17 Best Free and Public DNS Servers (Tested February 2023)
Changing your Domain Name Server (DNS) is an easy way to improve internet speeds and security. While there are many paid options, you’ll also find some excellent free DNS server providers out there. Make sure you choose with care — not all DNS servers are better than the default settings assigned by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
That’s why I tested and ranked the top free and public DNS servers in 2023. However, keep in mind that public DNS servers can expose your device to cyberattacks. I highly recommend that you use a VPN for maximum online protection at all times. Not only does this encrypt your internet traffic, but the best VPN services will even have their own private DNS servers.
Quick Guide: Best Free and Public DNS Servers in 2023
If you’re already familiar with DNS servers, here’s the full list so you can get started immediately.
|DNS Provider||Primary Address||Secondary Address|
|1. Google Public DNS||22.214.171.124||126.96.36.199|
|6. OpenNIC DNS||188.8.131.52||184.108.40.206|
|8. Yandex DNS||220.127.116.11||18.104.22.168|
|9. Neustar DNS||22.214.171.124||126.96.36.199|
|11. Comodo Secure||188.8.131.52||184.108.40.206|
|14. Verisign Public DNS||220.127.116.11||18.104.22.168|
|16. Safe DNS||22.214.171.124||126.96.36.199|
Warning! Many free DNS providers track, collect, and share your personal data — this is a serious risk to your privacy. To protect yourself, I recommend using a quality VPN at all times. Top services like ExpressVPN use military-grade encryption to mask your IP address and internet traffic. You can even try ExpressVPN risk-free. It’s backed by a 30 money-back guarantee, so you can easily get a refund if you’re not satisfied.
17 Best Public DNS Servers to Use for Free (Working February 2023)
1. Google Public DNS — Great Combination of Speed and Security
- Primary DNS Address: 188.8.131.52
- Secondary DNS Address: 184.108.40.206
Google Public DNS offers fast and secure servers. You don’t need to register for an account and there are no request limits, so you can use the DNS server as much as you want. Google Public DNS has several protective measures to ensure you’re also safe from any DNS-related cyberattacks, such as Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. This includes checking all code returned by your DNS queries and monitoring the rate of DNS requests.
Since Google Public DNS is owned by Google, I was nervous that my browsing data would be tracked and collected. Fortunately, your IP address is deleted within 48 hours and no stored data is tied to your online activity or Google account. Google Public DNS still retains some data like your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and general location to use it for internal analytics.
Here’s a Tip: If you don’t want Google Public DNS to track your online activities, you might want to consider using a VPN. ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy, and uses military-grade encryption to hide your real IP address and keep your identity safe from Google. Try ExpressVPN now!
2. Cloudflare — Best Free DNS Server for Gaming With Reliable Connections
- Primary DNS Address: 220.127.116.11
- Secondary DNS Address: 18.104.22.168
Cloudflare is a top choice for gaming due to its fast speeds. You can choose from servers in over 200 locations worldwide. Even better, your connection is secure against DoS attacks and cache poisoning. You can’t block advertisements with this service, but you can manually block or filter content if you set up a free account.
Your IP address will remain private, although some data is logged. However, it’s only used to improve the performance of the DNS servers. All logs are deleted within 24 hours.
3. OpenDNS — Best for Families With Adult Content Filter
- Primary DNS Address: Basic 22.214.171.124 | Family Shield 126.96.36.199
- Secondary DNS Address: Basic 188.8.131.52 | Family Shield 184.108.40.206
OpenDNS is the best option for families with young children, allowing you to filter out adult content. You just need to create a free account and confirm it via email. Once completed, you can customize your filters on a dashboard. Alternatively, you can use the FamilyShield DNS servers, which automatically block all adult content.
Unfortunately, OpenDNS does collect non-identifying data, which is used internally and shared with marketing partners. However, you also have the option to delete your DNS data.
- Primary DNS Address: 220.127.116.11
- Secondary DNS Address: 18.104.22.168
CyberGhost is a top VPN provider with free DNS servers available for public use (i.e. you don’t need to pay or create an account!). The connection speeds are excellent and you’ll have uncensored access to the internet. Better still, none of your data is collected or shared.
