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Old 11-07-13, 05:19   #1
 
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Computers 7 Reasons to Use a Third-Party DNS Service

Your Internet service provider runs DNS servers for you, but you don’t have to use them. You can use third-party DNS servers instead, which offer a variety of features that your ISP probably doesn’t.

We’ve covered third-party DNS servers like OpenDNS and Google Public DNS in the past, but now we’ll explain just why you might want to change your DNS server.


Possible Speed Improvements

Third-party DNS servers can be faster than your ISP’s DNS servers. This isn’t guaranteed — it will depend on your geographic location, how close the third-party DNS servers are to you, and how slow your ISP’s DNS servers are.

If all you care about is speed, you may see an advantage from switching to a third-party DNS server — or you may not. To be sure, you should run a DNS benchmarking tool like Namebench, which will make DNS requests to your current DNS server and other DNS servers, testing how long each server takes to respond.

Popular third-party DNS providers like Google Public DNS or OpenDNS may be faster for you. Namebench will let you know if they are.

Note that Namebench can’t benchmark every factor. For example, Google Public DNS and OpenDNS participate in “The Global Internet Speedup” initiative, which allows participating DNS services to know your IP address and respond with IP addresses closer to you, increasing connection speed. Other DNS servers, like the ones offered by your ISP, aren’t as quick to implement such new technologies.

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Possible Reliability Improvements

This goes hand-in-hand with the possible speed improvements above. If your Internet service provider does a poor job of keeping their DNS servers running fast and stable, you may experience periods of time when websites fail to load or load very slowly while the DNS request takes some time to resolve. If your ISP isn’t doing their job properly, switching to a third-party DNS server may give you a more reliable experience.


Parental Controls

If you have young children and want to set up web filtering, there are a variety of different ways you can do it. One of the easiest ways to configure web filtering is to change your DNS servers to OpenDNS. Change the DNS server on your router and you’ll be able to configure parental control settings on the OpenDNS website, allowing you to block certain categories of websites and view the websites accessed from your home network.
This is particularly convenient because, after changing the setting on your router and setting up parental controls on the OpenDNS website, the settings will apply to every device on your home network — PCs running any operating system, game consoles, smartphones, tablets, and more. When a DNS request is made for such a website’s IP address, OpenDNS returns a different IP address. The user’s browser connects to that address and sees a message saying the website they want to access has been blocked.
Bear in mind that this isn’t foolproof. A user on your network could just change their device’s DNS server to bypass the filtering. Young children wouldn’t think to do this, but teenagers could likely foil it — just like most parental controls.






Phishing Protection

OpenDNS also performs filtering to block phishing sites. Modern browsers have built-in phishing protection, but if you run a network that includes Windows XP computers running Internet Explorer 6, enabling OpenDNS will give all of these computers some identity theft protection they wouldn’t otherwise have.
Other DNS services don’t offer this feature. For example, Google Public DNS does not include any content-filtering features, as it aims to just function as a fast DNS service without any of the frills.






Security Features

Third-party DNS servers like OpenDNS and Google Public DNS also offer security features that haven’t yet been implemented by many ISP’s DNS servers. For example, Google Public DNS supports DNSSEC to ensure DNS requests are securely signed and accurate. Your ISP’s DNS servers may not yet implement such security features.
If SOPA had passed, no American DNS servers would have supported DNSSEC, as SOPA would have made DNSSEC illegal. Americans would have had to use foreign DNS servers if they wanted the benefit of DNSSEC.



Access Geoblocked Content

Special third-party DNS servers can also allow you to access geoblocked content. For example, switching your DNS server to the free Tunlr will allow you to access media like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer, no matter where you are in the world. When your computer makes the DNS request, the DNS service performs some tunneling to make the service think that you’re elsewhere in the world. This is a convenient option because it allows you to access these services on any device just by changing the DNS server on your router.
You shouldn’t use Tunlr as your main DNS service. As a free service, Tunlr wouldn’t be able to put up with the load, so they artificially delay DNS requests — switching to Tunlr permanently will slow your web browsing way down. If you use Tunlr, you should use a tool like DNS Jumper to quickly switch to it when you need it and switch away when you’re done.

UnoDNS and Unblock-Us work similarly and don’t have this restriction, but the downside if you have to pay for them.






Bypass Web Censorship

Some Internet service providers and countries block websites only at the DNS level. For example, an ISP may “block” example.com by redirecting its DNS entry to a different website. If the website is blocked in this way, changing your DNS server to a third-party DNS service that doesn’t block the website will allow you to access it. A real-world example of this occurred when The Pirate Bay was blocked in the UK. People could change their DNS servers to access it again.
Note that websites are often blocked at the IP level, so this won’t always work. For example, the Great Firewall of China uses a variety of tricks to block websites, including DNS blocking.
Namebench includes an option that checks DNS servers for censorship to determine whether your current DNS servers are censoring their results.





