First and foremost, this is an awesome domain name!!! Whois shows it was registered in 1997!
But I’m sidetracking.
This is CloudFlares privacy focussed DNS service.

DNS recap:

Just like your phone book translates names into phone numbers, DNS translates URLs (like google.com) to it’s actual IP address (like 74.125.124.10) which no one has the time to remember. Or telling your GPS to “go Home” rather than your street address.

Here’s a fun explanation of how DNS works:ย https://howdns.works

The Problem:

Most people or routers have their DNS server pointed towards their Internet Service Provider. Your ISP keeps a track of all the DNS queries you make to it to reach a website. And tailors ads or services accordingly. This information is gold to them. They sell this information to data brokers who then send you more spam, junk and mail. You have an online profile with them that you probably don’t know about.

Privacy Concerns:

Your ISP (Like Comcast or AT&T) also know if you prefer Netflix, youtube over their own streaming service. They can then throttle down your Netflix speeds and claim their own Streampix service is faster and better. Don’t believe that’s possible? Look up “Net Neutrality”.

Solution

Most home routers have their DNS addresses pointed towards their ISP by default (through DHCP). Some tech savvy people will quickly point it to 8.8.8.8 which is google’s DNS. It is much faster and now you transfer your visibility from the ISP to Google.

OpenDNS (now Cisco Umbrella) is also another popular free DNS resolver. The added advantage to it is that it can do URL filtering (block unwanted websites) for free (for home use).

The advantage of this new DNS (https://1.1.1.1) from CloudFlare is that it is private.

  1. They secure the communications from your computer to their DNS, and between other DNS servers it queries. So no one can snoop into your queries (ISPs won’t like this).
  2. They delete all your logs after 24 hours! So no data is stored for re-sale, targetted ads or profiling a users browsing habits.

Action

Open your routers login page and change your DNS server!

There are 2 choices here, any one is better than the defaults, which is pointing it at your ISP!

  1. Since I do URL filtering at home at the DNS level, I usually keep the primary one as 208.67.222.222 (OpenDNS) and the secondary one as 1.1.1.1 in case of failure.
  2. If you don’t do URL filtering with OpenDNS or have another solution, then your primary DNS should be 1.1.1.1 and secondary as google 8.8.8.8 in case CloudFlare goes down, or is under attack or simply if they havent updated a DNS entry while others have.

Torubleshooting

I’ve faced some issues with resolving website names with 1.1.1.1. When I changed it to 8.8.8.8, everything was fine. Not all DNS tables have the same info. So it’s good to keep some diversity. Cloudflare also has a secondary DNS for redundancy, buy my issue is with entries that are not updated in either copy but exist in OpenDNS or Google.

The true test of patience comes with how fast your browser can load a page ๐Ÿ˜Ž.