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DNS Servers

Cloudflare DNS VS NextDNS (1.1.1.1 vs. 45.90.28.0)

TL;DR Explanation

If you don’t have time to read the whole comparison:

Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 DNS is usually better than NextDNS when it comes to:

  • Pure speed, latency and ping
  • Server widespreadness
  • Variety of services and features
  • Integration with other vital Cloudflare services like CDNs and DDoS protection which are both world class and the standard when it comes to DNS servers.
  • Easier to remember the 1.1.1.1 address when compared to NextDNS’ address at 45.90.28.0 or 45.90.30.0.
  • Much easier to set up than NextDNS. Cloudflare has been making a lot of efforts to simplify the configuration of their services including their DNS.
  • It’s free all the way while NextDNS charges after 300.000 DNS queries per month. If cost is an issue, Cloudflare is the better option.

Next DNS’ servers are better than Cloudflare when it comes to:

  • Privacy: Based on what I could find, they are lesser known than Cloudflare and they have better overall privacy policies and implementations than Cloudflare. There is also a worry (so far just speculation) that Cloudflare might have data sharing agreements with Google since these two companies control a large portion of the DNS market. Just remember to disable the query log function in NextDNS because as default it comes with logging all your queries against your account which is bad for your privacy.
  • Ad Blocking Features: NextDNS has built in ad blocking features so you don’t have to configure your own. That’s a pretty big advantage and a good reason to pick NextDNS over Cloudflare.
  • More Customization: NextDNS has some more flexible customization options and custom filtering options which Cloudflare doesn’t offer at all.

1. Cloudflare’s DNS 1.1.1.1

  • Speed: Very well known and tested for its blazing fast servers. If you only care about speed, Cloudflare’s DNS will be your best option.
  • Privacy: Promises not to sell or use personal data for marketing. Cloudflare is still better than Google’s 8.8.8.8 DNS with privacy concerns but if you want even better policies, you should go with NextDNS instead.
  • Security: Offers amazingly good security features and they have a fantastic history of mitigating hacks and attacks.
  • Simplicity: Much easier to set up and use straight away
  • Cost: Free without caps
  • Features: Very limited customization options

Protocol Support

  • Supports DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) and DNS-over-TLS (DoT)
  • Offers DNS64 and DNSSEC validation

Network

  • Uses Cloudflare’s world class global network (1.1.1.1). One of the best in the industry, at least as good as Google’s 8.8.8.8 if not better.
  • Anycast routing for greater reliability and speed

Malware Blocking

  • Offers a basic malware blocking option on 1.1.1.2 and 1.1.1.3.

Logging

  • Claims to purge all logs within 24 hours but it’s fairly hard to verify that claim independently.
  • Does not write queried domain names to your disk

Other Services

  • Integrated with Cloudflare’s other services like CDN and DDoS protection. Their DDoS and CDN features are some of the best on the market, sometimes even better than Google’s 8.8.8.8 DNS and definitely better than NextDNS.

Family Friendly Filtering

  • Basic content filtering available on 1.1.1.3

2. NextDNS 45.90.28.0

  • Speed: Generally fast, but will not be as quick as Cloudflare in all regions. That’s because Cloudflare is a bigger company with more resources and they have optimized everything to an extreme level.
  • Privacy: Strong privacy focus with detailed controls. Overall better than Cloudflare when it comes to privacy.
  • Security: Offers advanced security features and customizable blocklists. About the same as Cloudflare when it comes to security with Cloudflare having a slight edge in particular areas.
  • Customization: Highly configurable with many options.
  • Cost: Free tier available up to 300.000 DNS queries per month, paid plans for advanced features.
  • Features: Parental controls, analytics and detailed logs. Overall NextDNS has fewer features compared to Cloudflare’s gigantic and growing service portfolio.

Protocol Support

  • Supports DoH, DoT and DNS-over-TLS
  • Offers DNScrypt support

Customizable Blocklists

  • Allows you to choose from different pre made blocklists or create your own.
  • Can block ads, trackers and malicious domains. Their ad blocking features are great and fairly aggressive while Cloudflare doesn’t even technically offer this service.

Detailed Analytics

  • Gives you insights into your DNS queries and blocked requests
  • Also offers real time logging with retention options

Multi Device Support

  • Allows different configurations for different devices or networks

Time Based Rules

  • Set up rules that apply only during certain times of the day

Custom DNS Rewrites

  • Ability to create your own DNS responses for specific domains

Privacy Features

  • Offers Encrypted Client Names (ECH) support
  • Allows anonymization of IP addresses in logs

Overall, because it’s a lesser known DNS service and has a better privacy policy and privacy tools, NextDNS is a slightly better option than Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1 when it comes to this.

API Access

  • Comes with an API for integration with other services or automation

Threat Intelligence Feeds

  • Incorporates multiple threat intelligence sources for great levels of security. However NextDNS doesn’t have the same track record of mitigating some of the web’s most egregious attacks and vulnerabilities as Cloudflare does.

Performance

  • Allows selection of specific server locations for optimized performance

In terms of pure speed NextDNS’ 45.90.28.0 is slightly behind Cloudflare’s 1.1.1.1. Ping, server availabilty and latency are all slightly worse with NextDNS but if you don’t have super efficient processes to run you will not feel the difference as a regular home user. Also, if you happen to be physically closer to a NextDNS server you have higher chances that Cloudflare will actually be the slightly slower option. You need to test both to figure out which one has the speed edge in your case.

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