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Are you facing connectivity issues despite a fast internet connection? Are you tired of calling the internet service and getting your connection checked only to learn the ISP is providing top-notch service? Are you beyond your boiling point trying to figure out exactly whats wrong? Well, we might just have the answer you seek: DNS!

These three letters mean the world to those well-versed in all things internet.

What is DNS and How Does it Work?

DNS stands for Domain Name System, which forms the foundation of the internet—essentially it is a hierarchy of Name Servers which functions at the global scale and helps translate URLs into computer-friendly lingo i.e. IP addresses. You are thus able to connect and surf the World Wide Web.

On the other hand, a DNS server is a fundamental part of the Domain Name System, in that it hosts these URL to IP translations, and helps browsers load online resources when requested. So, if we think of the Domain Name System as a phone directory, then DNS servers are where this directory is hosted. Since with over 300 million domain names, a single-source directory would be too large to be feasible, DNS servers located around the world communicate with each other on a regular basis.

Now, if this translation facility is not working right, you are sure to face a myriad of issues. Usually, the DNS servers employed by your ISP should work fairly well. For example, Spectrum DNS Servers are geared to ensure you receive the full benefit of Spectrums fast internet speed and remain protected too. Then again, you may be able to find a free DNS server that is better suited to your location.

People often change the DNS server to improve the performance of their internet and up their security among other things. Changing it, however, requires that you cough up the money. But, if you are willing to find ways that get it done for less or free altogether, we can tell you all about it and more.

Here well discuss what you should be looking for in a new DNS server, and also share with you some of the best DNS servers you can use in 2020 without incurring a cost.

The Perks of Changing Your DNS

As we said earlier, a DNS server plays a crucial role in your online experience, and changing it can change everything!

The location of your DNS is closely connected with the speed you get, and changing it can get you a better speed. If you are also looking to keep your nosey ISP out of your business, changing the DNS server will prove worthwhile. This way, they wont be able to keep minute by minute track of your browsing history. Knowledge is power. And, without all the data they cant bombard you with advertisements that well. Better still, they wont be able to sell your data either. Whats more, using a third-party DNS protects you from security attacks like malware, phishing, and ransomware.

Additionally, changing your DNS server has benefits besides improved internet performance and online security. It helps you unlock the content blocked in your region, or any region really. So, if you want to catch up on a show on Netflix or the likes, unavailable in your area, youll be able to do that with a change in your DNS server.

Knowing this, were sure you cant wait to experiment with a different DNS server. So, let us explore next as to what you should consider when deciding which DNS server to use.

How to Choose the Best DNS Server

Speed is of paramount importance, sure. But, when choosing your DNS server you would do well by considering the following features as part of the criteria:

    • Does the server offer malware filtering? After all, you dont want to expose your network to a hack attack, do you?
    • Are their parental controls that you can use? With so much content online you might need tools to ensure your child does not end up with age-inappropriate content.
    • Check for resilience to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. To put it simply, when servers experience high-volume traffic that they cant manage, the system is overwhelmed and gets compromised. Something you want to steer clear of.
    • If you are thinking about moving to a different provider in order to get access to a better DNS server, you must also ensure the provider uses multiple carriers. If not, one network outage will leave you without the internet altogether.

By making sure to check for these things, youll be able to find the best server there is for yourself. To help you out further, we have compiled a list of the best free DNS servers out there. Take a look.

OpenDNS

This free DNS server owned by Cisco is known for its great service. It offers two free options: Home and Family Shield. While Home focuses more on giving you maximum performance, customized filtering, and basic protection, Family Shield is more geared towards ensuring your children have a healthy online experience. Family Shield is pre-configured to block age-inappropriate content. With this choice of a DNS server, you no longer have to exercise Parental Controls for your WOW! Internet separately-- this service does that for you. Along with fast speeds and 100% uptime, OpenDNS also offers you free email support so if you ever get stuck, you will know exactly what to do.

Cloudflare

Independent testing via DNSPerf shows that Cloudflare is one of the fastest public DNS services in the market right now. So, for those looking for speed, this is it. It will ensure your 2 Gbps Xfinity Internet connection works perfectly. What is more, this might just be the all-in-all solution for your server needs. Why? Well, because it offers it all!

