OpenDNS — your friend and mine
I use a DNS (domain name system) service called EveryDNS. A DNS service allows me to point domains at a specific server on the Internet. Translating “www.ramblingengineer.com” to the IP (internet protocol) address of my server. DNS is part of the backbone of the Internet and makes the world go ’round. There are two components that make up the DNS on the Internet.
- DNS server — This is the server that contains the address mapping from name to IP address.
- DNS client — This is a process (usually running on your desktop) that sends a query to the DNS server and asks to which IP a name points.
EveryDNS is free and I’ve never had any issues with it (except for a few missing features). The same guy who started and runs EveryDNS recently created a new service called OpenDNS. Where EveryDNS managed the server side of things, OpenDNS helps in the client side of things. Most ISPs run their own DNS server relays, which simply relay your request to a DNS server which should know the IP of the domain you requested. OpenDNS replaces these servers. It’s a middle man for all DNS requests.
Now you may ask, “Why would I want to use OpenDNS when my ISP already provides this?” And I will respond with, “Fantastic question!” And here’s the answer. OpenDNS comes with lots of additional features. Not only is it faster (yes, the milliseconds count), but it also provides statistics (tracking), adult site blocking, phishing protection and more.
This is ideal for those who have kids that you are concerned about. You don’t have to install anything locally on all your machines. Just change some settings on your router, create an OpenDNS account and you can track (and possibly block) all the sites they visit. And because this operates at the DNS level, it doesn’t just track web sites, but also email, chat, etc. Everything that uses a domain to resolve the IP address will go through their system for you to view.
Now you might say, “Wow, how much are they paying you for this glowing review?” And I respond with nothing — monetarily speaking. They are however giving me a quality free service which I find an even trade.