OpenDNS – Faster and Smarter

Use OpenDNS

DNS stands for Domain Name System. Essentially, Domain Name System (DNS) translates domain names (host names) into actual ip addresses. So whenever you type an url in your browser, it first sends a request to the DNS of your ISP which resolves the hostname. If your ISP has a poor domain name system, then a website would take longer to load due to the time taken by your ISP’s DNS to resolve the domain name. This is where OpenDNS come into the picture.

It’s Faster

OpenDNS claims to have a super fast Domain Management System, that reduces the time taken to resolve a domain name. I had come across OpenDNS a few months back, but didn’t bother checking it out, as I didn’t believe it would do any good. But, after reading a bunch of positive testimonials in Neowin I decided to give it a go. Instantly I noticed an increase in speed, which was too large to be placebo effect. Its was very noticeable in Opera, as Opera browser has the ability to redraw pages instantly.

It’s Smarter

OpenDNS also offers services like phishing protection and auto-correction for mistyped TLD (Top Level Domain name). OpenDNS uses Phishtank’s database (which is also used by Opera Browser). If you type an domain name that doesn’t exist, OpenDNS redirects you to a search engine page offering you suggestions. This page, which contains clearly distinguishable sponsored links along with organic search results, is the chief source of revenue for OpenDNS. A part from reducing the resolving speed OpenDNS solved another problem I was having. Previously due to some reason, whenever I would start a torrent download, my network would get clogged up and other applications (Browser, IM Clients etc.) would fail to work till I rebooted my Modem. But, with OpenDNS that doesn’t occur.

Getting Started with OpenDNS

Setting up OpenDNS takes only a couple of minutes. You need to login to your Routers Control Panel and enter the add the DNS servers specified here. If you are using UT-STAR router you would find the DNS settings under the services tab.After you have added the DNS servers Commit the Changes and Reboot (you would find this option under the Admin tab) your Router.Registration of account gives you more control over OpenDNS’ behavior – you can toggle its features based on your requirements. However, if you have a dynamic ip address setting up an account properly can be a bit of a hassle. The guide provided on the site can be confusing for novices. So, here is my step by step guide to setting up OpenDNS account with a Dynamic Ip Address (meant for Windows XP) :

  • Arrow Download INADYN from here and unzip it somewhere on your hard disk.
  • Arrow Open the file ‘inadyn.conf’ with Notepad and fill in your username and password (in place of ‘user’ and ‘pass’ respectively). It should look something like this :
    --username {username}
    --password {password}
    --alias opendns
    --secure
    --dyndns_server_name updates.opendns.com
    --dyndns_server_url /account/ddns.php?
    --background

    Save the file.
  • Arrow Open the file ‘configure_inadyn_service_opendns.reg’ with Notepad. Enter the correct location of the files ‘inadyn.exe’ and ‘inadyn.conf’. Make sure, that you use // instead of the usual /. Then save the file and import the registry entries (by double clicking on it).
  • Arrow Download the files – ‘srvany.exe’ and ‘intsrv.exe’. You can download them from here or here. Place those files in %SystemRoot% ( i.e. : X:Windows directory).
  • Arrow Now run the Batch file ‘install_inadyn_service.bat’. This should add a service named inadyn. Type services.msc in the Run box. Locate the service named inadyn. Make sure that it is started and the the startup type is Automatic.
  • Arrow Now to go here and create an account. Log in, and then add a network using your current ip address. Your ip address would be automatically changed every time you connect to the net.

If you do not want to go through all this hassle simply register an account and open this page every time before you begin surfing. You can add it to Speed Dial in Opera, or use sessions or simply add it as Home Page.

If I had to rate OpenDNS I would probably give it full marks, because it certainly did what it promised (and more). So have you tried OpenDNS ? If you have please post your experience here.

7 Responses to OpenDNS – Faster and Smarter

  1. David Ulevitch March 16, 2007 at 5:20 pm #

    Thanks for the great writeup and review of OpenDNS. Be sure to let us know if you have any cool ideas you’d like to see or other feedback.

    Thanks++

    -david ulevitch

  2. Ashis March 16, 2007 at 8:42 pm #

    Yea….Indyan I Right!

    I too heard bout the OpenDNS earlier & opened an account ; gave it a try, but to my bad luck It didn’t work.

    But now when you wrote the article bout it, I was inspired to try again, I it worked this time ; I am seeing the difference :p

    Thanks U Indyan & long Live “Not Just Another Blog”!

  3. Sid May 14, 2007 at 5:02 pm #

    Pallab, I’d just like to point out that OpenDNS won’t change ping times. The reduced times were probably due to prevailing network conditions.

    What OpenDNS WILL change, however, are the DNS resolution times, and with a sucky ISP like DataOne, they make all the difference. OpenDNS is an amazing product.

    And look, you have the creator of OpenDNS himself commenting!

  4. Pallab May 14, 2007 at 7:14 pm #

    Thanks for the comment. You are right as the timer apparently starts after the domain has been resolved.
    I have made the appropriate corrections.

  5. zilogjones May 14, 2007 at 10:58 pm #

    Thanks for that – a lot more informative than the help given on the OpenDNS website!

  6. David Ulevitch August 14, 2007 at 8:52 pm #

    cpicsonly — There is no relation between bittorrent speeds and OpenDNS. It’s just coincidence.

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