Most people might not care much about the intricate details of how the internet works under the hood. But when you suddenly realize updating your Facebook page or your selfies on instagram is taking longer than expected, you will start frowning. Your Internet provider is a quick target and for the most part, they might be the ones to blame. But sometimes, it’s the beast underhood the hood called DNS not playing well.
DNS or Domain Name System plays a critical role in how the internet works. DNS is the address book of the internet translating human-friendly names aka domains such as google.com into numeric IP addresses that computers understand. This is achieved via a DNS server identified by a unique public IP address that your computer queries whenever you attempt to connect to any website.
In most cases, your internet provider already has a DNS server waiting to make the translations whenever you type in a domain in your computer’s browser and they mostly work just fine. However, your Internet Providers DNS server might go offline or might become too slow perhaps because it’s busy responding to many queries from other internet users. Loading Facebook.com at this point might become slow or not work at all. This is why you would want to consider other DNS servers.
Related post: How to test your Internet speeds
Now there are several providers of open DNS servers online. Google public DNS server that bares IP address 18.104.22.168 is by far the most popular and easy to remember. In fact whenever, I want to test if my internet is working, I usually ping 22.214.171.124 to see if there’s any response. OpenDNS server has been around for a long time and has a good reputation for protecting users from malicious domains and adult content filtering which is great for families. IBM’s Quad9 with a very memorable ip 126.96.36.199 and even more recently CloudFlare’s 188.8.131.52 are new interesting contendants offering fast queries and protection. But there are other alternatives specific to certain geographies.
- Google 184.108.40.206: Private and unfiltered. Most popular option.
- CloudFlare 220.127.116.11: Private and unfiltered. New player.
- Quad9 18.104.22.168: Private and security aware. New player that blocks access to malicious domains.
- OpenDNS 22.214.171.124: Old player that blocks malicious domains and offers the option to block adult content.
- Norton DNS 126.96.36.199: Old player that blocks malicious domains and is integrated with their Antivirus.
- CleanBrowsing 188.8.131.52: Private and security aware. New player that blocks access to adult content.
- Yandex DNS 184.108.40.206: Old player that blocks malicious domains. Very popular in Russia.
- Comodo DNS 220.127.116.11: Old player that blocks malicious domains.
Recently launched CloudFlare’s 18.104.22.168 is so far the fastest Public DNS server seconded by Google and IBM’s, according to a speed comparison by Nykolas Z on Medium. DNS server speeds are measured by response time it takes between your computer making a domain query and getting a response back. CloudFlare’s DNS server had the lowest average of 4.98 ms across the globe making it the fastest.
Global DNS server Averages
#1 CloudFlare: 4.98 ms
#2 Google: 16.44 ms
#3 Quad9: 18.25 ms
#4 CleanBrowsing: 19.14 ms
#5 Norton: 34.75 ms
#6 OpenDNS: 46.51 ms
#7 Comodo: 71.90
#8 Yandex: 169.91
If you are looking for fastest DNS server in your region of the world, then you can take a look at Nykolas’s post. To find out how you can change your computer’s default DNS server to any of the above options, check out this post.