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OpenDNS Experts Welcome


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#1
Ferrari

Ferrari

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Hi,

I recently read a how to guide called preventing malware and ensure safe computing written by a Geek U teacher. I liked it a lot and did everything he mentioned in the guide.

One of the things he recommended was OpenDNS. I did this, and it was quite simple. You just go to their website and follow the instructions for your computer. (Don't know if I really need to give detailed instructions on how to do this here)

I did this because the guide implied that this will help prevent malware and a faster internet.

Anyway, I was talking to a tech friend of mine and he thought it was weird I have to do that for each computer. Then, I remember that the site does give you the option of doing this for your router. He explained just changing the DNS there would be better, instead of having each computer changed. It seemed to make sense.

So now, I am logged into my router and scared I'm going to mess something up. I think I can change the router address and the subnet mask to the numbers/address that OpenDNS tells you to change it to, but is the router address and subnet mask what I want to change? OpenDNS instructions say to change the DNS settings to their numbers/addresses. Is the router address and subnet mask the same as DNS settings?

Also, does it make a difference that this is not just a router and is an RG (Residential Gateway)? It controls our internet, tv, and phone for AT&T U-Verse. (Not advertising, just felt it was necessary to explain the set up) I don't want to mess it all up, though they trust my judgment and let me make whatever changes I want, my parents would be a little unhappy if they don't have tv, internet, and phone tomorrow =).

Another thing, I went to their website and read some forums and it sounds like they are having all kinds of troubles. Complaint after complaint and question after question. Not being able to access allowed sites, etc. And everyone in the forums appears to be managing a network for a big company. I didn't see the word Malware or faster internet anywhere on the site or in the forums lol which is why I started this project in the first place. The guide I read seemed to imply this is what it is for, but maybe I am making it more complicated or getting in too deep.

Ok, well some explanations and some help would be great. I really would like to do this, it sounds like an awesome tool/networking strategy.

As you may be able to tell, I am a noob, but way worse than a noob when it comes to this subject.

Let me know and sorry for such a long post.
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#2
Dan

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Hey Ferrari,

I think I can change the router address and the subnet mask to the numbers/address that OpenDNS tells you to change it to, but is the router address and subnet mask what I want to change?

The router address and subnet mask are not what you are looking for -- but don't feel bad. The reason you can't find what you're looking for is because, in your case, it's not there :) You will need to manually setup the OpenDNS server's on each computer, as you were doing initially. This is because your Residential Gateway does not permit you to modify your DNS settings, at that level.

I didn't see the word Malware or faster internet anywhere on the site or in the forums lol which is why I started this project in the first place. The guide I read seemed to imply this is what it is for, but maybe I am making it more complicated or getting in too deep.

OpenDNS uses a caching system; this means, if Joe goes to somesite.com, then it would be loaded into OpenDNS' cache. If you were to then attempt to browse somesite.com, you wouldn't have to connect to somesite.com's server; instead you would connect to OpenDNS' cache, and retrieve the site data from there. Will this make your Internet faster? Possibly. If the OpenDNS servers are located near you, then you will receive content/downloads faster from sites that are hosted a long distance from you (International, the other side of the country, etc.). If there are no OpenDNS servers located near you, then no; you will not notice an increase in speed, and may notice a decrease to some sites. Also, certain sites that update frequently, such as forums (geekstogo.com/forum) will usually not be cached, since the cached data would become stale (outdated) within a few minutes -- at least, that's how things worked when I last looked into caching (which I will freely admit, was quite some time ago).

As to the malware side of things -- I believe OpenDNS hosts a list of malicious sites, and stops these sites from loading on your computer. This will mean that you won't connect to nasty sites that may try to infect your computer; however this list is not necessarily comprehensive. There will be sites out there that haven't been added to the list, and may therefore still infect you. But you will be a lot safer than the average Joe. They may have a more advanced system than this in place; I'm not sure.

I hope that answers the majority of your questions; if not, let me know and I'll try to help out.
- Dan
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#3
Ferrari

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Dan,

Thank you very much...that is exactly the answers I was looking for. I'm kind of glad I just have to do it for each computer...much easier and not as scary. lol!

I really liked how you explained how Open DNS worked in regards to malware and internet speed. Just FYI...after tweaking firefox some and doing the dns on my laptop...I click on a page and it's there! I think their server or whatever must be somewhat close to me =). We pay for 6mb/s internet. Downloads seem to be coming in at 700kb/s.

