OpenDNS: A free DNS solution that leads to a supercharged but safer internet

OpenDNS LogoDo you often encounter slow page-load times despite using a decent broadband connection? Does you browsing experience often come to a bitter halt with a message like “Looking for xxx.com” or “Waiting for xxx.com“? If you are facing similar problem, it might be indicative of a lousy DNS setup by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).

DNS or Domain Name Services are the internet’s own version of a telephone directory. Your computer takes help of such DNS Servers to locate another computer every time you type in a web-address / URL in your browser. The process is known as address resolution. By default all the ISPs maintain a set of DNS Servers for usage by their customers. This is done so that all such lookups take place over the local network and thus address resolutions are fast. At least that is how it is supposed to happen. However, in reality many ISPs don’t maintain their DNS Servers properly leading to extremely poor resolution latency.

 

This is where OpenDNS steps in. If you suffer from high DNS latency periods as described above, OpenDNS may be able to help you out. OpenDNS is a free service that provides you with a set of free DNS servers for unlimited usage. In short…

OpenDNS is a better DNS, free to all. OpenDNS uses its distributed network of DNS servers to speed up your Internet experience, increase reliability, improve security and make DNS smarter for users all over the world.

So how does OpenDNS speed up your Internet experience?

OpenDNS maintains a huge list of high performance geographically distributed DNS Servers serviced by several redundant connections. First of all whenever you avail their service, you’re automatically directed to a server that is geographically closest to you thus providing you with a faster response time.

OpenDNS Server Map

Secondly, they maintain a “big & smartDNS Cache. A DNS Cache is a service that temporarily holds a completed address lookup in the memory for a certain period of time. In case a second user looks up the same web-page, the server can directly deliver the address to him/her without having to resolve it again. This causes a massive boost in lookup speeds.

OpenDNS Cache

 

What are the other advantages of using this service?

OpenDNS not only boosts your internet access speed, they provide a couple of cool extras like Phising Protection and Auto-correction of misspelt domain names.

OpenDNS can identify and block Phishing Sites with the help of their own data accumulated over years as well as by collaborating with PhishTank and various other similar organisations. Whenever you try to access such a site unknowingly, OpenDNS will block the site and inform you.

OpenDNS Phish Warning

Apart from that if you misspell a domain name while typing, OpenDNS will correct it on the fly. That means when you are typing fast and type yahoo.cmo instead of yahoo.com you still get there. No annoying pop-ups or evil spyware installed because you made a typo. Things just work.

OpenDNS Spelling Correction

What do I need to download to use this service?

Absolutely nothing. You don’t need to download and/or install any software to avail this service. You simply point the DNS Server IPs of your computer to the ones of OpenDNS and it’ll start working for you. Further information can be found here.

Is this service really free? If so how does OpenDNS survive?

All the services mentioned here in this review are offered for free. There are no hidden costs involved. However OpenDNS might sell “extra” services in future through paid subscriptions.They make money by showing you contextually relevant (but clearly labeled) advertisements along with organic search results when the domain entered is not valid and isn’t a typo we they fix.

Incidentally, if you want to set-up a local DNS Server based on Linux, I’ve got a step-by-step tutorial showing you how to. It might be worth a read.

Visit OpenDNS for further information and availing the service rightaway.

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