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Best free and public DNS servers of 2018-new | news

Best free and public DNS servers of 2018-new

OpenDNS
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There are some very fast, commercial DNS that usually come with your ISP package. Also, there are anonymous DNS, but also free DNS servers, among other. Overall, there is a broad array of options for you to choose.

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OpenDNS

OpenDNS

1. OpenDNS

Primary, secondary DNS servers: 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220

Veteran operator
Phishing sites blocked by default
Optional web filtering

Founded in 2005 and now owned by Cisco, OpenDNS is one of the biggest names in public DNS.

The free service offers plenty of benefits: high speeds, 100% uptime, phishing sites

The free service offers plenty of benefits: high speeds, 100% uptime, phishing sites blocked by default, optional parental controls-type web filtering to block websites by content type, along with free email support if anything goes wrong.

Commercial plans enable viewing a history of your internet activity for up to the last year, and can optionally lock down your system by allowing access to specific websites only. These aren’t going to be must-have features for the average user, but if you’re interested, they can be yours for around $20 (£14.30) a year.

If you’re an old hand at swapping DNS, you can get started immediately by reconfiguring your device to use the OpenDNS nameservers.

If you’re a newbie, that’s okay too, as OpenDNS has setup instructions for PCs, Macs, mobile devices, routers and much, much more.

  • Check out OpenDNS here
Cloudflare 1.1.1.1
1.1.1.1

2. Cloudflare

Primary, secondary DNS servers: 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1

Impressive performance
Tight privacy levels
Community forum for support

Best known for its top-rated content delivery network, Cloudflare has extended its range to include a new public DNS service, the catchily-named 1.1.1.1.

The product doesn’t have any of the extras you’ll often see elsewhere. There’s no anti-phishing, no ad-blocking, no content filtering or other attempts to monitor or control what you can access, and what you can’t.

Instead, Cloudflare has focused much more on the fundamentals. These start with performance, and independent testing from sites like DNSPerf shows Cloudflare is the fastest public DNS service around.

Privacy is another major highlight. Cloudflare doesn’t just promise that it won’t use your browsing data to serve ads; it commits that it will never write the querying IP address (yours) to disk. Any logs that do exist will be deleted within 24 hours. And these claims aren’t just reassuring words on a website. Cloudflare has retained KPMG to audit its practices annually and produce a public report to confirm the company is delivering on its promises.

The 1.1.1.1 website has some setup guidance, with simple tutorials covering Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux and routers. These are very generic – you get one set of instructions for all versions of Windows, for instance – but there are some pluses (IPv6 as well as IPv4 details) and you should be able to figure it out.

If you have any problems, Cloudflare offers a community forum where you can ask questions or see what others are doing, a nice extra touch which we’d like to see followed by other providers.

Google Public DNS
Google Public DNS

Google Public DNS

3. Google Public DNS

Primary, secondary DNS servers: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

Solid on the privacy front
Commendable transparency
Meant for experienced users

Google has its fingers in most web-related pies, and DNS is no exception: it’s free Public DNS is a simple and effective replacement for your own ISP’s nameservers.

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Privacy can’t quite match the ‘we don’t keep anything’ promises of Cloudflare, but it’s not bad. The service logs the full IP address information of the querying device for around 24 to 48 hours for troubleshooting and diagnostic purposes. ‘Permanent’ logs drop any personally identifiable information and reduce location details to the city level, and all but a small random sample of these are deleted after two weeks.

There’s a further benefit for experienced users in Google’s detailed description of the service. If you’d like to be able to assess the significance of Google’s privacy policy, for instance, you can read up on absolutely everything the service logs contain to find out for yourself.

Google’s support site offers only very basic guidance targeted at experienced users, warning that “only users who are proficient with configuring operating system settings [should] make these changes.” If you’re unsure what you’re doing, check the tutorials from a provider such as OpenDNS, remembering to replace its nameservers with Google’s: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4.

  • Check out Google Public DNS here
Norton ConnectSafe
Norton ConnectSafe

Norton ConnectSafe

4. Norton ConnectSafe

Primary, secondary DNS servers: 199.85.126.10 and 199.85.127.10

Uses Norton Safe Web
Three levels of protection available
Skimpy setup instructions

Norton ConnectSafe is a free DNS service which can automatically block access to fraudulent, phishing and malware-infested websites, as well as optionally filtering sites by content.

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This is a familiar idea – OpenDNS and Comodo, amongst others, do much the same thing – but ConnectSafe has one important advantage. It takes its data from Norton Safe Web, a comprehensive database on more than 50 million websites in 23 languages. The service delivers probably the best web filtering performance around, and the ability to get it for free, without having to install any software, is a major safety plus.

Setting up the service requires choosing from three levels of protection.

The Security policy blocks malicious and fraudulent websites only, and uses the nameservers 199.85.126.10 and 199.85.127.10.

