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Old 12-19-2008, 03:21 PM   #1
litlmary
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OpenDNS alternative?


I've never been very happy with my ISP's default DNS servers. As an alternative, I've been using OpenDNS. The filtering options and so forth are great, but I'm still not happy with how it handles addresses that it can't resolve. It uses some crappy search engine and pukes out a bunch of irrelevant search results (the same reason I don't like my ISP's).

There was a time that my ISP's DNS servers did a google search and directed me to the best result automatically when an address didn't resolve (I.E. typing "google" into the address bar of a browser would automatically go to "www.google.com").

Is there another free DNS service that works so well?
 
Old 12-19-2008, 07:23 PM   #2
SqdnGuns
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I use OpenDNS because Time Warner in sucking hard in So Cal. Since I set my router up with it, I've been good to go, no issues and been happy with it.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 03:12 AM   #3
litlmary
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Well, I've been playing with DNSadvantage tonight. It does the worst job of resolving bad url's than anything I have ever seen, but browsing is faster than a scalded hound! I'll stick with it for the time being because of the performance improvement over OpenDNS, but I still want something better
 
Old 12-20-2008, 04:15 AM   #4
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Nothing is free in this world (unless, well, OK, you know) and that goes for both OpenDNS and DNSadvantage as well. The advantages of using OpenDNS (stats, blocking whole categories of websites) and DNSadvantage (web filtering, typo re-direction and protection against DDoS) may outweight the disadvantages but you decide. So what's not free about those? The cost is not in the flawed OpenDNS redirection or money, it's trickier than that. It's in allowing them to control redirection and providing them with data au gratis. Meaning your (or your roommates, co-workers, friends, family or customers) browsing behaviour. Remind yourself that both companies are commercial ones: NeuStar for instance operates the .biz and .us top-level domains. Information is power and while governments make humongous mistakes with data as well (lost portable media, laptops, data in dumpsters) power in the hands of commercial entities is Something Completely Different. (No Larches involved here, I'm afraid ;-p)

My recommendation would be to use Pdnsd for its in-memory and on-disk caching and its ability to thwart OpenDNS redirection (see issue with IPv6 here), find close by ISP's, test the speed of their DNS resolving and use those. Keeps you in control.


( While there's other methods, if you have access to Nagios (or just the plugins), you could use the check_dns plugin easily to test speeds: fill a textfile with a single DNS IP address per line, then run 'cat /pathto/filename|while read DNSIP; do /pathtonagiosplugins/check_dns -H "www.google.com" -t 5 -s $DNSIP; done' a few times in a row and compare results. )
 
Old 12-20-2008, 01:49 PM   #5
litlmary
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Your point is well-taken. I own a private enterprise. Am I evil or irresponsible, simply by association? Of course not (and you know it), but I can make the type of mistakes you discuss. As a policy, I don't document my customers' private data to prevent potential liabilities. Fortunately, customers who have called me in a tizzy because they forgot a password and hoped I knew it didn't get too angry when they found out I don't keep those types of records.

Web privacy is a whole other issue, though. Ask MS about the millions of dollars they had to pay to a Dallas-based engineering firm after IE4 phoned home and tattled on them for pirating Win95. I'm sure that some unscrupulous companies collect such data (there could even be legit uses for it, like usage statistics and allocating resources), but acting on it would result in liabilities that anyone without cash reserves like MS has would go bankrupt trying to pay.

All that said, tinkering with some local DNS servers is a good idea that I may pursue when I get the chance. I'm currently pretty busy rolling out Suse 11.1 on mine and my families' machines and I have some other, higher-priority projects that would come first (like rebuilding my server with a more robust and bigger RAID5 volume as well as moving NAT functions to it and upgrading it to a couple of teamed GB NIC's )

For the time being, simply changing a couple of DNS addresses takes about a minute and is worth the time if it gets me where I want to be, even if it is temporary.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 09:24 PM   #6
AlfredSka
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Quote:
Originally Posted by litlmary View Post
I've never been very happy with my ISP's default DNS servers. As an alternative, I've been using OpenDNS. The filtering options and so forth are great, but I'm still not happy with how it handles addresses that it can't resolve. It uses some crappy search engine and pukes out a bunch of irrelevant search results (the same reason I don't like my ISP's).

There was a time that my ISP's DNS servers did a google search and directed me to the best result automatically when an address didn't resolve (I.E. typing "google" into the address bar of a browser would automatically go to "www.google.com").

Is there another free DNS service that works so well?
Forgive me if I misunderstand the situation, but is this problem limited to web surfing? If so, depending on your browser, you may be able to force a misspell/search redirect to a search provider of your choosing.

For instance, I use OpenDNS and Firefox. Following the guidelines here, I have never again encountered OpenDNS' own search results, instead I opt for a google search.

I'm sure similar instructions can be applied to other browsers, so they will handle their own redirects, rather than querying the DNS.
 
Old 12-20-2008, 10:17 PM   #7
mrclisdue
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I did some googling: "opendns search redirect" which yielded this discussion:

http://forums.opendns.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=226

which I found interesting, though you folks don't necessarily have to read it.

The point I wish to make is that as a result of that discussion, I stumbled upon a Greasemonkey script which allows one to bypass the OpenDns search redirect with google (or the search engine of your choice.)

http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/8040

hth,

Last edited by mrclisdue; 12-20-2008 at 10:26 PM. Reason: the usual: spelling & grammar
 
Old 12-21-2008, 04:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrclisdue View Post
which I found interesting, though you folks don't necessarily have to read it.
Indeed that was an interesting read, esp. if you read the mentioned web log article as well.
 
  


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