Thanks, and if I have any more questions soon, I will post again here, don't leave me hanging! =)
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#4
Dan

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You're welcome :)

Just FYI...after tweaking firefox some and doing the dns on my laptop...I click on a page and it's there! I think their server or whatever must be somewhat close to me =)

That's good to hear :)
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#5
Ferrari

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Ok so I set up my laptop and my parents computers OpenDNS settings individually. No problem

I noticed that I tried going to a link that a staff member had posted in a Geek U tutorial and it didn't allow me to go there. I just added the website to my never block list in my custom settings on OpenDNS. No problem

However, I noticed that the picture that OpenDNS let me upload that will show when the blocked site page pops up was the picture I used for my parents computer...not mine. I was on my computer. I double checked this to be sure...and I am sure.

Why are the settings that I set for my parents IP address/Computer applying to my computer? Is it because I'm wireless? Still, that doesn't make any sense to me.

Ok, let me know
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#6
Dan

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It wouldn't be caused by you being on wireless. How do you have your OpenDNS accounts setup? Keep in mind that from OpenDNS' perspective, there is no difference between your computer, and your parents computer(s). You will both be appearing as the same external IP; it wouldn't surprise me if you're getting a conflict of settings due to this.

Can you please do the following:
  • Press Start
  • Select Run
  • Type cmd and press OK
  • In the new command prompt window, type tracert google.com > C:\trace.txt
  • This command will take a few minutes to complete -- wait for your command prompt to return. Navigate to your C: drive and open the text file trace.txt -- please copy/paste the contents of this file into your next response.
I have a feeling you will only be able to setup one logo for both you and your parents, unless you split your network up.

- Dan
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#7
Ferrari

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Well, I was going to try to do that, but since I'm at my girlfriends, my browser now just says can't load page. My Outlook wont send/recieve either. I connect hear all the time, wirelessly, So, I went into my network connections and checked the box that says automatically obtain DNS server, instead of using OpenDNS addresses. Still nothing. I have a feeling you know why. lol

If you and I dont connect while I'm here, I will do what you asked when I get home and post the findings, and we can discuss the connection issues, (assuming its related to OpenDNS) at my girlfriends house later/after that.

Some info, my computer connects to the internet from the wireless signal given off from the Residential Gateway supplied by our ISP. This is at my parents house.

At my girlfriends, I connect from a wireless signal given off by a netgear router. She does, not yet, use OpenDNS.

Didn't know if you needed to know that or if it makes a difference.

How do you have your OpenDNS accounts setup? Keep in mind that from OpenDNS' perspective, there is no difference between your computer, and your parents computer(s).


I thought what I was setting up with OpenDNS was for just each computer...when you sign up with them it clearly says A (Choose Computer) or B (Choose Router) as the very first step. But from what you say...

You will both be appearing as the same external IP

What is the difference then, computer or router I guess would be the same.

Let me know, just a noob remember lol

Thanks Dan,
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#8
Ferrari

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Here ya go. Also, one logo is fine...I just want to make sure everything is going the way it is should be and logging into OpenDNS for the right account. Right now, I have an account under my name and one under my parents with different custom settings (Similar, but different). I did this assuming I needed an account for each computer.

Tracing route to google.com [209.85.171.100]

over a maximum of 30 hops:



1 19 ms 1 ms 1 ms 192.168.1.254

2 39 ms 21 ms 22 ms 99-153-192-3.lightspeed.hvtrmo.sbcglobal.net [99.153.192.3]

3 23 ms 22 ms 24 ms 71.144.249.194

4 46 ms 25 ms 22 ms 71.144.224.26

5 39 ms 22 ms 22 ms 71.144.224.18

6 39 ms 21 ms 21 ms 151.164.43.242

7 50 ms 30 ms 29 ms ex1-p2-0.eqchil.sbcglobal.net [151.164.42.149]

8 53 ms 37 ms 37 ms 72.14.197.85

9 53 ms 36 ms 36 ms 209.85.254.120

10 107 ms 88 ms 88 ms 72.14.233.116

11 99 ms 99 ms 92 ms 216.239.46.200

12 102 ms 92 ms 93 ms 64.233.174.103

13 100 ms 89 ms 92 ms 216.239.48.143

14 107 ms * 111 ms 74.125.30.6

15 109 ms 93 ms 91 ms cg-in-f100.google.com [209.85.171.100]



Trace complete.

Edited by Ferrari, 16 February 2009 - 11:50 PM.

