Some of you may be wondering what a DNS server actually is; but, be assured, even if you do not know what they are, they affect your internet experience every day. DNS (Domain Name System) is basic technology that manages names of websites. In other words, it allows for you to type in the name of a website (i.e. www.google.com), and your computer then knows how to locate that address.
The way that any computer accesses the Internet is through a DNS server (usually a default DNS server). Each website actually has a number as an address. Internet addresses are usually given to you using words because those are easier for the human brain to remember. However, computers access the Internet through numbers. That means every time you put in a web page address, your DNS server translates that into a number so that your computer can access the Internet.
There are some problems that you may run into because of your DNS server. Here is a list of reasons why you might want to consider changing your server to a third-party server at some point:
- Although it is not a guarantee, changing your DNS server could possibly increase your Internet speed. This is largely dependent on location, though—both yours and that of the third-party server.
- If your server is not loading web pages properly, you may be missing out on important content. This would be another thing a change to a third-party server could improve.
- Changing your server can help with web-filtering if you have young children. OpenDNS (which is discussed below) is one DNS server that offers this option.
- You can also avoid phishing attacks. This is mainly a problem for older operating systems without automatic security updates. This option is also offered specifically with OpenDNS as well as a few other servers.
- Certain third-party servers also allow for increased security.
- Another benefit of switching your DNS server is that you may be able to access content that is not available in your area.
- You also may be able to overcome website censorship as some websites are only blocked on the ISP level and not the DNS level. This is rare, though, as most websites are blocked so that you cannot do this.
Let’s take a look at some of the top DNS servers that are both public and free. You can choose the best one according to your needs, if you decide to change your DNS server.
Google Public DNS
Google Public DNS is obviously a product of Google, has been around since December of 2009 and is the largest public DNS in existence. The three main reasons you might want to switch to this third-party server are as follows:
- It will most likely speed up your browsing experience.
- It improves Internet security.
- Google does not redirect you. You can be assured that if you put in an address for a domain that is not in existence, you will not be directed to an ad server in return.
In order to access Google Public DNS, all you must do is change your IP addresses to 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11. That being said, you can also use this server for IPv6 connectivity. You will have to change the IP address if you want to use IPv6 support.
It appears that Google Public DNS actually has the possibility of slowing down your connectivity if you live outside of the United States.
If you would like further information about switching to Google Public DNS, you may go to:
OpenDNS was launched officially in September of 2009 and is now one of the largest public servers with currently over 65 million users. One of the things that make this server unique is that it offers both personal and business options. Some of the highlights are:
It offers increased speed of connectivity.
The Internet is more reliable. If you attempt to access a web page, it is more likely to open properly.
OpenDNS is also widely used for its phishing protection and parental controls for all devices in use in your home. Along with this option, it also offers customizable filtering.
The first two plans are free, but the third does come with a small fee of $19.95 per year. The more advanced version offers options such as the ability to view your Internet statistics for the past year and will restrict access to specific domains. In order to enable OpenDNS, you must set your IP addresses as 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
Just like Google Public DNS, OpenDNS seems to slow down your speed if you are located outside of the United States.
For more information on switching to OpenDNS, please go to:
DNS WATCH is a simple service, and the company is small, but it has been providing reliable service to its users for a while now. A few of the benefits are:
- It provides DNS neutrality. This includes the ability to access all websites at a fast rate of loading without any censorship.
- It also offers privacy protection and does not log websites you visit.
- There are no ad networks on the server to concern you.
- Servers are small and most likely won’t be blocked by the government.
- You can also use this server with a wide variety of the devices in your home.
To access DNS WATCH, you will need to enable IP addresses 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.
There doesn’t appear to be any disadvantages to using this server. However, this could be because it is still not well known.
If you would like more information on how to access DNS WATCH, please go to their website:
Norton ConnectSafe comes to you from the same company that provides Internet security. The DNS service that they provide is actually meant to simply enhance web protection.
Basically, Norton ConnectSafe offers three levels of protection. Level one blocks malware, phishing sites, and scam sites. In order to use it, you will need to enable your IP address as 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11.
