Verizon Wireless Blocks OpenDNS

OpenDNS is an alternative to the default DNS service provided by your ISP. It is secure, fast and has no blacklisting as applied by your ISP. This has made it an extremely popular service and it is used widely in schools, colleges and at other places.

The OpenDNS website describes itself as,

OpenDNS is the leading provider of free security and infrastructure services that make the Internet safer through integrated Web content filtering, anti-phishing and DNS. OpenDNS services enable consumers and network administrators to secure their networks from online threats, reduce costs and enforce Internet-use policies. OpenDNS is used today by millions of users and organizations around the world.

OpenDNS has become extremely popular over the last three years after its launch in 2006. It serves 20 million requests. This has upset ISPs because OpenDNS feeds off their business and takes away part of their possible profit.

OpenDNS founder David Ulevitch has raised concerns over blocking of OpenDNS by Verizon Sprint Wireless and has said,

They do not want to see DNS traffic, queries and data streams leaving them. In the way we have monetized domain name services, they want to do what we do. However, they are not an opt-in service like we are, and they can also block us, which is what we are concerned about. And they try to block us in crafty ways. There was a report of an ISP working group whose members said that for “security” reasons, they should block alternative DNS services.

This autonomous decision by Verizon Sprint Wireless will bring it a considerable amount of negative karma. Blocking an alternate DNS service is going too far out in the competition.

Update: OpenDNS founder David Ulevitch has said that it was not Verizon Wireless blocking them but Sprint Wireless. Read here for his reaction.

(Source)

Free DNS Benchmark Tools – Satisfy Your Need for Speed

Anonymous_Computer_1 Recently, Google made a big splash in the world of domain name servers (DNS), when they offered their own free (open) DNS service. Shortly after Google’s announcement, I posted an article telling you How to Use Google Public DNS on Windows 7 and Windows XP. In that article, I also explain the general idea of what DNS actually does and how it can affect your overall surfing speed.

That wasn’t the end of the story. There were plenty of people who had concerns about the whole Google DNS idea, since Google already influences so much of the Internet with their search engine, advertising and free services.

There are hundreds of alternatives for free and open DNS services but OpenDNS is still the premier (and one of the largest) since it offers all kinds of filtering options for internet safety. For many out there, popularity or safety aren’t a big concern. They feel the need for speed.

Often times, your fastest DNS service is the one provided to you by default from your internet service provider, but sometimes it isn’t. How can you find out which is the fastest?

Here are two free tools that you can use to determine the speed king when it comes to DNS services at your location.

Namebench

The first, namebench, is a fairly new, free and open source project (FOSS) which is hosted at Google Code. So, once again, Google has their finger in the pie, in a sense. Since it’s open source, I don’t fear that it’s results will be lopsided in favor of any service. It was easy to use, you only have to click a single button (Start Benchmark) to get it started on it’s 10 to 15 minutes of benchmarking. (for Windows, Mac, Linux)

namebench_running

DNS Benchmark

The second, Steve Gibson’s DNS Benchmark, is also fairly new from what I understand. Steve is an old security expert who’s earned our trust with years of service. He codes all of his programs using assembly language and this tool is very compact, weighing in at 176k. It’s just as easy to use , since all you have to do is click a single button (Run Benchmark) to fire it up. I did notice that it finished a bit faster than the other tool did. (Windows only)

grc_benchmark_nameservers

Results:

Both of these tools will let you make all kinds of changes to the options before you run them. I won’t spend any time here going into those options because they’ll both work fine with their default settings if the average joe needs to use them.

I used both of these freeware tools. Based on the results, I’ve determined that although UltraDNS was slightly faster, I am willing to trade some of that speed for the extra safety of OpenDNS. I used a freeware tool named DNS Jumper to quickly set my DNS settings.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Since both of these tools are free, there’s really no need to make a choice between them. Take a few minutes and run both of them. However, if I had to choose only one, then Steve’s DNS Benchmark would be my choice, only because I’ve used his freeware security tools for years and I trust him implicitly.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (both tools are good)

OpenDNS Serves 20 Billion DNS Queries in a Single Day

OpenDNS, which provides users with a safer and more reliable Domain Name lookup service has hit a huge milestone. When I say huge, I mean really really huge. They served 20 billion DNS queries in a single day, which is quite huge considering that back in April 2009 they had reached a 10 Billion milestone.

opendns_20billion_queries

So has the Internet exploded? Or, are we just seeing more and more users switching to public DNS servers like OpenDNS and ?

OpenDNS has come for some flak for the advertisements they display when a domain lookup is unsuccessful, this is not the same with Google DNS. It would be interesting to see the figures of both Google DNS and OpenDNS side by side in a month or so. However, that aside, this is a really really huge achievement for OpenDNS and kudos to them for it.

You can read more about it in the OpenDNS newsletter. Don’t forget to also catch up on the OpenDNS founders response to the launch of Google DNS.

