The Best Free and Public DNS Servers
Optimal DNS servers provide an alternative means of connecting to the Internet, delivering a more efficient and secure browsing experience than relying only on your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
For those unfamiliar with DNS servers, the DNS (Domain Name System) is a technology that converts the domain names a browser uses into the IP addresses used to visit those specific websites.
The DNS server your internet service provider (ISP) automatically provides you each time you go online. Sometimes, there are better options. When the DNS service provided by your internet service provider (ISP) is delayed or unavailable, it may significantly impact your surfing performance.
Fortunately, transitioning to a reliable free and public DNS server may enhance surfing speed and provide other security advantages, such as security against phishing attacks, blocking infected websites, and even implementing content filtering to protect minors from unsuitable online content.
What is a DNS Server?
DNS servers convert the user-inputted domain name into the corresponding public IP address required for establishing communication between the user’s device and the desired website.
When your mobile device or network connects to the Internet, your Internet service provider (ISP) will assign DNS servers; however, you are not obligated to use them. You may want to test other ones for various reasons, but two significant benefits you may experience if you did so would be improved privacy and speed.
Best Free and Public DNS Servers
Google Public DNS
Using Google Public DNS instead of your Internet service provider’s nameservers is a quick and easy solution.
The privacy features are adequate but fall short of Cloudflare’s “we don’t keep anything” guarantee. The service records the whole IP address of the device doing the query for around 24 to 48 hours to help in diagnostics and troubleshooting.
‘Permanent’ logs remove all traces of personally identifying information and aggregate location data down to the city level. After two weeks, all except a tiny random sample of this data is erased.
Cloudflare has prioritized the core principles to a greater extent. Performance is the primary factor, and independent evaluations conducted by websites like DNSPerf demonstrate that Cloudflare is the swiftest public DNS service globally regarding raw speed.
One further important aspect is privacy. Cloudflare guarantees that it will never save your requesting IP address on disk and will not utilize your browser data to display adverts.
Within one day, we will remove any traces that may still be there. These assertions aren’t empty rhetoric on a website, either. To ensure Cloudflare is fulfilling its commitments, the business has hired KPMG to audit its operations annually and publish the results in a public report.
Since 2016, the seasoned DNS team at Quad9 has been offering a free and lightning-fast DNS solution.
Additionally, Quad9 provides very competent performance; as of this writing, DNSPerf ranks the service as the seventh-best public DNS resolver in terms of average query times throughout the globe. That’s slower than industry heavyweights like Google and Cloudflare, but it holds its own against competitors like G-Core and NextDNS, and the speeds are still above average.
Cisco offers OpenDNS, which includes two options: FamilyShield and Home. FamilyShield enables the restriction of adult material for both children and enterprises, while home prioritizes performance and security. Upon accessing the FamilyShield dashboard, it is effortless to personalize filters and restrict access to certain websites, including the option to implement a comprehensive prohibition on all adult content sites.
Among its other advantages is the ability to remove DNS data if you so want. Every DNS server has its unique cache method for storing DNS queries. Thus, it’s helpful to be able to delete DNS data before switching servers. It is possible to get your settings wrong when changing DNS servers since your DNS queries will be served from the old cache instead of the new one. But, erasing DNS data may prevent incorrect connections on your DNS server.
If you are seeking a DNS service that offers both security and simplicity, Cleanbrowsing is a suitable choice. We appreciate the simplicity of our system, where you need to choose the desired filtering type and input the primary and secondary DNS addresses to achieve your objective.
For your convenience, It includes three free filters. The security filter protects you from malicious software, spam, and phishing websites. An Adult filter provides additional protection against explicit or pornographic content.
Lastly, a Family filter broadens the scope of Cleanbrowsing’s parental restrictions; it also bans VPN and proxy sites and sets Google, Bing, and YouTube to Safe search mode, so even the most intelligent children can’t get around it.
Comodo Secure DNS
Comodo Group also provides its own public DNS service, as one would expect from the brains behind so many top-notch security solutions.
The emphasis on security with Comodo Secure DNS is, unsurprisingly, high. Phishing sites aren’t the only ones it blocks; sites with malware, spyware, or even parked domains that may flood you with ads (pop-ups, pop-unders, and more) are also flagged. If you’re looking for even more features for Comodo Secure DNS, you should check out their Dome Shield service.
Comodo also claims their service is more intelligent than usual since it can automatically identify when you try to access parked or “not in use” domains and redirect you to the correct location. The available applications for both iOS and Android are also well-received.
OpenNIC is a high-speed DNS service that does not impose any restrictions on content. Its primary purpose is to provide unimpeded access to the Internet. A network of volunteers who provide server resources manages the nonprofit organization. Users are presented with a roster of servers that are in closest proximity to their current location.
OpenNIC offers an unfiltered and dependable internet connection. Nevertheless, it lacks security measures to safeguard against deceptive websites. Getting a browser extension or antivirus program to obstruct trackers, viruses, and advertisements is essential.
If you use UncensoredDNS, your internet behavior will remain anonymous since it does not log your sessions. While it does track certain overall query graphs and the total number of DNS queries you make, it does not record any personally identifiable information.
The servers are primarily located in Denmark, ensuring that European users can anticipate a fast and seamless internet browsing experience. UncensoredDNS does not impose any restrictions or censorship on online material, and it is compatible with IPv6 connections, which provide a broader selection of IP addresses for enhanced internet speed.
Yandex DNS, which has most of its servers in Russia, is a top DNS provider in Western Europe. Use its free public DNS servers and an astounding 99.95% uptime guarantee to surf the web easily. As a result, you can be sure that your internet experience will be uninterrupted and free of service interruptions.
Although all services protect against viruses, harmful sites, and advertisements, they differ in terms of security and filtering options that may be tailored to your preferences.
Concerning ethical standards regarding internet freedom, its activities in Russia provide auditing issues. Privacy has been further jeopardized since Yandex.DNS distributes user data with other parties.
Vercara UltraDNS (formerly known as Neustar UltraDNS) provides a specialized and secure Domain Name System (DNS) solution designed specifically for the requirements of families.
The distinguishing feature of this service is the inclusion of a configurable filter inside its family service, which allows you to tailor your internet experience by selectively blocking certain websites.
Three unique versions are available: Unfiltered, Threat Protection, and Family. Vercara UltraDNS has an extensive global infrastructure of over 30 DNS nodes, ensuring high speeds and low latency. Acknowledging that these benefits are primarily available via Vercara’s high-level DNS servers is crucial. Hence, the magnitude of these advantages may differ based on your geographic location.
One of the multiple benefits of using a public DNS server is the ability to evade censorship and geo-blocks, faster speeds, improved security, and content filters. Since each has unique advantages and disadvantages, it is essential to examine each in great detail and choose the one that best meets your requirements.