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5 Best Free & Public DNS Servers for 2024 | Only the Fastest!

DNS (Domain Name System) is a crucial component of the internet. It translates the human-readable domain names into IP addresses that computers use to communicate with each other. The internet service providers (ISPs) typically provide DNS servers for their users. However, these servers may not always be the most reliable or the fastest. In this article, we will discuss the best free and public DNS servers that you can use to improve your internet speed and security.

What are DNS servers?

DNS servers are essentially the phonebooks of the internet. They maintain a directory of domain names and their corresponding IP addresses. When you enter a domain name in your browser, your computer sends a request to a DNS server to translate the domain name into an IP address. The server then responds with the IP address, which your computer uses to connect with the website you requested.

Every ISP has its own DNS servers, but they may not always be the best option for a variety of reasons. For example, they may be slow, unreliable, or even censor certain websites. That’s where public DNS servers come in. These are free services that anyone can use to resolve domain names into IP addresses.

Benefits of using public DNS servers

There are several benefits to using public DNS servers instead of your ISP’s servers. Here are a few:

  • Faster internet speeds: Public DNS servers are often faster than ISP servers, which can improve your internet speed and reduce latency.
  • Improved security: Some public DNS servers offer additional security features, such as malware protection and phishing filters.
  • Access to blocked content: In some countries, ISPs may censor certain websites, but public DNS servers can help you bypass these restrictions.
  • More privacy: Public DNS servers don’t log your internet activity, unlike some ISPs that may sell your browsing data to advertisers.

Top 5 free and public DNS servers

When selecting the top 5 free and public DNS servers, several criteria were considered to ensure reliability, performance, and privacy. The chosen DNS servers were evaluated based on factors such as uptime, query speed, security features, privacy policies, and user feedback. It's important to note that while free and public DNS servers offer convenience, they may not provide the same level of security and privacy as premium or private DNS services. However, for users who prefer using free and public DNS servers, the selected options prioritize a balance between performance and privacy. Now, let's explore the top 5 free and public DNS servers that provide reliable and fast DNS resolution for your internet browsing needs.

1. Google Public DNS

Google Public DNS is one of the most popular and reliable public DNS servers available. It’s free to use and offers fast speeds and high reliability. Google Public DNS also has some security features, such as DNS-over-HTTPS and DNS-over-TLS, which encrypt your DNS queries to protect your privacy.

To use Google Public DNS, simply enter the following IP addresses in your network settings:

  • 8.8.8.8
  • 8.8.4.4

2. Cloudflare DNS

Cloudflare DNS is another fast and reliable public DNS server that offers additional security features, such as DNSSEC (Domain Name System Security Extensions) and DNS-over-TLS. Cloudflare DNS also has a privacy-first policy and doesn’t log any user data.

To use Cloudflare DNS, enter the following IP addresses in your network settings:

  • 1.1.1.1
  • 1.0.0.1

3. OpenDNS

OpenDNS is a popular public DNS service that offers a range of security features, including malware protection, phishing protection, and content filtering. OpenDNS also has a parental control feature that allows you to block specific websites and categories of websites.

To use OpenDNS, enter the following IP addresses in your network settings:

  • 208.67.222.222
  • 208.67.220.220

4. Quad9

Quad9 is a free public DNS service that focuses on security and privacy. It uses threat intelligence from multiple sources to block access to malicious websites and protect your devices from malware. Quad9 also has a privacy-centric policy and doesn’t log any user data.

To use Quad9, enter the following IP addresses in your network settings:

  • 9.9.9.9
  • 149.112.112.112

5. Verisign Public DNS

Verisign is a well-known company that operates the .com and .net top-level domains. Its public DNS service is fast and reliable, with a focus on security and privacy. Verisign Public DNS doesn’t log any user data and offers DNSSEC support for added security.

To use Verisign Public DNS, enter the following IP addresses in your network settings:

  • 64.6.64.6
  • 64.6.65.6

How to switch to a different DNS server

Switching to a different DNS server is a quick and easy process. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open your network settings. This can usually be done by clicking on the network icon in the taskbar or system tray.
  2. Find the DNS settings. Depending on your operating system, this may be under the “Advanced” or “DNS” tab.
  3. Enter the IP addresses of the DNS servers you want to use. You can enter multiple addresses to use as backups in case one server goes down.
  4. Save your changes and restart your network connection.

Best VPNs for Free and Public DNS Servers

Using a public DNS server can improve your internet speed, security, and privacy. However, to ensure the highest level of privacy and security, it's recommended to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in conjunction with a public DNS server. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a secure tunnel, making it much harder for anyone to intercept or monitor your online activity. 

What is a VPN?

A VPN is a service that encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a remote server. This makes your internet activity much harder to track or intercept, as your IP address and location are hidden from prying eyes. VPNs are commonly used to protect your online privacy and security, as well as to bypass internet censorship and geo-restrictions.

Benefits of using a VPN with public DNS servers

Using a VPN in conjunction with a public DNS server offers several benefits:

  • Improved privacy: A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, making it much harder for anyone to monitor or intercept your online activity.
  • Better security: A VPN adds an extra layer of security to your internet connection, protecting you from hackers, snoopers, and cybercriminals.
  • Access to restricted content: A VPN can help you bypass internet censorship and geo-restrictions, allowing you to access content that may be blocked in your country.
  • Faster internet speeds: By using a VPN to connect to a nearby server, you can improve your internet speed and reduce latency.

