DNS is a critical part of the Internet, but unfortunately has bad security and privacy properties, as described in this excellent explainer by Lin Clark. In June, Mozilla started experimenting with DNS over HTTPS, a new protocol which uses encryption to protect DNS requests and responses. As we reported at the end of August, our experiments in the Nightly channel look very good: the slowest users show a huge improvement, anywhere up to hundreds of milliseconds, and most users see only a small performance slowdown of around 6 milliseconds, which is acceptable given the improved security.
This is a very promising result and the next step is to validate the technique over a broader set of users on our Beta channel. We will once again work with users who are already participating in Firefox experiments, and continue to provide in-browser notifications about the experiment and details about the DoH service provider so that everyone is fully informed and has a chance to decline participation in this particular experiment. A soft rollout to selected Beta users in the United States will begin the week of September 10th.
As before, this experiment will use Cloudflare’s DNS over HTTPS service. Cloudflare has been a great partner in developing this feature and has committed to very strong privacy guarantees for our users. Moving forward, we are working to build a larger ecosystem of trusted DoH providers that live up to this high standard of data handling, and we hope to be able to experiment with other providers soon.