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How to use Cloudflare's DNS service to speed up your internet and protect your privacy

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Cloudflare[1] is an old hand at speeding up corporate internet services with its content delivery network (CDN). The company is also a pro at blocking Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Now, with its new 1.1.1.1 public Domain Name System (DNS) resolver[2], it can speed up and secure your web browsing, as well.

What is DNS and how does it work?

DNS is the Internet's master phone book[3]. It turns human-readable domain names, such as cbsinteractive.com, into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses such as 64.30.228.118. For all practical purposes, every time you go anywhere on the internet, you start by interacting with DNS.

Read also: Cloudflare's free network monitoring mobile SDK open to all developers[4]

This takes time. A complex webpage can require multiple DNS lookups -- one for the text, another for an image, another for an ad on the page, and so on -- before your page loads. Each DNS lookup takes an average of 32 milliseconds (ms)[5]. That really slows down many websites. So, when you speed up your DNS lookups, you'll get faster internet performance.

There have been fast DNS services for years to help you. My favorites are Cisco OpenDNS[6] and Google Public DNS[7]. According to Olafur Gudmundsson, Cloudflare's director of engineering, Cloudflare's 1.1.1.1 will be faster than the others because "we are already building data centers all over the globe to reduce the distance (i.e. latency) from users to content. Eventually we want everyone to be within 10 milliseconds of at least one of our locations[8]."

In addition, the Cloudflare public DNS resolver

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