Saturday, 10 October 2009

The benefits of using OpenDNS

There are a lot of programs out there which monitor and block unsavoury websites, most of them cost a fair bit of money, but OpenDNS is different because it's not only free to use, but it gives unparalleled control over what your kids get up to online.

For those of you not familiar with what DNS is, it's basically how the internet translates our human readable web addresses into something that the internet can understand .... that being IP addresses, when you type in into your browser or whatever you are using.... that is translated to an IP number at the DNS server in this case (try it !!) then sent to your PC for use... and it is with this number that your browser is directed and eventually shows the google search page.... simple eh ? .... you could browse the internet by putting in the IP numbers of the website you want to visit but remembering every website by it's number unless you are some kind of memory man/woman is pretty unwieldy for most mortal humans......

Now things start to go wrong when DNS fails, sometimes that can happen at your ISP and any requests for translation into an IP addresses (a DNS request) are either rejected or ignored because the server(s) aren't responding or down.... your request for Google simply evaporates into thin air, or in this case the ether !!

That said, this is how OpenDNS works instead of directing you to the asked for web page (IP address) your request is directed  to a web page which says why that web page is blocked. The really brilliant thing about OpenDNS is that you can specify what type of things you want blocked  for instance :-


You simply tick the subject matter you don't want on your internet connection and OpenDNS does the rest for you, OpenDNS is driven by user input so if enough people complain about a website then it's put into the appropriate category automatically for you. You can also see system statistics about top domains visited etc, the best way to install it is to set your router to use the OpenDNS DNS servers which are and Once installed you create an account at and start controlling what flows into your network. if you are particularly worried about P2P filesharing you can block that and your network will never receive another MP3 file.... like all things it's not 100% efficient, but it's up there in the very high 90%'s which is usually more than enough to stop the average teenager as they will probably give up after the 20th rejection and move onto something more savoury.....I have tested it thoroughly and can assure you if say you wanted to block MSN or Social Networking then MSN or any website based around social networking is completely blocked, you can't even use MSN web messenger or any of the clones out there... they simply don't work.... which is great for banning stroppy teenagers off the net and effectively ending their social lives for the predetermined punishment time allotted by you  ;¬)

OpenDNS also quickens your internet connection response times because it utilises caching.... bringing you your web pages from it's own servers where it can.... you can also create your own shortcuts whereby you can enter a shorter name for say, such as G or g and all you have to type into your browser is g or G and it will take you there :) all in all a brilliant FREE tool :) at the moment I just use it to cut down on the adware and phishing scams that seem to be drowning the internet.....

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