An ordinary DNS server is used by your web browser and other internet applications, and is usually provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). If you start using OpenDNS, then you will start to realise what it does, and will be unlikely to stop using it - thus it will become your "preferred" DNS.
A DNS server looks up the numerical IP (Internet Protocol) address of any domain to which you are effectively requesting access when you enter a domain link into the address bar (e.g., gmail.com) or when you click on a link on a web page.
The DNS server settings are TCP/IP addresses that are usually automatically created when you install your modem and subsequently boot it up, whether that is an ADSL or a cable modem (ignoring dial-up modems). However, these addresses can sometimes only be set by opening your computer's TCP/IP properties and manually adding the DNS server IP addresses provided by your ISP.
The interesting thing is that those settings are not necessarily the most effective or efficient settings for your Internet connection, and it is likely that they will lack many features that would be available if you used a different service, such as OpenDNS.
1. It is a free service that helps you navigate the Internet in a safer, often faster, and sometimes "smarter" and more reliable way.
2. OpenDNS requires no software or other downloads.
3. * To use it, you will need to change the DNS server entries, either in your network settings, or preferably in your modem, to the IP addresses necessary to use the OpenDNS system.
4. Some really good features of OpenDNS:
- It makes for "safer" surfing by intercepting phishing attacks, and warning you to avoid dubious web sites that have been recorded as spreading malware.The warnings come as soon as you try to open a phishing/malware site, regardless of your email client or web browser and whether or not they have antiphishing plugins installed.
- It is very reliable - it runs a high-performance network with geographically distributed nodes, serviced by several redundant connections.
- It is faster (usually) than the normal methods, because it responds to your query (serves you) from the nearest OpenDNS server location to you.
- It is faster because it runs a very large, "smart" cache, which is checked for the IP address requested for a web server, before going to the IP address and the web server itself. If it already has the latest contents of the web server that is at that IP address in its cache, then it serves you from the cache, thus avoiding traversing the Internet for the same data. In this way, each OpenDNS user benefits from the cached activities of the other users in the OpenDNS user base.
- It corrects for some of your mistakes by fixing any typos in the URLs that you enter into your browser's address bar - e.g., if you enter "gmail.om" by mstake, it will be translated (correctly) by the OpenDNS server as "gmail.com", and you will be routed to that address. This is the URL being "resolved" by the OpenDNS server. If it cannot be resolved, then you will be presented with a list of suggestions for other similar URLs, with neatly ordered notes and ads. You can then either ignore those suggestions and ads, or click on them. If you do the latter, then it helps to support OpenDNS as a free service, because thiose clicks are "monetized".
To start using OpenDNS: (this is only for personal use, not for users of corporate networks)
- Add or change your DNS settings to the OpenDNS servers: 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52. You do this either via the TCP/IP settings on your computer - in Network Settings - or else you update the DNS server settings in your router/modem.
- Reboot your computer.