Global DNS Get You as a Liquid Web Customer?
Moving to Liquid Web’s Global DNS will provide an increase in:
Today’s customers have sites that have a lot of rich, embedded content. For these sites, the number of DNS queries involved in just retrieving one page can be surprising.
For example, typical eCommerce and social media sites that are loaded in a browser today can use upwards of 35+ DNS queries pulling in embedded content from multiple sources. Each of those queries adds unnecessary milliseconds that can result in a slower page load than it should be.
With today’s heavy use of mobile networks where latency is usually higher anyway, those delays can affect your site even more. The low latency that Liquid Web DNS provides gives customers an extra edge over the competition in terms of performance, reliability, and speed.
In addition, the Liquid Web DNS (using Anycast Routing) provides a globally load-balanced, highly redundant, distributed response to Denial of Service (DoS) and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
Using premium data facilities around the world, DNS queries are sent to the closest name server to the querying client. With multiple networks dynamically responding to the same IP address, security, performance, and uptime are drastically increased.
Liquid Web is Looking to the Future
Here at Liquid Web, we consistently strive to provide better, more reliable, and faster performance services to our customers. We will be looking to add additional Global DNS locations in the near future. We are keeping our eyes open for new opportunities to better assist our customers by improving the experience for you and your website visitors.
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Andrew Hartnett helped to create an SRE organization and culture operating at the intersection of Development, Security, and Operations during his former role at Liquid Web as Head of Engineering, Infrastructure, and SRE. He has an extensive background working with startups, large institutions, and large corporations developing, running, and maintaining tools and infrastructure. Also, while at Rackspace, Andrew co-founded and led Engineering and Development for Managed Security.
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