5 Best DNS Servers (2020) – Free Public DNS For Speedy Connections

5 Best DNS Servers (2020) – Free Public DNS For Speedy Connections

Switching from your ISP’s offering to a custom DNS server can be beneficial. As many have experienced, these public DNS servers from the house of Google, Cisco, and others offer much better performance in terms of latency and features.

DNS servers have come a long way, and now they offer a lot more than throwing out the name of a website after it gets an IP address from a client device. Modern DNS servers provide advanced security features that protect your queries while they’re in transit. You can read more about what a DNS server is and how it works.

In addition, switching to a third-party DNS server can have other advantages as well. For instance, you can browse websites that are sometimes blocked by your ISP at the DNS level.

So, if you’re looking for some good custom DNS servers, here we have compiled a list of the most popular and reliable public DNS servers in the market.

Best DNS Servers For 2020 [Public and Free]

1. Quad9

The name of this public DNS server resembles its IP address, i.e., 9.9.9.9. The free DNS service was co-developed by the Global Cyber Alliance, IBM, and Packet Clearing House. It’s aimed at blocking malicious websites to prevent phishing attacks, etc. on the web.

To accomplish this security aspect, Quad9 collects updated data from various providers and public sources, which is then fed into its system. The public DNS service claims that it doesn’t store any personal data of the users. Quad9 supports the DNSCrypt protocol, which, as the name says, encrypts the connection between the client device and the DNS server to prevent MITM attacks.

In addition to a primary DNS server that enables domain blocklist and DNSSEC validation, Quad9 also offers an unsecured DNS server address that can be used to know if the Quad9 threat feed has flagged a legit domain as insecure.

Quad9 provides public DNS servers that work with IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Furthermore, just like Google DNS, it offers support for DNS over HTTPS (DoH) and DNS over TLS (DoT) security features.

Quad9 DNS DNS Server Address
IPv4 9.9.9.9, 149.112.112.112 (Secured)
9.9.9.10, 149.112.112.10 (Unsecured)
IPv6 2620:fe::fe, 2620:fe::9

2. Google Public DNS

Arguably, Google Public DNS is the most popular custom DNS service you can find these days. It manages to justify its popularity by offering some advanced features for the users. However, Google’s known habit of tracking almost everything might divert some users to other alternatives.

The service was launched in 2009 and has since been updated to match industry-standards. As of now, Google DNS servers handle more than a trillion DNS queries from devices in a single day.

Google Public DNS comes with support for security features like DNS over HTTPS (DoH) and DNS over TLS (DoT), both of which are used on various platforms to secure queries made by users.

It also works with the next-gen IPv6 protocol, which is the successor to the IPv4. Google Public DNS can give the much-needed latency boost that your ISP struggles with, thereby improving the website loading speed. Oh, and as a side note, you shouldn’t confuse it with increasing internet speed.

Google Public DNS DNS Server Address
IPv4 8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4
IPv6 2001:4860:4860::8888, 2001:4860:4860::8844

3. Cloudflare (1.1.1.1)

You may have heard about the content delivery network (CDN) Cloudflare. In 2018, Cloudflare launched its free DNS service called 1.1.1.1 that provides one-tap access to users.

1.1.1.1 is one of the fastest DNS servers on the internet when it comes to latency, an essential factor to consider in domain name resolution. It supports DoH, DoT, and DNSSEC.

Right now, the 1.1.1.1 app is available for Android and iOS devices, but Cloudflare is also working on Windows 10 and macOS versions of its DNS apps. However, just like other popular DNS services on this list, you can configure Cloudflare DNS directly in the system settings using its IP address.

The public DNS resolver has a different version called 1.1.1.1 For Families that, among various features, comes with built-in parental control features to block adult content.

Cloudflare DNS DNS Server Address
IPv4 1.1.1.2, 1.0.0.2
IPv6 2606:4700:4700::1112, 2606:4700:4700::1002

4. OpenDNS

OpenDNS is another known name when talking about the best DNS servers for 2020. It was founded back in 2005 and acquired by Cisco in 2015.

The free DNS service is a great option for home and personal use as it provides various security features to prevent phishing attacks and content filtering. OpenDNS supports both IPv4 and IPV6 addresses and comes with support for DoH but not DoT. It also offers support for the DNSCrypt protocol, and in fact, OpenDNS was the first service to adopt it.

OpenDNS handles more than 140 billion DNS requests per day and has over 90 million users worldwide. The free DNS service started as an ad-supported offering, which was dropped in later years.

It has 30+ fast DNS servers located on different continents to provide seamless and faster DNS resolution in various parts of the world.

OpenDNS DNS Server Address
IPv4 208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220
IPv6 2620:119:35::35, 2620:119:53::53

5. CleanBrowsing

The public DNS resolver focuses on providing filters that enable parental controls and block adult content. In other words, it’s primarily designed with keeping kids in mind. CleanBrowsing is a relatively small-sized service compared to Quad9 or Cloudflare, which explains the focused approach it has.

In terms of features, the free version of the DNS service supports all popular security features, including DNSCrypt, DoH, DoT, and DNSCrypt. The DNS resolver offers separate IP addresses for families, adults, and security filters for free.

However, it mainly offers paid plans for a more dedicated DNS service, which is also its primary business model. The Basic plan starts at $59.99/year and offers 19 custom filters and blocks, active monitoring, etc.

CleanBrowsing provides a dedicated app for Windows and macOS computers that enables DNS filters in a single click. However, it’s surprising that CleanBrowsing doesn’t have an Android app that is more required.

CleanBrowsing Family DNS Server Address
IPv4 185.228.168.168, 185.228.169.168
IPv6 2a0d:2a00:1::, 2a0d:2a00:2::
CleanBrowsing Adult DNS Server Address
IPv4 185.228.168.10, 185.228.169.11
IPv6 2a0d:2a00:1::1, 2a0d:2a00:2::1
CleanBrowsing Security DNS Server Address
IPv4 185.228.168.9, 185.228.169.9
IPv6 2a0d:2a00:1::2, 2a0d:2a00:2::2

How to use a custom DNS server on your PC?

You have an idea of the top-rated DNS services of 2020. Now, configuring a custom DNS server on your computer is a simple task that you can do in a few clicks. You can refer to our detailed guide on how to setup DNS server on your Windows 10 PC.

Why should you use a Pubic DNS Server?

There could be multiple reasons that might motivate you to resort to a custom or public DNS resolver for your device. Here, we have summed up a couple of points that I think could be important reasons to consider:

  1. Better performance over your ISP’s offering in most cases.
  2. Unblock websites and bypass censorship.
  3. Use DNS filtering to block offensive content.
  4. Protect your device from malicious sites and unwanted ads.
  5. Use public DNS as an alternative when your ISP’s server goes down.

How to find the fastest DNS server?

Almost every service mentioned on this list offers fast DNS servers to the users. However, there are various factors responsible for the so-called speed of a DNS resolver. However, one major factor is the distance at which a DNS server is located from your home or office.

A DNS server located 1000 miles away will be slower compared to the one at 500 miles, provided everything else remains the same. Hence, one of the ways is you can compare the latency or response time of different DNS servers. The one that provides lower latency numbers should be your choice.

So, this is all we know about public DNS servers and what they can do? This could be helpful if you’re looking for a free DNS server even for casual use, let alone using it as your daily driver. If you have something to add, drop your thoughts in the comments down below.

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Author: Aditya Tiwari5 Best DNS Servers (2020) – Free Public DNS For Speedy Connections