DNS Over HTTPS (DoH) vs. DNS Over TLS (DoT): A Comparative Analysis
Since DNS queries are sent in plaintext, everyone can read them. DNS over HTTPS and DNS over TLS encrypts DNS queries and responses so your browsing remains anonymous and private. Both have advantages and disadvantages and as we dive deeper into this guide, we’ll uncover how both can help enhance your data’s protection. So, without further ado, let’s begin.
Why Does DNS Need TLS or HTTPS?
DNS (Domain Name System) is a network protocol that translates website names into IP addresses for your computer to understand. To put it simply, DNS is considered the phonebook of the internet. It converts website domain names into numerical values to get loaded to your web browser.
However, some issues come with using DNS. DNS is an insecure network that can get intercepted quite easily. This presents a significant security risk for users. HTTPS and TLS help enhance and improve the security of DNS networks since they are encryption protocols. TLS (Transport Layer Security) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) protect the data transferred between computer devices. They keep data private in case there’s any interception.
Encryption ensures that the data cannot be read or understood by unauthorised parties, and thus, the data becomes less vulnerable to any breaches. In a nutshell, HTTPS and TLS safeguard DNS requests and guarantee that any sensitive or confidential data remains safe and secure.
What Is The Difference Between DoH and DoT?
DNS over HTTPS (DoH) and DNS over TLS (DoT) are two different protocols that are designed to enhance privacy and security when resolving domain names to IP addresses:
DNS over HTTPS (DoH)
- With DoH, DNS queries are encrypted through HTTPS, which secures web traffic.
- It enables DNS resolution over standard port 443, commonly used for HTTPS traffic, making it harder for ISPs and network administrators to monitor or tamper with DNS queries.
- Some web browsers and operating systems support it, and users can configure their devices and applications to use DoH.
- DoH offers much better privacy by preventing eavesdropping on DNS queries and responses.
- DoH has gained traction as it is easy to implement and compatible with existing infrastructure.
DNS over TLS (DoT)
- DoT encrypts DNS queries using Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol to secure web traffic.
- DoT enhances privacy and ensures unauthorized parties do not tamper or intercept DNS queries.
- DoT requires support for client applications and DNS resolvers and is configured at the system or application level.
- It operates over port 853 and provides a dedicated channel for DNS communication that’s encrypted with TLS.
- While DoT has similar security benefits to DoH, it performs as a transport layer rather than the application layer like DoH.
Both DoH and DoT have the same purpose of addressing privacy concerns associated with traditional DNS resolution, where queries get sent in plaintext, potentially exposing information to network intermediaries and malicious actors. They offer an encrypted communication channel between DNS resolvers and clients, which helps enhance privacy and security.
Why Is DNS Request Encryption Important?
DNS encryption is essential for a wide variety of reasons, and these include:
1) Privacy Protection
DNS queries are sent in plaintext, which means anyone can understand and intercept them. This can expose the user’s browsing history and any websites they’re visiting. DNS request encryption enables you to prevent eavesdropping, which enhances user privacy.
Unencrypted DNS queries are susceptible to various attacks and threats, like DNS hijacking, DNS spoofing, and DNS cache poisoning. Encrypting DNS requests makes the attacks challenging to execute because the transmitted data has been encrypted, which means it cannot be easily intercepted.
3) Bypassing Censorship and Content Filtering
In regions with strict censorship, encrypted DNS requests can help you bypass these restrictions. By encrypting DNS traffic, users can prevent ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from blocking or inspecting DNS queries.
4) Data Integrity
Encryption guarantees that the DNS responses received by the client are authentic and that they don’t get tampered with during data transit. This helps prevent DNS cache poisoning attacks.
5) Preventing Man In The Middle Attacks
Malicious actors and cybercriminals can intercept DNS queries to redirect users to suspicious websites or phishing pages without encryption. Encrypted DNS requests can help reduce the risks of Man In The Middle attacks. This ensures that the communications between the client and DNS resolver remain secure.
Pros and Cons of DoH and DoT
When deciding between the two, it’s a good idea to evaluate the pros and cons of each. This can help you make a better and more informed decision. Let’s take a look:
Pros of DoH
- DoH encrypts DNS queries, preventing ISPs and Network Administrators from monitoring and tampering with DNS traffic.
- DoH offers a secure communication channel between the client and the resolver, which protects DNS queries from spoofing or hijacking.
- DoH can be easily integrated into existing web browsers and applications that HTTPS supports.
Cons of DoH
- DoH relies on centralized DNS resolver providers like Google, Cloudflare, or ISPs. This raises issues regarding privacy and data collection by these providers.
- Encrypted DNS queries using HTTPS can lead to additional latency compared to unencrypted DNS resolution.
- There is a potential for a DNS overload if many DoH queries are sent simultaneously.
Pros of DoT
- DoT encrypts DNS queries and responses, which protects them from eavesdropping and interception by unauthorized parties.
- DoT reduces the risk of DNS manipulation, ensuring that DNS queries are authenticated and encrypted.
- DoT can be easily deployed without any changes to the existing DNS infrastructure.
- DoT offers good performance as compared to other encrypted DNS protocols.
Cons of DoT
- Compared to other encrypted DNS protocols, DoT has seen a slower adoption, which may limit the availability of DoT-compatible DNS resolvers and clients.
- Configuring DNS clients to use DoT may require manual configuration or changing the network settings. This can prove to be more complex.
- In some network environments, administrators can block traffic on specific ports, including the port used for DoT (port 853).
Which Is Better? DoH or DoT?
The answer to this depends on your own needs and preferences. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. From the network security perspective, DoT is preferred because network administrators block or monitor DNS queries.
However, if privacy is your priority, then DoH is preferred since DNS queries are hidden in significant HTTPS traffic. Although this gives users more traffic, it makes blocking traffic challenging for network administrators, as it would require blocking other HTTPS traffic.
Alternatively, you can explore other options for DNS leak detection by investing in a reliable VPN (Virtual Private Network) to detect and protect yourself against DNS leaks. VPNs also help you remain anonymous online and enhance your privacy and security as all your data gets routed through an encrypted VPN tunnel.
With the growing need for user privacy, especially in a day and age where cyberattacks and data breaches are on the rise, so is the need for better privacy measures. DoT and DoH add an extra layer of security by ensuring that your sensitive and confidential data does not get intercepted. Not only do they enhance your privacy and security, but they also offer excellent network speed.
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