Cloudflare’s new consumer DNS service promises a faster, more secure internet

 

You’d be forgiven if DNS news wasn’t on your radar for April Fool’s day, but that’s just what Cloudflare served up this weekend. In what is very much not a joke, the company announced a new consumer DNS service called 1.1.1.1, with a focus on speed and privacy.

The problem that Cloudflare is trying to solve is what it sees as a system that is often slow and insecure. From Cloudflare:

Nearly everything on the Internet starts with a DNS request. DNS is the Internet’s directory. Click on a link, open an app, send an email and the first thing your device does is ask the directory: Where can I find this?

Unfortunately, by default, DNS is usually slow and insecure. Your ISP, and anyone else listening in on the Internet, can see every site you visit and every app you use — even if their content is encrypted. Creepily, some DNS providers sell data about your Internet activity or use it target you with ads.

The company’s alternative, 1.1.1.1, places a large emphasis on privacy, with a promise to wipe all logs within 24 hours and to never log your IP address. Cloudflare says that it has also hired a firm to audit its code and practices annually and produce a public report to ensure that it is keeping its privacy promises.

Cloudflare’s service also offers support for DNS-over-TLS and DNS-over-HTTPS. Both protocols ensure greater security of web traffic, and Cloudflare is hoping that its support for DNS-over-HTTPS, in particular, will result in greater support for the protocol. “We’re hoping that with an independent DNS-over-HTTPS service now available, we’ll see more experiments from browsers, operating systems, routers, and apps to support the protocol,” the company says. Cloudflare is also positioning the DNS service as a way for citizens to work around internet censorship during government crackdowns.

What’s more, Cloudflare is promising that 1.1.1.1 currently ranks as the fastest DNS resolver, averaging around 14ms globally.

If you’re interested in trying out Cloudflare’s DNS service for yourself, you can visit the 1.1.1.1 website to learn how to get started.

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