Running a hobbyist DNS-over-HTTPS server: some statistics

It has been roughly four months since I launched my DNS-over-HTTPS server at, and I thought it might be interesting to look back on the very minimal logging that I do and pull out some statistics. There’s very little detail I can offer, but I have been vaguely pleased at the slow growth of the service over the last few months; coincidentally, yesterday appears to have seen the heaviest traffic to the server yet, with roughly 226,000 requests successfully served. Of course, as I don’t log any of the request content, I can’t be certain that they were DNS requests, but it’s the best information I have, and is roughly consistent with the traffic that I have seen over the last few months.

The full graph is below - I have chosen to make it an image because I didn’t want to embed Google’s tracking into the sheet, which unfortunately means that it isn’t interactive:

I haven’t done any statistics to work out the average number of DNS requests I make in a day, so I can’t offer any suggestions as to the number of unique users, but I do remember being surprised by the sheer number of DNS requests made by a modern operating system/browser. I expect these numbers correspond to anywhere between 5 and 20 devices using the service, but I (consciously) have no method of verifying that.

It is interesting to note that the percentage of failed requests (503s), has stayed relatively the same as traffic has quadrupled, which I assume indicates that the server is able to handle the load being thrown at it. DNS requests are pretty small (both in request and response content) but even so, it’s not too shabby for a $10/mo Digital Ocean instance running nginx and a DNS-over-HTTPS server with no optimisation: the 15 min load average for the CPU holds between 0.1 and 0.3 on most days.

DNS-over-HTTPS is somewhat controversial, and even I am ambivalent regarding the amount of actual protection it provides against snooping - my mobile provider simply uses SNI detection when it doesn’t have DNS data to work with. However, it is exciting and encouraging to see people using the server, and I’m looking forward to having to scale it up at some point in the future if this growth continues!

Written by Feroz Salam on 16 November 2019