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Faster Internet - FOR FREE!

A simple thing for optimising your internet connection.


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Faster Internet - for FREE! Can you really get something for nothing? Well perhaps not, but there are things you can do to both optimise your Internet connection and protect your usage.

What do I mean? Well, given most of my readership tends to be techy in nature, I'm not going to go in to massive amounts of detail, but in effect every Internet Provider tends to assign you their DNS servers…and these are usually far from optimal. A lot of techs I know then default to switching to Google's DNS (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4) because they're pretty quick.

Yes, they're pretty quick…But you're gifting Google with the ability to know every URL you resolve to an IP address. If you're comfortable with that then fair enough - I'm not, however. Google makes me uncomfortable from a privacy perspective.

So, let's look at Cloudflare. Many of you will be familiar with them with their Web Caching technologies, but few seem to be aware they also have DNS servers available - 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1. Cool addresses hey? Forgetting the cool addressing, just look at the performance - they're properly fast.

There's various DNS benchmarking tools out there - OK, they're not the most interesting of tools but they do give you decent information. Consider the performance difference between the Google servers and Cloudflare:

2018-07-30DNSPerformance

As you can see, in other than localised cached versions CloudFlare nails the performance - and the reliability - in all the required areas. I know it doesn't look like much, but the differences add up, and you can feel the difference.

What about the privacy thing about the provider knowing everything you do? Well, I suppose there is an element of me just not trusting Google - any company that needed a tag line of '
don't be evil' has issues - CLoudFlare do seem to have a defined policy of never storing your queries on disk, and being audited to ensure this is true. Apparently. I have no proof this is true, beyond stated policy.

Anyway, you can read the launch blog here:

Announcing 1.1.1.1: the fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service

I've been using the service for a while, and it
is faster than the ones I was using previously, and by some margin. The privacy element is a nice cherry on the cake.

The future expansion plans to cache more can only provide better response times you'd hope.

Oh, as a funny and slightly bizarre side-note, some ISPs won't actually be able to route to 1.1.1.1. I'm sure they're working on resolving that - it's easy to check if you can use the system simply by firing up nslookup (whether in Windows/Linux/MacOS) and then selecting the server with 'server 1.1.1.1' and seeing if you can resolve any addresses:

2018-07-30NSLookup

How you implement this for your Internet connection varies - on my platform for example I have my own DNS server that caches stuff, so I just CloudFlare as a resolver to that. You can also update your DHCP on your router to issue 1.1.1.1 and 1.0.0.1 - that's probably the simplest way of doing it for most people I imagine.

It really does make a difference.

Honest.



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