The Domain Name System, or DNS, is an important part of the Internet. It allows us to access web resources with a name as convenient as www.softwareguide.net.
And all this data, in the form of DNS lookups, is usually recorded by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and anyone who wishes to monitor our online activity.
To protect your DNS queries, an encrypted DNS service is helpful. But how does encrypted DNS work? When should you use them? And how to use them?
What is encrypted DNS?
DNS queries include the address of the website you visit and any other information associated with it (such as IP address, port, etc.).
By default, these queries are unprotected. With encrypted DNS, you can keep these queries private from your ISP and keep your activities private from potential attackers. In some cases, you can also remove access to the service by encrypting DNS, eliminating the need for a VPN.
Similar to why we prefer HTTPS connections over HTTP, secure DNS or encrypted DNS should eventually become the norm for safe browsing. Don’t forget that secure DNS also helps permanently eliminate the risk of privacy leakage of your browsing activities.
There are two popular connection protocols used to encrypt DNS. DNS for TLS and DNS for HTTPS. Some also support DNSCrypt, a somewhat old protocol for securing DNS connections. You are welcome to explore the differences between these options, but if you don’t want to, you should be comfortable with a service that uses any of these techniques to secure DNS queries.
When should I use encrypted DNS?
If you don’t use encrypted DNS, attackers can use DNS hijacking to trick you into browsing a fake web page. In addition, when using unencrypted DNS, firewalls can easily block or affect your connection. If you want to have a safe browsing experience and bypass firewalls in minimal ways, undoing access to specific websites, you should try encrypted DNS.
Some services also offer a way to block trackers you encounter while browsing the internet. Of course, if you’ve already used browser extensions or similar options to block online trackers, this could be a redundant solution.
While privacy-focused DNS services have become more common than you might expect, it’s not a hassle-free solution. Occasionally, you may come across a broken website or find that your access is restricted. Switching back to unprotected DNS provided by your ISP usually solves this problem.
Also, if you use encrypted DNS, you may not be able to use a VPN service at the same time, whether it’s your phone or computer.
So, yes, you’ll find yourself proving to be a convenient option with unencrypted DNS. As long as you know how it works, you can use encrypted DNS according to your requirements.
Best encrypted DNS provider
There are various DNS providers that let you control your home network or organization, but not all of them support encrypted DNS protocols to keep your DNS queries private.
You should choose the best secure DNS provider to get the best privacy protection and extra features to ensure your browsing experience. Some options include:
NextDNS provides encrypted DNS connections and offers features such as a full-featured firewall.
You can use NextDNS to configure your browsing experience, block native trackers on your phone, block malware, enforce safelists or deny lists, and more. There’s also an option to log your DNS queries to analyze and track the network requests involved. You can access the service using the mobile app or a custom DNS configuration.
NextDNS is free to use, but an optional premium purchase is available to unlock the limit of handling a large number of network requests.
2. Cloudflare WARP
Cloudflare WARP is a genius technology that acts as a VPN, but it’s not exactly the same. This is one of the best options for most users who do not want to configure too much, but want a safe and simple experience.
You can choose to use DNS-over-HTTPs to encrypt your connection or its special WARP protocol. DNS queries remain private when you use them.
Cloudflare WARP is available for both mobile and desktop platforms. Unlike NextDNS, you don’t get any extra power, but for a faster routed network, you can get a WARP+ subscription.
3. AdGuard DNS
AdGuard DNS is popular for its tracker blocking feature, making it easy to do just that while safeguarding your browsing experience with an encrypted connection.
You can use AdGuard DNS as-is, choose Family Protection, or try the SafeSearch option for a safe experience without blocking anything.
The service supports the most popular DNS encryption protocols, including DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) and DNS-over-TLS (DoT).
4. Control D
Control D is a service similar to the above options, with more features.
You can use it for free and take advantage of the secure DNS protocol to protect the privacy of your internet activity. Whether you want to protect your DNS queries or need blocking features, Control D should be a great try.
If you’re paid, you can also use VPN-like features to change your location and try to unblock certain services. ControlD supports a wide range of platforms because you can manage most of your services through a web browser.
Protect your DNS queries and keep your internet activity private
Changing your DNS provider is easy and doesn’t affect internet speed, unlike VPN services.
In most cases, you can keep your activity safe from your ISP and snoopers on the network for free. In addition, you can customize and control parts of your experience by blocking trackers and malware, using parental controls, and logging network requests when needed.
However, if you don’t want to compromise on anything and want to hide your IP address in the process, then a VPN is a superior solution.