The Domain Name System (DNS) is responsible for updating your computer’s IP address when visiting a website. While most DNS servers get the job done, there are a few that excel.
In this post, we’ve reviewed and ranked the fastest public DNS servers. We’ll also explain why to change DNS servers and give some quick tips on using public DNS servers.
What are DNS Servers?
DNS or Domain Name Server is essential for resolving domain names into IP addresses which is necessary to direct traffic to the correct destination on the Internet.
The information stored in DNS servers allows users to connect to different domains worldwide by re-routing IP addresses if needed.
DNS also supports security and privacy regulations by allowing for optional encryption of messages between DNS servers.
Every website is a massive collection of text, images, and multimedia that tells the browser where to find the website you want. Instead of getting the IP address of the website directly, your browser asks your ISP for it.
The ISP then sends the address down the wire, and from that point on, your browser can see the address of the website. With public DNS servers, you ask your DNS server to give you the IP address of the website you’re trying to reach.
Things to consider when selecting a DNS Server
First things first, knowing which DNS server you are currently using is primal. Knowing this will help you understand your current scenario in terms of privacy, security, and the essential aspect that is speed.
Ideally, the router from your internet service provider (ISP) should have DHCP enabled. If it’s the case, and if you don’t change the IP on your router, then you should be using the default DNS address provided by your ISP. A quick way to find out is to open a browser and navigate to “whatismyipaddress.com.”
However, you may need to alter the default DNS for a number of reasons.
Change your DNS NOW: Here’s why
DNS for Privacy:
DNS can be changed to avoid monitoring of Internet activity by a third party. By avoiding DNS-based trackers, one avoids tracking by advertising networks.
You must change your DNS settings to block any tracking/analytics/ads/insert-evil-company-here that might be trying to follow you.
But also, free DNS doesn’t need to ask for your permission on what it will do with your data. So choose the DNS Server that provides better online security and privacy and stops unwanted tracking.
Does that mean by using a third-party DNS service, you can surf websites in a STEALTH mode, and no one can peep on what you’re up to these days?
NO! It’s just that using a third-party DNS will keep your ISP from not knowing what you surf, but the DNS provider can still check on what everyone using that particular DNS is doing.
But, here’s the catch: It won’t be as easy linking back to you as there will be thousands of users on the same DNS causing too much traffic, which helps you be a ghost in the crowd.
A word of caution: Many Free DNS services use other publicly available DNS servers, which could result in slower DNS resolution, and in turn, it will provide you with a high loading time. Cheers to us; we have shortlisted the best ones out there. Choose any one of them, and you’re ready to rock the internet world with nuclear speeds.
DNS for Blocking Adverts:
There are several DNS servers out there claiming to block all sorts of advertisements. Sometimes while using such a service can break web pages while loading or at times some of them won’t even load.
But hey! You get to not WAIT for annoying 2 minutes of unskippable adverts on YouTube.
So does that counts as a win? Though beware that it might cause a little bit of higher loading times, mostly you won’t even notice it.
DNS For Malware protection:
Such a thing does exist. Basically, it is a firewall layer between you (user) and the internet. Having this type of DNS will enable an overwatch when you surf the internet and it will block all the malicious pages that spread viruses, malware, and other such harmful content.
Though it is not all necessary to have this feature as most of the antivirus and antimalware solutions out there hooks you up with one.
Now that we are familiar with why to change DNS, let’s have a brief overview of Best Free DNS servers.
The Best Free DNS Servers 2021
1. Cloudflare (18.104.22.168)
Claimed to be the fastest DNS resolver ever, Cloudflare’s 22.214.171.124 with warp is people’s current favorite when it comes to choosing a DNS. Cloudflare is a free internet performance and security company. It has a 126.96.36.199 DNS service that uses its own DNS servers and provides better security than your ISP’s DNS servers.
Cloudflare offers a free DNS service to help speed up web browsing, filter out malware and phishing, and improve your security when accessing the internet from your home or mobile device.
Cloudflare’s DNS Server (188.8.131.52) will not log your IP address and will not track any of your personal information. Cloudflare’s DNS server will also block any potential malware or phishing link and adult content that you may encounter on the internet. But these aren’t forced on regular DNS. To get this, you need to use 184.108.40.206/220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168/22.214.171.124 resolvers, respectively.
126.96.36.199 is a public DNS service that can deliver faster, more reliable internet connections to users worldwide. The Cloudflare DNS can be used instead of your ISP’s default DNS, and you can configure it to point to any upstream.
Cloudflare DNS (188.8.131.52) is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. The free version doesn’t provide you with Wrap +. Basically, this service will let you query through optimized and faster internet paths. There’s no need for the app to use free DNS. Just follow the DNS changing method and keep the address provided below.
For any product-related queries, you can communicate in the dedicated community forum.
Get Cloudflare DNS Servers: Primary – 184.108.40.206 | Secondary – 220.127.116.11
2. Google Public DNS
Google Public DNS is a popular and free Domain Name System service from Google. It is the world’s largest public DNS provider, handling around 12% of the Internet’s DNS requests. Google Public DNS offers advanced security features that protect users from malware and phishing attacks, as well as speed features that make web browsing faster.
