How to setup and configure custom DNS using NextDNS


You are probably already aware of the plethora of Domain Name System (DNS) servers. While most people continue to use the default server, others choose a publicly available one. However, there aren’t many public DNS providers that you can change. But there is one you can trust and can use for free.

This is NextDNS, which not only provides an array of options, but also protects your network from cyber threats. So what features does NextDNS offer? How do you create a custom DNS using the service? And why should you try NextDNS?


What is NextDNS?


NextDNS Website Overview

Before understanding what NextDNS is or how it works, you need to know the meaning of DNS.

Simply put, a DNS is a system that connects you to websites by matching human-readable domain names (such as makeuseof.com) with the unique numeric label of the server where the website is stored. .

Related: What Is DNS and Why Does It Matter?

NextDNS, on the other hand, is a firewall and DNS service provider that improves your overall Internet experience. The best part is that you can easily control, monitor and secure your online activity.

Besides that, it allows you to block trackers on websites and even apps. Moreover, if you have children, NextDNS provides them with a safe and secure browsing environment by instantly blocking all malicious or dangerous websites. It all sounds cool, right?

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How to configure private DNS in NextDNS

You can sign up for the service for free and set it up on an infinite number of devices, but there is a monthly cap.

At present, it offers users 300,000 queries every month for free. Once this limit is reached, it becomes a normal DNS resolver again, without filtering or logging.

While that should be enough for a few devices, if you have a lot of smartphones or PCs to connect to, you might want to consider the subscription plans, which start at just $1.99 per month.

1. Opening a new account


NextDNS registration form

To visit The NextDNS registration page to create a new account. Now you need to enter your email address and a password. Remember that this password must be unique and strong.

When ready, click the Register button to continue.

2. Configuring security settings


NextDNS security options

As soon as you create an account, you will be able to see a dashboard with many options.

Move towards Security options in the NextDNS dashboard. Here you will be able to configure everything related to internet security.

Do not disable any option enabled by default. Also, if you are a heavy Internet user, we recommend that you enable the AI-based threat detection option.

3. Protect your privacy with just a few clicks


NextDNS privacy options

Another great addition to NextDNS is the Private life tongue. Toggle buttons allow you to easily configure various settings. Unlike other free DNS service providers, you can easily add or remove default filters from the list.

The default list already contains many domains and should be sufficient from the start. If you’re looking to get started, we recommend selecting EasyPrivacy in the list of filters.


Be extremely vigilant when adding new filters, as a single mistake can ruin your overall online experience.

Another distinct advantage is that it automatically fetches the latest list from the respective GitHub repositories at regular intervals. This ensures that you are not vulnerable to the latest cyberattacks.


Native Tracking Protection

Fortunately, NextDNS also includes unique native tracking protection. To configure it, click on the Add and select your devices.

When you turn your device back on, NextDNS automatically blocks a series of trackers.

4. Configuring Parental Controls


NextDNS Parental Controls

If you have kids who use the internet a lot, consider setting up parental controls. You can easily disable access to selected websites, apps, and even games. Moreover, you can filter out inappropriate YouTube videos by simply toggling the YouTube restricted mode activated.


To simplify things, you can create a schedule for accessing prohibited services. After setting it up, you can provide limited access to specified services without requiring manual interaction.

Additionally, you can restrict the content using the category filter. For example, if you want to restrict your child’s social media usage, just select Social networks from the list of categories. NextDNS will automatically block all websites that match a specified category.

5. Use allow list for rare cases

The “Allowed list” tab is not intended for general use. You can easily add a domain to it to automatically allow access.

Once you add a domain to the list, all subdomains will automatically bypass filters and all other security features. If you use a blocklist that has not been well tested, it may block access to some crucial websites.

This is where the “Allowed List” comes in. You can easily add the blocked website to the whitelist by entering the domain in this field.

6. Use of NextDNS Analytics and Logs

You can not only configure but also analyze the activities and overall traffic of your DNS server. For example, if you use this service only for testing purposes, you can check which trackers or domains are blocked by NextDNS.

Moreover, it provides excellent visual statistics on the total number of requests and blocked requests, as well as additional information on banned domains.

The “Logs” tab provides more details about the websites and domains used. It also allows you to search and review DNS queries that have been sent to the NextDNS configuration.

7. Overview of NextDNS settings


NextDNS configuration settings

On the dashboard, the last tab is Settings. Here you can change the configuration name, set up a new block page and much more.

After testing some settings, we recommend making changes to these features:

  1. Newspapers: If you are not a developer, you should keep this setting disabled.
  2. Increase cache: This option greatly helps to reduce DNS queries. Since some mobile devices have short battery life and high latency on DNS, this is especially good for them.
  3. Anonymized EDNS client subnet: Enabling this option will improve your overall browsing experience. This technique dramatically speeds up the delivery of data from content delivery networks (CDNs).

At this time, you cannot reset to default settings with one click. So if you messed them up, the only option you have left is to create a new configuration.

8. Configuring NextDNS on different devices

NextDNS is compatible with a wide variety of devices. Whether you are an Android or iOS user, or prefer Windows or macOS, NextDNS is compatible with all.

Moreover, you can easily configure this excellent DNS service on a wide range of browsers, routers and even Chrome OS.

The NextDNS team has done a great job simplifying the setup process on the dashboard itself. To find setup instructions, follow these steps:

  1. Open your NextDNS dashboard.
  2. Click it To install tongue.
  3. Scroll down and you will find a Installation guide section.
  4. Click on the name of your device in the list of devices.

Related: The best free dynamic DNS providers

That’s it. Now you can easily follow the step-by-step instructions and start using NextDNS.

Why is NextDNS better than other DNS services?

NextDNS offers a range of fantastic features:

  1. Simple dashboards and an up-to-date user interface.
  2. There are many configuration options. And a premium user gets unlimited queries.
  3. It supports different types of home networks with different IP addresses.
  4. NextDNS lets you select filter lists and add sites to blacklists or whitelists.
  5. You will be hard pressed to find a DNS provider that offers such features cheaper than NextDNS.
  6. It automatically blocks trackers.

Overall, NextDNS is a great service as it provides a wide range of servers around the world. So you’ll enjoy excellent latency, wherever you are.

NextDNS gives you more control over your DNS

It’s not hard to find a DNS provider, ranging from Google to Cloudflare and OpenDNS to your ISP.

Without a doubt, NextDNS is one of the most underrated DNS service providers. With NextDNS, you can control all incoming and outgoing traffic from your computer and other Internet-connected devices.

The good news is that you get all these cool features for free!


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