FREE web filtering for home users
Worried about what your kids get up to on the internet?
Want added protection from nasty websites and malware?
It always surprises me that very few people have heard of, or use, OpenDNS.
They offer two great products for free which will block the nastier side of the web for your home broadband connection (as well as blocking known security risks and some sources of malware) – the first product, OpenDNS Family Shield is a set and forget-it product that blocks all adult content, whereas their other product, OpenDNS Home, allows you to choose exactly what categories of websites you want to block.
So… how does it work?
To answer that question we need to understand a bit about internet web addresses and how they rely on a mechanism called DNS (Domain Name System). When you click on a link or type in a web address your computer needs to translate that address into a number, called an IP address, this number identifies which computer on the internet it needs to talk to to fetch the website. To do this, your computer talks to a DNS server, which acts like a telephone directory and translates the memorable web addresses (such as www.google.com) into an IP address and sends this back to your computer. All of this happens instantly and completely transparently.
How do I set it up and is it easy to do?
It’s usually quite easy, and OpenDNS have guides on their site to help – there are two methods:
The first method will allow you to filter all your home devices in one go. To do this, you need to change your broadband router to talk to OpenDNS’ servers instead of your internet provider’s DNS server.
Some routers are locked down so that you can’t change this and this is where method two comes in handy: It’s possible to override your router settings and set DNS settings on each individual device.
You can find out more about the services available from OpenDNS here.