Is your fancy new domain hurting your performance? Benchmarking the top-level domain names

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Dejan Grofelnik Pelzel

Dejan Grofelnik Pelzel

December 20th, 2019

As a CDN we’re constantly trying to squeeze every last millisecond of load time. We recently had a user come to us with a list of performance tests on their site, reporting DNS responses often taking over 150 ms.

After a couple of checks, it turned out that the problem actually lied with the .xyz top-level domain itself which took over 100 ms just to resolve the nameserver data for their domain.

While this came as a bit of a surprise, similar issues in the past were actually the reason why we switched from using a .zone domain to .net for our shared domain. With so many new top-level domains recently popping up, we decided to check how well they actually performed and how much of an actual impact they can have.

But wait, how can the domain itself increase the load time?

To explain, we first need to look deeper into how DNS functions.

When resolving a domain such as, the DNS resolver will first need to contact the top-level DNS servers from .xyz to get the list of nameservers responsible for the domain. While this might be already cached by the resolver such as your ISP, it might not always be the case depending on the popularity of your domain.

Only once the resolver has this information, it can actually query the received nameservers to get the final address for

This means that if the DNS for the top-level domain is slow, it can actually delay the DNS resolution for the domain itself and in a very unlikely worst case scenario even cause an outage.

Benchmarking Time

That being said, benchmarking the performance is fairly easy. Since we run a global network, it allowed us to monitor the performance worldwide from over 50 locations and networks.

For each top-level domain, our system picked a random nameserver published for each of the top-level domains and queried a random domain name that we picked for it. We then grouped the results by region and logged the data every 10 seconds.

The Results

We tested 42 of some of the most popular top-level domains and aggregated the results into a global median average and a 85 percentile aggregation (meaning 15% of the responses were slower than this time). The real world results might vary slightly since all of these tests were performed from our network only, but they should offer a good general overview.

In the end, some of the results were quite surprising.

The biggest shockers were the .info and .org domains that showed really poor performance especially in the 85 percentile range, despite being one of the oldest and well established top-level domains with millions of registered domains each. After some further investigation it appears 4 out of 6 of their nameservers are performing extremely poorly which is the reason for the poor results.

The .net and .com were very slightly slower than we expected in Europe and North America, but otherwise offer great and stable performance across all regions as we can see in the global median.

Another interesting thing to see was the performance for .co, .biz and .in domains that ended up way ahead of the rest. The .net and .com have much larger networks, but these might be a very interesting choice if you’re looking to get the absolute maximum performance.

Unfortunately, our suspicions about some of the cool and shiny new domains that have begun popping up recently were confirmed.

While we were delighted to see some of the new top-level domains performing really well such as the .live, .email, .news, etc. which are all run by the same company, we also saw a very large performance drop in many other cases. Some of the domains performed multiple times slower than average and showed average query times well over 100 ms. Many of them also had a big performance drop-off in regions outside of Europe and North America, making the issue even worse there.

We tested 42 of some of the most popular top-level domains out of 600 available, so we could assume many of those might not perform much better.

The Conclusion

So, does this mean you should immediately cancel all of your domains and go for a .co or .biz domain to increase performance?

Most definitely not. In many cases, the DNS responses are heavily cached and especially for very popular websites the resolvers might not need to hit the top-level nameservers much at all. Choosing a domain that fits your brand is in most cases much more important than gaining those extra 50 milliseconds of load time for the first page load.

However, if you are trying to squeeze absolutely every last bit of performance and ensure great reliability in a system where every last millisecond matters, then you might want to think twice before choosing your domain. The differences aren’t huge, but if you’re aiming to hit that one second loading time, then things do add up, in some cases even as much as 200 ms.

So is your fancy new domain hurting your performance? It actually might be, but probably not enough to worry about that too much.

The article was updated on 20th of December with more domains and a median 85 percentile aggregation instead of averaging the results for more accurate representation of the performance.


How much is a domain name worth? For one lunatic, apparently enough to try to steal one at gunpoint. Rossi Lorathio Adams II was just sentenced to 14 years in prison for trying to force a man to transfer him the domain.

Adams, a 27 year-old from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ran a small social media empire dubbed ‘State Snaps.’ It spanned millions of followers across Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter and depicted “images and videos of young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness, and nudity,” according to a press release from the US Department of Justice.

Adams was a student at Iowa State University when he founded State Snaps in 2015, and his followers often used the phrase “Do it for State” – presumably a play on “do it for the Vine” – hence his interest in the domain name.

Adams began pressuring the domain owner to give up the domain in June of 2015, and continued to do so for the next two years. The owner did not want to sell initially. He later offered to sell for $20,000, but Adams didn’t want to pay up. Then in June of 2017, Adams enlisted his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr, to break into the owner’s home and force him to give up the domain.

Hopkins entered the victim’s home carrying a gun and taser, and wearing a pantyhose over his head, sunglasses and a hat. Per the DoJ release:

The victim was upstairs and heard Hopkins enter the home.  From the top of a staircase, the victim saw Hopkins with the gun on the first floor.  Hopkins shouted at the victim, who then ran into an upstairs bedroom and shut the door, leaning up against the door to stop Hopkins from entering.

