You can find answers to the most frequently asked ControlD questions here. If you notice a question or answer is incomplete or missing, do not hesitate to let us know!
ControlD is a completely customizable DNS service with superpowers. You can use ControlD to block unwanted categories of sites (like ads or porn), popular online services like Facebook or TikTok, or any domain of your choice. You can also do the opposite, and unblock any geo-restricted service or domain if it’s restricted in your country.
ControlD is great for anyone that uses the internet. Sick of endless ads and tracking? ControlD blocks them both without having to install a thing! Tired of distractions? ControlD can help you manage your productivity by blocking access to certain sites and services for specific times of the day. Have a family? ControlD can help restrict access to certain categories of sites and services, protecting family members from harmful content. Want to access content from your country while abroad? ControlD supports close to 100 services which you can unblock with a flip of a switch.
ControlD gives you the building blocks to create browsing profiles for yourself and your whole network. These profiles not only help manage access to online content, but can also be customized to change dynamically based on your schedule or time of day.
- You can block ads, trackers and 14 other categories of sites on all of your devices with the simple flick of a switch. No apps required.
- Create your own Productivity schedule to block access to distracting services like Social Media and games while you work or study.
- Tunnel all of your browsing activity through a network of proxies in over 60 countries and 100 cities. Sites will see you in another country as a result.
- Simultaneously exclude certain websites, like your bank or favorite online store, from being tunneled through proxies while ensuring other websites are.
- Maintain a remote hosts file that spoofs real or non-existent domains to IPs of your choice. Very handy for developers.
With ControlD your options are limitless.
ControlD lets you do everything SmartDNS services can do, and a whole lot more. SmartDNS services are “black boxes” so you have no idea what is going on behind the scenes, or what is actually happening, and they are mostly focused on unblocking geo-restricted content, through a slow and outdated interface. ControlD allows you to unblock any geo-restricted service and supports over 129 additional services that can be enabled with a single toggle switch. What's more, you can also create your own rules and unblock any domain on the Internet through more than 100 city level locations. Or choose to redirect all your traffic through a transparent proxy, which effectively functions like a “light VPN” (but not truly a VPN) for your web traffic. All without any applications to install. So you can do something like this:
- Unblock Japanese Netflix
- Unblock British BBC iPlayer
- Unblock US HBOMAX
- Block Facebook, Monday to Friday
- Bypass system when accessing a sensitive website
- Redirect all other web activity through Toronto
Not quite. Pi-Hole is a great open source tool if you wish to control and maintain every aspect of your network. ControlD functions like a “cloud based” Pi-Hole where we do all the work for you, which has the following benefits that you cannot get with Pi-Hole:
- Unblocks content through a global network of proxy servers in 100+ locations, powered by Windscribe.
- Optionally proxies all HTTP traffic through chosen city location
- Global anycast network of servers so you can use ControlD on any device, anywhere, not just your house.
- In-house maintained high quality blocklists which have way fewer false positives than most community maintained lists. Our lists combine dozens of community lists, with false positives removed.
- In-house maintained list of services and associated domains so you can control them individually. Unblock Japanese Netflix, British BBC iPlayer, and US Hulu, all at the same time.
No, ControlD is not a Virtual Private Network (VPN) provider. ControlD is a DNS service, that can redirect all your HTTP (and some non-SNI enabled) traffic through a series of transparent proxies in over 100 city level locations, so the sites you visit will not see your IP address, but that of one of our proxies, courtesy of Windscribe. Your network administrator or ISP will not see the contents of your DNS queries if you use a secure DoH or DoT resolver, however those deploying DPI technologies could still determine the sites you visit by looking at SNI information which is currently not encrypted. With the advent of Encrypted Client Hello (ECH), this issue is going to be resolved once more browsers support it.
ControlD will also not have any impact on applications that don't use DNS, and connect directly to IP addresses, such as torrent traffic, and other p2p applications.
It depends, but you probably shouldn't. On most devices and with most VPNs, it's simply not going to do anything, since when you connect to a VPN, you usually end up using the DNS server pushed by your VPN provider. There are exceptions to this, like Private DNS on Android, or if you configure DoH directly in the browser.
If you end up using Global Proxy or the unlocking capabilities of ControlD, using a VPN will slow everything down since you will end up triple proxying all your traffic. If that's something that you want, then by all means do it, but the performance will suffer.
Cloudflare and Google DNS are standard DNS servers that simply resolve the domains to associated IP addresses, but not much else. ControlD also does the same thing, but allows you to customize what gets resolved on your device or network, and what doesn't. This allows you to block ads, trackers, malware domains, IoT telemetry, typosquatting, clickbait and much more. You can also unblock geo-restricted services through a network of proxies in 100+ locations. No other DNS service gives you this level of CONTROL.
