Open DNS : Alternate DNS service for people with slower DNS

I can across this openDNS when I was search for info about a nameserver.Well,some of my friends couldn’t get the idea of what an DNS was so first a little info about what it is from my understanding.

What is a DNS Server / Name Server ?

DNS – Domain Name System

Every computer in a network has an IP address and if connected to the internet, an Internal IP and an external IP.The 192.XXX.XXX.XXX is probably your internal IP and you do have an external IP.To see your external IP check out :

The IP address displayed will (mostly,but not necessarily) change unless you have a static external IP registered with your ISP.

Every website we browse is also one such computer connected permanently to the internet.It too has a IP address of its own by which computer connect to it.But it is difficult for us to remember computers by their IP numbers.Eg: 209.85.153.104 is for http://www.google.com server near me (I mean sites like google are hosted in multiple locations around the world to tackle the traffic and for speed so the number you see when you “ping http://www.google.com” might differ but this would also work for you). Typing this in your browser would load the same page you see when you type http://www.google.com and even faster as it saves the time changing the URL to its corresponding number.So the aliases for these number were created for our sake and these are called domain names.

You could run a Apache Server at home and give your current external IP (unless you have a static one) to your friend and he could point his browser to http://your-external-ip to see the website you hosted (Your Router must configured to allow incoming connections.Its under “Port Forwarding” and in “Servers” for Huawei routers) but to make something like http://www.something.com to load up your webpages you need to register that domain name (which costs).These get resolved to your IP addresses.So this is basically what happens :

http://www.something.com -> Nameservers -> XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX ( IP address ) -> Communication takes place after this

And heres what I learnt, if it takes much time to resolve an address to its IP by the nameserver of your ISP then openDNS can help you speed your browsing experience (and more!)

What is openDNS ?
openDNS offers their nameservers for our use to resolve the problem stated above.Their public DNS are : 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220. You could configure these as your primary and alternate DNS and see if your problem gets resolved.Although to me, I didnt expect much of a difference in browsing speed I did like their extra features.Procedure for changing DNS is in the previous post.

Use OpenDNS

If you are using openDNS you will see that the above buttion says “You’re using openDNS” else “Get Started”.They call these their “smart buttons” (who cares).Their additional features (after you signup, no worries thats also free) are as follow :

Content-Filtering,Domain Blocking,Phising Filter,Statistics,Typo-Corrections,Shortcuts,Your own error messages when you point to a non-existant domain.

The things I like the most are the typo-corrections and shortcuts.When you type .og for .org or .cmo for .com then it get corrected automatically.You could do this with a firefox plugin also but anyway this is fun : you can have shortcuts to addresses (works for you alone) say you can have “myblog” to point to your blog address.And content filtering and phisphing filters do work.You could also enable statistics to see the pages you most visited,pages blocked recently,and others.So just give it a try and see if it suits you else revert back to your good-old ISP DNS.

Although, as I don’t have any static external IP (most of us don’t) I had to refresh my IP settings after logging in to opendns.com each time my external IP changes for the extra features (other than just the DNS service) to work.They had clients for Windows and Mac to do this dirty job and none for Linux 😦

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~ by toolweb on May 16, 2008.

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