Cloudflare’s new ‘privacy-focused’ DNS service speeds up your web browsing
Cloudflare decided to use April Fool’s Day (4/1) to share some news about four 1’s that could help speed your internet browsing. The company announced today that it’s launching a DNS service for consumers called 126.96.36.199
The company’s tool — which is not some super nerdy April Fool’s joke — will allow users to shorten load times of web pages and keep some data away from network providers. Cloudfare boasts it will be “the Internet’s fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service.”
In layman’s terms, by punching the number 1 four times into their DNS network info, consumers can hand over the reigns over to Cloudflare to connect a URL that they type into the tool bar — say, techcrunch.com — with that site’s IP address, a process that’s done by making requests to the Domain Name System (DNS). If you go to 188.8.131.52, you’ll get some info on how to enable this on the device that you’re on.
It’s completely separate from the startup’s authoritative DNS service for its customers but it does take advantage of Cloudflare’s existing network to provide the fastest speeds possible to users, shaving off milliseconds from other service like Google’s Public DNS Service.
It’s important to note that this DNS service isn’t some magical catch-all, you’re still much better off operating a VPN if you don’t want any of your web activity being exposed. One of the main use cases that the company seems to be tackling here is how governments have used DNS to get network providers to censor citizens access to the web.
“[I]t’s been depressing to us to watch all too frequently how DNS can be used as a tool of censorship against many of the groups we protect. While we’re good at stopping cyber attacks, if a consumer’s DNS gets blocked there’s been nothing we could do to help,” Prince said in blog post.
The company says that the new service will help keep some data out of ISPs’ hands and that they won’t keep data in their hands for long either. Cloudflare has pledged to both never write users’ IP addresses to disk and that they’ll purge all logs from their system after 24 hours. CEO Matthew Prince doesn’t want you taking their word for it though, he detailed in a blog that the company has paid for an independent audit firm to take a look at their code annually and ensure that they’ve been doing this.
Cloudflare has always seemed to prioritize securing a healthy future for the internet, that’s led it into some tough predicaments with like Nazis and stuff, with this latest launch it seems that the company is trying to enact some positive changes for promoting privacy and speed on the consumer side.