With more than 50 filtering categories available, using OpenDNS for your small office network is an easy way to protect your staff from bad web content and phishing attempts.
You can use OpenDNS without creating an account: just point your DNS to their name servers. Fast DNS and automatic phishing protection is now yours.
A free account brings you filtering
If you create a free account, you’ll receive substantial additional benefits. According to OpenDNS, these benefits include:
- Parental controls
- Faster, more reliable internet
- Phishing protection
- OpenDNS guide
- Typo correction
You can make the filters granular by adding exceptions. For example, I block gambling sites, but needed to access a local casino for show times. The filter blocked me from seeing that page, but by logging into OpenDNS and adding an exception for that site, I was able to get that content. Meanwhile, all other gambling sites remain blocked.
Filtering can be easy
OpenDNS offers some preconfigured choices:
- High: Protects against all adult-related sites, illegal activity,
social networking sites, video sharing sites, and general time-wasters.
- Moderate: Protects against all adult-related sites and phishing.
- Low: Protects against pornography and phishing.
- Minimal: Protects against phishing attacks.
Custom settings let you configure your own choices:
- Adult Themes
- 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
What’s the downside?
There isn’t much of a downside. Of course any requests you make through a web browser will be “seen” by whoever controls the nameservers your request passes through. That’s true right now for whatever internet service provider you happen to be using. The same will be true with OpenDNS, so there is a wash in terms of privacy.
It is rare but possible for one or more nameservers to stop functioning. OpenDNS has good redundancy in their distribution of servers. I recommend you keep a copy of the nameserver IP addresses your ISP uses. If OpenDNS goes offline for any reason, a few moments putting your ISP nameserver addresses into your router will get you back online in a jiffy. In two years, I’ve only had to do that once.
Visit https://www.opendns.com/homenetwork/start to get started today. Directions are pretty simple:
- Change your DNS (required).
- Create an account (optional).
- Manage settings in your dashboard (optional).
If you’re technologically savvy, jump to the OpenDNS best practices page for interesting information about additional things you can do with this service.
Not just for office use
OpenDNS is also used in homes, K-12 schools, small businesses, and larger enterprises. Visit the OpenDNS home page for more information.
You can be part of the OpenDNS community
Websites are tagged with descriptors. Sometimes they are not tagged correctly. As a registered user, you’ll be able to participate in the OpenDNS community and submit corrections to website tags. While this is beyond what most home users probably want to do, it is a great way to learn more about OpenDNS and web filtering in general.
It’s not foolproof
There are ways for computer users to bypass the content filters provided by OpenDNS, but I’m not going to explain how to do that here.