Level two gives you basic security as well as protection against pornography. To use level two, you just need to configure your settings for IP addresses 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
The third level offers basic security, protection against sexually explicit sites, and any other sites that might feature mature content. These sites include, but are not limited to: abortion, suicide, and violence. You will need to set your IP address to 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 to access this level of security.
Another benefit of this server is that you can use it to protect your entire home network. You just have to configure your router to access whatever IP address you choose depending on the level of protection you desire. It also has business features such as Wi-Fi MSP, and Real-time protection.
Some users have reported that they have also experienced faster speeds when browsing the Internet, but that is not the main function of Norton ConnectSafe.
Norton ConnectSafe requires a Wi-Fi network. In other words, you cannot use it on your smartphone unless you are connected to Wi-Fi.
For more information on how to connect to Norton ConnectSafe, please visit their website:
Level3 DNS seems to be another Domain Name System that is focused almost primarily on Internet security. However, it does offer high-level performance as well, so rest assured that your Internet browsing speed will be greatly increased. Some of the benefits of Level3 DNS focus on security include:
- It offers many tools to help you fend off network security threats.
- It is a free and reliable source of protection against cyber threats.
To gain access to Level3 DNS, you simply have to enable your IP address to be 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124, 126.96.36.199, and 188.8.131.52.
Just like DNS WATCH, there aren’t any immediately reported disadvantages of using Level3 DNS. However, this could, again, be because it’s a smaller company and not as well known.
To obtain more information on switching to Level3 DNS, you just need to wander over to their website:
Comodo Secure DNS
Comodo Secure DNS gives you a lot of the same features as any other DNS. It provides speed, reliability, and security. Some of the highlights of this system are as follows:
- Comodo Secure DNS offers a huge network of servers. They currently have 15 locations and reside on 5 continents.
- Its strategic routing technology means that you are always accessing servers that are closest to you.
- If you accidentally attempt to visit a site that doesn’t exist, Comodo Secure DNS redirects you. In other words, you are automatically forwarded away from domains that are not in use.
- Comodo Secure DNS security feature will keep you away from malware, spyware, and phishing sites and will reduce your risk of Cache Poisoning attacks.
If you wish to use Comodo Secure DNS, you will need to enable your IP address as 184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11.
There are no reports at this time on the disadvantages of Comodo Secure DNS. It appears that it’s a well-rounded, user-friendly server.
You can find more information about Comodo Secure DNS by visiting their website:
OpenNIC DNS is a great option that focuses on security and the avoidance of censorship. Here are a few of the options it offers:
- OpenNIC DNS server removes all censorship.
- You as the consumer have a say in how it functions. You get to decide on new TLDs, policy changes, etc.
- You can choose which DNS server you would like to access, and you will not be tracked by your DNS requests.
- When you attempt to access a website that is not valid, OpenNIC DNS simply lets your browser choose the message that is relayed to you. This is because you have complete control over your Internet browser.
OpenNIC DNS server can be accessed by enabling your IP address to 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124.
OpenNIC DNS is designed to remove all censorship. This would not be a good choice if you’re looking to block certain websites.
If you would like more information about OpenNIC DNS, you can visit their website:
DNS Advantage was started in December 2007 by a company called Neustar. This server provides a safer and more reliable browsing experience by focusing on implementing high-level security. A few of the things it boasts are:
- It offers better performance of websites and increased availability of routing information.
- DNS Advantage also offers high-level security that keeps hackers away as well as the assurance of knowing that your Internet queries are kept completely confidential.
You can access DNS Advantage simply by enabling your IP address to 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.
There are no known disadvantages of using this server.
If you are interested in learning more, please go to their website:
Most people choose to switch their DNS server because they want a faster browsing experience, better web page loading, and/or higher security. If you want these things as well, it would be of great benefit to you to consider doing the same. While this article has provided the highlights, there are numerous other DNS servers out there, and you should really do your own research to determine which one is the right one for you.