ControlD is a new DNS service by the makers of Windscribe VPN

Martin Brinkmann
Apr 25, 2021
Updated • Apr 26, 2021

Remember Windscribe VPN? We reviewed the free version of the VPN service in 2017 and liked it a lot. Many things have changed since then, and it is now possible to subscribe to a Pro plan to unlock unlimited data and locations, and use extra features such as a blocker for advertisement, tracker and malware.

ControlD is the company's new service; it is a DNS service that is also available as a free and paid option. The main difference between the free and paid versions of ControlD is that the latter offer customization options while the former only preset options.

Free users may select between four preset DNS servers that are available as legacy DNS and the encrypted versions DNS-over-HTTPs and DNS-over-TLS.

Here is an overview of what is provided:

Legacy DNS DNS-over-HTTPS DNS-over-TLS
Block Malware
Block Malware, Ads
Block Malware, Ads and Social

Unfiltered does not block any traffic, and the three presets that block will block IP addresses associated with the types listed.

Advanced users may use the addresses right away to set up the service, new users get configuration instructions on the ControlD site for all major operating systems and many other device types.

controld dns benchmark

I ran a benchmark for all four legacy DNS services, and they performed fine, but were not the fastest available options. Speed is but one of the requirements. The privacy policy reveals that the service is logging the timestamp of the last activity and the source IP address. The latter is required as it is used to known if a user has a paid account or not. The company states that it does not log user activity.

Since ControlD does not keep logs of which proxy server IPs were used by which user, nor do we even have access to this data, we have no way to trace any activity to any individual account.

ControlD Paid plans

Paid plans introduce new customization options to the service. Customers may select between 14 categories to block, use proxy servers in 60 countries to tunnel some browsing activity (and access geo-restricted content), and maintain a remote hosts file for IP spoofing.

Some features, like the ability to create custom block profiles, are known from other advanced DNS services. The ability to use proxy servers for SMART DNS functionality is an interesting addition, especially since it can be used for specific sites, e.g. Netflix, HBO or BBC.

The scheduling option works like a temporary blocker, e.g. to block social media access while working or studying.

The two paid plans, Some Control and Full Control, are available for $20 and $40 per year. The only distinguishing factor is that the full control plan includes proxy server access while the some control plan does not.

Closing Words

The free version of ControlD is an alternative to established solutions such as OpenDNS. The paid versions support several interesting features, such as the scheduling option or proxy server support, that set it apart from most solutions.

Now you: which DNS service do you use, and why?

ControlD is a new DNS service by the makers of Windscribe VPN
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ControlD is a new DNS service by the makers of Windscribe VPN
ControlD is a new free and paid DNS service by the makers of Windscribe VPN that offers some interesting features.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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