Protect Home Networks from Bad Websites

Here is a quick way to configure your home network to filter access to all those bad websites. This can help to keep inadvertent clicks to mal-ware websites from causing havoc with machines connected to your network—even the machines that belong to guest that are just visiting. At the same time, you can filter access to websites that some in the household should not be visiting.

Here is the short story: set the router that connects your home network to the internet so that its DNS primary and secondary IP addresses to 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220.

The Longer Story

Most home networks have a router that connects the home network to the Internet. This router is the gateway to the Internet—all computers connected to the network have to go through this router to get to the Internet. As the gateway, the router also acts as a proxy for a DNS (Domain Name Server) server, the server that converts website names (e.g., evolutedesign.com) to the IP address of that server. An IP address is the number where the server can be reached. Since most of the references to servers on the network are initially referenced by name and these names have to be converted to their IP address, the DNS server is a convenient place to filter references to sites whose access should be blocked.

OpenDNS.com is a free DNS service that can filter and block access to websites by their name. By setting the home router to OpenDNS’s IP addresses, 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220 (set one as the primary and the other as secondary—it doesn’t matter which is used for which, so long as they are distinct—if there is only room for one entry, just use one; if there are more than two entries, leave the others blank).

Customizing OpenDNS

By registering with OpenDNS, you can customize categories of websites which will be blocked and add other specific website names to be blocked. Registered accounts can also look at the history of websites that have been accessed.

Notes

  • If you set the DNS settings on your laptop computer directly, the advantages of OpenDNS can be brought with you as you move from network to network.
  • Which means that the settings you make to the home router can be circumvented by guests if their computers are set to their own DNS server references in their network settings.
  • If you are running a business, you might want to use OpenDNS to filter a whole variety of website categories, not just the ones that are traditionally thought to be bad.

One thought on “Protect Home Networks from Bad Websites”

  1. Thanks for taking the time to cover OpenDNS on Evolute Design. If you ever have any further questions about using or customizing it, I’m happy to help 🙂

    Otherwise, happy/fast Interneting!
    -Laura
    OpenDNS.com

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