When it comes to online gaming, you want a smooth, secure experience. The best DNS servers for gaming can help with pre-game site loading, security, privacy, and getting more access to mods, clans, and new games.
In this article, we’ll explain what DNS servers can help with in gaming, what they can’t help with, and other factors to consider if you’re having latency issues while gaming. Then we’ll explore the best DNS servers for gaming, and show you which DNS server companies are ideal for your style of gameplay. ⚾
Whether you’re a constant online gamer, a parent seeking privacy-oriented options, or someone concerned about their online security, we’ve got you covered.
Importance of DNS servers for gaming
There’s a lot of misinformation going around about how DNS servers improve latency and response times while playing a game. That’s simply not true. A DNS (Domain Name System) is just a domain name resolution service. While gaming, your internet connection doesn’t go through a DNS server, and each game connects to its own servers, so your DNS has no effect.
Then what can a DNS help with in gaming? 🤔
- Pre- or post-game performance and response times: A DNS has the potential to help all websites load up significantly faster. So, if you visit the website where you launch a game or manage gameplay, there’s a good chance you’ll see improved browsing speeds. The same can be said about the rest of your internet activity; you’ll see quicker response times and performance for all the gaming sites and video streams you access.
- Enhanced security: Some of the best DNS servers for gaming offer advanced security features, such as protection against DDoS attacks, malware, and phishing attempts, ensuring a safer gaming environment.
- Content filtering and parental controls: Certain DNS servers provide customizable content filtering and parental control features, allowing you to restrict access to inappropriate content or limit gaming time for younger players.
- Fewer DNS outages: All internet service providers have occasional DNS outages, which could mean getting booted from a game of Fortnite or Valorant at an inopportune time. A reputable DNS server mitigates those issues.
- Access to certain games or mods: Your DNS server may be banned from accessing certain mods or even whole games. You can get around these bans by using one of the DNS servers listed in this article.
- Compatibility with game consoles: The best DNS servers for gaming can be configured on various game consoles, including PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo devices, allowing you to optimize your gaming experience across different platforms. Reputable DNS services also work on your day-to-day devices like desktops and smartphones, which helps protect everything in your home in one swoop.
With all that said, you may wonder: if a DNS server lacks the ability to improve gameplay performance, what does?
👉 There are a few areas that could use fixing if you see slow gameplay or response times:
- Your internet connection: You generally don’t need more than the lowest plan offered by your internet service provider for online gaming (even multiplayer), but there’s still a chance your internet connection sees hiccups due to bad ethernet cables, inefficient routers, or poorly designed network infrastructures.
- Network congestion: You may have local network congestion, meaning the infrastructure of your home network can’t handle the number of packets routed at the same time, which is often a wiring, router, or switch issue. In addition, almost all consumer internet connections are actually shared with your neighbors. So, it’s best to play games during off-peak hours.
- Wi-Fi connectivity: Physical obstacles are known to block Wi-Fi signals. We recommend moving to an open room with no closed doors, near your router.
- The gaming server: The server used for your game may simply be too far away from your location, causing latency. You should see if you can connect with alternative servers for that particular game.
So, if you’d like to improve gaming stability or reduce latency, look to your network, Wi-Fi, the gaming server, or internet connection.
If, however, you’d like to boost general webpage speeds, strengthen security while gaming, or unlock certain games or mods, you need to find the best DNS servers for gaming. Below, we’ve researched and tested several popular DNS servers, and explained how they excel.
5 Best DNS servers for gaming in 2023
During our review of the best DNS servers for gaming, we examined their interfaces, offerings, and pricing (most are free). In each section, you can find the primary and alternate DNS from each service, allowing you to connect easily.
1. Google Public DNS (Best for all-around gaming and browsing)
Google Public DNS is a reliable and smooth DNS service that ensures a secure gaming experience and unique protection against cyberattacks common to the gaming world. With its vast infrastructure and global presence, Google Public DNS offers excellent reliability for speeding up your browsing experience, helping with privacy, and protecting yourself while gaming online.
- Primary DNS: 184.108.40.206
- Alternate DNS: 220.127.116.11
🚀 Benefits of using Google Public DNS for gaming:
- Can reduce the number of lookups performed by your device each day, potentially boosting speeds for websites you visit on your network.
- It’s a reputable and established, making it one of the best DNS servers for gaming.
- Enhanced security and protection against DDoS attacks. It’s also particularly useful for blocking spoofing attacks, cache poisoning attacks, and amplification attacks, all of which are common in networked systems and gaming infrastructures.
- No redirects mean a smoother experience while browsing.
- There’s an option to upgrade to Google’s Cloud DNS if you intend to host your own games. It provides an authoritative name server to minimize latency and scale to hundreds of DNS zones. You also might recommend this to a game’s developer if they have server issues.