That being said, most of it is just claims, and when you dig deeper, it doesn’t resonate with the first impression. Speaking of privacy, it doesn’t quite match with Cloudflare but does a good job when compared with other DNS vendors.
So if you were to use Google Public DNS, your IP address with all the information that could link back to you would be saved for 48 hours. There are also permanent logs that drop all the identifiable details like location, which gets maximized to a city, and some of it is deleted every two weeks.
Google Public DNS is aimed at developers, and there’s a lot of places like server farms, hosting services, etc., that can utilize their DNS service. However, it doesn’t secure users completely from any malware and phishing attacks not it blocks any site access. So, in general, it’s a suitable replacement for ISP’s or regular users who are not looking for any advanced features in a DNS.
Get Google Public DNS servers: Primary – 18.104.22.168 | Secondary – 22.214.171.124
OpenDNS is the most widely used service for a DNS. It was established in 2025, and now it’s owned by cisco.
If you are looking for a reliable DNS, then you can stop your search as it provides 100% uptime, a robust security package that blocks phishing links by default, plus a parental service that can be activated to block sites based on categories. Apart from this, they also offer a free email support service if anything goes downhill.
Here’s the best part, if you pay a bit for premium services, you can place custom parental controls that block particular websites. Moreover, you can see what sites were accessed with a history of about one year.
Setup instructions are straightforward, and it is available for all the devices, including the router. There are also pre-configured routers available, but we would suggest you go with the standard setup.
Get OpenDNS servers: Primary – 126.96.36.199 | Secondary – 188.8.131.52
DNS.watch is a free public DNS service based out of Germany. They provide DNS services with only one goal that is freedom from internet censorship. If you resonate with this thought, then it’s a perfect choice. You don’t need any additional downloads. All you have to do is swap the default DNS config with primary & secondary DNS servers provided by them (mentioned below).
It is a fast and reliable service where you won’t feel any lag while surfing the web. They offer DNS neutrality through which you can access every website without any blockage. Furthermore, there’s no ISP DNS hijacking where your ISP puts up some ads randomly while you browse.
In terms of privacy, this is the best deal that you will ever get. Unlike other DNS providers who log a bit of personal data or collect anonymous logs, DNS.watch doesn’t log any kind of data. Apart from this, some major DNS providers could be forced to block some sites, but this being a relatively small service and not known to many, it could be more reliable.
Get DNS.watch servers: Primary – 184.108.40.206 | Secondary – 220.127.116.11
5. Comodo Secure DNS
Comodo is a provider of diverse security suite, and along with that it even has its own public DNS service in place which you can use it for free. For someone doing many transactions and day-to-day trading, this one is one of the best services to pursue.
With Comodo Secure DNS, you can be assured of protection from phishing sites, malware sites, and other threats in general. It warns you beforehand about a particular site if it’s malware, spyware, or a phishing page. It even detects parked domains and blocks extra pop-up advertisements. Apart from this, it’s smart enough to notice what you actually want to see and redirects you to the correct destination if you land on any parked domain resembling what you wanted to visit.
Comodo calls its DNS service better than any other average provider as it uses more threat intelligence data sources to discover malicious domains to keep its users safe. However, when it comes to speed, multiple tests detected a bit of lag when compared with other services. Though you will just experience it at the start, and then as the DNS cache assembles, there won’t be a hitch.
Comodo Secure DNS is perfect if you want an extra layer of web filtering that keeps you safe while you surf the web. But there’s one catch, you can only resolve up to 3,00,000 queries/ month, which could be more than enough for a regular user. If you like the service, then we suggest going for a premium package.
Get Comodo Secure DNS servers: Primary – 18.104.22.168 | Secondary – 22.214.171.124
Quad9 comes along with one goal that is focused on the safety of users. It had a bit of trouble maintaining privacy, and to overcome this, they moved their server location to Switzerland and thus gaining even more trust from the users worldwide.
The most prominent feature that Quad9 boasts about is its real-time ability to block malicious domains. They do this by collecting data from private and public threat intelligence databases. Sources haven’t been disclosed as it’s their USP, but, according to Quad9, it gains such intelligence from scrapping over 18 plus different threat intel provider.
Now some of you might say that the quality of intelligence has to be more precise than quantity, but given the background of the company, it’s most likely to have your back on any latest or ongoing threats.
Furthermore, regarding privacy, Quad9 does not collect any personal data and even provides DNSSEC validation, malware blocking, and even ECS-enabled servers, which guarantees privacy.
Get Quad9 DNS servers: Primary – 126.96.36.199 | Secondary – 188.8.131.52
In the majority of cases, the free DNS servers listed here should be the best choice for you. You can further analyze your requirements and select the best fit. For example, you stream and play games a lot, then Cloudflare and Google Open DNS should suffice. If you’re more into trading and business, then choose a DNS that provides threat blocking.
Do let us know which DNS servers are you currently using in the comments below.