Website Filtering using OpenDNS


Content filtering service helps protect your network from Phishing and malware attacks. OpenDNS is one such service that protects your computer from botnet, phishing and malware attacks. If you wish to filter your home network from such websites then OpenDNS can be really helpful. In this article, we'll see how to setup OpenDNS service on your Windows computer.

The Internet has it's share of websites that contain malicious scripts waiting to infect your computer. Filtering such websites from your browser is necessary for safer browsing. Services like OpenDNS helps you filter the websites at DNS level. All you have to do is set your computer to new DNS address of OpenDNS and it'll filter the website accordingly. You can also use this filtering service for parental control as well. OpenDNS has access to the Phishtank repository that helps filter some of the malware websites.

OpenDNS packs in with some of the very useful features even for free plans. In order to have more control over your filtering and blockage settings you're required to create a free account. The basic plan doesn't require payment to sign up. All you have to do is signup and setup the network to your account. Any changes you do from this account will be applied to the network that gets added into your account.

Here are some of the options that you can access after making the account:

Web Filtering

You can do category based filtering. For example, you can filter gambling, violence, adult content from the dashboard. The changes made to the dashboard can apply to your router or single computer.



The blacklist and whitelist feature lets you stop or access certain sites respectively. You can choose the filtering level from - High, Medium and Low. There are also categories specific to the filtering level. Choose the categories that applies to your filtering requirements and save the settings.

Security

OpenDNS protects you from basic botnet and malware attacks. It has access to the Phishtank repository.



This repository collects malware websites and URLs and protects you from them. Your access to those URLs will be restricted after you select the specific option. If you enable the options on the security page accordingly, It helps you avoid those DNS rebuilding attacks too.

Custom Pages

If you are setting the filter level settings for family or workplace, then you can customize the block pages. These pages can have your own custom block messages.



This way you can explain why particular page is blocked on your home or office network.

Stats

OpenDNS collects a lot of network traffic information that helps you setup better filtering. You can view the stats related to the network on stats page. It can show you list of blocked domains being accessed, list of websites being blocked, time of particular blocked site being requested etc.



These logs help you enforce the filtering rules more effectively. It doesn't log your personal information or the login information. It only collects the data related to the filtering and network related issues. You can also purge the data from the account settings.

Now that you know the benefits of using OpenDNS, let's see how to set it up on your Windows computer.

Also Read: How to switch to Google DNS when some websites are not opening in your computer

Setup OpenDNS on Windows

Follow the steps below to setup OpenDNS on your Windows computer:

1. Click on Windows Orb button.
2. Type in 'Network and Sharing center'.
3. Click on the Network link.
4. Find your primary internet connection.
5. Right click on the icon and click the 'Properties' option.
6. From the available list of options in the dialog, select the option "Internet Protocol Version 4" and click on 'Properties' button.
7. Select the radio button that says - "Use the following DNS server addresses:".
8. Type in the following IP address in the prefered and alternative fields : 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220
9. Once you're done, click the OK button.
10. Perform a system restart to let the changes take effect.

To check whether your network has started using OpenDNS, check the following URL http://opendns.com/welcome/



If you see "You aren't using OpenDNS yet" message on the page, that means your settings are not configured yet. You either have to clear cache or reconfigure the settings.

You have to go back to the Network settings and configure the IP address in case you failed to save settings earlier. Once you reconfigure the IP address into network center, you can simply start the machine. You can now recheck the URL to see if you see the welcome message. You can also restart router and clear the DNS cache in order for settings to take effect.

You can also see the filtering in action by accessing a test URL. Simply type in internetbadguys.com. If you see the blocked page from OpenDNS that means filtering is working.

OpenDNS can protect you from Phishing and malware attack. If you have kids at home and want to enforce parental controls then OpenDNS can enforce those restrictions over the network. This service is good for those who want to protect their network from most common threats of unsafe web.


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