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OpenDNS Shortcuts (are) were More Like Detours

Use OpenDNS (Updated)
Using OpenDNS instead of your ISP’s default supposedly speeds up your surfing experience – it’ s probably true, see ZDNet’s explanation.

However, there’s one feature – a convenience – you should avoid, and ironically it’s called a shortcut. Ironically, because in reality it’s more like a long detour.

For example I have t set up for www.techmeme.com. Here’s my little experience this morning:

Conclusion: OpenDNS may be fast, except when it has to access it’s own server – you’re better off not using shortcuts.

I obviously cleared the browser cache before each step. Stats were measured by the Load Time Analyzer FireFox plugin by Google, and the results are displayed using the Zoho Viewer.

Update: I received several helpful comments, from OpenDNS’s David Ulevitch and Paul Stamatiou who wrote a pretty good review of the shortcut feature earlier. They both pointed me to this system status message, which indicates an earlier server issue this morning, at the time I ran my tests is now resolved.

I have actually experienced slowdowns for days now, which of course was only my subjective feeling, but in the end that’s what prompted me to look for diagnostic tools and run the tests today.

That said, I ran the tests again, under the same conditions, repeatedly, and the results are around 2000ms , with only 3-400ms difference between the ‘shortcut’ and the full URL method. I guess that means OpenDNS is back to normal. Thumbs-up

Comments

  1. This is a case of really bad timing. 🙁

    http://system.opendns.com/2007/08/23/43/

  2. OpenDNS was actually having an issue earlier, which may have been around when you were writing this post: http://system.opendns.com/2007/08/23/43/

  3. Can you run your test again now?

  4. Oops sorry for my repetitive post, this is why comment moderation stinks. 😉

  5. It does, and I don’t have it as default, somehow the spam filter caught you, although I can’t figure out why…

  6. David and Paul,

    Thanks for the comments, I’ve updated the post.

  7. Your point is well taken though, we can strive to make that faster. In theory, it should be a 150ms delay. The benefit of the shorthand outweighs 150-200ms, but not a number of seconds. I’ll let you know when we have it fixed.

  8. David, you’re commenting too fast:-)

    I am not complaining about the 3-400ms, some of that could very well be explained by random differences between measurements.

    I think we’re back to normal now… and thanks for commenting that fast;-)

  9. John Bucek says:

    I tried OpenDNS and didn’t like it. DNS requests felt a bit quicker, but by typing in just a domain’s name as I often got used to doing (thanks to Firefox), when I type ‘ebay’ in address bar of Firefox, it does a quick check with google, and that automatically loads up the obvious choice, http://www.ebay.com. Same goes with any other major domain names. But with OpenDNS, I get a OpenDNS-sponsored web search results, complete with OpenDNS ads, showing top 10 choices, with number 1 choice being http://www.ebay.com.

    I know thats how they make money, but to speed up DNS requests at the expense of losing smart DNS auto-redirecting, it’s simply not worth it for me.

  10. Yes, that’s a pain for me, too – I’m used to just typing the shortname, too, and I am seeing the OpenDNS page way to often because of this… which really means, the total time, including the correction is longer than it would have been without OpenDNS. 🙁

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