Thursday, November 5, 2009

OpenDNS - Your Robust Internet "Phone Directory"

On this late night (2AM) Comcast's Seattle DNS servers appear to be offline. For the layperson, DNS (Domain Name System) is the magic that happens when you type and you're automagically routed to a numeric address ( - in my case). Every device in your home or office ultimately talks to far off servers through such numbers and not with the text you're used to typing at your browser.

While writing this I received some IMs leading me to believe I've been offline for a couple of hours. Initially I thought it was perhaps hiccups I've seen in the past where power cycling the cable modem clears things up. That wasn't the case this time. I went into my router's dashboard and released my TCP/IP address and asked for a new one by way of DHCP. With each attempt (since I still wasn't getting anywhere) I promptly received the same IP address which gave me a hunch basic network connectivity was available. I then pinged Comcast's DNS server and promptly got a response

Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=55ms TTL=105
Reply from bytes=32 time=54ms TTL=105
Reply from bytes=32 time=57ms TTL=105
Reply from bytes=32 time=54ms TTL=105

Armed with that knowledge I setup OpenDNS. I had actually been running with OpenDNS under Windows XP for quite a while but I moved to Windows 7 last week and hadn't yet bothered. Well, suffice to say, the only reason I can even post this at this hour is because of OpenDNS. In short, OpenDNS rocks, use it.

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