A graph comparing the top-level domain root resolution for the .blog and .com gTLDs.

.blog vs .com TLD performance

BunnyCDN shared some interesting performance benchmarks of the name servers responsible for some generic top-level domains (gTLD). They measured from 50 locations around the world.

I’m using a .blog domain for this website. Unfortunately, this gTLD is placed near the bottom of the list. Ouch.

I recreated a smaller version of their experiment for the .blog and .com TLDs. I don’t have a content distribution (CDN) network with 50 points of presences around the globe to test from.

However, I do have a RIPE Atlas test probe. It enables me to run a quick test like this from 11 000 locations around the world. I settled for recreating BunnyCDN’s tests from 300 locations, however. You can see the results from my test in the footer and the graph at the top of this article.

The median resolution time for .com is 17 milliseconds versus 57 ms for .blog. That means .blog is 2,3 times slower. The .com TLD responded to 85 % of all queries in 55 ms compared to 188 ms for .blog. That makes .blog 2,4 times slower.

BunnyCDN benchmark and my benchmark compared

.com .blog
50 % 85 % 50 % 85 %
BunnyCDN 41 ms 91 ms 122 ms 176 ms
My figures 17 ms 57 ms 55 ms 188 ms

Both sets of figures are a snapshot in time from different locations under different local and global network conditions. They’re expected to be a bit different.

The take-away is clear: the .com TLD is 2–3 times faster than the .blog TLD.

So what’s going on with .blog?

The .blog TLD is owned by Knock Knock WHOIS There LLC; a subsidiary of Automattic Inc. This is interesting because WordPress.com, another Automattic subsidiary, operates the second-fastest authoritative name servers in the world, according to DNSPerf by PerfOps.

However, the .blog TLD doesn’t share infrastructure with WordPress.com. Instead, it’s outsourced to CentralNic Group PLC. A TLD management services company.

You’ve probably never heard of the last company before. However, you might recognize some of the other gTLDs it operates: .best, .design, and .xyz.

If you don’t recognize these gTLDs, then go have another look at the bottom of the list in BunnyCND’s benchmarks. You’ll find them all there.

Do these tiny numbers even mean anything?

Google requires a webpage to load in 1 second or less to receive a “fast” rating. This directly impacts search result rankings.

Your TLD’s name servers are completely outside of your control. They still impact your site’s performance, however. To put the numbers in context, the .blog TLD’s 122 ms median time is 12,2 % of the total page-load time budget.

Maybe I should have kept using my old .com domain instead of switching to .blog.

Conclusions

If you have a domain zone configured for long-lived DNS caching and a high volume of lookups, you don’t need to worry about this issue. Anyone falling outside this category should stop worrying too: There’s nothing you can do about it other than migrating to a different TLD.

You may want to avoid registering new domains under TLDs operated by CentralNic, however.

As a .blog domain registrant, I can only hope that Knock Knock WHOIS There will switch to use the same infrastructure as WordPress.com.