The Domain Name System(DNS) is something regular visitors to this site are now hopefully well versed with. To recap, DNS translates human-readable website names or domain names into corresponding numeric IP addresses that computers understand. This translation is performed automatically by your browser and remote DNS server usually managed by your Internet Service Provider(ISP). As such, your ISP knows what websites you visit and can in theory sell this data to the highest third party bidder.
This is where DNS-over-HTTPS or DoH comes in. It’s a privacy-focused technology standard now being adopted by browsers that masquerades your browsing such that intermediaries like your ISP don’t intercept what you are surfing online. DoH can also prevent other WiFi users from seeing which websites you visit, as well as prevent potential spoofing or pharming attacks. Now that privacy is hot cake, browser vendors are now adding support of DoH in their products.
In fact, Mozilla announced that they would be supporting DoH by default by end of this month according to the Register. Google plans to support the standard in the upcoming Chrome 78 version.
If you can’t wait for Mozilla to enable it by default, here’s how to enable DoH in the latest Firefox browser;
Open Firefox, go to settings >> Preferences.
Scroll down to Network settings and click on Settings.
Check “Enable DNS over HTTPS”. Firefox uses Cloudflare’s infrastructure by default to support DoH. Click Ok.
Google hasn’t yet rolled out DoH, but it plans to do so in Chrome 78. Unlike Mozilla which partnered with only Cloudflare, Google plans to work with several existing DoH providers such as Cleanbrowsing, Cloudflare, OpenDNS, Quad9, DNS.SB.
Currently DoH is still under experimentation and takes a bit of geeking to get working. To enable DoH support in Chrome, users would have to use a so-called command-line argument (or command-line flag), which is a set of additional instructions that are passed to the Chrome executable at start-up, to enable in-dev features. ZDnet has a how-to if you really want to test it out. We shall update this post with the easier option when Google enables the feature in the upcoming build.