Technology

Best Porn Filter: Free DNS Internet Filters Compared 2020

Adult and Child Safely Browsing the Internet

There are a number of free DNS-based Internet Filters available for you to choose from that you can use to protect yourself and others online. Looking at them on the surface (by name only), it is hard to know which one is the best, most comprehensive internet filter.

Comparing the Best Free Internet Filters

We’ve compared the Best Free DNS-based website filters by testing them against nearly 10,000 pornographic/adult domains to see which ones are the best at blocking objectionable content. Because the results varied significantly, you might be shocked at the results, as some of them do very poorly in comparison to others. But first, before we get into the results, let’s talk a little bit about why these types of filters are good for you to use.

Why Everyone Needs an Internet Filter

If you have children or ever have children in your home – you need an Internet filter. Early exposure to porn can change the brain in ways that are hard to overcome, leading to a lifetime of struggle with addiction, sexual identity that can ruin relationships, cause isolation and like any additiction, generally ruin your life.

If you are an adult or live with adults – you need an Internet filter. Pornography addiction robs you of life and ruins relationships. Instead, choose to block that junk from your home and your life!

The advantage of Internet Filters that are DNS-based

To begin with, the main advantage of DNS-based Internet Filters is that they protect all the devices on your network (including Chromebook, iPhone, Android, Mac, Windows, PC, or Linux). They do this through setup as an internet filter for your router, and not something that is installed on individual devices. Because of their central setup on your router, they are superior to internet filtering software. They can be used on individual machines as well, but they are primarily designed to be used across your entire network!

Additionally, there are other side benefits from using these filters:

  • First, they can force SafeSearch on sites like Google, YouTube and Bing, stopping adult and objectionable content from being part of search results.
  • Secondly, they can improve your Internet browsing speed by providing faster responses than your ISPs DNS servers.
  • Thirdly, these DNS-based internet filters will also protect you from malicious websites that can install viruses or scam you in various ways.

Everyone should have an Internet Filter that is DNS-based

Because DNS-based website filters protect your entire network from bad websites, every home should have a Internet Filter that is DNS-based as part of their plan to protect themselves and their families against dangerous adult content like: pornography, drugs, phishing sites, inappropriate ads, viruses and other dangerous websites.

You should still still choose to use other parental control techniques as a an additional layer because as you will find out looking at the results below, these filters are not perfect.

The Results – Porn Blocking

For this article, we will look at the Porn Blocking capabilities of these filters alone, as that is the primary thing we are trying to protect against, as pornography exposure is an extremely dangerous, life-changing situation for kids & adults alike, and can turn into a powerful, life-destroying addiction.

FilterPorn Blocking
Cleanbrowsing Family Filter (Recommended)Best
Cleanbrowsing Adult FilterVery good
OpenDNS FamilyShieldGood
Cloudflare FamilyPoor
DNS For FamilyPoor
Neustar FamilySecurePoor
AdGuard FamilyVery Poor
CleanBrowsing SecurityNot meant for this
CloudflareNot meant for this
YandexDNF – Unreliable
CleanBrowsing Internet Filter Logo

As you can see, Cleanbrowsing is the winner when it comes to comprehensive blocking. In our tests, we found that Cleanbrowsing blocked about 93% of all adult sites, much better than the 82% blocked by OpenDNS, the runner-up. For the detailed results, and important additional steps everyone needs to take to protect themselves and their family, look below.

Detailed Results: Checking 9298 Porn Websites Against DNS Internet Filters

First, we checked around 9300 adult websites, and found that some filters did much better than others at blocking porn. Below is a list of each filter, along with how many of the domains it blocked, and the overall percentage of blocks that it represents.

CleanBrowsing Family: 8519 [91.6%]
CleanBrowsing Adult: 8504 [91.5%]
OpenDNS FamilyShield: 7521 [80.9%]
CloudFlare Family: 6704 [72.1%]
DNS For Family: 5907 [63.5%]
Neustar FamilySecure: 5537 [59.6%]
AdGuard Family: 2277 [24.5%]
CleanBrowsing Security: 435 [4.7%]
CloudFlare Regular: 239 [2.6%]
Domains analyzed 9298

Detailed Results: Checking the Hackernoon 88 Porn Sites & 10 Proxies Against DNS Internet Filters

After that, we checked 88 Porn Sites & 10 Proxies that allow bypass of internet filters that were part of the famous Hackernoon article by Nykolas Z that compared explicit content filters.

CleanBrowsing Family: 98 [100.0%]
OpenDNS FamilyShield: 95 [96.9%]
CleanBrowsing Adult: 88 [89.8%]
CloudFlare Family: 83 [84.7%]
AdGuard Family: 72 [73.5%]
DNS For Family: 71 [72.4%]
Neustar FamilySecure: 65 [66.3%]
CleanBrowsing Security: 4 [4.1%]
CloudFlare Regular: 4 [4.1%]
Domains analyzed 98

What do these porn blocker results tell us?

