Updated Jan 2020: Here is our list of the best free public DNS servers and the DNS servers of the major ISPs in the UK. We recommend changing your DNS settings from their default settings (provided by your ISP) to those of the top Public DNS servers (e.g. Google, Cloudflare or OpenDNS). DNS servers are required to convert domain names (which are understandable names of websites) to IP addresses (which are necessary for your device to download a webpage), as described in our article Speed Up DNS Look-ups For Faster Web Browsing. Below are the DNS server settings for the main UK ISPs and Public DNS servers, such as Google.
|Google (Public DNS)||220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168|
|Cloudflare DNS (Public DNS)||22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199|
|Open DNS (Public DNS)||188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206|
|BT Broadband DNS||220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206 220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168|
|PlusNet DNS||22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206|
|Sky Broadband DNS||220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168|
|Virgin Media DNS||22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199|
|TalkTalk DNS||188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206|
|Zen Internet DNS||220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168|
|AAISP DNS||22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199|
|Hyperoptic DNS||188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206|
|iDNET DNS||220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168|
|EE DNS||22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199|
|Vodafone Broadband DNS||188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206|
|Vispa DNS||220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168|
|Comodo Secure DNS (Public DNS)||22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199|
|Quad9 DNS (Public DNS)||188.8.131.52 184.108.40.206|
|Verisign DNS (Public DNS)||220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168|
Google Public DNS
Google’s Public DNS servers, which launched in 2009, have become popular among broadband enthusiasts. Google claims that its DNS service is the largest public DNS service in the world. Google’s DNS servers implement a number of approaches to minimise DNS look-up times, which include:
- over provisioning of servers (to provide high-volume input/output and protection against possible Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks)
- load balancing for shared caching
- hosting in data centres worldwide, with look-up requests sent to the geographically closest data centre.
The settings for Google’s Public DNS are:
We strongly recommend trying these DNS settings as an alternative to the default settings for your ISP. Our article Speed Up DNS Look-ups For Faster Web Browsing explains how a software utility called Namebench can be used to identify the best DNS server settings for your particular location.
Cloudflare launched its public free DNS service in April 2018, and has rapidly gained an excellent reputation for speed and privacy. Cloudflare claims that its DNS service is the fastest in the world, in part because it is deployed on Cloudflare’s 1000+ servers worldwide. According to measurement site DNSPerf (at the time of writing this), the Cloudflare DNS server delivered the fastest query speed of all DNS servers – worldwide and across Europe, with OpenDNS and Google being second and third in Europe. The settings are:
Open DNS – which is now part of Cisco – delivers public DNS services in a similar way to Google. Open DNS claims to offer the “world’s largest, fastest and most reliable” DNS service. The settings are:
Open DNS offers its ‘Family Shield’ service (free of charge to registered users), which provides parental control by disallowing DNS look-ups to certain types of web content (e.g. adult material).
Other popular pages:
New! Broadband Deals – save money and increase your speeds at the same time
Increase Broadband Speed Guide – our guide to substantially increase your broadband speeds
WiFi Optimisation Guide – how to speed up your WiFi connection