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The Best DNS Filtering Service for Home and Business

Want the quick answer? Here's the best DNS filtering service for 2023.

Nord Layer: For businesses and larger families, Nord Layer's DNS Filtering service is our top choice. You can try NordLayer DNS here.

I'll put a section on defining DNS filtering below, for those that want to review or get a feel for what it is. But for now, I'll assume that if you're looking for the best DNS filter, you already know what it is and what it does.

We'll cover three different services that I'm familiar with and would recommend. There are others, but these are well-known and easy to use, and I've used them on some of my own devices.

1. Nord Layer DNS Filtering Service

Home page for the NordLayer DNS filtering service, as of May 2023.

Home page for the NordLayer DNS filtering service, as of May 2023.

The NordLayer DNS is an extremely sophisticated filtering and blocking tool, which is why it's often used for business networks. However, pricing is very reasonable and manageable for home use, especially if you only need it for a few users. It's similar in cost to things like Covenant Eyes.

Here are some ideal fits for NordLayer DNS filtering:

  • Small to large businesses
  • Homes that need to manage multiple devices
  • Packaging VPN and other security measures with adult content blocking
  • Any situation where all devices are connected directly to a local network or wireless router

Here are a few non-blocker features that NordLayer provides with their basic DNS filtering plan:

  • Network or router-level protection/filtering
  • Always-on VPN
  • Full AES encryption
  • Kill Switch
  • Multi-Factor Authentication

There's a lot more with the more advanced plans, which you might be interested in for business networks, depending on your needs. Though I think for most situations, the basic plan will give you everything you're looking for, and then some.

Remember, this solution is ideal for those wanting VPN/security tools, along with content filtering and blocking.

If you have questions about NordLayer DNS, drop them in the comments section below and I'll help out.

You can try NordLayer DNS filtering here.

2. Open DNS Home or Small Business

OpenDNS has some solid free and paid options. Screen shot is from May 2023.

OpenDNS has some solid free and paid options. Screen shot is from May 2023.

OpenDNS offers free plans that are good fits for homes, along with a couple of paid plans that might be more ideal for small businesses. Here's a quick screenshot of what they offer:

The four main OpenDNS plans - two free and two paid.

The four main OpenDNS plans - two free and two paid.

The OpenDNS Family Shield is the simplest option, designed just to block adult content. We'd recommend setting this up at the router level, which means every single device in your house (including streaming devices and gaming consoles) will be completely protected.

For a little more customization and flexibility, the Home Free option gives you faster loading times (VPNs and DNS filtering can slow your connection somewhat) and 50 customizable filtering categories.

In most cases, I think the Family Shield option would be enough, but they're both free.

Again, I'd recommend setting this up at the router level.

3. Clean Browser Free DNS Filtering

CleanBrowsing is a second DNS filtering option, similar to OpenDNS, with both free filters and paid plans. Screenshot is from May 2023.

CleanBrowsing is a second DNS filtering option, similar to OpenDNS, with both free filters and paid plans. Screenshot is from May 2023.

Another DNS filtering service I'm a big fan of is CleanBrowsing. Once again, the Family Filter option is probably adequate for most home situations, while there are paid options for additional features and business-focused solutions.

Here's what the Family Filter offers:

  • Block all access to explicit sites
  • Block proxies and VPN domains that are used to bypass filters
  • Mixed content sites like Reddit
  • Search engines and YouTube are locked in safe mode

This is a fantastic filtering tool with free options that I'd recommend everyone who is trying to quit using porn take advantage of. Both this and the OpenDNS free options are really solid and effective.

What exactly is DNS filtering?

In simple terms, DNS filtering is blocking access to particular websites or a particular type of content based on domain name. This isn't necessarily different than other content "filters" yet DNS filtering services tend to be a lot more thorough and more comprehensive.

They also have the advantage of allowing you to implement them at various levels, including local networks, routers, and modems.

This is a far more effective method of blocking adult content, as opposed to blocking it on a device-by-device basis.

Keep in mind, there are two main types of DNS filtering:

  1. Blacklisting (allows all websites except for those specified)
  2. Whitelisting (allows only websites that are specified)

Simple enough.

Though DNS filtering can also be used for a wider variety of tasks aside from simply filtering content, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • Security
  • Compliance
  • Parental controls
  • Privacy
  • Wide device coverage
  • Encryption

Is it suitable for personal and business use?

Yes.

DNS filtering is uniquely ideal for both businesses and personal home use. Essentially, it can be implemented any time you have multiple devices connected to the same network, like a wireless router, for example.

For network-wide protection, you'll need to configure the router, but a company like NordLayer will help guide you through that.

It's not as hard as it sounds.

Can DNS filtering be used along with other security measures?

DNS filtering can be used alongside accountability software and/or other filters. Though in some cases, coupling these can be redundant, but it just depends on what you're setting up and how you want everything to work. DNS filtering and accountability (buddy system) software would be a very effective combination for help mitigating porn use.

Wrapping Up

The best DNS filtering service for you will depend on the number of devices you're trying to protect, how your network is set up, and how much you'll use the additional features. Check out our parent roundup of the best porn blocking software if you want some additional solutions, perhaps something simpler than a DNS filtering arrangement.

Again, if you have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments section below and I'll help out as much as I can. I have a background in IT so I can even help with technical questions if you have them.

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Author

  • Adam Grainger

    Adam is a software engineer with experience in blocker software and VPNs. He has helped produce software and written content for a number of churches and organizations to help people stay focused and have a better experience online.

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