6 Alternate, Free DNS Providers

Alternate, Free DNS Providers

DNS is often referred to as the "phone book of the Internet." Of course, DNS is quite a bit more complicated than that. But the bottom line is that which DNS provider a user decides to use will have an impact on their Internet browsing experience as well as potentially impacting individual privacy.

Many power users and users of open source firmware such as Tomato and DD-WRT are very much aware of the ability to easily change the DNS in use, but what are the benefits of doing that?

DNS can affect your Internet experience

Have you ever seen a default screen come up from your ISP when you try to visit a page on the web that doesn't exist? Like a search page or something similarly obnoxious? Those may be served up to you from your ISP. Also, depending on which DNS is currently in use, it can affect the speed of the connection and page loads as well.

DNS can affect your privacy

Again, depending on the DNS in use, it's very possible that DNS queries can be logged and stored, meaning it could be trivial to match those queries to an individual IP address.

Why would I change my DNS provider?

The answer is simple -- to ensure the fastest speeds and protect user privacy. Of course, many users are happy with their DNS provider and it can certainly be left to the default. But here's some DNS providers out there providing a free service that you may want to look into.

6 Alternate, Free DNS Providers

Each of these providers claims, in general, a focus on privacy, speed, and security.

(Important Note: MyOpenRouter is not affiliated in any way with any of these providers nor is this a promotion of any kind. We're simply providing a starting point for research, based on currently available information on each provider's website, to our community members who are concerned about privacy related to DNS. Changing DNS providers is an individual user choice and all users should research any provider in depth as well as consider carefully the implications of changing to an alternate DNS service.)

For more information on each provider, click the link to be taken to their homepage and acquire the proper addresses for use. If you need help changing DNS settings on your router, whether it's stock, DD-WRT, Tomato, or another open source firmware, post a question in our forum!

DNS.WATCH

This provider states very clearly that they are not interested in logging DNS queries, and have no secondary interests where this kind of logging would benefit them. They're also strong believers in an open and uncensored Internet. They state that all of their resolvers are monitored 24/7 so DNS.WATCH users don't have to sacrifice speed for privacy.

1.1.1.1

Sponsored by CloudFlare and APNIC, 1.1.1.1 promises "privacy first, guaranteed." They state that they never log user IP addresses and have pledged to never sell user data or use it for ad targeting. 1.1.1.1 also claims to be faster than most other popular options, such as Google DNS, OpenDNS, and especially ISP provided DNS.

Quad9

Quad9 claims to provide free DNS with a focus on security, performance, and privacy. Quad9 states on their website that no personally identifiable information is collected by their system, IP addresses are not stored. It's a not-for-profit organization currently that is dedicated only to providing DNS services, with no secondary revenue streams that would conflict with this mission.

What makes Quad9 a bit unique is their security infrastructure. They state that queries are checked against IBM X-Force security to help in blocking threats to both personal and business end users.  Whether a user feels this is a form of censorship is up to them, of course -- but keep in mind that while Quad9 does claim a focus on privacy, that this security filtering is occurring.

OpenNIC

No discussion on DNS privacy would be complete without a mention of the OpenNIC project. OpenNIC is free to use and provided by volunteers, and is focused on decentralized, neutral DNS. There's more information on their Wiki as well.

UncensoredDNS

This project, run by a single individual with their own funding, was founded in 2009. According to the about section on their website, the service was born out of a frustration over the Danish ISP censorship at the time -- and a lack of trust in mainstream DNS providers. The FAQ states that "absolutely nothing is logged."

xiala.net

Also mentioned frequently in privacy circles around the net, xiala.net (translated from German) "operates long-term digital freedom." Their website, currently in German only, states that they "do not create logs and do not know any blacklists."

What are your thoughts on free, private DNS servers?

Are you using a DNS provider that is not on this list? Or, do you feel that any of the servers listed here aren't as good as the providers promise? Let us know in the forums!

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