Written by Jase Clamp Friday, 02 July 2010 00:00
I remember when we "first got Internet." It was dialup. First 14.4k, then 28k. We were running Windows 3.1 so the Internet Service Provider (ISP) had to come out to the house and install Trumpet Winsock on the computer. I remember looking at the settings screens when we upgraded to Windows XP. I didn't have a clue what DNS was but I just typed in the numbers the ISP gave us.
Anyway, I know now, and it's not such a hard concept. DNS stands for domain name server. When your computer wants to know where whatever.com lives, it asks the domain name server for the network address (where to find that site). All ISP's supply you with DNS servers, but since they are primarily in the business of providing internet, DNS is sort of a secondary "must have" for them. OpenDNS is a company however, that just does DNS and they provide it for free.
Here are some reasons why you should be using OpenDNS, followed up with the how.
- They protect against hacking. There is a type of hacking called "phishing" (pronounced fishing). Its when you get emails that pose as if they are coming from your bank, when they are really not. They ask you to put in your password on a site that looks identical to your bank's website. Anyway, OpenDNS will quickly be notified by their millions of users about this and then they will block that site, protecting many people from getting hacked.
- They are fast. OpenDNS has millions of users, so many more addresses are looked up than those looked up via your ISP. What this means is that more addresses are stored in their cache so they can respond to you faster.
- If you sign up for an account with them, they will let you block other types of sites, such as porn. They will also let you make shortcuts to your favorite sites and give you usage statistics.
- You can tell them to update their cache for specific domains you want to ensure are up to date.
- They are easy to install.