5. Quad9 — Easily Blocks Malicious Sites and Phishing Scams
- Primary DNS Address: 22.214.171.124
- Secondary DNS Address: 126.96.36.199
Quad9 has a high-speed global server network in over 145 locations. Your connection is protected by strong security and privacy measures as well. Quad9 protects you from malware and phishing attacks, and doesn’t log any identifying data. Only anonymized location data is collected in order to improve server performance.
6. OpenNIC DNS — Zero Internet Censorship on Global Servers
- Primary DNS Address: 188.8.131.52
- Secondary DNS Address: 184.108.40.206
OpenNIC DNS is a non-profit DNS provider run by a volunteer network. It offers unrestricted access to the internet, so I suggest downloading a browser extension to block out ads, malware, and trackers. While speeds were fast, I found that I experienced some connection drops when DNS server requests timed out. Another downside is that OpenNIC DNS collects some identifying data for analytical purposes, including your IP address.
7. DNS.Watch — Uncensored Internet for European Users
- Primary DNS Address: 220.127.116.11
- Secondary DNS Address: 18.104.22.168
DNS.Watch has 2 servers based in Germany, so it offers the best speeds if you’re located close by. You’ll have uncensored access to the internet, which also means there’s no malware protection or ad blockers. Impressively, DNS.Watch doesn’t log any of your personal data (not even for analytical purposes). The DNS server network relies on donations to continue operations, so there’s no incentive to store or sell your data.
8. Yandex.DNS — Best for Russia, CIS Countries, and Western Europe
- Primary DNS Address: Basic 22.214.171.124 | Safe 126.96.36.199 | Family 188.8.131.52
- Secondary DNS Address: Basic 184.108.40.206 | Safe 220.127.116.11 | Family 18.104.22.168
Yandex.DNS is a high-speed provider with the majority of its servers based in Russia. You can choose between 3 services: Basic (no ad or malware blockers), Safe (blocks ads and malware), and Family (blocks ads, malware, and adult content). Unfortunately, Yandex.DNS does share your personal data with the parent company, Yandex, as well its affiliate partners.
9. Neustar DNS — Offers a Wide Range of Customization Options
- Primary DNS Address: Unfiltered 22.214.171.124 | Threat Protection 126.96.36.199 | Family Secure 188.8.131.52
- Secondary DNS Address: Unfiltered 184.108.40.206 | Threat Protection 220.127.116.11 | Family Protection 18.104.22.168
Neustar’s UltraDNS is ideal for families with 3 different filters: Unfiltered Protection (uncensored internet access), Threat Protection (blocks malware), and Family Protection (blocks malware and adult content). I enjoyed fast speeds across each DNS server. Unfortunately, Neustar does log and store your personal data during use, and will collect your IP address and other identifying information.
10. CleanBrowsing DNS — Secure With Family Focused Web Filters
- Primary DNS Address: Security 22.214.171.124 | Adult 126.96.36.199 | Family 188.8.131.52
- Secondary DNS Address: Security 184.108.40.206 | Adult 220.127.116.11 | Family 18.104.22.168
CleanBrowsing offers servers in Europe and the US. You can choose from 3 services: Security (blocks malware), Adult (blocks malware and adult content), and Family (blocks malware and adult content, and applies Safe Search filters to browsers). None of your data is tracked, logged, or shared.
11. Comodo Secure — A Reputable Company With Strong Security
- Primary DNS Address: 22.214.171.124
- Secondary DNS Address: 126.96.36.199
12. UncensoredDNS — Fast Speeds in Europe but Weak Security
- Primary DNS Address: 188.8.131.52
- Secondary DNS Address: 184.108.40.206
UncensoredDNS offers multiple servers in Denmark and 1 server in the US. None of your data is logged or stored, aside from the total number of DNS queries sent from your device. While UncensoredDNS provides uncensored access to the internet, there’s also no ad blocker and you won’t be protected from malicious websites.
13. FreeDNS — A Small Network With Good Privacy, but No Protective Measures
- Primary DNS Address: 220.127.116.11
- Secondary DNS Address: 18.104.22.168
FreeDNS offers servers in the US, Austria, Germany, and Singapore. You don’t need to register for an account and zero logs are kept. Unfortunately, FreeDNS doesn’t offer any protective measures for your browser. You won’t be secured against malicious websites, phishing scams, bots, or other cyberattacks.
