It wasn’t too many years ago that geeks would always use a custom DNS server to speed up their web browsing. Now Cloudflare has one too, but should you use it?

Before we continue, for the uninitiated: DNS is like a phone book for your web browser to look up the IP address of websites you try to connect to. Often using a third party DNS server like Google DNS or OpenDNS will speed up your browsing or give you extra featuress like parental controls.

These days most DNS servers are fairly fast so using a third party for speed reasons isn’t quite as important —- but there’s a bigger problem: privacy. Even if you are visiting websites using encrypted HTTPS, the DNS lookup gives away the fact that you are visiting a particular site, as Cloudflare’s announcement post mentions:

What many Internet users don’t realize is that even if you’re visiting a website that is encrypted — has the little green lock in your browser — that doesn’t keep your DNS resolver from knowing the identity of all the sites you visit. That means, by default, your ISP, every wifi network you’ve connected to, and your mobile network provider have a list of every site you’ve visited while using them.

Cloudflare’s solution is a completely free, blazing-fast DNS resolver for your PC, smartphone, or router. And they promise not to sell your data or even keep debug logs more than 24 hours.

Normally when something is free, the company is going to try to sell your data, or use advertising, or they will eventually go out of business. So what’s Cloudflare’s game here? In a nutshell, Cloudflare offers (an excellent) DNS service for businesses, and that service is more attractive to sell to those companies if a lot of consumers are already using them for lookups. Basically like how the Yellow Pages were given out to consumers for free because businesses had to pay to get a better listing. Before the internet killed the Yellow Pages, at least.

So now that we’ve over explained, should you use Cloudflare’s new DNS server? We’d say it’s definitely worth testing out. They are one of the biggest companies on the internet, and they have an incentive to keep this free. Plus, their business DNS is one of the very fastest if not the fastest solution, and from the benchmarks it appears that their new consumer offering is blazing fast.

If you want to try out Cloudflare DNS for yourself, just use our guide to point your DNS server at and Or visit their homepage for full install instructions:

[Source: The Verge]

Lowell Heddings Lowell Heddings
Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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