OpenDNS Review

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OpenDNS is a free Domain Name System service including advanced DNS security, reliability, and usability. I have used OpenDNS in the past and have always found it to work quickly and reliably. I was curious to find out how OpenDNS had matured and improved. One of the biggest improvements is the addition of a web-based dashboard for controlling filtering and checking usage and statistics. OpenDNS is a resolving and caching service with filtering features. It is not a replacement for local DNS resolution on your corporate network such as Active Directory or BIND.

Note that it’s not only businesses that can benefit from OpenDNS; home users can too. With web filtering/parent controls and built-in phishing protection, using OpenDNS is a great way to help keep your family safer online while also improving the speed and reliability of your network. And, if you’re worried that it may be too complicated or beyond your technical capabilities - don’t be! OpenDNS is incredibly easy to use.

Reliability (5 out of 5)

OpenDNS is very fast. Using OpenDNS can eliminate some complexity and migration issues. For example, if you or your company are changing or are planning to change Internet Service Providers (ISPs), one of the changes normally involves updating the DNS resolver addresses on relevant servers, routers, or firewalls. Using OpenDNS, this change does not need to be made. Resolver DNS addresses don’t need to be documented or looked up for various ISPs at various locations. There’s no need to worry about the performance of different DNS servers when moving or travelling. OpenDNS recently announced and introduced SmartCache, an advanced system to reduce and eliminate the impact of Internet outages or DNS outages.

Usability (5 out of 5)

Filtering controls and usage statistics are accessed via a dashboard hosted on the OpenDNS web site. It’s easy to get started. Step-by-step instructions are on the OpenDNS site, are easy to find and follow, and there is even a video explaining what to do and how to do it. The set-up instructions have clear and separate pages for 15 operating systems, 18 routers, 7 DNS servers, as well as general instructions and best practices for system administrators. The dashboard is straightforward, and little or nothing needs to be done just to get started. Since it’s free, trying it out costs nothing and it’s easy to change back to your current configuration.Support and instructions for Dynamic IP addresses (DHCP) is provided.

Security (4 out of 5)

OpenDNS allows content filtering management for queries from different IP addresses. Preferences allow filtering to prevent access to social networking sites, chat and IM networks, adult sites, or any others desired. Denying e-mail traffic to particular domains is also available. Filtering for up to 50 categories of content are offered. One common DNS attack and hacking technique is cache poisioning, and OpenDNS was designed to prevent this insidious threat. Anti Phishing prevention is provided via data from PhishTank, an industry repository of phishing data.

In Conclusion

OpenDNS provides enhanced performance, eliminates some problems, improves control and security, and of course, it’s free. Granted, it doesn’t do everything. You will still need internal DNS for systems on your local network, behind NAT, or in a VPN. Since OpenDNS does not intend to provide those features, I can’t suggest that it’s a weakness. Overall there are plenty of reasons to use OpenDNS, and it’s easy to give it a try. Highly recommended!

To learn more about using OpenDNS, be sure to read our article Use OpenDNS To Improve Your Security,

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