How to Block Websites, Speed Up Browsing, Enhance Security, and Bypass Censorship, And More, All By Changing DNS Settings For Free

Domain Name Servers (DNS) are the Internet’s equivalent of a phone book. They maintain a directory of domain names and translate them to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. This is necessary because, although domain names are easy for people to remember, computers access websites based on IP addresses.

There are numerous reasons you would want to use some type of 3rd party DNS service over your ISP’s default DNS. Speed Improvements, Reliability Improvements, Parental Controls, Phishing Protection, Security Features, Access GeoBlocked Content, Bypass Web Censorship, and More. HowToGeek has a great article explaining in more depth why you want to make the switch. http://www.howtogeek.com/167239/7-reasons-to-use-a-third-party-dns-service/

Below I will be presenting numerous methods and options for changing your DNS servers to other companies/services depending on what kind of features you are looking for.

OpenDNS Method, For those users who want web browsing logs/stats, the ability to block certain sites or groups of sites, faster browsing, and enhanced security through the ability to block adware/malware/phishing domains. Requires The Most Configuration and Setup Time. This is due to having to register an account, configure the settings how you want, and download and install their IP updater program.

1. Go to the following link and sign up for a Free OpenDNS account: http://store.opendns.com/get/home-free

2. Download their IP updating software on one of the computers on the network. Preferrably one that is yours or you maintain control over. Basically OpenDNS needs to know your IP address in order to block websites for your connection. Most internet connections have IP addresses that change daily, weekly, or monthly and this program basically just updates your IP information with OpenDNS when anything changes. Skip this step if you have a static IP address. Download this if you are unsure.
https://www.opendns.com/download/windows or https://www.opendns.com/download/mac

3. Install the above software and type in the account information you just signed up for.

4. Login to the OpenDNS.com website with the account information you signed up for earlier.

5. Once logged in, Click on the settings tab and then click on your IP address. Here you can choose groups of sites to block or at the bottom of the page you can block or allow individual websites.

filtering

6. Now we will need to change your DNS servers from your Internet Service Provider to OpenDNS. I highly suggest changing this setting in your router. Only change settings in your computer if you don’t have a router or you can’t login to it to change settings.

How to Change DNS Servers in Your Router: https://support.opendns.com/forums/21618374
How to Change DNS Servers in Your Computer: https://support.opendns.com/forums/21618384

7. Click Here to Test if You Set Up Your OpenDNS Settings Correctly.

You may just want fast and reliable DNS servers without needing to block sites or see stats. You want the easiest setup with no programs or accounts required. You can’t go wrong with using Google DNS. Just change your DNS server IP’s to the following and you are done.

Google DNS IP’s: 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

I highly suggest changing this setting in your router. Only change settings in your computer if you don’t have a router or you can’t login to it to change settings. Obviously just replace the DNS IP addresses in the tutorial below with the one you want to use.

How to Change DNS Servers in Your Router: https://support.opendns.com/forums/21618374
How to Change DNS Servers in Your Computer: https://support.opendns.com/forums/21618384

If you are just purely into speed and want the DNS servers that can return to you the data you need the fastest, check out the programs below. They come preloaded with tons of known public DNS servers. They will one by one test the speed and latency of each one, therefore letting you know what is your absolute fastest option.

If you want to play around and test the performance of more DNS server alternatives. Check out these two programs.
https://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm
https://code.google.com/p/namebench/

I highly suggest changing this setting in your router. Only change settings in your computer if you don’t have a router or you can’t login to it to change settings. Obviously just replace the DNS IP addresses in the tutorial below with the one you want to use.

How to Change DNS Servers in Your Router: https://support.opendns.com/forums/21618374
How to Change DNS Servers in Your Computer: https://support.opendns.com/forums/21618384

Maybe you are completely security/privacy oriented and want a DNS service that doesn’t keep logs or one that encrypts all your DNS requests. There are DNS services out there that does this also.

If you are interested in encrypting all your DNS traffic and requests, please check out DNSCrypt

OpenNIC keeps a list of public DNS servers that are privacy oriented. They either keep no logs or are deleted after a few hours. http://wiki.opennicproject.org/Tier2

Once again, I highly suggest changing this setting in your router. Only change settings in your computer if you don’t have a router or you can’t login to it to change settings. Obviously just replace the DNS IP addresses in the tutorial below with the one you want to use.

How to Change DNS Servers in Your Router: https://support.opendns.com/forums/21618374
How to Change DNS Servers in Your Computer: https://support.opendns.com/forums/21618384

Some people have been asking about DNS Hijacking. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNS_hijacking
Any person/company that operates a DNS server could potentially Hijack DNS results. They can potentially inject code, track or mine your data, and more. You are basically picking the lesser of the evils on which company you trust the most with your data. Almost every major ISP is or has been guilty of DNS Hijacking. (See Wiki Link Above) Honestly, I use Google DNS because I trust them more than I trust my ISP. If you encrypted all of your traffic with a VPN, that could help prevent companies from successfully tracking you or mining your data. DNS Hijacking has become a taboo thing to do over the years. Less companies are doing it, but it definitely still exists.

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