Can Encrypted DNS Be Fast?

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Austin Hounsel, Paul Schmitt, Kevin Borgolte, Nick Feamster


Proceedings of the 22nd Passive and Active Measurement (PAM), March 2021


In this paper, we study the performance of encrypted DNS protocols and conventional DNS from thousands of home networks in the United States, over one month in 2020. We perform these measurements from the homes of 2,768 participating panelists in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Measuring Broadband America program. We found that clients do not have to trade DNS performance for privacy. For certain resolvers, DoT was able to perform faster than DNS in median response times, even as latency increased. We also found significant variation in DoH performance across recursive resolvers. Based on these results, we recommend that DNS clients (e.g., web browsers) should periodically conduct simple latency and response time measurements to determine which protocol and resolver a client should use. No single DNS protocol nor resolver performed the best for all clients.


  title       = {{Can Encrypted DNS Be Fast?}},
  author      = {Hounsel, Austin and Schmitt, Paul and Borgolte, Kevin and Feamster, Nick},
  booktitle   = {Proceedings of the 22nd Passive and Active Measurement (PAM)},
  series      = {Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS)},
  date        = {2021-03},
  doi         = {10.1007/978-3-030-72582-2_26},
  editor      = {Levin, Dave and Lutu, Andra},
  eprint      = {2007.06812},
  eprintclass = {cs.NI},
  eprinttype  = {arxiv},
  location    = {Virtual (COVID-19)},
  publisher   = {Springer International Publishing},
  url         = {}