Cloudflare is another Google Public DNS alternative promising better privacy, with tested faster DNS Benchmark speeds

Posted by Paul Braren on Apr 1 2018 (updated on Apr 4 2018) in
  • HowTo
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  • Cloudflare's announcement:

    • Announcing the fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service

      Seriously, April 1?
      The only question that remained was when to launch the new service? This is the first consumer product Cloudflare has ever launched, so we wanted to reach a wider audience. At the same time, we're geeks at heart. has 4 1s. So it seemed clear that 4/1 (April 1st) was the date we needed to launch it.


    Well, I can say I saw this one coming, with today being a rather peculiar day for an announcement. Until you read what I highlighted above. Nevertheless, this new service is real, and it's here, and the speeds claims appear to be pretty remarkable, especially when you look at the DNSPerf site that Tom mentions. The thing is, DNS is very location specific, so your results will vary from what DNSPerf indicates. So once again, DNS Benchmark came in handy for my own testing at my own 06109 location, so I decided to retest. First, I just ran it, adding CloudFlare's primary and secondary IP addresses, along with Quad9's primary and secondary DNSs. My router's DNS cache was still on. Then I set my router's DNS cache feature to zero, and ran DNS Benchmark again, and have posted one preliminary screenshot below.

    DNS Performance Analytics and Comparison screenshot from Apr 01 2018.

    Some things I noticed on this run, and subsequent runs. It appears that might already be suffering the pressure of early adopters already, showing significantly slower response times than their secondary IP of, so you may want to set as your primary and as your secondary. Also notice that Quad9's is faster for me than on some runs, and not others. In other words, the practical differences may not be significant for me. Finally, notice that shows as registered to MegaPath Networks, and shows as Cloudflare. A bit odd. Also interesting that for me, Cox Communications, my ISP, actually performs quite well, but I'm not thrilled about their ability to sell my family's browsing data.

    So far, it appears that Quad9 and CloudFlare are neck-and-neck in performance, at least in my neck of the woods. I'll post more screenshots of test results later. Only time and more testing will tell which one will be the keeper in my home.

    For families with an interest in a bit more family-friendly filtering, OpenDNS is another service to check out, using primary and secondary. There is also Norton ConnectSafe with a variety of levels of protection.

    Give DNS Benchmark a try yourself, and let us know your results by commenting below. I'm curious! Don't forget to visit TinkerTry's in depth Quad9 article too:


    And again, here's Cloudflare's new DNS page, which is the same IP that is serving DNS requests:

    Normally, not a great idea to be doing IP addresses instead of names in your URL, but this particular site is both, with a secure TLS HTTPS padlock.

    How to change your router's DNS configuration

    I'm not a fan of's "Install" instructions though, as it's generally far better to change your router's DNS, which I detailed here.

    Apr 01 2018 Updates

    I've had some time to refine my DNS Benchmark list to now include several more public DNS services that you may be interested in trying. I've also now appended these to the article above.

    Here's the list of 5 services mentioned in the article above, ready for you to Add to your DNS Benchmark list right after you click on the Nameservers tab and right-click "Remove 8 Dead Nameservers". Based partly on your results but mostly on features that matter to you, you can then use your winning IPs to replace those in your router's DNS settings. Here's the list, ready for easy copy-and-paste:

    Free Public DNS Primary and Secondary IP Addresses

    Cloudflare - speed and privacy

    Google Public DNS - speed

    Quad 9 - privacy, speed, and malware filtering

    • offering DNSSEC

    OpenDNS Internet Security - family friendly packages (part of Cisco)

    • offering DNSCrypt

    Norton ConnectSafe - family friendly

    • not currently offering DNS over HTTPS, DNSSEC, or DNSCrypt


    Based on my initial test results below, it seems that all of these services are very fast. Once I turn my router's DNS caching back on and go back to surfing a variety of sites, I doubt the difference between any of these good services would be noticeably faster than any other, as far as page load times. To test that out properly, it would take a lot of tests to determine any meaningful (statistically significant) difference between them. I'd also need to be sure no other systems are on my same router's network, which would be rather disruptive. Finally, I'd also need to test each service at different times of day. I will be doing some more informal tests in the coming weeks, using mostly Cloudflare and Quad9, and will report back here if anything about the experience jumps out at me and my family.

