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Internet and Networking

What Is 1.1.1.1? Everything You Should Know

Cited as the phonebook of the internet dozens of times, a Domain Name System (DNS) converts a human-readable website name (such as google.com) to a machine-understandable code (the IP address).

It’s impossible to connect to the internet without DNS. More specifically, without a DNS resolver. Typically, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) handles the whole DNS/DNS resolver part of getting online. The only problem with that? They can see which websites you visit, and it has been adduced in numerous articles that they use that information to buy/sell data, as well as for relevant ad targeting.

This knowledge could feel more like a violation because you can opt-out in most typical cases (say, for example, email marketing). When it comes to your ISPs, it’s almost as if you don’t have a choice. The situation becomes aggravated if you happen to be in a geographic region where you don’t have the luxury of choosing your ISP. For instance, say you’re in some remote rural area where only one Internet Service Provider exists.

For this reason, VPNs have become famous. And slightly along the same lines, yet fundamentally quite different, Cloudflare, in partnership with Asia Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC), introduced 1.1.1.1.

So, What Is 1.1.1.1 After All?

Launched as a free service, 1.1.1.1 aims to elevates the experience of browsing different websites by speeding things up, while at the same time, providing more privacy than your ISP. In fact, in the words of the 1.1.1.1 website, their service is the fastest DNS directory.

screenshot showing 1.1.1.1 being the fastest DNS directory
Screenshot captured from 1.1.1.1’s website.

How Does 1.1.1.1 Work?

The process of converting website names into IP addresses works the same way; but, 1.1.1.1 will not log IP addresses. In some cases, they may keep it for 24 hours, but that’s only for debugging purposes. After 24 hours have gone by, that data is purged.

The not logging of the IP addresses is where the privacy comes in. If you decide to go with this service, essentially, you’re replacing your ISP’s DNS resolver and using 1.1.1.1.

Further, the reason this is faster in comparison to a regular ISP, in Cloudflare’s terms, is basically due to their extensive global network coverage, infrastructure, and systems — which your ISP will very likely not have.

Optionally, you can use an additional service called WARP, which will secure all traffic derived from your device. Remember, 1.1.1.1 only kicks in for DNS queries — which is still something and definitely better than nothing — it’s not the entire part of being online. WARP aims to fill in a few more gaps for extra security & privacy.

How To Configure 1.1.1.1 on a Windows Operating System?

To use 1.1.1.1 on a Windows OS, you have to adjust your default settings. To do so, follow the steps below.

Step 1: Get to the Network and Sharing Center

There are a few ways to get there. So use whatever you’re comfortable with. However, if you need a bit of guidance, follows the instructions below:

  • Search for “Settings” in your Windows start menu.
  • Once there, find “Network & Internet.”
Network & Internet settings in Windows 10
Find Network & Internet settings as shown.

Step 2: Navigate To Change Adapter Options

Within the Network & Internet settings, under the sub-heading of Advanced network settings, find & navigate to “Change adapter options.”

navigating to change adapter options in Windows 10
Go to the “Change adapter options” as demonstrated.

Step 3: Find Your Connection and Head Over to Its Properties

Clicking on Change adapter options will take you to the Network Connections Window. From there, find your internet, right-click, and select properties.

how to go to Wi-Fi properties
Select properties as displayed in the screenshot here.

Step 4: Find Internet Protocol Version 4 & 6, and Adjust Their Settings

Inside the latest pop-up Window, locate Internet Version protocol 4, select properties.

internet protocol version 4 properties
Internet Protocol Version 4 properties.

Next, hit the option button of “Use the following DNS server addresses,” where:

  1. For the field Preferred DNS server, input–>1.1.1.1
  2. For the line item Alternate DNS server, plug-in–>1.0.0.1

Eventually, hit the OK button to finish the setup for IPv4.

Similarly, conclude setting up the process for IPv6 with the following entries:

  1. 2606:4700:4700::1111 for the Preferred DNS server.
  2. 2606:4700:4700::1001 for the Alternate DNS server.

If you want to learn about updating DNS server settings on other operating systems, you can use Tom’s Guide.

Should I Use 1.1.1.1?

I’d say take it out for a spin to see how it’s working out for you. Although, concerns have been voiced over its restrictiveness. There have been reports about how using 1.1.1.1 leads to an incomplete internet experience where some sites do not work or ISPs straight up block them. Further, while the service promises privacy, they could still collect data for research use only. So the question you need to ask is: Who gets to see what you’re doing? Your ISP or 1.1.1.1.

Should I Use a VPN or 1.1.1.1?

If you have the means, go with a VPN. If not, you can check out 1.1.1.1. Any option, in my opinion, is better than the default you get from your ISP. Having said that, you might get limited access to the world wide web with 1.1.1.1, as discussed above.

Is 1.1.1.1 Free?

Yes, in case you missed this mention up until so far.

Can I Use 1.1.1.1 on My Router?

Yes, it seems so. As it turns out, Cloudflare wrote a guide on just that.

Does 1.1 1.1 Hide Your IP?

No, it does not. It merely resolves names into IP addresses over an encrypted connection (HTTPS). That is still something, but it most certainly does not mask your IP address. If you’re looking for more assurance around privacy, look for a solid VPN.

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In Summation

An ambitious initiative towards user security and privacy, 1.1.1.1 is a collaboration between Cloudflare and APNIC. The service is free to use to the end-user, but data could be collected for research justifications. Still, with the pledge of providing a faster & protected browsing exposure to the world of the internet, it’s something to consider.

Expert Sources and Citations