Hopkins went upstairs, kicked the door open, grabbed the victim by the arm and demanded to know where he kept his computer.  When the victim told Hopkins that he kept his computer in his home office, Hopkins forcibly moved the victim to the office.  Hopkins ordered the victim to turn on his computer and connect to the Internet.  Hopkins pulled out Adams’ demand note, which contained a series of directions on how to change an Internet domain name from the domain owner’s GoDaddy account to one of Adams’ GoDaddy accounts.

At one point, Hopkins tased the victim in the left arm, back, and neck. Fearing for his life as Hopkins became increasingly violent, the victim tried to gain control of the gun. Though he was shot in the leg during the struggle, he eventually managed to wrestle the gun out of Hopkins’ hands and shot him multiple times in the chest.

Hopkins, who was living in a homeless shelter at the time of his attack, survived and pleaded guilty in 2017. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison and apologized to the victim in court. Adams was sentenced earlier this week to 168 months imprisonment, and ordered to pay nearly $9,000 in restitution, in addition to $26,000 in legal fees.

Should have just paid for the domain name, I guess.

Via ArsTechnica

Social Media Influencer Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison after Plotting to Hijack Internet Domain
on United States Department of Justice

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Domain Analysis, a free tool from search marketing analytics company Moz launched Wednesday. The website provides an overview of SEO metrics for any domain.

Why we should care

We’re all marketers here, and this is of course a marketing tool for Moz. But that doesn’t mean it’s not useful. The free tool doesn’t offer the depth of data available in the paid versions of Moz tools — and has plenty of calls to action to get more complete data in the paid version — but you’ll get a high-level look at a range of SEO metrics for your site — or your competitors’ sites — to identify potential SEO opportunities. That includes beyond-the-basics data such as “Top questions mined from People Also Ask boxes for relevant keywords” and “Top Featured Snippets.”

The tool also offers metrics that Moz is calling “experimental” that aren’t available in the paid versions. For example, Keywords by Estimate Clicks uses ranking position, search volume, and estimated click-through rate (CTR) to estimate the number of search clicks a keyword drives to the website.

More on the announcement

  • Moz’s proprietary domain authority and spam score are among the metrics offered, along with top pages by links, top linking domains, number of ranking keywords, top overall keywords, keyword ranking distribution and more.
  • Experimental metrics, which are currently exclusive to Domain Analysis, include keywords estimated by clicks, top featured snippets, branded keywords, top search competitors and top questions.
  • The tool is limited to three reports per day for free users, without the need to create an account. Paid users get unlimited reports

About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.


Many of us have had the misfortune of dealing with domain resellers.

Let’s say you’re ready to register your personal domain name. You open up chrome and type out your personal url — only to find out that it’s been taken by

You inquire about how to buy the domain name and find out that the value is…


Unfortunately, this same scenario has happened to many of us (and that price is on the lower end!).

Resellers like these are notorious for holding names that might be worth something one day — many of them personal names of you and me.

They scour public records of individuals and register those names that are available — banking on the fact that at some point you’re going to want to buy it from them.

I was the victim of this situation. But after nearly 9 years of waiting, I finally got my personal domain back.

Photo by Jan Prokes from Pexels

In 2010, my domain dropped.

It was the first domain name I had ever purchased. I wasn’t all that technically savvy at the time — mostly due to being young and inexperienced.

As a result, I had forgotten to renew it and it was immediately picked up by a domain reseller.

I tried to purchase it back but their starting price was absurd. Even with negotiations, I couldn’t get it down to a reasonable amount.

Without many options left, I decided I could only wait it out.

From the research I had done, resellers tend to give a period of years until a domain name becomes unprofitable to them.

They gauge the interest from buyers by monitoring inquiries and whois requests from certain partner websites.

Note: I don’t have any proof on whois monitoring, but it’s what I’ve gleaned from various forums discussing the issue.

I never used a whois tool that I couldn’t confirm was independent. For those interested, ICANN’s whois tool is a pretty reliable one.

ICANN whois tool.

I had given up hope of ever retrieving my personal domain name.

Then, a few months ago, I got really lucky.

The expiration date arrives

Expiration dates are usually meaningless to domain resellers.

They either renew the domain or it’s passed off to a partner website (usually an auction host).

That is what happened in my case. It went from a reseller to a popular domain auction where it sat waiting to be bid on.

Generally, these auctions will drive up the price by bidding on their own domains to get you to pay more.

For me, I felt that it was a good idea to avoid bidding all together. I didn’t want to encourage price gouging, so I decided to wait on the domain to make it look undesirable.

Fortunately, my gamble paid off.

The domain actually went into expiration and then finally into the coveted “Pending Delete” mode. If you’re waiting on a domain, this is the point where you need to start actively monitoring when it drops.

At this moment I decided to setup a simple python script that would check the whois every 10 minutes.

If the whois string contained a certain term of “unknown domain”, I would know it had expired and was ready to be purchased.

My script was setup to send a text message via Twilio once the domain opened up.

I had also initially setup the script to auto-purchase the domain, but that failed due to Namecheap not recognizing the domain availability in time.

Fortunately, the moment it dropped, I had received the SMS message and registered the domain.

I ended up using Google domains since Namecheap wasn’t able to register the domain when it became available.

So after 9 years, was the wait worth it?

I believe waiting for the domain to drop was indeed a good decision. I should mention that I’m not famous or well-known, so my personal brand name wasn’t all that important.

Even then, it does feel great to own my own personal name.

As for the future, I believe owning your domain name will become increasingly important and that experiences like mine will become more commonplace.

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