    Note that results for a primary DNS that are very similar to secondary DNS could be a bad sign that it uses the same infrastructure. In other words, you may even be getting same path, and if one goes down, your access to both is more likely to go down. While Quad9 offers a truly separate secondary DNS based on IPV6 of 2620:fe::fe, DNS Benchmark doesn't support IPV6, so I went with Quad9's IPV4 secondary DNS of instead.

    DNS Benchmark screenshots

    Test 1 - DNS Benchmarks at zip code 06109 on Cox Communications Internet testing Cloudflare, Google, Quad9, OpenDNS, and Norton ConnectSafe.
    Test 2 - DNS Benchmarks at zip code 06109 on Cox Communications Internet testing Cloudflare, Google, Quad9, OpenDNS, and Norton ConnectSafe.
    Test 3 - DNS Benchmarks at zip code 06109 on Cox Communications Internet testing Cloudflare, Google, Quad9, OpenDNS, and Norton ConnectSafe.
    Test 4 - DNS Benchmarks at zip code 06109 on Cox Communications Internet testing Cloudflare, Google, Quad9, OpenDNS, and Norton ConnectSafe.
    Test 5 - DNS Benchmarks at zip code 06109 on Cox Communications Internet testing Cloudflare, Google, Quad9, OpenDNS, and Norton ConnectSafe.

    Apr 02 2018 Update

    I'm continuing to run DNS Benchmark at different times of day, with my router's DNS cache set back to 1000, to determine whether anything significant additions to the article above are warranted.

    Each service has it's own unique advantages and disadvantages, I encourage you to do your research, starting with the collection of 3rd party articles listed for you below.

    Cloudflare's special advantage is said to be for web content creators that already leverage Cloudflare: their visitors are supposed to have even faster DNS experience. Here's how CNET puts it:

    Apr 04 2018 Update

    There's a new release of DNS Benchmark! You can find all the details at TinkerTry here:


    See also at TinkerTry





    See also

    • Cloudflare launches DNS service that will speed up your internet

      Apr 01 2018 by Tom Warren at The Verge

      The service is using, and it’s not a joke but an actual DNS resolver that anyone can use. Cloudflare claims it will be “the Internet’s fastest, privacy-first consumer DNS service.” While OpenDNS and Google DNS both exist, Cloudflare is focusing heavily on the privacy aspect of its own DNS service with a promise to wipe all logs of DNS queries within 24 hours.

    • How to Pick the Best Threat-blocking DNS Provider

      Dec 23 2017 by Gabor at Rainbow & Unicorn

      A handful of alternative DNS services offer protection from malware, ransomware and phishing. Providers like OpenDNS and Quad9 can blackhole DNS requests for blocking network traffic associated with botnets, phishing and exploits. These DNS providers promise some level of threat protection, but what do they know? Do they know things? Let’s find out!

    • Free and Public DNS Servers
      Updated list of the best publicly available and completely free DNS servers

      Nov 17 2017 by Tim Fisher at Lifewire.

      Quad9 uses real time information about what websites are malicious and blocks them completely. No content is filtered - only domains that are phishing, contain malware, and exploit kit domains will be blocked. No personal data is stored. An unsecure pubic DNS is also available from Quad9 at but they do not recommend using that as a secondary domain in your router or computer setup. See more in the Quad9 FAQ.

    • Is Your ISP Hijacking Your DNS Traffic?

      Jul 06 2016 by Babak Farrokhi at RIPE NETWORK COORDINATION CENTRE.

      You might not have noticed, but there are chances that your ISP is playing nasty tricks with your DNS traffic.