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Restricting Unwanted Web Sites

Monday, December 8th, 2008 by | Filed Under: Security Help
 
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Everyone knows there are a ton of Web sites out there that can be harmful to your computer, unsafe for your children and just simply unwanted by everyone. I’m sure all of you have come across a site you wish you would have never seen. People are always asking me how they can filter their Internet access so that those sites are blocked from their computer. While there are many ways to do that, from installing programs to using filters provided by your ISP, there’s one way I came across a couple of days ago that makes more sense and it’s so simple to set up. It doesn’t require you to install any software and it can be put in place by simply following the steps on the Web site. You’ll be up and running in just a few short minutes. Let’s check it out!

The filtering option I’m talking about is called OpenDNS. It’s a company that provides free filtered DNS services to residential and educational users. So that you’ll have a better understanding of how it all works, I’ll need to explain what DNS is.

DNS stands for Domain Name Resolution. When you visit a Web site, you type the name of the site into your Web browser. That name is called the domain name. For WorldStart, our domain name is worldstart.com. Now, the part most people don’t know is that without DNS, you would never even get to worldstart.com. Computers and the Internet don’t understand names. Instead, they understand IP addresses. When you tell your Web browser to go to www.worldstart.com, it has to figure out what the IP address of worldstart.com is. And that’s when DNS comes into play. When you tell your Web browser to go to www.worldstart.com, it asks a DNS server to tell it what the IP address of worldstart.com is. The DNS then tells the computer the IP address of WorldStart is 207.126.59.171 (for example). After your computer gets that information, it then connects to 207.126.59.171 and the WorldStart homepage appears.

I know that may seem a bit confusing, but here’s the point I’m trying to make: if the DNS your computer connects to knows a list of bad Web sites, it can restrict your computer from going to them. That’s exactly what OpenDNS does. If you configure your computer to use OpenDNS for its DNS services, the OpenDNS servers will know which Web sites your computer is trying to reach. It can then block the bad ones.

All in all, if you want to filter your Web use and block unwanted and potentially bad Web sites, try OpenDNS. It’s very easy to use, even if the explanation is complicated. I promise! You can check it all out right here. Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!

~ Gary

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