What is Open DNS

Open DNS (called OpenDNS) is a FREE alternative to the DNS (Domain Name Service) provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) or Internet Connection Provider.

DNS as you all know is an essential part of the Internet and WWW, it does the job of translating Names to numeric IP address and vice versa.

Why then would you want to use OpenDNS rather than the DNS servers provided by your ISP ? The reason is that it provides wealth of other features which normal DNS providers dont. Some of them are:

Fast DNS resolution using Cached information:
It maintains a very large cache of Domain Name Resolutions, meaning anytime a query comes in to resolve a domain name to its IP address, OpenDNS servers query the related domain's name servers and retrieve the information, and they ALSO keep it in their cache. Next time when a query comes in for the same domain name, they dont have to go to the related name servers, they serve the results from its cache, hence improving dns lookup times

Phishing Filter:
It uses a Phishing Filter and provides protection against phishing websites which are bogus websites claiming to be real and trying to get information from you which can lead to identiry theft and other frauds. OpenDNS subscribes to a database called PhishTank which holds a list of all black listed phishing web sites (this is the same database used by Yahoo Mail to prevent phishing activites)

Block Websites:
You can put a block websites that you don't want your kids to visit (such as adult websites) or if you are in a corporate environment, you can block Social Networking websites (such as Facebook & mySpace). You can customize what kind of websites you would like to block, the list is quite granular from pornography, drugs, nudity, chat, gambling, alchohol etc etc)

Correct Typos in URLs:
OpenDNS would automatically correct any evident typos that you make typing in a URL for a website, for example, if you typed http://mail.gooogle.com it would automatically direct you to the correct site http://mail.google.com (taking care of the extra o typo)

Use shortcuts for longer URLs:
OpenDNS lets you put in shortcuts for long URLs so that you dont have to type as much when you visit a site that has a long URL, for example you can put in a shortcut called "theregister" for a website called http://www.theregister.co.uk , the next time you type in http://theregister as a URL, OpenDNS would automatically take you to the http://www.theregister.co.uk website

Access to logs and stats:
Last but not least, you can get access to logs and stats about various things, such as what traffic was blocked etc. You can use this log and stats data to put better filters for yourself

The best thing again, its FREE! I think its an awsome service and a lot of home users as well business are implimenting this. Mostly, there is no software to install, just change the DNS server on your home router or even individual computer. You can do all the configuration and have access to your account online! You can find more information about this wonderful service on OpenDNS's website at http://www.opendns.com