DNS is the system that converts websites' domain names (e.g. google.com) to an IP address.
But not all public DNS servers are created equal.
Right now, you're most certainly using your ISP's default DNS. But it may be slow, vulnerable to attacks or poisoning - thus giving wrong results -.
DNS a tool for censorship?
Censorship can come in many different forms, and DNS may be one of them. For example, in 2014, the government of Turkey blocked twitter altogether by null-routing DNS requests to
To counter this censorship, people literally painted Google's public DNS IP (22.214.171.124) on buildings, to try and spread the word that accessing twitter was still possible with a tiny tweak in devices' network settings.
Cloudflare is not exactly a new or small player in the DNS field. Their speciality? DNS for websites that include SSL proxy features and DDoS protection.
This is the reason why it is not surprising to see the DNS giant create a DNS-resolver service; they claim to be "the Internet’s fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service".
It is with the help of the APNIC that Cloudflare was able to offer its DNS service through 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52.
184.108.40.206 has been used as a junk address in many systems over the years: Cisco WLAN guest networks, captive portals... uselessly hammering the IP address.
Now, you may wonder why it's free. If something is free, you're the product, right? Well, in the world of DNS resolvers, it's a little different. It is not uncommon for internet giants to provide a DNS resolver service for free: Google (220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168), OpenDNS, Norton, Comodo, Level3, Neustar...
Moreover, Cloudflare is still getting something in return: they get to analyse the junk traffic received on the IP address. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince explained:
"We offered Cloudflare’s network to receive and study the garbage traffic in exchange for being able to offer a DNS resolver on the memorable IPs. And, with that, 22.214.171.124 was born."
Cloudflare claims to have the fastest DNS resolver in town.
This claim seems to be confirmed by the independent DNSperf website, where 126.96.36.199 comes first worldwide regarding raw performance.
But how does Cloudflare's new DNS fare on your network? One easy way to compare the various DNS services without endless fiddling with your DNS settings is Gibson Research Corporation DNSBench, a small portable Windows software that will test the response time of several DNS resolvers, making it easier to compare and choose the best DNS service for your home.
Go to 188.8.131.52 to learn more about setting up this new DNS on your devices or your router.