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Best Free Public DNS Servers

Do you want quicker, more secure, more private browsing?

Best Free Public DNS Servers

Then changing your, Domain Name System, DNS server to one of the best free public DNS servers could help!

Delivering high-speed residential and business broadband is what we do best and every connection deserves to be as secure and fast as possible.

In this blog, we explore DNS servers; what they are, what they do and how you can switch to the best free public DNS servers out there. Keep reading to find out more as well as a list of some of the free DNS servers you can use to help improve the speed, security and privacy of your internet browsing.

What is DNS?

A DNS server is a bit like an address or phone book for the internet. It knows the IP address of every single site on the web.

When you type a web address or domain name (like quickline.co.uk or bbc.co.uk) into the browser address bar, your computer contacts the DNS server, which translates this into the IP address. Your computer then connects to this IP address – so you can access the right web page.

Essentially, it turns the letters and words you type into your browser address bar, into the information the computer needs to find and access the website.

Do I need to change my DNS?

No – but it may help improve speed, security and privacy.

Every time you open your internet browser and go online, you automatically receive a DNS server by your Internet Service Provider. For many users, this should be fine.

However, in some cases, the DNS servers provided by your internet service provider may not be the best option in terms of speed or security. If the DNS is slow, or goes down, you may feel an impact on browsing speed. In some cases, it could prevent you from accessing certain websites – or even the entire web!

By switching to a free, public DNS server, you may be able to benefit from faster browsing. Depending on the DNS you choose, some security and privacy features might be available to protect you family online.

How do I change my DNS Server?

You can change your DNS server either by switching the router, or by switching individual devices. Switching the router DNS will change the DNS on all the devices connected to that network but it can be tricky if you’re not familiar with changing the settings on your router.

For devices you use on other networks, like your laptop, smartphone or tablet, you need to change the DNS server on the device itself.

Unfortunately, there is no single step-by-step guide to changing these settings as every router model is different. And that’s the same for individual devices – it’s a different process on every version of Windows, Mac, IOS, Android and Chrome OS!

This blog provides a good overview of the various options.

What is the fastest DNS Server?

The main reason people switch DNS servers is to improve the speed of their browsing.

As of October 2023, the following public DNS servers all offer excellent speed in the UK:

If you’re looking for the absolute fastest, independent DNS performance and analytics site DNSPerf.com currently ranks the Cloudflare 1.1.1.1 DNS server as the fastest public DNS server in terms of raw performance for the UK.

But speed isn’t everything and all these DNS servers offer excellent response times. Most users probably won’t notice a difference when browsing. And fastest doesn’t always mean best!

What is the most secure and private DNS Server?

If you use your ISP’s default DNS server, you could be at risk of common “man in the middle” cyberattacks or ISP employees snooping into your online activity.

When looking for a secure DNS server, check to see if they support some of the following features:

  • Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) – these add digital signatures to DNS requests, so DNS servers can check that the data they receive is coming from where it claims to come from.
  • DNS over HTTPS, DoH – this encrypts the DNS requests whilst in transit.

The security features of the DNS servers already mentioned in this blog include:

Cloudflare – if you’re looking for privacy, Cloudflare could be the way to go. It never records your IP address, deletes operational logs every day and offers optional content filtering and blocking.

Quad9 – offers a good array of security features including DNSSEC and DoH. It also has a list of malicious sites that it blocks as standard. In terms of privacy, it does gather and log a fair amount of data, although it’s not personally identifying info.

OpenDNS – supports both DoH and DNSSEC and comes with a range of other security features including malware, phishing protection and content filtering. The downside from a privacy perspective is that it logs your IP address and DNS searches.

Google Public DNS – comes with a good array of security features, supports DNS over HTTPS and DNSSEC, and offers good protection against some cyberattacks. Unfortunately, Google gathers a lot of data so it’s not ideal for those who value privacy.

Quickline – Broadband built for you

At Quickline, we’re all about delivering high-speed residential and business broadband to areas other providers leave behind.

With Quickline, it doesn’t matter what you want from your internet connection. Whether you’re a home user looking to browse, download, work from home, stream or game, we have the broadband connection to ensure everything goes smoothly.

Think it’s time to improve your connection?

Click here to see whether you can access our fast and reliable broadband today. For more tips, tricks and all things Quickline follow us on Facebook, Instagram and X.

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