Why it might be a good idea to use Open DNS

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 7, 2006
Updated • May 17, 2013

I decided to read more about Open DNS after I read Evertons article "Does open dns really speed up web pages" on his great website connected internet. He was trying to find out why a dns service that was using servers in the United States would be faster than the DNS service offered by his own internet service provider.The connection to the native ISP provider should have been faster than the connection to the server overseas. So, how can it be faster and more reliable?

This was partially answered in the comments by John Roberts (according to the Open DNS website the VP of Product Development) who confirmed that the connection itself naturally takes longer (in milliseconds) but that the open dns servers were optimized to make up for it. This would of course only be an advantage if the servers of the ISP are not be that optimized. The Open DNS team soon opens a new server location in London which should speed up things for European users (not saying that they are slow at the moment, they will just be some milliseconds faster with the server in London). You see what I mean if you traceroute a server in the United States and Europe, and compare the results.

But it is not speed that I would like to talk about. Speed is important but not everything. Open DNS offers two features that your normal ISP does not offer. First, it has automatic phishing detection built-in which warns you if you attempt to visit a website that is marked as a phishing website. They do rely on more than one source for up to date information, a nice feature.

Second they do fix typos. Try to access a website like www.ghacks.net and you will be automatically edirected to the correct site. If the typo does not have one solution but more than one a list of possible results will be shown. Nice as well.

They also offer another feature that they are not writing about on their website, maybe because they are unaware of it.

Some countries decided to block access to domains by banning the dns entries of those domains. If you use the dns of a provider in that country you will not be able to visit that website unless you use the IP address instead.

A different DNS server that does not block those sites fixes that problem. You are free and ready to visit the website and it will show itself completely. Free Speech at its finest. You might want to try their service if you are living in a country that uses this (weak) method to censor content on the web.

The Open DNS team published a great guide on how to setup the new dns server on your system and / or router. It normally is only a matter of seconds to enter new dns servers. After that is done you are already using the open dns servers.

If you run into troubles you should try the faq section of their site which has answers to common difficulties.


Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Martin said on November 10, 2006 at 10:24 am

    David I left the rest of your team out because it was a direct response to the article at connectedinternet.co.uk where John Roberts joined the discussion..

    If I would have the choice between you and Allison Rhodes I still stick with her though :)

  2. David Ulevitch said on November 10, 2006 at 3:30 am

    I take offense to that last part! What am I, chopped liver? :-)

    The rest was fantastic.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.