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#9
Dan

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I thought what I was setting up with OpenDNS was for just each computer...when you sign up with them it clearly says A (Choose Computer) or B (Choose Router) as the very first step. But from what you say...

The only reason they provide both a router and a computer setup option is for convenience; configuring a router is a lot faster than manually entering the DNS settings on every machine. You will only need one account per network.

Did you run that tracert while using OpenDNS? It's not a big deal either way, just curious now.

Some info, my computer connects to the internet from the wireless signal given off from the Residential Gateway supplied by our ISP. This is at my parents house.

At my girlfriends, I connect from a wireless signal given off by a netgear router. She does, not yet, use OpenDNS.

Your residential gateway would be acting as both a router and a modem; from your computer's perspective, there's no difference between your residential gateway and your girlfriends router. Are you still experiencing issues at your girlfriends place? If so, when you're trying to connect to her connection, please do the following:
  • Press Start
  • Select Run
  • Type cmd and press OK
  • In the new command prompt window, type ipconfig /all > C:\ipconfig.txt
  • Navigate to your C: drive and open the text file ipconfig.txt -- please copy/paste the contents of this file into your next response.
Thanks,
- Dan
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#10
Ferrari

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Dan,

Yeah I ran that tracert while I had the OpenDNS addresses applied in the Network connections. It was right after I had applied them though...don't know if that matters.

I should be able to run that ipconfig next time I'm over there. I will try to do that tonight or possibly tomorrow.

Does it matter which account I delete then?

Where do we go from here?

Edited by Ferrari, 17 February 2009 - 01:12 PM.

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#11
Dan

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It shouldn't matter which account you delete, although it seems like your parent's account has taken over, so it may be best to remove your account. Either way, the remaining account's settings should kick in once it is unique for your network.

Where do we go from here?

Where would you like to go? :) Let's see that ipconfig from your girlfriends network so we can try get you connecting over there.

- Dan
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#12
Ferrari

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I have deleted my account and just kept my parents. I think I'm going to block every site they go to so they can see my cool logo I picked out and see how it says JR and OpenDNS have blocked this page... :) I'm kidding.

I will let you know about the connection problem at her house when I get over there next...that might be tonight or possible tomorrow. FYI My computer shows that I'm connected, just doesn't get my mail for Outlook or go to any web pages. Her computer works.

I will do that ipconfig when I'm there. Don't Unsubscribe! :) :)
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#13
Ferrari

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I went to my girlfriends house and I tried repairing the connection and it worked this time. So, I guess we are good on that. That should be it, that other issue that I am dealing with Artellos on is still a problem. I had an idea earlier to just uninstall Firefox and then reinstall. I haven't been home to try it, but I'm gonna see what it does.

Thanks for all your help!
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#14
Dan

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Are you sure that the other issue only occurs when you're using OpenDNS? Because I'm guessing you've installed a fair amount of security software (along with making a host of other changes) in the last few days/weeks. This issue doesn't occur when OpenDNS isn't active?

To be honest, I'd be looking at AVG on this one; you could try uninstalling it on your machine and using Avast! for a while (Avast may not have quite as pretty an interface, but it is far less resource intensive).

I just think it's a little strange that this is an OpenDNS issue; you'd think it would be affecting more people if that was the case.

The server being reset usually happens on either the clients end (i.e. caused by software -- anti-virus, firewall, etc) or on the server end (maybe you are trying to make too many connection attempts -- caused by having too high a value in pipelining -- and the server is therefore refusing you). Re-installing Firefox isn't a bad idea.

Try download and use Google Chrome for a few days; does the issue still occur?
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#15
Ferrari

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I have uninstalled and reinstalled and it seems to working just fine now. Seems a bit quicker too. I always change the pipelineing and maxrequests, etc like the how to guides on this site show you too. Maybe that was part of the problem, but I tested it before and after I made the changes to this version and it still is working just fine, so who knows :)

Because I'm guessing you've installed a fair amount of security software (along with making a host of other changes) in the last few days/weeks.


You are correct...who knows what caused it. It just seemed to start right around the opendns thing. I have taking quite a liking to computers as of late, I joined Dec 18th and have about 200 posts LOL I have never belonged to a tech site before. You do the math. :)

Anyway, you made some really good suggestions though, and I will keep them in mind should similar problems arise in the future.

I haven't tried Chrome...could you give me your opinion and some thoughts about it? And with that, I think we are done FINALLY! :) :)

Thanks,
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