Top 5 VPNs for using free and public DNS servers

There are many VPNs available, but not all of them are suitable for using free and public DNS servers. Here are our top picks for the best VPNs to use with public DNS servers:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is one of the most popular and reliable VPN services available. It offers fast speeds, high security, and excellent privacy features, including a strict no-logs policy. ExpressVPN also has a large network of servers in over 90 countries, making it easy to find a server close to your location.

ExpressVPN is compatible with most operating systems and devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also offers a user-friendly interface and 24/7 customer support.

2. NordVPN

NordVPN is another top-rated VPN service that offers excellent security and privacy features. It uses advanced encryption protocols and has a strict no-logs policy to protect your online activity. NordVPN also has a large network of servers in over 60 countries, making it easy to find a server close to your location.

NordVPN is compatible with most operating systems and devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also offers a user-friendly interface and 24/7 customer support.

3. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost VPN is a user-friendly VPN service that offers excellent security and privacy features. It uses advanced encryption protocols and has a strict no-logs policy to protect your online activity. CyberGhost VPN also has a large network of servers in over 90 countries, making it easy to find a server close to your location.

CyberGhost VPN is compatible with most operating systems and devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also offers a user-friendly interface and 24/7 customer support.

4. Surfshark

Surfshark is a relatively new VPN service that offers excellent security and privacy features. It uses advanced encryption protocols and has a strict no-logs policy to protect your online activity. Surfshark also has a large network of servers in over 60 countries, making it easy to find a server close to your location.

Surfshark is compatible with most operating systems and devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also offers a user-friendly interface and 24/7 customer support.

5. Private Internet Access

Private Internet Access (PIA) is a popular VPN service that offers excellent security and privacy features. It uses advanced encryption protocols and has a strict no-logs policy to protect your online activity. PIA also has a large network of servers in over 45 countries, making it easy to find a server close to your location.

PIA is compatible with most operating systems and devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also offers a user-friendly interface and 24/7 customer support.

Features to Consider When Choosing a VPN  for DNS Servers

When choosing a VPN for DNS servers, there are several important features to consider:

DNS leak protection: Ensure that the VPN you choose has robust DNS leak protection measures in place. This feature prevents your DNS requests from bypassing the VPN and being exposed to your ISP or other third parties, ensuring that all your DNS traffic is routed through the VPN tunnel.

DNS server options: Check if the VPN provider offers its own DNS servers or allows you to use third-party DNS servers of your choice. Some VPNs have their own DNS servers that can provide additional security and privacy, while others give you the flexibility to use trusted third-party DNS servers like Google DNS or OpenDNS.

DNS encryption: Look for a VPN that supports DNS encryption. DNS encryption ensures that your DNS requests are encrypted, adding an extra layer of security to your online activities. This prevents potential eavesdropping or tampering with your DNS traffic.

Server network and speed: Consider the VPN's server network and connection speeds. A VPN with a large server network ensures better DNS resolution, especially if you need to access geo-restricted content or websites from different regions. Additionally, faster connection speeds contribute to a smooth and responsive browsing experience.

Privacy and logging policy: Evaluate the VPN provider's privacy policy and logging practices. Ensure that they have a strict no-logs policy, meaning they do not store any logs or records of your online activities, including DNS requests. A VPN with a strong commitment to privacy and transparency is crucial for protecting your data and ensuring your anonymity.

User-friendly interface: A VPN with a user-friendly interface makes it easier to configure and manage your DNS server settings. Look for VPNs that offer intuitive apps or software with straightforward DNS configuration options, allowing you to customize and switch DNS servers effortlessly.

By considering these features, you can choose a VPN that offers robust DNS server options, prioritizes privacy and security, and provides a seamless and reliable browsing experience.

FAQ

1. What are the advantages of using a VPN with DNS servers?

Using a VPN with DNS servers offers several advantages. Firstly, it enhances your privacy by encrypting your DNS traffic and preventing DNS leaks, ensuring that your DNS requests are not exposed to your ISP or other third parties. Secondly, it allows you to bypass geographical restrictions and access region-specific content or services by using DNS servers from different regions. Lastly, it provides an additional layer of security by protecting your DNS resolution from potential tampering or eavesdropping, ensuring that your online activities remain private and secure.

2. Can I switch DNS servers while connected to a VPN?

Yes, in most cases, you can switch DNS servers while connected to a VPN. Many VPNs allow you to manually configure DNS server settings within their apps or software. This gives you the flexibility to use different DNS servers, such as public DNS servers or your own preferred DNS servers. However, it's important to ensure that your VPN's DNS leak protection is enabled to ensure that your DNS requests continue to be routed through the VPN tunnel and not bypass it. Additionally, keep in mind that switching DNS servers while connected to a VPN may result in a temporary interruption of your internet connection as the new DNS settings take effect.

3. Can a VPN improve DNS resolution speed?

Yes, a VPN can potentially improve DNS resolution speed in certain cases. When you connect to a VPN, your DNS requests are routed through the VPN's DNS servers, which may be optimized for faster DNS resolution. Additionally, if your ISP's DNS servers are experiencing congestion or slowdowns, using a VPN's DNS servers can bypass those issues and provide faster DNS resolution. However, it's important to note that the overall speed and performance of a VPN can vary based on factors such as server location, server load, and your own internet connection speed.

Conclusion

Using a VPN in conjunction with a public DNS server is an excellent way to improve your online security, privacy, and access to restricted content. Our top picks for the best VPNs to use with public DNS servers are ExpressVPN, NordVPN, CyberGhost VPN, Surfshark, and Private Internet Access. Each of these VPN services offers excellent security and privacy features, fast speeds, and a large network of servers to choose from.

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