For a quick vocab lesson, DNS stands for domain name server. See, websites have URL’s associated with them. You enter www.google.com into your address bar. But that name doesn’t mean much to the internet. What the internet needs is an Internet Protocol (IP) address. So what DNSes do is take the plain English version you entered, look at an address book of sorts that it maintains, and finds that www.google.com is associated with 18.104.22.168, for example. and yes, that IP address will also work in the address bar. Assuming Google NEVER changes its IP….But I digress. OpenDNS claims to do this exact same lookup service for whoever wants it, and FASTER than whatever you’re currently using.
So me being the ever-curious guy I am looks up and finds that whatever DNS I’m using now, It’s the Time Warner default and not a router setting specifically.
So how can I learn it’s faster? By using it, that’s how!
So far, other than when the cable decided to stop transmitting (not a dns problem), it has been noticeably faster in resolving the web addresses I enter.
But wait, there’s more! OpenDNS has a few other fun little add-ons to it. Now any computer on my home network can have a custom-built start page with a built in Google search. And my personal family logo, which is only lame because they restrict the size of the image so much.
Another bonus is they can block all categories of offensive material. So no accidentally following links to pornographic or questionable sites in my house! It has many different categories that can be blocked, encompassing*:
- Business Services
- Educational Institutions
- File storage
- Financial institutions
- Forums/Message boards
- Instant messaging
- P2P/File sharing
- Parked Domains
- Photo sharing
- Search engines
- Social networking
- Video sharing
- Visual search engines
So pretty much anything a web admin could want to block and more! And if you want to block a category, but keep that ONE SITE you can’t live without, you can give site-specific permissions.
There’s also a Statistics section. I haven’t gotten into it too much just yet, but I imagine it providing more admin-friendly information for my viewing pleasure.
Basically anything and everything you could think to do to piss off your internet visitors, you can do with ease. Admin-level network control and management: every nerd’s dream come true. Thank you, OpenDNS.