OpenDNS

What is OpenDNS and What can it do for me?

 

OpenDNS is a Domain Name System (DNS) service that you can use as an alternative to the DNS system that your internet service provider offers.

For those not familiar with DNS , it can be summarized as the service on the internet that takes the website address or server name you type in and translates that into something your computer and systems on the Internet can use to find your website or server.

So why use OpenDNS?

Whether your know it or not, when you are hooked up to your cable modem or DSL line, your internet service provider (ISP) automatically tells your systems which “DNS” servers they should use. Is this a bad thing? No, but using OpenDNS can give you much more functionality than than the DNS servers your ISP gives you to use.

 

What does OpenDNS do that my ISP’s DNS servers don’t do?

The OpenDNS servers offer many services that regular DNS servers do not.  Below is a list of the services that OpenDNS can provide.

  • Phishing & Botnet Protction
  • SmartCache
  • Web Content Filtering
  • Constant Updates
  • Whitelist/Blacklist Mode
  • Detailed Statistics
  • Typo Correction
  • Shortcuts

Isn’t there sofware I could install that does this?

Yes. But the problem with software is that it only works on each machine after you install it. The software must also be updated from time to time. It is also possible to bypass web filtering software installed on computers if you really want to. By using DNS servers to provide this function, you don’t have to install or maintain any software on your computers, it doesn’t slow anything down, and it is much easier to maintain. Once you are using OpenDNS it is maintenance free.

Also, does your website filtering software run on your iphone or samsung tablet or MAC or Linux machine? Probably not. But OpenDNS can provide the functionality at your home without having to install anything.

 

So how do I use OpenDNS?

Go to http://www.opendns.com and sign up for an account. Once you do you can find information on how to configure your computers to start using OpenDNS.  OpenDNS is an easy way to help restrict access to websites that are inappropriate for children and protect your computers from bad websites overall. The alternatives require more work or more cost, and don’t typically provide any more features.

 

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2 thoughts on “OpenDNS

  1. Hi Clay,

    Thanks for the great post on OpenDNS. Not needing to install anything is definitely a huge benefit of using OpenDNS — in addition to the other features you mentioned above.

    If you or your readers ever have any questions about using OpenDNS, please get in touch!

    Thanks,
    Laura
    laura@opendns.com

  2. Let’s not forget that DNS is ultimately controlled by the user’s device (computer, phone, etc.). If a router is configured to provide OpenDNS’s addresses to distribute to the devices, rather than the ISP’s, the end user (if knowledgeable enough) can override those settings locally on their device to whichever DNS servers they wish.

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