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Anyone know anything about OpenDNS? Is it safe to use, or should it be avoided? If it should be avoided, what are the alternatives?

I am basically looking for a way to block certain sites from my home network, but at the same time, I don't want to use a service which isn't safe interms of privacy and freedom.

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    Are you asking if OpenDNS can block sites and has privacy and freedom controls? If so, you may wish to edit your headline question. Of course it is safe to use - for the purposes that you consider it safe to use it for - very subjective. – Rory Alsop Mar 14 '14 at 11:50
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In my opinion, it's perfectly fine to use, and probably a very good option for a home user. Perhaps you should elaborate on your specific concerns?

I think it's OK because it seems well resourced (due to its business success), and has otherwise signaled "good" intentions. By virtue of its size, it is well placed to protect against malicious websites.

From Wikipedia:

OpenDNS is a company and service which extends the Domain Name System (DNS) by adding features such as misspelling correction, phishing protection, and optional content filtering. It provides an ad-supported service "showing relevant ads when we [show] search results" and a paid advertisement-free service.

The company’s Umbrella cloud-delivered security service secures enterprise users from malware, botnets and phishing on PCs, laptops, and tablets. The OpenDNS Global Network processes ~50 billion DNS queries daily from 50 million active users connected to the service through 20 data centers worldwide.

This does mean that you have to trust OpenDNS not to do bad things - because they will see all your DNS requests, they can tell what websites you're visiting. Again, signals of good intent will factor into your decision about whether or not to trust them.

Many other companies offer similar DNS services: Almost any major antivirus vendor will have it built into their product, plus there are companies targeting businesses with dedicated appliances that do the same thing.

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  • I guess what I am after is a dns service which gives me the ability to whitelist websites. So basically, absolutely everything is blocked by default until a url is added to the whitelist. – oshirowanen Mar 14 '14 at 9:50
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    @oshirowanen When you want web filtering completely under your control, you could set up a proxy on your network which uses a whitelist and make it impossible for workstations on the network to access the web without using that proxy by setting up a firewall rule at the router. – Philipp Mar 14 '14 at 10:12
  • @oshirowanen you might want to check out DNS Chef - thesprawl.org/projects/dnschef it supports whitelisting – CaffeineAddiction Jul 5 '16 at 13:40
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OpenDNS is a good service for home use to block unwanted contents, but as far as privacy is concerned, yes you are sharing all your URLs with openDNS.
But openDNS ensures that your request is safely reached at their servers without interaction DNScrypt .

By using appliance your privacy concerns could be safe but you need some technical expertise to configure these appliance, because it will be installed at your home. If you have enough technical expertise you can use free tools like Untangle.

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    "you are sharing all your urls with opendns" and since summer 2015 acquisition you are sharing all your activity with Cisco – techraf Oct 5 '15 at 23:38
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    Aren't we all already sharing all our URLs with our ISP ? – Walter Stabosz Dec 29 '16 at 17:41
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    "you are sharing all your urls with opendns" Not full URLs – Geremia Mar 13 '17 at 23:49

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