If you want to switch DNS servers, you’ll probably want to change your DNS server on your router, which will affect your entire home network. You could also change the DNS server on a single computer, which will only affect that computer.
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Old 18-07-13, 17:22   #2
 
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Thumbs Up Bypass Internet Censorship+Third-Party DNS Service

5 Ways to Bypass Internet Censorship and Filtering





More and more Internet connections are being filtered, from public Wi-Fi and workplace connection filtering to ISP and country-level censorship. However, there are still ways to get around this filtering and view blocked websites.
Some of these methods may be restricted by harsh filtering. For example, the Great Firewall of China is now interfering with outgoing VPN connections, although VPNs were left alone for years.

DNS Server

This method is the least likely to work, but it’s worth covering here. Some Internet service providers have implemented filtering by changing their DNS servers to redirect requests for the blocked websites to another website. Some places that filter their Internet connections may use something like the web filtering solution offered by OpenDNS

Assuming the filtering is just at the DNS level and requests to other DNS servers aren’t being blocked, you can get around the filtering by setting a custom DNS server on your device. This overrides and bypasses the default DNS server controlled by your Internet service provider or the organization running the network. Use something like Google Public DNS and you’ll know no DNS-level filtering is taking place.




Tor

Tor allows you to browse anonymously. It does this by routing your web browsing over and encrypted network before it emerges at an endpoint, which will likely be in an uncensored, unfiltered location. You shouldn’t use Tor to access sensitive, unencrypted data, but Tor will let you access blocked websites on any connection.
Tor’s developers are fighting a long, unending battle with regimes that attempt to block it, such as Iran. Tor may work even if standard VPNs, proxies, and SSH tunnels won’t.
Note that Tor does have a big downside — it’s much, much slower than typical web browsing. It will allow you to access blocked websites, but it shouldn’t be used for all your day-to-day browsing unless you’re a dissident living in Iran or China.





VPN

Connect to a virtual private network and all traffic coming from your computer will be redirected over that VPN. In other words, if you’re connected to a VPN located in Iceland, all your network traffic will be redirected to Iceland before it emerges. Replies will be send to the server in Iceland, which will forward them back to you. This all happens over an encrypted connection. All your ISP, network operator, or even your country’s government can see is that you’re making an encrypted VPN connection and sending data over the connection. If they want to block you, they’d have to block VPN connections.
VPNs are also commonly used for remotely connecting to work networks, so VPNs are generally not blocked. However, China has recently started interfering with VPNs.
Free VPNs are available, but a solid, fast VPN will cost you money — either to rent from a VPN provider or to pay for hosting so you can set up your own VPN.




Proxy

Blocked sites can also be accessed using a standard proxy. System-wide (or browser-wide) proxies generally function similarly to VPNs, but they’re not as reliable — for example, they only work with certain programs, not every program on your computer. If you want to pay for a service and send all your traffic over it, you’re better off with a VPN.
However, if you want to quickly access a blocked website, you can try using a web-based proxy.

There are many available, including the widely known Hide My Ass.

Plug a website’s address into the box on the website and you can access it via the proxy.
This won’t always work, as the proxy itself may be blocked. It’s also not the best experience, as the proxy itself will add advertisements to the page — they have to pay for their free service somehow. However, if you want to quickly access a single blocked site without installing anything or changing any system settings, this may work for you.

SSH Tunnel

SSH tunnels can work similarly to VPNs for securely tunneling your traffic. If you’re looking to pay for such a service, you’ll probably want to get a VPN. However, if you’re a geek, you may already have an SSH server you can access remotely.
If you do have an SSH server you can access, you can connect to it remotely and set up tunneling, redirecting all your web browsing traffic over the secure connection. This is helpful to encrypt your browsing traffic so it can’t be snooped on on public WI-Fi networks, and it will also bypass any filtering on the local network. You’ll have the same web browsing experience you would have if you were sitting at the SSH server’s location, although it will be a little slower.
You can create an SSH tunnel with PuTTY on Windows or with the SSH command on other platforms.





Blocked websites are only becoming more common, with governments like the UK’s pushing ISPs to start filtering the Internet connections they provide to subscribers by default and laws like SOPA in the US demonstrating the kind of harsh blocking governments want to put into place.
If you ever stumble across a blocked website, these tips should help you understand how to get around the block.
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