Cloudflare, one of the premier content delivery networks (CDNs) in the world, also provides the whole gamut of cloud-based solutions for website owners and network administrators. The list includes distributed DNS service, free DDoS Protection, reverse proxies, automatic caching and SSL offloading. Now, the San Francisco-based company is adding one more product to that list – consumer DNS service.
The announcement may have come on April Fools’ Day, but Cloudflare is dead serious about it. The DNS resolution service, 126.96.36.199, aims to prevent ISPs from tracking users’ web history, and promises to help websites load faster. The company claims it will be “the Internet’s fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service”.
According to Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince, “If you switch to 188.8.131.52, then that ledger of where you’re going online is not being kept by your ISP”. With its focus firmly on privacy, Cloudflare is also promising not to use that data itself, and instead, will wipe all logs of DNS queries within 24 hours. He further claims that the company won’t even write any of the source IPs on their disks to completely mitigate all risks of data breaches going forward.
“We’re committing to, and actually having a third party come in and audit the fact that we’re destroying all of the logs within 24 hours, we’re never writing any of the source IP addresses to disk, and that’s the only personal identifiable information that would be there”
For the uninitiated, Domain Name System (DNS) resolver services are generally provided by internet service providers (ISPs) to transform a domain name like beebom.com into an IP address that routers and switches understand. Because DNS is essentially the how client computers connect to servers, DNS service providers typically have access to a whole lot of information about users’ online behavior based on their search queries.
To avoid ISPs spying on their activities, most tech-savvy users generally configure their routers or PCs to use either Open DNS (184.108.40.206 / 220.127.116.11 for IPV4) or Google DNS (18.104.22.168 / 22.214.171.124 for IPv4), both of which are typically faster than the default DNS resolver provided by ISPs. It will be interesting to see how Cloudflare competes with these two established players going forward.