OpenDNS on Mission to Improve Domain Name System
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What if you could surf the Internet faster and more safely? What if you didnít need to install special software to do this? What if you didnít even need to pay any money for the service? And what if this service was also available for ISPs to provide to their users? Thatís the premise behind start-up company OpenDNS, whose founder believes itís about time the domain name system received some improvement.
OpenDNS opened its doors (and servers) in early June 2006. The short version of what it does is encompassed in its motto: "OpenDNS makes your Internet work better." To understand how it accomplishes this task though, you need to understand something about how the domain name system works.
Web sites are identified by IP addresses. An IP address is a four-part number separated by periods. While computers love handling numbers, they're kind of hard for humans to remember. So the domain name system was born. Instead of typing out a web site's IP address, users type a domain name into the browser, such as www.devshed.com.
The domain name links to the IP address and in order for your browser to take you to the appropriate web site, a DNS lookup must be performed. That means DNS lookup tables must be consulted - and there are literally tens of millions of domain names. DNS tables may span multiple computers, forcing your browser to hop from one server to another to find the domain for which you're looking, slowing down your web surfing experience.
Since the work is done at the level of your ISP's processor - and not all ISPs have the most up-to-date systems - the speed of your connection won't help too much with this problem. But there are other problems too. If you typo a domain, for instance, the system will probably return an error page rather than correcting your typo and taking you where you intended to go. Conversely, the DNS as it stands now can't protect you from "typosquatters" who may also be phishers trying to lure you into giving them your personal information so they can have their way with your credit cards and bank accounts.
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