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OpenDNS – Free home internet filtering

Before I start, i’d like to thank Mark B for making the suggestion of OpenDNS via the Dads Tech Hub Facebook page. I wrote a post about setting up a Microsoft parent account and Mark commented saying OpenDNS is a great solution for filtering your home internet. Mark was right, OpenDNS is a good solution, not only that but it is free for home use.

Have you ever wondered how to filter your home internet connection? OpenDNS has been around for years and is owned by Tech Giant Cisco. So you know it is going to be a great solution! I’ve used quite a few internet filtering systems in the past, and to be honest most are good for the most part. Cisco’s OpenDNS is no different it does a great job of filtering your internet, there are 3 options for home users. Family Shield (free), Home (Free) and Home VIP ($19.95/year).

OpenDNS Family Shield – Pre-configured to block adult content

OpenDNS Family Shield is the simplest of the 3 solutions to setup, this is a “set & forget” solution preconfigured to block adult content sites. As with all three solutions OpenDNS Family Shield can filter all devices on your internet connection, laptops, Mobile phones, TV’s etc. All you need to do is change a setting in your router, that’s it! They even provide instructions on how to change the settings on a lot of the most popular routers.

OpenDNS Home – Customisable internet filtering

If you want a little more control over the websites and content that is blocked, then OpenDNS Home is the package for you. OpenDNS Home has over 50 customisable filtering categories, allowing you to control the content viewed. You set your router up in the same way, and then there is just some simple config required in the OpenDNS website. If you have a static external IP address then you just have t add your network. Or if you have dynamic IP you might need to install a small bit of software on one of your computers. If the “techie talk” doesn’t make any sense then don’t worry, the OpenDNS website will walk you through it step by step.

OpenDNS Home VIP – internet filtering with usage stats

If you want all the power of OpenDNS Home as well as usage stats and whitelist mode, then OpenDNS Home VIP it is. At only $19.95/year, it hardly breaks the bank, but gives you great control over your internet with stats to go with it. to setup OpenDNS Home VIP is the same simple process as OpenDNS Home.

Does my router support OpenDNS?

As all you need to do is change the DNS settings on the router, most modern routers are fine. If your router doesn’t support changing DNS settings then Check out this list of suitable routers. Make sure if you are going to change your router, firstly you have the relevant details from your ISP to configure the router and that you get the correct router for your type of internet connection.

Does my ISP support using OpenDNS?

Most internet services work fine with OpenDNS, but some don’t allow you to change the DNS settings or if you have a TV service that needs to connect via a specific DNS server you may have an issue. Even if this is the case, you can still use OpenDNS in your home but you will need to configure each device to use the OpenDNS service. This is more of a setup headache, but is still doable for most “non-techies”.

How do I setup OpenDNS at home?

Setting up OpenDNS on your router is usually quite simple, although it varies from model to model. Have the internal IP address of your router ready, this is often printed on the router. If it isn’t, then on a Windows computer connected to your network, press “windows key” + R. Then type cmd and click OK, When the black command prompt window opens type ipconfig and press enter. In the list you will see default gateway, this number is your ip address. It will look something like 192.168.1.1. Yoy will also need to know the logon details of you router, this will also usually be printed on the base of the router

  1. Change the DNS server in you router, the router will need a primary and secondary server. For OpenDNS use 208.67.222.123 and 208.67.220.123. For instructions to do this on most popular router look here. If you are going to be using the OpenDNS Family Shield service, that is it!
  2. If you are using either Home or Home VIP then you need to also add your network to the OpenDNS website.
  3. Go to https://signup.opendns.com/homefree/, its free and only asks for basic info. Once you have signed up, it will give you the option to “Add network”. Your IP address will already be entered. This is the IP address of the internet connection you are connected on. When you click to add the network, you are asked to give the connection a friendly name.
  4. Install the OpenDNS software on a PC and enter your email address and password. There is no further config on the PC required.
  5. Now if you go back to the OpenDNS website, you can select “none”, low, moderate and high, or you can choose to customise the filters. You also have the option to override the filters for specific domain if you wish. That’s it!

 

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