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Double Stamp is an easy-to-understand guide to useful computer and internet technology. It's written to be readable by everyday computer users.

OpenDNS

Are you a parent that is concerned about your kids accessing certain content on the Internet? Maybe you would like to have more control over your family's connection to the web? If you're interested in setting up an excellent filtering/monitoring system, this is for you.

OpenDNS is a free Internet service that allows you to do the following:

  • Automatically filter pornographic sites from your internet connection.
  • Manually block certain sites that you specify.
  • Monitor your web traffic statistics. See what sites are being accessed most and what time of day.
  • Prevent "phishing" sites that try to steal your information.
  • See a complete list of features here.
OpenDNS is great because it doesn't require that you run any software on your own computer. This prevents you having to keep a program running in the background, which frees up your resources and prevents you from screwing something up. Here's how to get started:
  1. Sign up for a free account here.
  2. Choose which method you want to use here. You can either use OpenDNS with your router so that all computers in your house are monitored, or you can just do it to one computer.
  3. Follow the instructions provided for the method you choose.
  4. Read up on all the great features.
You're all set. OpenDNS is really a great service and one that can be extremely helpful in a variety of situations. If you're a parent, keep in mind that you still need address the issue of web content directly with your kids. It's not OpenDNS's job to make sure your kids learn what they need to stay out of trouble on their own. That said, it can be a great way to keep tabs on things. Yes, that's right, Double Stamp is now providing parenting advice for free.

The rest of this article is optional for those of you who want to know how OpenDNS works.

OpenDNS works by taking advantage of the way a URL is retrieved from the web. When you type in a website like "http://doublestamp.blogspot.com" your computer first connects to what is called a "DNS Server." Basically, it's a big phone directory. You tell it the name of the website you want to go to, and it returns an IP address behind the scenes. Your computer then connects to the IP address to get to the website of interest.

Now, if you tell your computer to use OpenDNS as the directory, you give them control to filter what your computer is requesting. For example, if someone attempts to visit a pornographic site, OpenDNS recognizes it as such, and does not return the IP address. It's kind of like having a phone book that won't give out the phone numbers to certain people.

1 comment:

JorgenMan said...

Thanks! I'm gonna have some fun with this.