OpenDNS

Over the years I have followed many people who had DNS (Doman Name System) issues. DNS issues can manifest themselves in several ways. You cannot access certain web pages, there is slowness in accessing certain websites, etc. I am one of those people! I have had DNS issues from time to time. Sometimes, I have removed the problem using OpenDNS.

What is DNS?

OK, so you are having problems accessing certain websites or your Safari is just plain slow at resolving the address of a website. It gets there eventually, but very “slooooowly”. That can be, but is not always, a sure sign of DNS issues. Here is one definition of DNS:

The DNS translates Internet domain and host names to IP addresses. DNS automatically converts the names we type in our Web browser address bar to the IP addresses of Web servers hosting those sites.

Think of DNS as something like Google Maps. You start with your address (your computer IP) and then the address of your destination (the website IP) and it gives you step by step directions. Only it should do it in a nano second. Your Mac OS does all this communicating for you. But, what if “what we have here is a failure to communicate” (Cool Hand Luke). Enter a very cool service called OpenDNS.

What is OpenDNS

OpenDNS offers Personal Internet Security, i.e.. Parental Controls, Enhanced DNS Services, etc. for Personal or Enterprise. You have to pay for these services, but if you need them it is worth it. However, you can use their basic DNS services for free. 

I don’t know too many businesses that use OpenDNS, but I do know many people who use it for Internet Security at home. This is what OpenDNS says about home Internet security:

Covers any device connected to a single home network. Includes web content filters, two weeks of basic reports, SmartCache, and phishing protection powered by PhishTank

Setting Up OpenDNS

If you are having DNS issues and/or wish to use OpenDNS for other security reasons then it is easily installed. First, log in to your Network Preferences on your Mac and click on the “Advanced” button, bottom right hand corner of the window:

You will be taken to the advanced Network settings. Click on the “DNS” tab like so:

When you are in the DNS window you will see the DNS assigned by the Mac OS. Before going any further open this page on the OpenDNS website in your web browser. You will see the OpenDNS settings in the upper right portion of this window. Copy the top setting to the clipboard. Next, just click the “plus” button bottom left corner of the DNS window like so:

Paste the first OpenDNS number in that space. Now click the “plus” button again and copy and paste the second OpenDNS number into that area. Now save that and you will be taken to the main Network window. Notice the DNS Server address has changed to the OpenDNS addresses:

When you click “Apply” in the Network Pref Pane you will be using the OpenDNS settings. I have not had too many DNS issues in Yosemite, but if you are having issues in any version of OS X then give this a try for a while to see if it helps your network issues.

Doug