NextDNS is a DNS server that helps you take control of your internet connection. With it, you can block ads, stop trackers, block websites, and also allow the ones you trust.
It works by filtering your network so the “bad guys” don’t get through. All you have to do is apply the DNS server to your device and it should be up and running within minutes.
This article is going to talk about all the features this DNS server offers and how you can benefit from them.
It is currently a free service but you get a monthly subscription if you run out of queries. More on that later in the article.
This feature helps you secure your devices. It has a lot of options that you can enable to make this possible.
Every option has a short description of what it does. From there you can decide if you want it or not.
I didn’t enable all the options, so I’ll only explain the ones that I am using. If you decide to use NextDNS, you can always enable more options.
Threat Intelligence Feeds: this feature helps you block websites that carry out different forms of attacks such as malware distribution, phishing attacks (stealing personal information), and so on. The list of websites that do this is constantly updated so you get the best and latest protection.
Google Safe Browsing: now Google already has a list of websites that can also be harmful to your device, so NextDNS gets the list from there to ensure your protection is even more updated.
Cryptojacking Protection: with the rise of cryptocurrency, a lot of people have dedicated computers that mine crypto. This takes a lot of computing power and electricity. Some websites secretly use your device to mine cryptocurrency as you navigate them, with NextDNS, those websites get blocked.
IDN Homograph Attacks Protection: a while back, an apple.com clone was made, it seemed like a real website because the address clearly showed “apple.com”, however, the ‘a’ was not the normal ‘a’ you know, it was a Cyrillic letter ‘a’. In the end, the website was shut down. NextDNS offers protection from websites with characters like this, so you’re not going to be directed to a fake website.
Typosquatting Protection: you probably at some point typed in the wrong web address and got sent to the wrong website with a lot of crazy content. For example, instead of facebook.com, you typed fscebook.com. Many people create websites like this just to carry out attacks on your device. NextDNS protects you from this.
Block Child Sexual Abuse Material: well, I’m sure you already know what this means. Content that promotes this will not get through your internet connection.
So those are all the features under security that are enabled for me, however, I’ll also recommend enabling Domain Generation Algorithms Projection.
This option is mainly to block ads and trackers on your device. It’s one of the most important features (as well as Parental Control which we’ll be looking at next).
So here you have two major options.
Blocklists: this option offers a list of ads that can be blocked. You just need to choose a list and after that, all ads in the list will be blocked. This way you can visit your favorite websites without getting a lot of ads displayed on your device. On my account, I have “AdGuard DNS”, and “NextDNS Ads and Trackers Blocklist” filters selected. However, I haven’t found any that blocks ads on YouTube.
Native Tracking Protection: not just websites show ads, even devices you use show ads via their operating system. I use a Xiaomi device so I chose that, you can choose the devices you use so their ads can also be blocked.
Block Disguised Third-Party Trackers: I really don’t know how this works, but from the description on the website, it sounds important so I have it enabled. “Automatically detect and block third-party trackers disguising themselves as first-party to circumvent recent browser’s privacy protections like ITP.”
NextDNS Parental Control
This is what I feel a lot of parents are going to find useful. From here you can block websites you believe aren’t safe for your children or you aren’t comfortable with.
Not just websites, you can also block numerous apps that aren’t made for kids.
Websites, Apps & Games: as the name suggests, you get a list of websites and apps such as TikTok, Tinder, Facebook, etc. You can stop the ones you want from working on any device that has the NextDNS server applied.
Categories: here you get a category of websites you can stop the device from accessing. Any website or app that is in the category will not be accessible on the device. Examples of the categories are p*rn, gambling, dating, etc.
Recreation Time: sometimes, some of the websites you are blocking in the parental control section aren’t necessarily bad, but maybe time-consuming. With the Recreation Time option, you can set specific times for the websites or apps to be accessible. Each blocked site will have a clock icon, you can choose if you want it to be accessible at the time you specify.
YouTube Restricted Mode: although I don’t use this option anymore, when I tried it, I was unable to view comments on YouTube or even make comments myself. I’m sure there are reasons why this option is useful.
Block Bypass Methods: there are services like VPNs and proxies that may disable NextDNS from functioning properly. By enabling this feature, NextDNS will make sure those services are blocked.
NextDNS Denylist and Allowlist
If there are websites that you think should be blocked but are somehow accessible, you can include them in the Denylist. I haven’t used this because NextDNS does a good job at blocking malicious and harmful websites.
But well, this means that some websites which may not be harmful might get mistakenly blocked, with the Allowlist, you can include the websites that you want to allow on your device.
The NextDNS settings option is not just a way to make more customizations to your account but also a way to make more configurations.
This way you don’t need to create multiple accounts for different devices. You can have one account with multiple configurations.
Just imagine it as different profiles on a computer.
So say for example you want to have a configuration with parental control for your kids, you can. And you can have another configuration without that which can be applied on your device.
Each time NextDNS filters your network, a query is used. Some websites can create multiple queries and each will be checked by NextDNS.
Each month you get 300,000 queries for free. You can click on the profile icon in the top right corner and select “Account” to view your queries.
I have been using this service for months now and this is the number of queries I have used so far in April.
I only use NextDNS on my Android device, so I haven’t run out of queries. Plus, I don’t go on a lot of websites since I’m only mostly on YouTube and the settings I have applied don’t do a lot on YouTube.
But if you’re using the account on multiple devices and visiting a lot of different websites, your used queries may be more than mine.
If you ever run out, you can subscribe to get an unlimited amount of queries each month. The current price is $1.99 per month.
After using NextDNS for months now, it’s been a happy service for me. My browsing experience is cleaner and faster.
I don’t get pop-ups anymore and I’m rest assured that trackers are constantly being blocked (even though I’m not sure why anyone would track someone from a third-world country lol).
To learn how to apply the DNS servers to your device, you can find that in the setup section on the NextDNS website. I also have a detailed way of doing it in the video you find at the beginning of the article.
You can leave any questions you have in the comment section.