The internet is a network of computers, each with their own IP address. In your web browser, you type a website URL, such as facebook.com. The browser does not know which IP address that is connected to, so it refers to DNS, or Domain Name Servers. These servers act like phone/address books for websites that we visit often.
There are many free DNS servers, from companies such as Level3, Verisign, Google, OpenDNS and often you will get one from your ISP. They all have primary and secondary addresses that you can enter on your devices or directly into your router. By entering it into your router, you can force every device on that network to use that DNS server. This can give you some features such as internet filtering and improved security.
One very well knows DNS server that gives this kind of functionality is OpenDNS. This service can be added to your devices by manually adding 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168. On the other hand, if you want to secure your whole network and add filtering, you should use put it on a router. You have to go into your router settings, which is done by typing in your router’s IP and changing the DNS settings. You can customize the website block list, what internet categories are blocked, which devices these rules apply to, etc. All the traffic will then be recorded by OpenDNS, and you can then view the websites visited, what times, if they were blocked or not, and more. These features allow you to monitor what is happening on your network, and you can check if any abnormalities are found.
This could be very useful if you have kids, and only want them restricted to a few websites that you approve. This can also be used at schools to prevent students from getting off task and playing games. DNS services can also offer speed improvements, to make your browsing faster, as they are updated very regularly. Phishing attempts are also identified, protecting you from scams and identity theft. You can learn more about it in my last article. Overall, DNS servers can offer many positive features that your ISP does not give you, and it may benefit you so they are worth looking into and trying out.