Cloudflare Launches Free Consumer DNS Service For Those Who Value Privacy And Speed

Each year on April 1 we are a bit skeptical about some of the stuff we read because some of it isn’t real. Cloudflare, the same company that uses a wall of lava lamps to generate encryption keys, swears that its new consumer DNS service is the real deal. The promise is that the new DNS service is the fastest on the web and is designed with privacy-first in mind.

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If you aren’t sure what DNS is, Cloudflare describes it this way, "DNS is the directory of the Internet. Whenever you click on a link, send an email, open a mobile app, often one of the first things that has to happen is your device needs to look up the address of a domain. There are two sides of the DNS network: Authoritative (the content side) and Resolver (the consumer side)."

The challenge for DNS services according to Cloudflare is that they are "often slow and not privacy respecting." The lack of privacy comes in that even when you are browsing a site that is encrypted, your DNS resolver knows the identity of all the sites you visit. This allows your home network ISP (Internet Service Provider) to know where every device on your WiFi or wired network has visited on the web, and your mobile provider knows every website you visit when you are using your smartphone or tablet on a cellular network.

Cloudflare writes, "Network operators have been licking their chops for some time over the idea of taking their users' browsing data and finding a way to monetize it. In the United States, that got easier a year ago when the Senate voted to eliminate rules that restricted ISPs from selling their users' browsing data. With all the concern over the data that companies like Facebook and Google are collecting on you, it worries us to now add ISPs like Comcast, Time Warner, and AT&T to the list. And, make no mistake, this isn't a US-only problem — ISPs around the world see the same privacy-invading opportunity."

DNS services can also be used to block access to specific content in countries where the governments aren’t interested in an open internet and want to censor certain content. DNS used as a censorship tool has happened all around the world, particularly in areas like the Middle East. This happened in Turkey in 2014.

Cloudflare Speed Claim

Cloudflare says that its new DNS service will outperform other DNS services that are available, including Google's DNS service by over 28 percent or more. One big promise with Cloudflare is that it won't keep your tracking data, it will wipe all logs within 24 hours.

The company notes that the IP address along with were held by APNIC, a Regional Internet Registry that hands out IP addresses in the Asia Pacific Region. Those addresses had been entered into random systems around the world to the point that the flood of traffic overwhelmed conventional networks.

Cloudflare wrote, "We talked to the APNIC team about how we wanted to create a privacy-first, extremely fast DNS system. They thought it was a laudable goal. 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, was born."

While the decision to launch on April 1, a Sunday and April Fools day was questionable, the service appears to be real and reports indicate it's quite fast. Cloudflare wrote, "We justified it to ourselves that Gmail, another great, non-fictional consumer service, also launched on April 1, 2004. Of course, as Cloudflare's PR team has repeatedly pointed out to me in the run up to launch, the Gmail launch day was a Thursday and not on Easter. Nearly every media briefing I did this week ahead of the launch the reporter made me swear that this wasn't a joke. And it's not. I swear. And the best way to prove that is go to, follow the instructions to set it up, and see for yourself. It's real. And it's awesome."

If you want to change your DNS to, Cloudflare has instructions here.