The best free public DNS servers include Google, Control D, Quad9, OpenDNS, Cloudflare, CleanBrowsing, Alternate DNS, and AdGuard DNS.
Here's a quick reference if you know what you're doing, but we get into these services a lot more later in this article:
|Best Free & Public DNS Servers|
|Provider||Primary DNS||Secondary DNS|
A list of additional free DNS servers can be found in the table near the bottom of the page.
What Are DNS Servers?
DNS servers translate the friendly domain name you enter into a browser (like lifewire.com) into the public IP address that’s needed for your device to actually communicate with that site.
Your ISP automatically assigns DNS servers when your smartphone or router connects to the internet, but you don’t have to use those. For a lot of reasons, you might want to try alternative ones (we get into many of them in Why Use Different DNS Servers? a bit further down the page) but privacy and speed are two big wins you could see from switching.
Primary DNS servers are sometimes called preferred DNS servers and secondary DNS servers sometimes alternate DNS servers. Primary and secondary DNS servers can be "mixed and matched" from different providers to protect you if the primary provider has problems.
Best Free & Public DNS Servers (Valid September 2022)
Below are more details on the best free DNS servers you can use instead of the ones assigned.
If you're not sure, use the IPv4 DNS servers listed for a provider. These are the IP addresses that include periods. IPv6 IP addresses use colons.
Google: 184.108.40.206 & 220.127.116.11
Google Public DNS promises three core benefits: a faster browsing experience, improved security, and accurate results without redirects.
- Primary DNS: 18.104.22.168
- Secondary DNS: 22.214.171.124
There are also IPv6 versions:
- Primary DNS: 2001:4860:4860::8888
- Secondary DNS: 2001:4860:4860::8844
Google can achieve fast speeds with its public DNS servers because they're hosted in data centers all around the world, meaning that when you attempt to access a web page using the IP addresses above, you're directed to a server that's nearest to you. In addition to traditional DNS over UDP/TCP, Google provides DNS over HTTPS (DoH) and TLS (DoT).
Control D: 126.96.36.199 & 188.8.131.52
Control D is unique in that it has several DNS servers to pick from, each categorized by theme. The "Uncensored" resolver proxies the commonly blocked websites in most countries to bypass IP blocking of various news websites. Others can be used to stop malicious websites, block ads and trackers, or block social networks or adult content. The basic option, "Unfiltered," provides DNS query privacy and security:
- Primary DNS: 184.108.40.206
- Secondary DNS: 220.127.116.11
IPv6 is supported, too:
- Primary DNS: 2606:1a40::
- Secondary DNS: 2606:1a40:1::
There are also custom configurations you can set up if the standard configurations aren't suitable for you. For example, join trackers and ads, malware, phishing, and government sites to make a custom filter. Premium filters are available for a low cost. Control D also supports DoH and DoT.
Quad9: 18.104.22.168 & 22.214.171.124
Quad9 has free public DNS servers that protect your computer and other devices from cyber threats by immediately and automatically blocking access to unsafe websites, without storing your personal data.
- Primary DNS: 126.96.36.199
- Secondary DNS: 188.8.131.52
There are also Quad 9 IPv6 DNS servers:
- Primary DNS: 2620:fe::fe
- Secondary DNS: 2620:fe::9
Quad9 does not filter content—only domains that are phishing or contain malware will be blocked. There’s also has an unsecured IPv4 public DNS (i.e., no malware blocking) at 184.108.40.206 (2620:fe::10 for IPv6). Quad9 supports DoH.
OpenDNS: 220.127.116.11 & 18.104.22.168
OpenDNS claims 100% reliability and up-time, and is used by tens of millions of users around the world. They offer two sets of free public DNS servers, one of which is just for parental controls with dozens of filtering options.
- Primary DNS: 22.214.171.124
- Secondary DNS: 126.96.36.199
IPv6 addresses are also available:
- Primary DNS: 2620:119:35::35
- Secondary DNS: 2620:119:53::53
The servers above are for OpenDNS Home, which you can make a user account to set up custom settings. The company also offers DNS servers that you can set up to block adult content, called OpenDNS FamilyShield: 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206. Those two also support DNS over HTTPS. A premium DNS offering is available, too, called OpenDNS VIP.
Cloudflare: 220.127.116.11 & 18.104.22.168
Cloudflare built 22.214.171.124 to be the "internet’s fastest DNS directory," and will never log your IP address, never sell your data, and never use your data to target ads.
- Primary DNS: 126.96.36.199
- Secondary DNS: 188.8.131.52
They also have IPv6 public DNS servers:
- Primary DNS: 2606:4700:4700::1111
- Secondary DNS: 2606:4700:4700::1001
There are setup directions for all your devices through the link above. Another way to use it is through the 184.108.40.206 app, which provides quick DNS setup on mobile and desktop devices. It also doubles as a VPN. There’s also 220.127.116.11 for Families that can block malware (18.104.22.168) or malware and adult content (22.214.171.124). It also supports DNS over HTTPS and TLS.