14. Verisign Public DNS — Stable, Secure, but Not the Fastest
- Primary DNS Address: 22.214.171.124
- Secondary DNS Address: 126.96.36.199
Verisign offers average speeds but steady server connections, so you won’t have to deal with any frustrating connection drops. Verisign doesn’t sell any of your personal data to third parties (like advertisers), although your data will be collected for analytical purposes. While there’s no ad blocker, Verisign also protects your browser against DNS weaknesses, like cache poisoning and DoS attacks.
15. SafeServe — Simple Setup on All Devices but Lacks Security
- Primary DNS Address: 188.8.131.52
- Secondary DNS Address: 184.108.40.206
SafeServe is quick and easy to set up — there are clear instructions on the website and you don’t even need to create an account. Unfortunately, SafeServe doesn’t protect against malware or other online threats. Your IP address and anonymized browsing activity is also shared with its parent company, Namecheap.
16. Safe DNS — Fast Browsing With No Security and Limited Privacy
- Primary DNS Address: 220.127.116.11
- Secondary DNS Address: 18.104.22.168
17. AdGuard — Blocks Ads but Can Break Sites
- Primary DNS Address: 22.214.171.124
- Secondary DNS Address: 126.96.36.199
AdGuard is a fast DNS provider that doesn’t require any registration. You can choose from 2 tier: Default (blocks ads and malware) and Family (blocks ads, malware, and adult content). Unfortunately, AdGuard does collect some personal data for internal use, although it’s not shared or sold with any third parties.
Warning! Hidden Downsides of Free and Public DNS Servers
If you have a lot of sensitive information stored on your device, you might want to consider using a VPN. A VPN establishes an encrypted connection to hide your IP address, so all your browsing data is anonymous and can’t be linked back to you.
While the DNS servers in this review are safe to use, there’s always a risk when you trust an unknown third party with your personal data. This risk is what makes me prioritize using a high-quality VPN on a private DNS server over a free public DNS server.
There are many excellent VPN providers, but the VPN offering the best for security and speed is ExpressVPN. When you connect to ExpressVPN’s server, all DNS requests are sent through the VPN’s network rather than your own device. Your private data stays private and ExpressVPN won’t log or store any data at all. You can try ExpressVPN now to see for yourself. If you find it doesn’t fit your needs, you’re protected by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
FAQ: DNS Servers
Which DNS server should I use for PS4, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch?
When it comes to choosing the best DNS server for gaming, there are several options that provide fast speeds and security. I recommend Cloudflare as it has excellent speeds that are great for lag-free gaming. With 100% uptime, you’ll always be able to access the service. Its vast global network means you should have a good connection no matter where you’re located. Plus its high-quality security measures will keep your data and devices protected while you game.
Are DNS servers safe?
I tested the top public DNS servers for 2023 and all of them are safe. However, you do need to be careful. While some DNS servers can improve your privacy, not all DNS servers will block ads, trackers, or harmful websites.
I recommend using a private DNS server with a VPN that offers encrypted protection, like CyberGhost. It has a feature that blocks unwanted ads and secures you against malware and phishing attempts. The VPN allows you to get the fast speeds and the internet freedom you want, without putting your devices at risk.
What’s a DNS and how does it work?
A DNS is a Domain Name System and it acts as a directory for the internet. For example, you know that this website is www.wizcase.com, but your browser only sees the Internet Protocol (IP) address. When you type a URL into your browser, the DNS translates the URL into an IP address for your browser.
The DNS directory is a global network stored on servers around the world. These servers connect with each other when a DNS request is made (i.e. when you type a URL into the browser and hit “Enter”). By communicating with each other, your DNS request is met with the right data response and you get to access the website you want — and the whole process happens in milliseconds.
If you’re privacy-conscious, I suggest connecting to a no-logs VPN to hide your DNS requests. This ensures your IP address and identity will remain anonymous from the DNS provider.
Choose the Right DNS Server for Your Needs
There are many free DNS servers available, so you want to choose the fastest and safest option. However, it’s important to be aware that most public DNS servers won’t prioritize your personal security or privacy. In fact, some providers are even tracking, collecting and sharing your private data.
If you don’t want your identity leaking out to unknown third parties, I highly recommend using a VPN to maximize your online safety. Your entire network traffic will be encrypted with military-grade protocols, so no one can spy on your device or browsing activity. You don’t even have to pay if you only want to test out a VPN. For instance, ExpressVPN is a top VPN provider with private DNS servers and a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the performance, all you have to do is request a refund in the first 30 days and you’ll easily get your money back.