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Open DNS – A Free Solution that may make your “Web-life” easier

DNS (Domain Name System) is an extremely integral part of web browsing; always working in the background every time we connect to a website. DNS translates the readable website addresses we all know and love into the sites’ computer readable IP addresses. For instance, when you type “www.google.com” into your address bar, believe it or not, the computer doesn’t know where the letters “www.google.com” points to so it has to “ask” a DNS server for www.google.com’s IP address. A server computer at your ISP performs a quick lookup and decides that when you asked for google.com, what you really meant was 74.125.53.100(Google’s IP Address) and connects you to Google through that numerical IP address.

In most situations, your ISP automatically specifies address to its own DNS Servers and your computer, by default, will use them to resolve web addresses. Unfortunately, their DNS servers can often run slowly or crash; sometimes hindering your ability to surf the web. We, here at Atlanta IT Service, have looked into an alternative solution to these issues in a company called OpenDNS.

OpenDNS came up with the great idea to provide a FREE, fast, reliable, and (did we mention) FREE alternative DNS service that works, in many ways, better than your standard Internet Service Providers’. OpenDNS offers many additional features without requiring you to buy any hardware or install any software on your coumputer. They provide their DNS server addresses on their site for free, so in order to set up and start using OpenDNS, all you’d have to do is change your router’s DNS address settings to point to theirs. This process will enable you to tryout and take advantage all the features have they offer, which are quite suitable for both home users as well as businesses.

One of OpenDNS’s “claims to fame” is also their reliability. In their 5+ year history, they claim that their DNS computers have had zero downtime. They’ve built a self proclaimed; “self-healing” network across three continents that they say can withstand tremendous disruption to their infrastructure without ever causing disruption to their users.

OpenDNS blocks phishing websites from loading on your computer. It uses a database from Phishtank, a community site that is also used by Yahoo! mail, to determine if some particular website is part of any online phishing scam. OpenDNS will intercept and bock your efforts (accidental or intentional) to visit these “flagged”, malicious websites.

OpenDNS also takes care of any typos that you commit while keying in the name of popular websites. For instance, if you type www.gogle.com, omitting the additional “o” by mistake, OpenDNS will open the main www.google.com site automatically. Through OpenDNS, you can also set up webpage shortcuts that will work in any web browser you use. For example, you’d only have to type the letters “atl” to resolve a longer web address such as http://www.atlantaitservice.com//technews.

One of the main reasons why our interest focuses on OpenDNS, lies is in their Web Filtering Solutions. If you’re a parent worried about kids visiting inappropriate websites, you can configure OpenDNS to block any of these sites from loading on the computer. In fact, more and more businesses are using OpenDNS to do the same, while also blocking social sites like Twitter and Facebook on employee computers. Through the OpenDNS website, you can access an easy-to-use, Web-based administration console which allows you to set up and manage customized internet access policies on your home or office network. Restricting access to “questionable” websites is a great way to avoid computer viruses and other harmful malware infecting your network.

In our opinion, OpenDNS seems to be one of the great “freebies” of the Web and it certainly calls for serious consideration. It manages to pull off offering, at no charge, incredible utility and speed to the masses while still finding inoffensive ways to make money (e.g. no pop up ads or upgrade notification services). Even if you use only one or all of its features, you’ll find that OpenDNS may make your Web life a little better.

 

You can sign up and find out more at http://www.opendns.com

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