Cloudflare launched the DNS resolver 126.96.36.199 in April of 2018 promising better privacy and security compared to DNS services offered by Internet Service Providers and companies that offer third-party DNS resolvers.
DNS plays an important role on the Internet as it translates host names to IP addresses; when a user points a browser to a site like https://www.ghacks.net/, DNS looks up the IP address of the site so that connections can be established to a server it is hosted on.
Early benchmarks confirmed Cloudflare’s claim about the speed of the company’s DNS resolver. The company added features such as DNS-over-TLS and DNS-over-HTTPS to improve user privacy.
Setup of Cloudflare as the primary DNS server is easy enough on desktop systems; mobile setup is a bit more complicated as the option to do so are quite hidden both on Android and on iOS.
Cloudflare launched applications for Android and iOS to enable the company’s 188.8.131.52 DNS resolver on mobile devices automatically. The main benefit for users is that they don’t have to make configuration changes manually to change the DNS resolver.
The Android application uses a VPN profile to make the change which prevents any other VPN profile from working while Cloudflare’s is active. Means: you cannot use Cloudflare’s DNS servers and a VPN at the same time.
Users who do use a VPN on Android may want to change the DNS resolvers manually on the device instead to avoid this. The process is not without disadvantages either, however.
Android supports changing the DNS of wireless connections only which means that cellular connections don’t use the set DNS resolver.
On my device, a Nokia 5, I had to open Settings > Network & Internet > the Wi-Fi the device is connected to > long tap on the wireless connection > Modify network > Advanced Options > switch IP Settings to static > Enter Cloudflare’s DNS IP addresses (184.108.40.206 and 220.127.116.11).
The app itself displays a big toggle to enable or disable Cloudflare’s DNS resolver on the device. A tap on the menu icon opens the options, another tap on Advanced the configuration options the app offers.
The creation of log files can be disabled in the settings, and you may switch from the default DNS over HTTPS method to DNS over TLS under Encryption.
Options to check the status of the connection to the resolver and the log files are provided as well.
Mobile users who know how to change DNS resolvers on their devices have little need for Cloudflare’s application. While it is easier to use and works when connected to a cellular network, you sacrifice the device’s ability to use VPN profiles while the resolver is enabled.