Acrylic DNS Proxy
Acrylic is a local DNS proxy for Windows which improves the performance of your computer by caching the responses coming from your DNS servers and helps you fight unwanted ads through a custom HOSTS file optimized for handling hundreds of thousands of domain names and with additional support for wildcards and regular expressions.
When you browse a web page a portion of its loading time is dedicated to name resolution (usually from a few milliseconds to 1 second or more) while the rest is dedicated to the transfer of the web page contents and resources to your browser. What Acrylic does is to reduce the time dedicated to name resolution for frequently visited addresses closest to zero possible. It may not seem such a great optimization but in a few weeks of Internet browsing you will probably save an hour or so, which is definitely not such a bad thing. Furthermore Acrylic's sliding expiration caching mechanism, simultaneous forwarding to multiple DNS servers and support for background DNS updates are able to improve your browsing experience independently of the browser.
With Acrylic you can also gracefully overcome downtimes of your DNS servers without disrupting your work, because in that case you will at least be able to connect to your favourite websites and to your email server.
Another good thing is that Acrylic is released as open source, which means that it's free and its source code, written with Borland Delphi, is freely available to anyone under the GNU General Public License.
How do I download Acrylic?
Version 2.1.1 (released on August 5, 2022)
Acrylic files are hosted on external servers. If you want to check their integrity verify that their hashes match with the ones shown here.
How do I install Acrylic?
Step 1: Installation
- Launch the Acrylic.exe file and click on the "Next" button.
- Read and (if you like it) accept the license agreement by clicking on the "I Agree" button.
- Choose the installation folder (the default is "Program Files\Acrylic DNS Proxy") and click on the "Install" button.
Note: Installation should be performed by a user with administrative rights over the system.
Step 2: Configuration
Upon installation Acrylic is preconfigured to point to the Google Public DNS servers.
You can change that by selecting the "Open Acrylic Configuration" menu item of the Acrylic UI desktop application or by opening the AcrylicConfiguration.ini file with a text editor. You can also change the contents of Acrylic HOSTS file by selecting the "Open Acrylic Hosts" menu item of the Acrylic UI desktop application or by opening the AcrylicHosts.txt file with a text editor.
Be aware that in order to use Acrylic you need to configure your network interface so that the DNS servers to be contacted for name resolution are no more your ISP's but Acrylic. The details of how to do it depend on the version of your OS:
For more information about the many available Acrylic configuration options have a look at the Configuration page.
For more information about the syntax of the Acrylic HOSTS file have a look at the Hosts page.
How do I uninstall Acrylic?
Just select the "Uninstall" Start menu item inside the "Acrylic DNS Proxy" folder.
The uninstall process will take care of stopping the service and deleting all traces of Acrylic from your computer.
How do I upgrade Acrylic?
Since a specific upgrade path is not provided for Acrylic the best way to upgrade is simply to uninstall the old version and install the new one.
Before uninstalling the old version I suggest you to make a backup of your AcrylicConfiguration.ini and AcrylicHosts.txt files, because they will be deleted by the uninstall process.
Note: On Windows 10, while trying to install the new version, you might see a "The service has been marked for deletion" error. This usually happens when Process Explorer by Sysinternals, the Task Manager or the Microsoft Management Console are open while uninstalling the old version. In this case close all the aforementioned applications (which should trigger the removal of the service by the OS) and retry installing the new version again.
How do I contact the author?
If you have questions please first have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions page.
If you have improvements to suggest, problems to report or whatever you can contact me at msmfbn [AT] gmail [DOT] com.
How do I report a problem in Acrylic?
In case you are reporting a problem in Acrylic it would be nice if you:
- Activate the debug log.
- Try to reproduce the problem.
- Send me your AcrylicDebug.txt file along with a description of what happened and what you expected instead.
To activate the debug log you can use the "Activate Acrylic Debug Log" menu item in the Acrylic UI desktop application.