  • DNS filtering can block a huge amount of junk, and it should be part of your solution for blocking websites
  • Choose your DNS internet filtering solution carefully, as some block websites much better than others
  • Do not rely on DNS filtering a 100% solution, and you should have other things in place, especially for children that are browsing unsupervised (read below for more information on this)

Adding to Your Website Blocking Protection – Beyond DNS Internet Filters

In addition to setting up a DNS-based Internet Website Filter, you should also do the following:

For Younger Children

  • Use a locked-down device with a tool like Infilter to create a custom Internet for your child. Infilter only allows them to visit the websites that you allow them to. A “whitelist” approach such as this is much safer than relying on a “blacklist” approach, especially for younger children.

For Older Children

  • Use a online activity monitor like Covenant Eyes or Accountable2You in addition to DNS-based Internet Filtering
  • Have open communication about online activities

For All Children & Household members

  • Have a rule in your house that device use is in a public area. Screens facing out so that everyone is held accountable for what they are doing online
  • Know the passwords and account information for everyone in your family so you can check up on their online activities.

If You Need Help With Your Internet Filter

Do you have questions about how to get a DNS-based internet setup, or any other questions? First, check the website of the specific filtering provider you wish to use, and if you’re still stumped, leave a comment below, we’d love to do what we can to help.

If you need help with addiction

Lastly, Are you trapped in addiction of any kind? There is help and hope for you. Check out these studies by Setting Captives Free and find your way to freedom!

For the lips of an immoral woman are as sweet as honey,
    and her mouth is smoother than oil.
But in the end she is as bitter as poison,
    as dangerous as a double-edged sword.

Proverbs 5:3-4 NLT

Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

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13 Comments

  • Hello, can you share the list of 9300 websites you checked? I represent DNS for Family and our main focus is to block adult websites, so I would be glad to know where we are missing and update our database.

    Secondly, we are the only provider that promises “daily” update of blacklist and we publish our blacklist at: https://dnsforfamily.com/blacklist.txt so every website we block is transparent. This ensures that due to influx of new adult websites, we are not left behind.

  • Why didn’t you consider Yandex.DNS Family servers? Do you have any evidence that Yandex is unsafe?

    I think Yandex is very good at blocking obscene sites. It scans indexes of sites with artificial intelligence, instead of using traditional methods, and detects and blocks sites with obscene text or photos. With this method, I have seen it block inappropriate sites that others cannot block, especially local and sexually explicit sites in different categories.

    • I experienced a number of timeouts using Yandex, so I eliminated it from the comparison. That’s good information that you mention, and I will look at it when I revisit this.

  • I have used OpenDNS for years but had to change to Xfinity, and thus a new router. It is a Netgear Nighthawk C7000v2, and I am unable to get it to work with OpenDNS. I’ve plugged in the two DNS addresses required by OpenDNS, and then per their instructions, disabled IPv6 firewall, but still allows through all porn, even though the “example” site is blocked. OpenDNS washed their hand of me, said I had to talk to Netgear. But the 90day service plan is expired, so they want $149 for 1yr to come out and look at it (no guarentee it will work!). Anyone out there been able to get the newer Netgear Nighthawk modem/router to work with OpenDNS? Thanks!

      • hi,
        yes, my firmware is 1.03.03 which Googling is the latest. And, it was just installed in November so would hope so. I learned you can’t update it anyway, only Xfinity/Comcast can (and “good luck getting them to do so since they don’t own it”). We’ll see, someday I guess. Re: CleanBrowsing, just searched for alternatives to OpenDNS and found that. Is $59/yr though vs free. It is SUPPOSED to work, (and I have had very good experience with OpenDNS for five years or more with my three sons). So hoping someone has figured out the problem. Somehow, selecting disable IPv6 is NOT completely doing so? The diagnostic tool OpenDNS had me run showed almost all the sites tested were through Comcast, only one through OpenDNS :-(. Very frustrating, and no help from either party, though at least Open DNS tried.

        • Is the router provided by Xfinity/Comcast?

          If so, you may need another router hooked to the Xfinity router that is configurable. It is possible that Xfinity has done something to the router to prevent it from using a DNS besides Comcast’s DNS.

          • Hi again; I decided to try the CloudFlare, as ‘next best thing’ (for free…). It has two-step process. Replacing the DNS settings for IPv4 (Ok, did that), But for IPv6, is new DNS addresses are FOUR blocks long, and a double colon.
            2606:4700:4700::1112
            2606:4700:4700::1002
            Whereas my Netgear IPv6 DNS settings look like this.
            Primary DNS
            2001: 0558 : feed : 0000 : 0000 : 0000 : 0000 : 0001
            Secondary DNS
            2001 : 0558 : feed : 0000 : 0000 : 0000 : 0000 : 0002

            I have NO idea how to handle that? Which blocks do I sub in the new Cloudflare numbers? (or, are they incompatible w/ this router?)
            Thanks

      • No, I purchased the Netgear Nighthawk from BestBuy; a much better router than the Xfinity rental (per the Xfinity tech!) and pays for itself in a year of rental fees… BUT, the fingerpointing begins (not just OpenDNS, but drop-outs that I THINK may have been caused by OpenDNS… Xfinity says not their problem, call Netgear; Netgear says “no service contract”, buy one and we’ll talk”.

  • Thanks! I tried CleanBrowsing, and it works!! Glad you mentioned they had a free version; just browsing for them only brought up the $59/yr version.
    Appreciate the help.