Why use Google DNS as default


I’ve noticed in the BalenaOS the Google DNS servers (, are used as the default DNS servers, if no others are given. I know you can change them in the config.json file and while the device is running using the NetworkManager (which is somewhat more difficult, because there isn’t a supervisor endpoint afaik for it for example).

But I’m curious why this is? Why is there a default for this provided by BalenaOS instead of using the DNS that’s provided by the router where the device is connected to? And why use Google DNS instead of CloudFlare for example?

By the way, don’t get me wrong, I’m just very curious and 9 out of 10 times this isn’t a problem. However, after learning a lot about Balena, some decisions are because of firewall restrictions (like running the VPN over port 443 instead of over a more frequently blocked port), so I’m curious what’s the thought behind this. It only came to my attention because a client of ours uses a very strict firewall, which asked if we can just use their DNS servers instead of Google’s, because they’re blocked.

Thanks in advance, and again, just curious! :slight_smile:

I am not part of Balena, but I am pretty sure they chose Google DNS for speed and pretty open behavior long time ago when Google was trendy into the geek community.

Currently, Google is not shiny anymore and people want more privacy, so yes using Google DNS isn’t a right choice for this, and CloudFlare can be a better alternative with good speed (and easy to remember too). I said “can be” as we cannot be sure of what CloudFlare does with our data and that is still an US company like Google so they got most of the same drawback on data privacy than all US companies.

About the router DNS… personnaly, I am bored that they randomly block some websites for political reasons or make money from my traffic (I am in France) so having another DNS server (I don’t remember if Balena use TLS or https) is a good move !

Hi Bart,
we’re generally trying to create a “it just works” experience and if you’ve ever heard the phrase “it’s always DNS”, you know that DNS is a constant source of trouble. E.g. home routers often block DNS entries for private IPs and consumer ISPs are well known for choosing sub-optimal DNS results.
Therefore having a fixed and reliable DNS provider helps a lot in the reliability of the product.

The question “why Google” I is definitely valid and we’re discussing internally if other providers (or a mix of them) would yield a better experience to our customers