Best Free DNS Hosting Providers
If you are in the process of building or expanding your website, choosing a high-quality DNS host is like getting a new best friend! You get increased reliability, speed, security, and redundancy.
There is nothing worse for visitors than when your website is down. However, with the rise of DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks where a web service is overwhelmed with so many requests that it collapses under the load, this danger is ever-present!
Using a high-quality DNS hosting provider is very important for the redundancy of your website. Moreover, in cases of DDoS attacks, infrastructure failures, or configuration errors, a single dedicated DNS server is not enough. You need multiple DNS providers on different networks to ensure DNS availability and reduce the risk of DNS downtime.
DNS hosting comes in different packages and options. Most DNS hosting providers charge for their services, but some great providers are free.
We have prepared this article with the best free DNS hosting providers for you to get a better overview and choose that best suits your needs and expectations. Moreover, by selecting DNS hosting providers we have listed, you can set up multiple DNS providers to eliminate the single point of failure.
However, before we start with the hosting providers and their information, we would like to say a few words about the important factors you should look for when choosing a DNS host.
What is DNS?
DNS, which stands for domain name system, is an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses. For example, when you visit KeyCDN.com and type in the address bar, it must look up the corresponding IP address to that hostname behind the scenes. This query is performed by a Domain Name Server (DNS server) or servers nearby that have been assigned responsibility for that hostname. A DNS server maintains a directory of domain names and translates them into IPs, so all you have to do is type KeyCDN.com in your search, rather than a complicated long string of numbers. So you can think of a DNS server as a phone book for the Internet.
Why reliable DNS hosting is important
Choosing a reliable DNS hosting provider is critical because it can affect everything from the redundancy of your website, speed, and even security.
If you are running a business, you should never have one single point of failure. DNS hosting providers allow you to configure secondary nameservers, but then you assume that all of their services won't be affected. It is like storing a backup of your computer files on an external hard drive in your house. There could be a fire, and suddenly, you have lost both your computer and your files. Just as it is important to store backups offsite, it can also be beneficial to use multiple DNS providers.
A common approach is configuring one of the DNS providers as primary and the other as secondary, slaved to the primary provider. This means that your Zones records are synchronized from the primary to the secondary. For example, suppose a lookup fails and times out to your first DNS server. In that case, it queries the next DNS server until the correct IP address is returned, or it cannot resolve, as seen in the infamous "This webpage is not available" error below.
ISPs cache DNS, however, so if your first provider goes down, it will still try to query the first DNS server for a while before querying for the second one. A quick fix is simply by temporarily changing the TTL setting for the DNS record and routing your traffic to the second DNS server until the outage is fixed.
In general practice, it is better to keep a longer TTL for DNS records because your ISP will have the DNS cached, and users might not even notice if your DNS provider goes down for a short period. For example, if your TTL record is set to a week on Monday, and your DNS provider is down from Monday night through Thursday, your users will not see any downtime due to your ISP caching the DNS.
Speed also plays a role with DNS. Using a fast DNS hosting provider ensures less latency between the DNS lookup and TTFB. You can test the DNS lookup time and TTFB with a website speed test tool.
Like content delivery networks, DNS hosting providers also have multiple POPs. In general, the more locations, the better, as this means there will more likely be a DNS server closer to the visitor, decreasing the lookup time. But remember, ISPs also cache the DNS, so setting a longer TTL means fewer queries to your DNS servers.
Best free DNS hosting providers
Here is a list of the top free DNS hosting providers in no particular order.
1984 is a web hosting company that offers a FreeDNS service through its easy-to-use web interface. Apart from normal DNS records, they also allow web redirects.Visit website
Hurricane Electric Internet Services
Hurricane Electric Internet Services provide a 100% free DNS hosting service with strong connectivity worldwide. Their network is made up of over 60 POPs and supports IPv6 everywhere. If you are looking for a solid DNS provider, we recommend trying this one.Visit website
Namecheap is probably best known for their domain registration services, but they also offer free DNS hosting featuring DynamicDNS. Namecheap's FreeDNS can work great as a backup to your primary DNS service.Visit website
Cloudflare is probably one of the largest free DNS hosting providers. But they are also technically a managed DNS host, which means you don't have as much control. However, they provide you with additional security features such as rate-limiting, filtering, and blocking. Cloudflare's speeds are also faster than most premium DNS providers.Visit website
The free plan from ClouDNS offers 4 DNS servers, 3 Zones, Dynamic DNS, round robin, native IPv6 support, and no limits or restrictions on the records or requests. They also recently introduced premium plans with DDoS protected servers and GeoDNS.Visit website
Rackspace offers free DNS hosting and management for current customers. They feature automated migrations, IP Anycast routing, load balancing, and flexible access via their cloud control panel and RESTful API.Visit website
GeoScaling offers FREE (up to 1 Million DNS Requests per month) managed DNS services with unique features. Redirect your users by country, AS number, uptime, server load, and custom rules, at the DNS level. Low TTL and support for most types of records, including SRV. Dynamic DNS support and the ability to upload, paste and import BIND Zone files.Visit website
BuddyNS is a free secondary DNS service and is probably one of the easiest services to use. They feature automatic synchronization with master within 10 minutes or immediately with SyncNOW! and NOTIFY. BuddyNS boasts a 100% uptime since inception with 8 POPs worldwide. They even have cPanel/WHM integration.Visit website
FreeDNS offers Free DNS, Dynamic DNS hosting, static DNS hosting, as well as domain hosting. They have been operating since 2004 and have a long history of providing solid free DNS hosting. Their entire network routinely processes over 7 billion DNS requests per month.Visit website
DNS hosting providers comparison
How do the free DNS providers stack up against the premium DNS services? They do quite well. Cloudflare, Hurricane Electric, and NS1 report great speeds and market share.
DNS speed comparison report
Who offers the best free DNS? As you can see below, most of the free DNS providers we mentioned above are competing neck and neck with the speeds of premium providers.
DNS hosting market share
Cloudflare holds the largest portion of the market share regarding free DNS hosting. Amazon comes in a close second, and from there on, it is pretty divided. You can see more of where all of the free providers stand on this full DNS market share list.
As you can see, there are many excellent free DNS hosting providers with a variety of different features. Our list of the best free DNS hosting providers is by no means exhaustive, but we have tried to highlight the DNS providers that you should definitely consider when making your decision.
To choose the best DNS hosting providers for you, you should keep several aspects in mind, such as the primary needs of your website and the way you want to run your hosting. You should also have a general idea of the features you want to have in your hosting plan, as well as the speed and reliability.
But please don't wait until the worst happens. Consider setting up multiple DNS servers to provide additional redundancy and mitigate or prevent DDoS attacks.