Secure Your Internet

I have 4 kids that all use the Internet daily. While I’d like to watch over each of them to make sure they are safe and not viewing inappropriate sites, I’ve found that to be impractical. They just have too many different ways to get on the Internet for me to watch them all, all the time.

If only I could find a way to manage my entire Internet connection as a whole, then have those management rules roll down to each and every device in my network, I would be all set.  Sounds like a very technical problem to solve, but, low and behold….

I found the answer to my problems… easy to configure, applies to EVERY device in my home, and 100% FREE!

DNS

Before we discuss this amazing solution, a quick Internet primer is in order. Don’t worry, we’ll stay away from the technical as much as possible.

Domain Name Service (or DNS) is used by every device that connects to the Internet. DNS basically provides a way to translate the names of places on the Internet (URLs) like http://www.WayneForeman.com into the actual, numerical addresses that web sites use (like 50.28.100.42).

DNS server addresses are typically provided to us by our Internet Service Providers (ISP).  When we order Internet service for our homes or offices, the physical connection also includes the address of the ISPs DNS servers.  The problem with this set up is that if the ISPs DNS servers become unavailable (happens more than you think) or the ISP decides not to provide translation for certain websites, there wasn’t much you could do about it.

Historically DNS only provided translation of names to addresses, with no consideration for security or filtering.  Couple this fact with unreliable ISP DNS servers and an opportunity was born.

OpenDNS

OpenDNS is a FREE service that describes itself this way

Our services are smart and lightweight, yet more powerful than anything else available. They require no software or hardware, and can be set up in just minutes, immediately taking effect across all devices that connect to the Internet — tablets, smartphones, even gaming consoles.

In just a short few years, OpenDNS has built the world’s most loved and trusted DNS service, and introduced security innovations that have forever changed the way business and consumers experience the Internet. And we’ve done it with a fixed focus on making the Internet a better, safer place. In short, we’re the good guys. And we have a global community of technologists, security gurus, academics, parents and generally invested people who share our mission.

So to summarize, OpenDNS replaces your ISPs DNS servers and provides everything the ISP’s servers do PLUS:

  • Speed – Faster speed through the use of multiple servers scattered around the world
  • Security – OpenDNS is always searching for malicious sites.  When one is found, it’s flagged in the OpenDNS system
  • Configurability – You can set a security level for your entire household in the OpenDNS console and it will automatically and immediately apply to all of your internet-connected devices.  If you want to block sites that focus on pornography, weapons, alcohol, drugs or any of hundreds of other topics, you can block them once and have that block apply to all of your devices

How OpenDNS applies to me

Back to my house and 4 kids. Once I set OpenDNS to block sites that I deem inappropriate, those sites become inaccessible to every device in my home. I can change which sites I want to block as often as I want for however long I want.

I automate this by having my router automatically apply the OpenDNS server’s addresses to all of my devices automatically.  Click here to learn my trick for taming my home Internet router.

For those of you that are technical, you may be asking… that’s great, but what if my kids change the DNS addresses on their individual devices?  Good question.  Coupled with my router software, I can keep any device from connecting to the Internet if they don’t have the OpenDNS addresses in place.

Best of all OpenDNS is 100% FREE.  There is no reason why you can’t give it a try in your home right now.  Try it out, you will probably love it like I do.  If not, no harm done, switch back!

You’ll sleep better knowing you’ve secured your home Internet!

OpenDNS: http://www.OpenDNS.com

About the Author Wayne

Hi I'm Wayne.... Husband, Father, professional tinkerer! I love to learn new things and to share them with others. Follow me as I try to figure it all out and then share it with you!

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