Verisign Public DNS is a free DNS service that promises better connection times, stability, security, and privacy when compared to the majority of public DNS services available on today's Internet.
The DNS services that Internet providers offer are often not the fastest, and it is easy enough to verify that by running programs like DNS Benchmark which test the performance of multiple DNS servers on the host system to find out which performs the best.
When it comes to third-party Public DNS services, there are plenty to choose from. While speed and reliability should definitely be a point of consideration, there may be others of interest including privacy, restrictions and extras that services may offer.
Companies may sell data that they collect based on your computer's look ups, and others may redirect you to custom error pages with their ads on them instead of the web browser's default error page.
While it is easy enough to find out about custom error pages, whether a company is selling or processing your data may not always be that obvious.
Verisign's newly launched Public DNS service promises to respect user privacy:
And, unlike many of the other DNS services out there, Verisign respects your privacy. We will not sell your public DNS data to third parties nor redirect your queries to serve you any ads.
The setup guide walks you through setting up the DNS server on desktop and mobile operating systems. Note that there is no program or app that you can run to set Verisign Public DNS automatically on a system.
Before you do that, you may want to test the performance of the DNS service. This can be done with the excellent DNS Benchmark which ships with dozens of DNS servers. You do need to hit the Add/Remove button to add both Verisign Public DNS IP addresses to it. The IP addresses that you need to add are 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206.
As you can see on the screenshot above, it came in second right after the local network nameserver used on the test device.
The status tab confirms furthermore that it won't intercept bad domain names which means that the browser's error page will be used whenever you try to load a domain name that does not exist.
Public DNS is a bare-bones DNS service apart from that offering no filtering options for you to configure for example. That's not necessarily a bad thing considering that you may not need these options at all. It is quick to set up and if you run into issues, quick to remove as well.
Verisign promises not to sell the data but it will still process it internally as mentioned in the Terms of Service.
Verisign uses the Service Data to provide the Service and for internal business and analysis purposes. [..] Verisign will not sell, distribute any personally identifiable information (PII) collected as a result of performing the Service. Verisign will not permanently store the PII and will retain such PII for no longer than is necessary.
Benchmark results may vary depending on where you connect to the Internet from. It is therefore suggested to run benchmarks if you consider switching to the DNS service.
Now You: Which DNS service are you using and why?
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