Unicast and Anycast DNS servers, what are the differences for the final users?

What is a DNS server? What roles does it play in displaying a site? How can you optimize these servers for your business?

There are some things that we use daily without having the slightest idea of what they actually mean. DNS servers (Domain Name System) are the perfect example of that. Being a link in the chain of information exchanges, they are at the very center of the Internet network we know today.

Our websites are depending on them, and sometimes a bit too much… Learn the different options you have when setting up your website and secure your connections!


1)     What is a DNS server? What is it for?


DNS servers at the source of Internet network


Let’s head back to the beginning.

First of all, a website is always associated with a domain name. When an Internet user wants to visit a website, his device needs to know where to get the data to display.

To be understood by the device, this information is transmitted via an IP address. This address is stored on a server: the DNS server.

To summarize, the DNS server translates a domain name into an IP address. This is called DNS resolution.


What is the point of DNS servers?


The whole purpose of the operation is to identify where the information related to a domain is stored.

Actually, if DNS servers did not exist, we would have to keep an address book with all the IP addresses of all the websites we would like to visit. Then, we would have to enter those addresses manually to display the content on our devices.

In a nutshell, a DNS server works like a gigantic directory that knows all the IP addresses of all the websites. While these servers are essential to the good functioning of the internet, some allow a more or less developed optimization.


2)     Unicast or Anycast DNS, what difference for your website?


As you will have now realised, the configuration of your DNS servers is essential for the proper functioning and especially the accessibility of your website.

Two kinds of DNS servers prevail over the rest of the market: The Unicast and Anycast DNS.


Unicast DNS



First, in the case of a Unicast DNS server, the DNS information are stored where the DNS server is physically located.

All the devices that want to display your site will check this server regardless of the user location. Thus, if your server is located in the United States and the user is in France, the response latency will be increased.

Similarly, if the DNS server crashes or is attacked, your site will no longer be accessible without a fallback solution.


Anycast DNS



It is from this observation that an alternative system emerged: the Anycast DNS. These servers duplicated the DNS information on each of the servers of the global fleet.

As a consequence, your device will reach the closest server depending on where you are located. Latency is minimized and in case of an attack, only the closest node is affected.




Take a look at the Anycast DNS servers used by Netim.



3)     What are the advantages of Anycast DNS?


Three major advantages emerge from this type of DNS servers: the response time, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and accessibility.


Optimized response time.


First, thanks to the Anycast DNS technology the user will be redirected to the closest server. This decrease in the physical distance allows a decrease of the response time.

Subsidiary one would think, but absolutely not! A site that takes time to load scares off Internet users, and drastically increases the bounce rate.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)


To counter these bounce rates, search engine (such as Google) assign an average “eligible” loading time per site. By optimizing your response time, you make a good impression on these search engines and therefore your ranking evolves.

A particularly important bonus when one knows the small share of click on the sites ranked after the first pages of results.


Guaranteed accessibility

As mentioned earlier, the Unicast DNS servers only stored DNS information in one place. Thus, in the event of a breakdown or attack, the data related to your website were no longer accessible.

Thanks to the DNS Anycast, there is no risk. If one of the servers falls, the next one (closest to the user) will take over.



Register your domain name!



Netim offers by default Anycast DNS servers. Thanks to the advantages mentioned above, we guarantee our customers safety, accessibility and optimization.

Finally, in an increasingly web-oriented world, DNS servers are among the required resources for an optimized digital visibility. Therefore, it is regarding a commercial and strategic interest that we offer this service to all our customers!



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