8 Comments

Summary:

Short of being a network geek, you probably haven’t ever considered toying with the DNS settings in yout Network Preference Pane. But OpenDNS has given everyone a reason to take another look. DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it’s employed all over our beloved Internets. […]

Short of being a network geek, you probably haven’t ever considered toying with the DNS settings in yout Network Preference Pane. But OpenDNS has given everyone a reason to take another look.

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it’s employed all over our beloved Internets. As a quickie explanation for those who don’t already know, it goes something like this:
Each website you visit is – at it’s most basic level – identified by an IP address. DNS servers make it possible to link that IP address to a more easily remembered address such as theappleblog.com.

Ok, so that’s basically it. There are default DNS servers that our computers and the wireless routers that we may be using in our homes use. But if you go into the TCP/IP tab of your Network Preferences Pane, you may see that you can optionally add different DNS servers that your system may default to. This is where OpenDNS comes into play.

Sign yourself up for a free account and run through their extremely simple (OS X specific) setup procedure and you’re ready to rock. Ok, so you’re probably asking why you’d switch to this optional OpenDNS for your settings when the defaults has clearly worked without any issue. Fair enough. From their website:

OpenDNS is safer

OpenDNS is faster

OpenDNS is smarter

OpenDNS is more reliable

Ummmm, so what…?
Well by “safer” they mean that they provide an extra layer of Phishing protection, which prevents the bad guys from fooling you into thinking they’re ebay, when they’re really not.
By “faster” they’re referring to their larger than normal internet caches running on their own, high speed network. They use MySpace as an example of loading much faster once you move to their dns servers…
By “smarter” they mean that you can add keywords (and then some) to domain names you visit frequently.
And by “more reliable”, well, I think that’s just market-speak personally.

But the most interesting part is the way you can add keywords to domains you visit on a regular basis. You may be thinking that you can already do that in your browser’s bookmarking system. True enough, but doing it through OpenDNS allows you to set it once and then use those keywords in whichever browser you’re using this week – you won’t have to go and re-setup those keywords in each place. Better yet, you can add the OpenDNS settings to your wireless router and have those keywords available in any browser on any computer within your network. Sweeeet.

And then how about one step further with keywords? You can even add parameters to your keywords. So the most obvious might be Google. If you create a keyword for Google.com, of say, ‘g’, you can then assign it to accept parameters so that ‘g theappleblog’ will bring up this page.

I’ve only just started playing with OpenDNS, but it’s clearly got some interesting things to offer. It’s free, and the instructions are very simple to follow. If this stuff sounds interesting, I suggest you give it a try for yourself.

Via CrunchGear

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  1. Just signed up for this yesterday, and I’m pretty happy with the results. I still have some toying around to do.

  2. Nick – does it mess with our settings in’TCP/IP tab of your Network Preferences Pane, “?/ Can we undo if we are not happy? I want to be clear on what our recovery options are…. thx

  3. David Ulevitch Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    You can undo it if you’d like. Just remember your previous settings (which is usually just leaving the field blank) and that’s it. With Mac OS X you don’t even have to reboot. W00t. ;-)

  4. Nick Santilli Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    Vanni – as David said, you just remove the OpenDNS addresses if you decide it’s not your cup of tea. If you already have dns servers in there, then you’ll probably want to write those down first, but in my case, it was blank when I got there.

    If you’re doing this to a work machine though, you’d probably want to check with your sys admin first, so you don’t break a company dns connection on your machine or piss the IT guy off…

  5. I just added the two OpenDNS servers on top of my old ones, so if I ever change my mind, or for some reason they don’t respond, my old DNS servers will pick up the slack :-) OSX

  6. Just a question… if I add this to my OSX config, what happens with my router? Does it still auto-resolve to the ISP’s defaults?

  7. Nick Santilli Tuesday, April 24, 2007

    Chris – Unless you explicitly change your router, it’ll continue doing whatever it did before. but the last link in the chain is your computer. so if you change your os x config to the new dns, it’ll use the new dns. another computer in your same network without the OpenDNS settings will still get whatever the router is set to provide.

  8. Hey, ive got an ipod touch andi usemy neighbors wifi. Anyway i can switch it directly from my itouch?

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