Manage Internet Access with OpenDNS

These days, parents and small businesses can find it difficult to make sure internet access is being used responsibly not to mention the potential security implications for visiting unknown websites on a frequent basis. The incumbent Federal Government put its web filter strategy on ice in the lead up to the election and still appears to be something that could cost its re-election a week after the election closed.

It’s hard for everyone to be an expert on how to manage access to the internet especially when kids are always going to try and outsmart those restrictions and not everyone works in IT either.

So what can you do?

OpenDNS is a service that replaces the domain name system servers (DNS) that are automatically assigned by your ISP. For those that don’t know, computer use IP addresses (like as an IPv4 address) to communicate with each other on a network (such as the Internet). Us humans don’t fare so well with numbers but we can remember words more easily which is why we use host names and domain names (like DNS provides the “phone book” to translate the worded addresses into the numerical addresses.

By replacing your ISP provided DNS servers with those belonging to OpenDNS, you are improving the resilience of your internet connection in the event that your ISP’s DNS servers go down. Also, depending where you are, OpenDNS may be a bit faster than your ISP’s DNS servers. Furthermore, you can also manage the types of websites that can be accessed either by broad groups (such as classifieds, dating, photo sharing and social networking to name a few) or explicitly by domain name. There is also a stack of other things you can enable such as:

  • malware/botnet protection,
  • phishing protection,
  • typo correction (if you type in google.cmo instead of,
  • traffic logging (so you can check out what addresses are being accessed and how often).

All you need to do to make this head to the OpenDNS site and sign up for a free account. There is a great guide on how to configure your computer or your router as well as a video tutorial (which I recommend you watch) here.

I’d encourage you to give it a go as it presents some advantages even for power users with its increased security benefits, globally distributed DNS servers (meaning that an OpenDNS DNS server is could be tolerate faults more easily than your ISP’s two DNS server) and the fact that it is free for personal use. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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