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12.18.2020

Safer Web Browsing with OpenDNS

Last updated:
9.16.2020
12.18.2020
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Chris Young, Systems Engineer, Green House Data

One major concern for parents and small business owners both is how to keep employees or kids safe and productive on the internet without having to spend a lot of money. While there is a wide variety of commercial software available, there is a free tool that does not require installation on every internet capable machine in the home or business. It is called OpenDNS. 

OpenDNS works by having the end user configure their router to use OpenDNS's DNS servers. Completing this configuration means that OpenDNS is being identified as the “domain name system” (DNS) server for the network instead of the servers that would typically be in place from an internet service provider (ISP). These servers then handle the traffic that originates from computers and devices connected to the network.

When the user creates an account with OpenDNS, they can filter internet content based on categories. Among the default options are settings to block adult content, social networking sites, games sites, etc. It also allows the end user to customize which categories are allowed based on individual needs. For example, it is possible to allow specific sites while blocking a category as a whole, such as allowing www.facebook.com while blocking all other social media sites.

While not perfect, OpenDNS allows the user to control DNS without additional software installation.  And, since there is no software to install it cannot be removed from a computer by users who want to circumvent the controls. Further, since the filtering takes place against the router, it can become much more difficult for the end-user to find out where the filter is located. Free and paid version options allow businesses to select the protection level that is best for them without having to spend a lot of money on enterprise-grade web filtering software.

This tool, along with more information, can be found at www.opendns.com.

Posted By: Systems Engineer Chris Young

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