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Why Use Different DNS Servers?

One reason you might want to change the DNS servers assigned by your ISP is if you suspect there’s a problem with the ones you’re using now. An easy way to test for a DNS server issue is by typing a website’s IP address into the browser. If you can reach the website with the IP address, but not the name, then the DNS server is likely having issues.

Another reason to change DNS servers is if you’re looking for a better performing service. Many people complain that their ISP-maintained DNS servers are sluggish and contribute to a slower overall browsing experience.

Your ISP automatically assigns DNS servers when your router or computer connects to the internet via DHCP… but you don’t have to use those. Below are free DNS servers you can use instead of the ones assigned, the best and most reliable of which, from the likes of Google and OpenDNS, you can find below:

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
CleanBrowsing20 85.228.168.168 185.228.168.169

[1] The free DNS servers listed above as Level3 will automatically route to the nearest DNS server operated by Level3 Communications, the company that provides most of the ISPs in the US their access to the internet backbone. Alternatives include 4.2.2.1, 4.2.2.2, 4.2.2.3, 4.2.2.4, 4.2.2.5, and 4.2.2.6. These servers are often given as Verizon DNS servers but that is not technically the case. See discussion above.

[2] Verisign says this about their free DNS servers: “We will not sell your public DNS data to third parties nor redirect your queries to serve you any ads.” Verisign offers IPv6 public DNS servers as well: 2620:74:1b::1:1 and 2620:74:1c::2:2.

[3] Google also offers IPv6 public DNS servers: 2001:4860:4860::8888 and 2001:4860:4860::8844.

[4] Quad9 uses real time information about what websites are malicious and blocks them completely. No content is filtered – only domains that are phishing, contain malware, and exploit kit domains will be blocked. No personal data is stored. Quad9 also has a secure IPv6 DNS server at 2620:fe::fe. An unsecure IPv4 public DNS is also available from Quad9 at 9.9.9.10 (2620:fe::10 for IPv6) but they do not recommend using that as the secondary domain in your router or computer setup. See more in the Quad9 FAQ.

[5] DNS.WATCH also has IPv6 DNS servers at 2001:1608:10:25::1c04:b12f and 2001:1608:10:25::9249:d69b. Both servers are located in Germany which could impact performance if used from the US or other remote locations.

[6] OpenDNS also offers DNS servers that block adult content, called OpenDNS FamilyShield. Those DNS servers are 208.67.222.123 and 208.67.220.123 (shown here). A premium DNS offering is also available, called OpenDNS Home VIP.

[7] The Norton ConnectSafe free DNS servers listed above block sites hosting malware, phishing schemes, and scams, and is called Policy 1. Use Policy 2 (199.85.126.20 and 199.85.127.20) to block those sites plus those with pornographic content. Use Policy 3 (199.85.126.30 and 199.85.127.30) to block all previously mentioned site categories plus “mature content, crime, drugs, gambling, violence” and more.
Be sure to check out the list of things blocked in Policy 3 – there are several controversial topics in there that you may find perfectly acceptable.

[8] GreenTeamDNS “blocks tens of thousands of dangerous websites which include malware, botnets, adult related content, aggressive/ violent sites as well as advertisements and drug-related websites ” according to their FAQ page. Premium accounts have more control.

[9] Register here with SafeDNS for content filtering options in several areas.

[10] The DNS servers listed here for OpenNIC are just two of many in the US and across the globe. Instead of using the OpenNIC DNS servers listed above, see their complete list of public DNS servers here and use two that are close to you or, better yet, let them tell you that automatically here. OpenNIC also offers some IPv6 public DNS servers.

[11] FreeDNS says that they “never log DNS queries.” Their free DNS servers are located in Austria.

[12] Alternate DNS says that their DNS servers “block unwanted ads” and that they engage in “no query logging.” You can sign up for free from their signup page.

[13] Yandex’s Basic free DNS servers, listed above, are also available in IPv6 at 2a02:6b8::feed:0ff and 2a02:6b8:0:1::feed:0ff. Two more free tiers of DNS are available as well. The first is Safe, at 77.88.8.88 and 77.88.8.2, or 2a02:6b8::feed:bad and 2a02:6b8:0:1::feed:bad, which blocks “infected sites, fraudulent sites, and bots.” The second is Family, at 77.88.8.7 and 77.88.8.3, or 2a02:6b8::feed:a11 and 2a02:6b8:0:1::feed:a11, which blocks everything that Safe does, plus “adult sites and adult advertising.”

[14] UncensoredDNS (formerly censurfridns.dk) DNS servers are uncensored and operated by a privately funded individual. The 91.239.100.100 address is anycast from multiple locations while the 89.233.43.71 one is physically located in Copenhagen, Denmark. You can read more about them here. IPv6 versions of their two DNS servers are also available at 2001:67c:28a4:: and 2a01:3a0:53:53::, respectively.

[15] Hurricane Electric also has an IPv6 public DNS server available: 2001:470:20::2.

[16] puntCAT is physically located near Barcelona, Spain. The IPv6 version of their free DNS server is 2a00:1508:0:4::9.

[17] Neustar has five DNS options. “Reliability & Performance 1” (listed above) and “Reliability & Performance 2” are supposedly built to provide quicker access times. “Threat Protection” (156.154.70.2, 156.154.71.2) blocks malware, ransomware, spyware, and phishing websites. “Family Secure” and “Business Secure” are two others that block websites containing certain kinds of content. Each service is also accessible over IPv6; see this page for all the IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, as well as to learn more about what gets blocked with those last two services.

[18] According to Cloudfare’s website, they built 1.1.1.1 to be the fastest DNS service in the world and will never log your IP address, will never sell your data, and will never use your data to target ads. They also have IPv6 public DNS servers available at 2606:4700:4700::1111 and 2606:4700:4700::1001.

[19] According to the Fourth Estate’s website, “We don’t monitor, record or store logs for any single user’s activity and we don’t alter, redirect or censor DNS records.” The DNS server above is hosted in the United States. They also have one in Switzerland at 179.43.139.226 and another in Japan at 45.32.36.36.

[20] In the table the given addresses are family addresses. There are also IPv6 equivilents: 2a0d:2a00:1:: and 2a0d:2a00:2::. For a little less restrictive DNS filter you can use IPv4 address: 185.228.168.10 and 185.228.168.11 and IPv6 address: 2a0d:2a00:1::1 and 2a0d:2a00:2::1.

Source: Lifewire