Cloudflare, a company that provides content delivery networks, DNS services, and more, has recently announced a new public DNS service, called 1.1.1.1. This service is designed to be both faster than traditional DNS services and more private. Cloudflare claims that they will not store your data, and that their DNS service allows people to avoid censorship that some ISPs may use.

What is DNS?

The Domain Name System (DNS) is the phonebook of the Internet. Humans access information online through domain names, like nytimes.com or espn.com. Web browsers interact through Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. DNS translates domain names to IP addresses so browsers can load Internet resources.

Each device connected to the Internet has a unique IP address which other machines use to find the device. DNS servers eliminate the need for humans to memorize IP addresses such as 192.168.1.1 (in IPv4), or more complex newer alphanumeric IP addresses such as 2400:cb00:2048:1::c629:d7a2 (in IPv6).

Basically, the way it works is that every time you enter a domain name into a browser it reaches out to a DNS server and requests the IP to which it should point you to. The first server that is asked about it will be the server that is defined on your device/application and is either was set by your ISP (if you are a home/mobile user) or by your system administrator (if you are inside of a corporate network) — there is of course a third option — it might have been set by you/your friend/grandkid a while ago for some unknown reason and you completely forgot about it by now and it’s a good idea to change it.

Why use 1.1.1.1 instead of an ISP’s resolver?

The main reasons to switch to a third-party DNS resolver are security and performance. ISPs do not always use strong encryption on their DNS or support DNSSEC, which makes their DNS queries vulnerable to data breaches and exposes users to threats like man-in-the-middle attacks. In addition, ISPs often use DNS records to track their users’ activity and behavior. These resolvers don’t always have great speeds and when they get overloaded by heavy usage they become even more sluggish. If there is enough traffic on the network, an ISP’s recursor could stop answering requests altogether. In some cases attackers deliberately overload an ISP’s recursors, resulting in a denial-of-service.

3 reasons to switch to CloudFlare DNS

1 – Speed

CloudFlare knows speed, infact, the specialise in it!

For almost ten years ClareFlare has operated a CDN-like service. Giving websites increased speed security.

To do this they run a large network of fast servers distributed all around the world – the 1.1.1.1 DNS service uses this network – according to their own metrics it’s 27% faster than the best alternative.

Fast DNS won’t fix Netflix loading or boost your gaming lag – but it will improve the first time your computer connects to a website.

2 – Privacy

The internet is becoming increasingly creepy – not nesecarily because what’s on it, but all the different eyes watching what you do.

Governments want to monitor, track and log your usage and advertisers want to “know you better” (aka sell a “profile” of you for targetted advertising).

The theme here is BIG DATA.

The more you distribute your information, the less connections, the harder it is to put together a picture of you. Which alone is great reason to NOT use Google’s DNS server or your ISP’s.

1.1.1.1 is a privacy first service – they don’t log your IP address and don’t sell your usage to advertisers.

3 – Accurate

As a web developer and server administrator I’m familiar with the delays caused by DNS propigation.

This typically happens when moving a website to a different server – the number changes but it can take up to 24 hours for some DNS servers to see the change. Resulting some users connecting to the old server.

Using 1.1.1.1 I’ve found this to be massively quicker than my ISP’s.

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