They dont compromise on your security and to that end, they pledge not to use your browsing data to dish out ads. They have even vowed to never write the IP address, which sends a query, to any disk. And, they also delete any activity logs within a matter of 24 hours, further ensuring your safety.

The Unmetered Mitigation program ensures customers using free Cloudflare products benefit from unlimited DDoS protection. Cloudflare also does not impose any limitations on the bandwidth, unlike other CDNs.  

Youll also is happy to learn that Cloudflare offers its new public DNS service i.e. 1.1.1.1 with Warp-- a WARP is a VPN, but does not hide your original IP rather only encrypts the traffic. With this, youll be able to receive great service across all devices including mobiles.

Google Public DNS

Google too offers its own DNS server which focuses on giving you high speed and security. While its still a little lacking compared to Cloudflare when it comes to privacy, it is a great DNS server option that is worth considering.

Google DNS servers dont store the full IP address of the querying device for more than 48 hours, and that too for the purpose of troubleshooting and diagnostics. Whats more, it completely drops all personally identifiable information from its Permanent logs including the location which is reduced to the city level. The downside is that it doesnt allow site-blocking with Public DNS servers. But, thats ok if you dont have children using your Cox Internet.

Comodo Secure DNS

If you are finicky about online security then wed suggest you opt for this DNS server. Owned by the Comodo Group known for its security products, this server pays special attention to cyber safety.

It doesnt just block phishing sites but goes a step further in warning you if the site you are visiting has malware and spyware. It picks up on parked domains that can overload you with advertisements, saving you from many hassles. And, even allows you to manage network protection remotely. Multi-location usage and multiple connected users are also permissible. The Comodo Secure DNS service has been adapted for mobile devices too, so all your devices stay covered and your Spectrum WiFi runs without a hitch.

You are able to enjoy your fast and high-performance Spectrum Internet connection optimally with the Comodo Secure DNS service because it employs a global network of redundant DNS servers, and smart routing technology—features that impart the service a distinct advantage over its competitors.

OpenNIC

This DNS server is run by volunteers, and has been designed with the goal to combat censorship and combat it does! It makes the entire web accessible to all those who use the service. It even prevents DNS hijacking by disallowing ISPs from overtaking the common mistyped URLs. OpenNIC also helps you find the DNS server closest to your location. Their website automatically locates your best option, saving you time and energy.

So, subscribe to the service if the idea of internet censorship does not sit right with you. And, connect via your CenturyLink Internet connection to seamlessly stream the content that you may not otherwise be able to access.

DNS.Watch

This server is popular for reasons similar to the ones that make OpenNIC a fond choice for many. Allowing you to surf the net without any restrictions, it is one of the best-suited DNS servers for free souls. Your experience with RCN Internet will stand transformed— reliable high speeds combined with DNS. The watch will let you stream geo-restricted content fast and easy. Whats more, DNS. Watch cares about your privacy and doesnt log DNS queries made by your device(s), so data pertaining to your online activities stay safe!

The downside is with DNS.Watch you will have to equip yourself with means to make your online experience safe. Being the product of a rather smaller company with a greater focus on user privacy, the DNS.Watch service does not guard you against phishing or malware threats.

Final Words

These free DNS servers are sure to cure your internet woes. Youll be able to surf the internet freely and safely, at the same high speed as you are subscribed to. So, go ahead and take your pick!  

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Cloudflare DNS free?

Cloudflare is not really free-free. Their basic plan comes free and saves you from DDoS attacks among other things, and is great for small businesses too. However, if you want to access premium service features you will have to pay.

Is free DNS safe?

Free DNS from a reputed company is safe to use, but to be on the safe side you do well to read their terms and conditions and check if they share or sell your data. There are some servers that dont do so. If you stick with them, you wont have any issue.

Which is the best DNS server to watch Netflix?

If youre looking to watch geo-restricted content on Netflix wed recommend you give OpenNIC and DNS. Watch a try. Both are free DNS services.