The Security and Pornography policy adds support for filtering sexually explicit material, and uses the nameservers 199.85.126.20 and 199.85.127.20.

The very strict Security and Pornography and Other scheme extends the filtering to block ‘sites that feature mature content, abortion, alcohol, crime, cults, drugs, gambling, hate, sexual orientation, suicide, tobacco or violence’ by using the nameservers 199.85.126.30 and 199.85.127.30.

That’s likely to lock you out of a lot of content, but it might appeal as a way to protect young children, and you don’t have to use this policy everywhere. You could lock down your kids’ tablet with this policy, for instance, but stick with the plain Security policy for your own laptop.

There are only very basic setup instructions on the ConnectSafe site, but if you run into trouble, the tutorials on competitors such as OpenDNS may point you in the right direction. Just be sure to use Norton’s nameserver IP addresses when you change your device settings.

Comodo Secure DNS
Comodo Secure DNS

Comodo Secure DNS

5. Comodo Secure DNS

Primary, secondary DNS servers: 8.26.56.26 and 8.20.247.20

Focus on security
Smart handling of parked domains
Performance might not be so hot

Comodo Group is the power behind a host of excellent security products, so it’s no surprise that the company also offers its own public DNS service.

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Just as you’d expect, Comodo Secure DNS has a strong focus on safety. It doesn’t just block phishing sites, but also warns if you try to visit sites with malware, spyware, even parked domains which might overload you with advertising (pop-ups, pop-unders and more).

Comodo claims its service is smarter than average, too, detecting attempts to visit parked or ‘not in use’ domains and automatically forwarding you to where you really want to go.

Performance is key, of course, and the company suggests its worldwide network of servers and smart routing technology give it an advantage. DNSPerf’s Comodo stats are less impressive, unfortunately. As we write, DNSPerf reports its average query time as around 82ms, ranking it ninth out of the ten services tested.

That said, Comodo may still be interesting if you’re looking for an extra layer of web filtering, and the support website has some short but useful instructions on setting the service up on Windows PCs, Macs, routers and Chromebooks.

Quad9 DNS
Quad9 DNS

Quad9

6. Quad9

Primary, secondary DNS servers: 9.9.9.9 and 149.112.112.112

Speedy performance levels
Blocks malicious domains
Limited help in terms of setup

Quad9 is a young DNS outfit which has been providing a fast and free DNS service since August 2016.

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The company sells itself on its ability to block malicious domains by collecting intelligence from ‘a variety of public and private sources.’ It’s not clear what these sources are, but the website says Quad9 used 18+ ‘threat intelligence providers’ as of May 2018.

That’s a little too vague for us, and we’re not convinced that using a large number of threat intelligence providers will necessarily help – the quality of the intelligence is generally more important than the quantity.

There’s no arguing about Quad9’s performance, though. DNSPerf currently rates it third out of ten for average worldwide query times, lagging behind Cloudflare and OpenDNS, but effortlessly outpacing contenders like Comodo and Norton.

Drilling down into the detail reveals some variations in speed – Quad9 drops to fifth place for North American queries – but overall the service still delivers better performance than most.

 

Free and Public DNS Servers

Free & Public DNS Servers (Valid June 2018)

Provider Primary DNS Server Secondary DNS Server
Level31 209.244.0.3 209.244.0.4
Verisign2 64.6.64.6 64.6.65.6
Google3 8.8.8.8 8.8.4.4
Quad94 9.9.9.9 149.112.112.112
DNS.WATCH5 84.200.69.80 84.200.70.40
Comodo Secure DNS 8.26.56.26 8.20.247.20
OpenDNS Home6 208.67.222.222 208.67.220.220
Norton ConnectSafe7 199.85.126.10 199.85.127.10
GreenTeamDNS8 81.218.119.11 209.88.198.133
SafeDNS9 195.46.39.39 195.46.39.40
OpenNIC10 69.195.152.204 23.94.60.240
SmartViper 208.76.50.50 208.76.51.51
Dyn 216.146.35.35 216.146.36.36
FreeDNS11 37.235.1.174 37.235.1.177
Alternate DNS12 198.101.242.72 23.253.163.53
Yandex.DNS13 77.88.8.8 77.88.8.1
UncensoredDNS14 91.239.100.100 89.233.43.71
Hurricane Electric15 74.82.42.42
puntCAT16 109.69.8.51
Neustar17 156.154.70.1 156.154.71.1
Cloudfare18 1.1.1.1 1.0.0.1
Fourth Estate19 45.77.165.194

Tip: Primary DNS servers are sometimes called preferred DNS servers and secondary DNS servers are sometimes called alternate DNS servers. Primary and secondary DNS servers can be “mixed and matched” to provide another layer of redundancy.

In general, DNS servers are referred to as all sorts of names, like DNS server addressesinternet DNS serversinternet serversDNS IP addresses, etc.

 

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