- Increased privacy through DNS over HTTPS and DNS over TLS, both of which prevent tampering, eavesdropping, and spoofing between clients while gaming.
2. Cloudflare DNS Resolver (Easiest DNS server to implement for gaming)
Cloudflare Resolver is a public DNS with online security and browsing speed in mind. It is an excellent choice for competitive and casual gamers who want to improve security with encrypted connections, allowing you to avoid data breaches and malware attacks. In addition, Cloudflare excels in its user-friendly methods for parents to block malware, adult content, and other threats to kids while gaming.
Cloudflare serves as a quick and simple fix to those with traffic issues from their ISP (internet service provider), and it requires no technical knowledge whatsoever. Here’s how to set up Cloudflare Resolver.
- Primary DNS: 18.104.22.168
- Alternate DNS: 22.214.171.124
🚀 Benefits of using Cloudflare DNS for gaming
- Simple processes for parents to block adult content and malware for kids who game.
- DNS over HTTPS and DNS over TLS support for encrypting all DNS queries, allowing you to block everything from malicious actors to spoofing attacks.
- Privacy options to ensure all personal data gets encrypted before hitting game servers.
- There’s the option to upgrade to Cloudflare WARP, which secures your device completely while sending and receiving traffic.
- Speeds up DNS queries due to its 300-city network of servers. We found Cloudflare to be one of the fastest resolvers, making it ideal for browsing the internet before or after gameplay.
3. OpenDNS (Best for parents to filter gaming content)
OpenDNS is one of the best DNS servers for gaming because it provides features to ensure a safe and secure online gaming experience for children. We primarily like it to block phishing attempts on your network, and to gain granular control of content filtering, helping you decide which games and websites your children use.
- Primary DNS: 126.96.36.199
- Alternate DNS: 188.8.131.52
🚀 Benefits of using OpenDNS for gaming
- Customizable content filtering for child-friendly gaming, allowing parents to control access to certain websites or content. There are over 50 customizable filtering categories, ranging from language to nudity filters. Everything that goes through the DNS gets checked by the filters first.
- Protection against malware and phishing attempts, ensuring a secure gaming environment for kids and all gamers alike.
- Faster website loading, and a close to 100% uptime, avoiding ISP DNS outages.
- Detailed reporting and analytics for network monitoring and parental control.
OpenDNS and OpenDNS Family Shield are both free. You can upgrade to OpenDNS Home VIP for $19.95 per year for access to a custom allow list and usage stats.
4. Quad9 (Best for the highest security while gaming)
Quad9 is a security-focused DNS service that prioritizes protecting users from malicious websites and online threats. It offers advanced threat intelligence to enable a secure gaming experience.
- Primary DNS: 184.108.40.206
- Alternate DNS: 220.127.116.11
🚀 Benefits of using Quad9 for gaming:
- Advanced threat intelligence to block malicious domains, protecting gamers from potential security risks.
- Protection against malware, botnets, and phishing attacks.
- Privacy-focused with no logging of user data, preserving your online privacy.
- It’s a quick setup process that anyone can figure out.
5. Comodo Secure DNS (Best for those who want to see their DNS in action)
Comodo Secure DNS is a secure and reliable DNS service that focuses on protecting users from malware, phishing, and other online threats. It offers a locked-down DNS experience with web access control, threat intelligence, and network enforcement. Plus, with visisbility controls, Comodo can help you understand the inner workings instead of just running in the background.
- Primary DNS: 18.104.22.168
- Alternate DNS: 22.214.171.124
🚀 Benefits of using Comodo Secure DNS for gaming:
- Up to 300,000 DNS requests per month for free.
- Excellent visibility and control over the threat protection and monitoring going on in the background.
- Has on and off-network enforcement to protect users regardless of where they connect to the internet.
- No need for extra hardware or advanced skills to set it up.
- Stops malicious domain requests and IP responses while gaming.
- Fights advanced threats while gaming, like botnets, XSS-injected sites, cookie stealing, and web-borne attacks.
The free plan allows for up to 300,000 DNS requests each month. The premium versions are more for enterprises, so home gamers don’t need them.
Our conclusion on the best DNS servers for gaming 🧐🎲
Choosing the best DNS server for gaming can give you peace of mind while gaming. A DNS won’t speed up your gameplay, but it will improve uptime on gaming sites, protect you from malicious attacks, and strengthen your privacy.
💡 To change your DNS server, follow these simple steps:
- Go to your device’s network settings. This can be done on all desktops and mobile devices, as well as some consoles, like PlayStation, Xbox, and Wii systems.
- Locate the DNS settings and enter the Primary DNS and Alternate DNS provided by your chosen DNS server.
- Save the changes and enjoy an optimized gaming experience.
Select the DNS server that best suits your gaming needs and elevate your gaming experience to new heights. 🧑💻
Want to share your gaming experiences with the world? Check out our guide on how to choose a name for a YouTube gaming channel.