OpenDNS – Faster and Smarter
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.
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.
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.
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) :
- Download INADYN from here and unzip it somewhere on your hard disk.
- 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 :
Save the file.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.