CleanBrowsing is An Alternative to Cisco Umbrella DNS

The OpenDNS project and company was acquired by Cisco, a technology conglomerate, in 2015. Since, they have maintained the OpenDNS brand as a solution for consumers and rebranded their enterprise offering to Cisco Umbrella. This rebranding took the place of OpenDNS Umbrella, OpenDNS Investigate and OpenDNS Umbrella for MSPs.

With this rebrand has come a sharp increase in costs for organizations.

For context, recent customers have described a 3x / 4x price increase in their costs with the start of 2020. Specifically, a small school with 1,000 devices was looking at an annual bill of $8,000 USD. The same customer subscribed to CleanBrowsing for the same 1,000 devices for $330 / year. Another organization in the Netherlands was quoted $8,500 for 600 devices, in our configuration they could probably get away with the Pro-500 ($220 / year) or the Pro-1000 ($330 / year). Why the stark difference?

Below is a series of questions we keep getting from Cisco Umbrella customers and we hope it helps explain our approach.

Why is CleanBrowsing so much Cheaper than Cisco Umbrella?

The answer is simple, we are a bootstrapped startup. We do not share the same economic growth requirements funded startups face. We also don’t have the same obligation to show exponential growth year over year larger enterprises demand. This gives us the flexibility to charge what we believe to be fair to the market, and more importantly our customers.

The founders built CleanBrowsing with the goal of making technology more accessible and affordable to organizations of all sizes. They both share the same belief that technology as a whole and their associated pricing has reached outrageous levels. Organizations doubling, tripling, costs simply because they can with no added value to the customer does not conform with our Founders beliefs. We understand that DNS is but one layer of your overarching security program and price it accordingly.

How long has CleanBrowsing been in business?

We have been in business since 2018.

Do you service businesses? It looks like you’re consumer focused.

Yes, we service a wide range of customers. Our consumer focus is based on our Founders building a solution for their own families, but DNS is audience agnostic. The applicability of DNS to a parent is very similar to that of a large organization, what differs are the features a larger organization might require in the platform itself. Thankfully, those same features are being introduced to the platform daily.

Does the low-cost mean you’re less effective?

No, the price has no indication of effectiveness, only fairness. We leverage our own detection and updating techniques to stay ahead of the domains and their categories.

What the low-cost does mean is less headaches for your organization. We make it easier for organizations to subscribe via a self-service model. As an organization we don’t believe in heavy, unnecessary, administration. This means you don’t have to wait for a “Sales Consultant” to reach out, or to schedule a call, or to go through any of the other steps in a “high velocity sales model.” We do not require organizations to review and sign complex agreements. The agreements you sign are the same ones found on our account creation process. This streamlined process allows us to pass the savings on to you, the customers.

Our obsession with effectiveness comes from our audience superset, young kids. This forces us to work hard to be as effective as possible because unlike adults, kids are sly little foxes that are continuously looking for ways to bypass network controls. We place our core focus on two key filters – security and pornography.

Do you offer support?

We offer support via email. This is another way we keep our costs low and pass our savings on to you, the customers.

How big is your network?

We’ve built an Anycast network for our DNS resolver. The exact number is hard to pin point because we’re always changing, but you can get a sense of our scale on our status page.

Does CleanBrowsing work the same as Cisco Umbrella?

Yes, we are a DNS resolver. We are also continuously adding more features and enhancements to improve the users experience. All you have to do is switch Cisco’s DNS IP’s with the IP’s assigned to you in your profile.

Does CleanBrowsing offer the same features as Cisco Umbrella?

Yes. We offer a number of advanced features for organizations. Everything from custom whitelists and blacklists, blocking TLD’s, custom block pages, an API for direct configuration changes, and most recently, the new DNS mapping feature for a local DNS like configuration.

Do you offer a trial?

Yes, we offer trials on Pro-500 accounts and up, so if you’d like to give it a spin send us an email to and we’ll work to get you set up quickly.