When you connect to a website, the first thing that happens is that your device queries for the location of the servers that host the content.
When you type an address like Facebook.com, for example, your system needs to find the numeric address or the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the server that hosts the site, such as 22.214.171.124. This arrangement, called Domain Name System (DNS), is analogous to a phonebook.
That process is what technology company Cloudflare wants to speed up with its recent announcement on the availability of the 126.96.36.199 DNS service. The service is run in partnership with the Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre or APNIC, the regional registry that manages the allocation of IP addresses.
Here’s an explainer video on DNS
“Unfortunately, by default, DNS is usually slow and insecure. Your ISP, and anyone else listening in on the Internet, can see every site you visit and every app you use — even if their content is encrypted. Creepily, some DNS providers sell data about your Internet activity or use it target you with ads,” Cloudflare said in announcing the free service.
By default, your connection uses the DNS settings of your Internet Service Providers or ISP such as PLDT Home. To use the services of 188.8.131.52, you just need to adjust settings in your router, computer, or phone.
I switched our home connection for a couple of days now and there are discernible improvements in the speed of the loading of pages. Before 184.108.40.206, we used Google’s public DNS, which are 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168.
Before Google’s public DNS, we used for some time OpenDNS, which are 22.214.171.124 and 126.96.36.199. OpenDNS has the added functionality of blocking harmful locations such as phishing sites and filtering porn content.
DNSPerf data back up the service’s claim to being the fastest. It ranked 188.8.131.52 at number 1 with a query speed of 13.67 ms. OpenDNS ranked 2nd with a speed of 20.69 ms. Google’s public DNS had a speed of 34.46 ms.
But a key draw to the 184.108.40.206 service is its guarantee on privacy.
“Frankly, we don’t want to know what you do on the Internet—it’s none of our business—and we’ve taken the technical steps to ensure we can’t,” the service announcement said.
The partners said the “will never log your IP address (the way other companies identify you).” To back their claim, the partners said they signed up KPMG to audit their systems to make sure they are doing what they promised.