ControlD can be used absolutely free! Just pick any of our free community servers that suit your needs. However, keep in mind that these servers won’t allow you to control your browsing profile, nor will they unlock geo-restricted content. In order to unleash ControlD’s full benefits, you will need to upgrade to one of our paid plans. Feel free to test out ControlD’s premium features free for 7 days, you don’t even need to enter in your credit card information!
We offer 2 types of plans:
- Some Control – With this plan, you can customize your browsing profile just the way you like it, and get the ability to block or spoof any domain, service or category of websites.
- Full Control – This plan is just like the Some Control plan, but with the additional ability to tunnel some/all of your browsing traffic through a network of proxies (with locations in over a 100 cities across the globe), all powered by Windscribe. This includes Global Proxy and geo-restricted Service unblocking features.
You can find the answers to all of your technical questions regarding ControlD in this section. If we've missed anything that you think we should add, let us know!
DNS stands for Domain Name System. It’s basic internet infrastructure that converts human readable domain names like controld.com to IP addresses, which are used by all Internet devices to communicate. Think of it like Google Maps. You type in a name of a restaurant you want to go to, and it gives you the street address of the restaurant. A DNS server does the same thing, except the street address is an IP address of the website you're trying to reach.
DNS-over-HTTPS is a new protocol for looking up IP addresses. The biggest difference between standard DNS and DoH is the fact that standard DNS is not encrypted. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP), or network administrator can see what domains you’re accessing, and can very easily block them on their network. This is also how most ISPs collect your browsing history, and then sell it to advertisers or hand it over to law enforcement without any warrants. DoH fixes this issue by encrypting the request with TLS, the same technology that is used to secure communications with most websites out there. ControlD supports both legacy unencrypted DNS, as well as DoH.
Much like DNS-over-HTTPS, this is an encrypted DNS protocol. A DoH query looks like a regular HTTPS request that's encrypted with TLS, a DoT query is also encrypted with TLS, but doesn't look like an HTTPS request, it also operates on a different port which is exclusively used for DoT, which is easier to block as a result.
Global Proxy is a unique feature of ControlD. When enabled, it spoofs every domain you resolve to a proxy server of your choice. This effectively works like a VPN for your HTTP traffic. There are 2 modes:
- Automatic - Proxies your traffic through the closest location to you. Usually will yield best performance.
- Manual - Selects a city specific exit location for all your traffic. The further away the exit location, the lower the performance.
ControlD operates an anycast DNS and proxy network. This means you don't have to waste any time picking and choosing, your requests will automatically get routed to the best/closest location nearest to you.
If you're using secure resolvers such as DNS-Over-HTTPS or DNS-Over-TLS, the preferred method of using ControlD, you don't need to worry about linking your IP at all, it will just work on all networks, even roaming cellular devices.
If you are using a legacy resolver (UDP 53), you can link your new IP simply by visiting ControlD.com while logged in into your account, it will happen automatically.
We strongly encourage the use of a DoH or DoT resolver if at all possible.
No - less is more. We do not expose individual community block lists, because they are full of false positives and have no meaning to most people. Almost nobody knows what they are or what the difference is between OISD, StevenBlack or GoodbyeAds, unless they're super into Pi-Hole, DNS, etc. 99% of people are not. We also want to avoid questions like “Which list is best?”
Our ad + tracking block list is based on top of 27 different lists (~1M domains), with our own block lists added on top, and most importantly false positives removed based on 3 years of community feedback from millions of Windscribe users. Our combined lists are much more effective than Github lists you're probably using. Those lists are compiled by people as a hobby, we do this for a living and we have a large community that reports issues to us on daily basis. Our custom whitelist has thousands of domains that are falsely blocked by most community lists. If you don't believe us, try it for yourself. We think you will be pleasantly surprised.
Get answers to all of your ControlD billing and account questions below.
- Some Control - $2/month or $20/year
- Full Control - $4/month or $40/year
- Credit cards
- Cryptocurrency (most common ones)
- Google Pay (coming soon)
- Amazon Pay (coming soon)
- Apple Pay (coming soon)
We create an automatic subscription with all methods of payment, except cryptocurrency transactions. Keep in mind that you can cancel automatic re-billing at any time directly from the control panel.
If for some reason ControlD is not for you, we'll give you your money back within 30 days of your date of purchase.
If you wish to delete your account, you can do so anytime from the My Account section. Keep in mind, all your data will be instantly and irrecoverably deleted.