Easy Security with OpenDNS (and a little giveaway)
I’ve recently found a fantastic Internet service that I wanted to share with you. The service is called OpenDNS, and the folks that came up with it have managed to build a great set of features on top of something that’s a core building block of the Internet.
DNS or Domain Name System is used to convert a name like yourfamilygeek.com into an IP address, which is then used for your computer to communicate with the other computer. OpenDNS uses this system to provide some pretty advanced and useful features.
The first thing to consider is that OpenDNS servers claim an average up-time nearing 100%. DNS Servers hosted by Internet Service Providers like Comcast are notoriously unreliable so the increased availability is a big plus. In addition to being reliable, the servers offer faster name resolution than most DNS servers on the Internet. By giving you an IP address for the name that you typed faster, the page loads faster in your browser, simple.
Now for the cool stuff. Since DNS itself operates at such a basic level of the way that the Internet works, it’s a great vehicle for providing some security for you. As you probably know, Malware, Spyware and Viruses are as readily available on the Internet as chain emails are. OpenDNS maintains a comprehensive database of known sites and servers that are either intentionally or unintentionally distributing these nasties. That database is integrated into their DNS databases so that when an OpenDNS user mistakenly tries to visit one of these sites, they’re greeted with a nice warning instead of an infected PC.
In addition to DNS security, OpenDNS provides DNS based Content Filtering. OpenDNS continually analyzes web sites and places them into categories. Users can then block or allow access to those sites as they see fit. This can be useful in limiting the sites that your kids or employees can access.
What’s unique is that all of these services take place without any software installed on your computer, all of it works without asking your computer to do anything it isn’t already doing. You’ll need an account with OpenDNS. You’ll also need to do a little bit of configuration on your computer or router, but they provide some great instructions for you. Basic security and content filtering are free and for a small fee you can further customize the services.
OpenDNS is one of the coolest and easiest to use services that I’ve seen recently. Take some time to check it out.
Now for the giveaway. OpenDNS was kind enough to provide me with 6 OpenDNS stickers and I’d like to share them with you. I’ll send a sticker to the first 5 commenters on this post, I’m keeping one for myself.