Slow DNS Can Throw A Spanner In Your Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy
Posted in: DNS, Speed Up Tips   -   August 5, 2013

We’re all well aware that page load times affect conversion rates. Sites lose a percentage of their conversions for every fraction of a second a page takes to load. 40% of visitors will abandon a shopping site if it takes more than three seconds to load, and for every second of delay conversion rates can drop by 7%.

These figures are particularly important for new customers who have no other basis on which to judge a company. Established customers who are familiar with the awesomeness of your products and services won’t be so quick to say goodbye, but those who have no experience of your business lose nothing by hitting the back button and returning to Google to find a less frustrating option, especially if nothing at all loads for several seconds.

Reducing Time To First Byte (TTFB) is an important part of a site’s conversion rate optimization strategy. One the most significant aspects of a site’s infrastructure that impacts TTFB is the Domain Name System, and more specifically the round-trip time of DNS queries.

Small and medium businesses tend to perceive their DNS hosting as part and parcel of their web hosting. They don’t consider the need for a separate DNS host, but there are several distinct advantages to looking at different vendors for different web services rather than accepting the bundled options and up-sells of web hosts.

Faster Infrastructure

DNS hosting is not a priority for most web hosts. They offer it, but it isn’t their core competency and it isn’t where they make their money. Often they don’t have any real incentive to ensure that DNS speeds are quick as they possibly can be. Dedicated DNS hosting providers focus the majority of their research and development budgets and capital investment in making sure their DNS servers are powerful, responsive, and never overloaded.

IP Anycast DNS Networks

Long round-trip times are a killer for site speed optimizations. It doesn’t matter how much caching you have in place or how well you’ve optimized your on-site assets, if a potential customer’s DNS query has to travel halfway around the world and back, people are going to be left waiting.

The best DNS hosting companies implement IP anycast networks that can reduce round-trip times to milliseconds. If you are familiar with how content distribution networks work, IP anycast networks shouldn’t be difficult to understand.

Rather than having a DNS server sitting in one data center fielding queries from all over the world, an IP Anycast DNS network has hundreds of systems across the globe that can respond to a query. Queries are routed to the nearest server, and round-trip times are slashed.

Both the faster infrastructure and IP Anycast help seriously reduce that crucial Time To First Byte and prevent the drop off in conversions we all know and hate.

The upshot is that shopping around for your web services, particularly DNS, can lead to very welcome results for businesses that rely on their sites to generate revenue.


Evan Daniels is the Technical Writer and Content Editor for DNS Made Easy, a leading provider of DNS hosting. You can find more of Evan's writing on the DNS Made Easy blog, which covers the latest in security, DNS, and Enterprise IT. Follow DNS Made Easy on Twitter at @dnsmadeeasy, and check out all the services they offer at http://www.dnsmadeeasy.com.

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  • Guest

    Hi Evan! Thanks for posting for SpeedAwarenessMonth. Can you post any specific global numbers or tools showing the speed difference between Anycast DNS and Unicast DNS? One of my favorite tools is http://www.whatsmydns.net/.