CleanBrowsing: 126.96.36.199 & 188.8.131.52
CleanBrowsing has three free public DNS server options: a security filter, adult filter, and family filter. These are the DNS servers for the security filter, the most basic of the three that updates hourly to block malware and phishing sites:
- Primary DNS: 184.108.40.206
- Secondary DNS: 220.127.116.11
IPv6 is also supported:
- Primary DNS: 2a0d:2a00:1::2
- Secondary DNS: 2a0d:2a00:2::2
The CleanBrowsing adult filter (18.104.22.168) prevents access to adult domains, and the family filter (22.214.171.124) blocks proxies, VPNs, and mixed adult content. For more features, subscribe to a CleanBrowsing’s premium plans. This service supports DoH and DoT as well.
Alternate DNS: 126.96.36.199 & 188.8.131.52
Alternate DNS is a free public DNS service that blocks ads before they reach your network.
- Primary DNS: 184.108.40.206
- Secondary DNS: 220.127.116.11
Alternate DNS has IPv6 DNS servers, too:
- Primary DNS: 2602:fcbc::ad
- Secondary DNS: 2602:fcbc:2::ad
You can sign up with Alternate DNS for free. There’s also a Family Premium Alternate DNS option that blocks adult content.
AdGuard DNS: 18.104.22.168 & 22.214.171.124
AdGuard DNS has two sets of DNS servers that block ads in games, videos, apps, and web pages. The basic set is called the "Default" servers, which block ads and trackers:
- Primary DNS: 126.96.36.199
- Secondary DNS: 188.8.131.52
IPv6 is supported, too:
- Primary DNS: 2a10:50c0::ad1:ff
- Secondary DNS: 2a10:50c0::ad2:ff
There are also "Family protection" servers (184.108.40.206 and 2a10:50c0::bad1:ff) that block adult content, plus everything included in the "Default" servers. Non-filtering servers are available if you're not interested in blocking anything: 220.127.116.11 and 2a10:50c0::1:ff. These servers are also available as DNS over HTTPS, TLS, and QUIC, as well as DNSCrypt.
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 better performing service. Many people complain that their ISP-maintained DNS servers are sluggish and contribute to a slower overall browsing experience.
Other common reasons to use DNS servers from a third party is to prevent logging of your web activity so that you can have a more private browsing experience, and to circumvent the blocking of certain websites. Know, however, that not all DNS servers avoid traffic logging. If that's what you're interested in, make sure you read through the FAQs on the DNS provider's site to make sure it's going to do (or not do) what you're after.
If, on the other hand, you want to use the DNS servers that your specific ISP, like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast/XFINITY, etc., has determined is best, then don't manually set DNS server addresses at all—just let them auto assign.
Finally, in case there was any confusion, free DNS servers do not give you free internet access. You still need an ISP to connect to for access—DNS servers just translate between IP addresses and domain names so that you can access websites with a human-readable name instead of a difficult-to-remember IP address.
Additional DNS Servers
Here are several more public DNS servers from major providers.
|More Free DNS Servers|
|Provider||Primary DNS||Secondary DNS|
|Comodo Secure DNS||18.104.22.168||22.214.171.124|
|CIRA Canadian Shield||126.96.36.199||188.8.131.52|
|DNS for Family||184.108.40.206||220.127.116.11|
Some of these providers have several DNS servers. Visit the link above and select a server that's geographically nearby for the optimal performance.
DNS servers are referred to as all sorts of names, like DNS server addresses, internet DNS servers, internet servers, DNS IP addresses, etc.
Verizon DNS Servers & Other ISP Specific DNS Servers
Verizon DNS servers are often listed elsewhere as 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, and/or 184.108.40.206, but those are actually alternatives to the CenturyLink/Level 3 DNS server addresses shown in the table above.
Verizon, like most ISPs, prefers to balance their DNS server traffic via local, automatic assignments. For example, the primary Verizon DNS server in Atlanta, GA, is 220.127.116.11 and in Chicago, is 18.104.22.168.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I change my DNS server? You can specify a DNS server in the settings for your router. Specific instructions will differ depending on the model, but generally, you’ll log in to the hardware by entering http://192.168.1.1 and then entering one of the addresses above into the DNS settings.
- How do I fix a DNS server that isn’t responding? Your computer may fail to connect to a DNS for several reasons. To fix a faulty DNS connection, check your ISP’s connection status and your antivirus software, and run any network troubleshooting software your computer has. If none of this works, restart or reset your modem and router.