If you are an ISP, run your own DNS resolvers

If you are an ISP, run your own DNS resolvers

Glenn Kelley has a great article on spinning up your own DNS resolvers. This is a critical piece of infrastructure if you are in internet Service Provider (ISP).


As Glenn writes.

Here’s why ISPs should consider running their own:

  1. Control and Flexibility:
    When ISPs run their own DNS infrastructure, they have complete control over the system’s configuration, updates, and performance tuning. This enables ISPs to tailor the DNS service according to their specific requirements and user needs. For instance, ISPs can implement specific security measures or integrate with other local systems more seamlessly.
  2. Enhanced Performance:
    Latency is a significant factor in the user’s online experience. By running their own DNS servers, ISPs can ensure that these servers are geographically closer to their users, resulting in faster DNS query responses. On the contrary, third-party DNS services might not always have data centers close to an ISP’s user base, leading to possible increased latencies.

This is especially important in high-latency networks such as in the 3rd world or some Fixed Wireless networks

  1. Data Privacy and Sovereignty:
    Using third-party DNS services means that ISPs are effectively handing over their users’ browsing data to these entities. This raises concerns about user data privacy, especially when ISPs don’t have a clear picture of how these third-party services handle, store, or possibly monetize the data. By running their own servers, ISPs can provide clearer assurances to users about data handling and privacy practices.
  2. Customized Filtering and Policies:
    ISPs may want to offer certain filtering services, such as parental controls or blocking malicious domains. With their own DNS servers, ISPs can implement such features at the DNS level, offering value-added services to their users and use this as a revenue source.
  3. Redundancy and Resilience:
    Relying on a single third-party DNS provider can be a potential single point of failure. If that service faces an outage, it could disrupt the browsing experience for the ISP’s users. By maintaining their own recursive DNS servers, ISPs can build a more resilient infrastructure with redundancies in place, ensuring continuous service availability.
  4. Economic Considerations:
    While third-party DNS services might seem cost-effective initially, in the long run, ISPs with a large customer base might find it more economical to run their own DNS infrastructure. This is especially true when considering the potential for offering value-added services and reducing dependency on third-party providers.
  5. Competitive Differentiation:
    By running their own DNS servers and offering enhanced features, better privacy, and improved performance, ISPs can differentiate themselves in a competitive market. This can be a unique selling point, attracting users who value performance, privacy, and localized services.


While leveraging third-party DNS services like Google or Cloudflare offers a plug-and-play solution for ISPs, in the long run, it might be more beneficial to run their own recursive DNS servers.

It grants ISPs more control, improves user experience, and ensures data privacy, among other advantages.

In an age where data sovereignty, online performance, and user experience are paramount, it’s worth the investment for ISPs to build and maintain their own DNS infrastructure.

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