OpenDNS Founder Talks About Google DNS

Google is known for launching bombs on users in the form of startling news, or coming up with something which no one will have any clue about. The most recent bomb being the introduction of Google Public DNS. Naturally the biggest provider of DNS services, OpenDNS, would have to say something about it.

opendns_vs_google_dns

And befittingly, David Ulevitch, the founder of OpenDNS wrote a blog post, where he talks about the critical points that this launch means, both for OpenDNS as well as the general public, who want faster website lookups. I will try my best to highlight the views about the blog post, the rest is up to you.

Google DNS Retains Control, OpenDNS Gives it to You

One of the most important points I found in the article was where David highlighted the fact that Google DNS did not give the end users any control, except for providing a DNS lookup server. Agreed that it is still too early, and features may be rolled out in the future, but Google matching the features that OpenDNS provides would be foolish if not outright stubborn, considering that OpenDNS is a free to use service.

OpenDNS throws in several features where you can block websites, have parental control and more. Google DNS on the other hand does not.

More Choice for DNS

If you have to chose between several evils, choose the least evil one. No matter who lookups websites for you, everyone will have access to that data, may it be Google, OpenDNS, or your neighborhood ISP.

How they use that data is beyond anyone’s imagination. They could sell that data to advertising companies and make sure that the next time you see personalized ads, or for that matter do anything with it. However, David does say that Google DNS will add more awareness and choice which is good for the Internet overall.

Everyone sits up and notices when a market leader announces a new product or service, eventually this will benefit OpenDNS itself as awareness about DNS grows. Try searching for Free DNSon Google, and hit the I am Feeling LuckyButton.

Google Wants To Rule The Internet

For me saying something like this is foolish, because Google already controls the Internet. Google accounts for more than 90% of search traffic worldwide, and has a analytics service which runs on millions of blogs and websites. They know what you have been searching for all year and which websites you visited, so what is new with this? For that matter every search engine or website you visit knows what you did when you visited them. If you start acting like a control freak just because of this, you might as well kiss Goodbye to the Internet forever.

Agreed that using Google DNS would give them some more data, but I believe that they have more than enough data to do all the tweaking and personalization of their services than they would ever require.

Of course privacy pundits will have their own arguments. However no matter how much you argue, most of the personalization and customization benefits users and users have control over that in most cases.

Practice What You Preach: Google has Ads and Redirection

Google says that their DNS service does not contain any ads or redirection, however rival services do. David counters on this by saying that Google is the largest ad service and redirection company in the World.

David puts up a very good argument about this, it is worth noting that most of it is true. Google DNS is just a overlay over information Google might want to access.

Concluding

Many of David’s point in his post are very valid, some are arguable. However, the choice is up to you. Choose wisely and make your own decisions. After all, in the end you will be handing over your personal website visiting data to someone on a platter, no matter who it is.

How to use Google Public DNS on Windows 7 and Windows XP

Google recently announced that it’s offering a new public DNS server. It caught me by surprise. However, I’m not new to using public DNS services, and I gave Google’s new service a try. If you are using Windows 7 or Windows XP, I’ll show you how to set it up.

First, let’s get a couple of questions out of the way.

What is a DNS server?

DNS stuff can get pretty complicated, and I don’t want to go into details, so I’ll just give you a general idea. A DNS server is like a phone book. If you want to call someone using your phone, you may need to look up their phone number. Every website on the net has a 12 digit number (IP Address) that your PC needs to know in order to contact it. When you type a website name into a browser, your PC queries it’s assigned DNS server (the phone book), the DNS server reports the IP address (the phone number) back to your PC, and the PC initiates a connection with the site you requested. This all happens automatically and you really don’t need to know about DNS to use it. Most people are using a private DNS server that’s assigned by their Internet Service Provider, however, there are many open (public) DNS servers out there that anyone can use. Google’s new DNS server is only one among thousands.

Why would you want to use Google’s Public DNS?

I’m not sure that I completely agree with the reasons given at the Google Public DNS home page, but they state that their DNS service is faster, more secure and fairly private. Personally, I prefer OpenDNS, but that’s a topic for another time.

And now – on to the How toportion.

Set up Google Public DNS on Windows XP

Google Public DNS an OpenDNS Competitor by Google

Looks like Google just wants to rule over the Internet. They have recently launched Google Public DNS, an OpenDNS like solution which allows you to change the DNS of your ISP and use a much safer solution.

Today, as part of our ongoing effort to make the web faster, we’re launching our own public DNS resolver called Google Public DNS, and we invite you to try it out.

Google Public DNS also claims to be much faster than what your ISP can provide you with. A DNS server is basically a lookup server which converts domain names into machine understandable IP address. OpenDNS has been providing a similar service for ages now and this introduction from Google will definitely hurt them a bit.

What do you think of Google Public DNS? Would you switch to it from OpenDNS? Do let us know about your thoughts.

Introducing Google Public DNS [Official Google Blog]