The 19 best public or free DNS servers (October 2022 tested)

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: September 30, 2022 Read time: 19 minutes Disclosure

Public DNS servers are an excellent means to protect your privacy, bypass content restrictions, and get faster speeds. Find your best pick right here and enjoy unrestricted browsing to your heart's content.

If there is one thing that every internet user in history has always wanted, it’s faster speeds. But recently, privacy and security have also become a priority. Therefore, an essential component of your internet experience, especially regarding security and transfer speeds, is the Domain Name Server (DNS) you use. That’s where public DNS servers play their role.

But wait, did you feel surprised to know about your DNS use? Well, know that you are using one. Even if you’re unaware, your ISP has assigned you a DNS in its default settings. Yes, the DNS is a feature that remains under the hood of your internet experience most of the time. However, you can change your DNS and pick an option better than your default to experience improved speeds and security. Also, knowing about DNS servers and acquiring the ability to choose one that works best for you makes you a privacy-savvy user.

There are many DNS options out there. Some are free, and some require a subscription. Some of those (even among the free options) are excellent and will improve your experience. But some of them are not so good, and you’d probably be better off staying with your ISP’s default DNS.

But which one should you use? That’s where we come in. After trying many free and public DNS servers to find the ones offering the best service, we list the top free DNS server providers in this article.

Best free or public DNS servers – Quick list

If you want to get to the beef immediately and don’t care very much about the detailed description of every service, here’s the gist of it.

DNS Provider Primary Address Secondary Address
Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 1.0.0.1
Google Public DNS 8.8.8.8 8.8.4.4
OpenDNS 208.67.222.222 208.67.220.220
Quad9 9.9.9.9 149.112.112.112
OpenNIC DNS 144.76.157.242 94.247.43.254
DNS.Watch 84.200.69.80 84.200.70.40
CyberGhost DNS 38.132.106.139 194.187.251.67
Comodo Secure 8.26.56.26 8.20.247.20
CleanBrowsing 185.228.168.9 185.228.169.9
Neustar UltraDNS Public 156.154.70.5 156.154.71.5
UncensoredDNS 91.239.100.100 89.233.43.71
Yandex DNS 77.88.8.88 77.88.8.2
SafeServe 198.54.117.10 198.54.117.11
SafeSurfer 104.197.28.121 104.155.237.225
Control D 76.76.2.4 76.76.10.4
Safe DNS 195.46.39.39 195.46.39.40
AdGuard 176.103.130.130 176.103.130.131
Alternate DNS 76.76.19.19 76.223.122.150
SmartViper 208.76.50.50 208.76.51.51

But before you choose one, remember that there could be a trade-off in some of the best servers regarding speeds; they track, collect and share your information with third parties, thus endangering your privacy. Of course, this is a problem only if you still lack a VPN, which spoofs your IP address.

What is Domain Name System (DNS)?

Computers (or any other device) know nothing about domain names. Therefore, they can’t connect to a domain or search for it. However, the internet works because of IP addresses, and that’s what your computer or browser connects to when you point it somewhere. So when you type any domain into your browser’s address bar, the browser first goes to a DNS server. The server tells your browser the IP address associated with the requested domain name. Then it uses that IP address to connect you.