The Internet is so vast and uncensored that it is capable of plaguing the young minds if the parents do not play their role in making sure that the bad websites are being filtered and blocked. Unlike previous generations where they probably hide their adult magazines under their bed, all they need is a device such as smartphone, tablet or desktop computer with an Internet connection to access the hundreds of thousands freely available porn sites by clicking the “I Agree” button to comply with the displayed conditions.
We have previously introduced 10 parental control software that you can install on your Windows computer to automatically detect bad websites and block them. They are effective but most of them can be easily tampered and bypassed. On this article we will be introducing the DNS method that can be used as an additional filtering system to block out bad websites and it works perfectly with the parental control software.
Basically a DNS is used to translate a typed URL (www.raymond.cc) into an IP address (188.8.131.52), and it works very quickly behind the scenes. When you connect to the Internet, Windows will by default use the DNS server provided by your ISP unless you’ve manually changed it to a different one such as Google Public DNS. Fortunately, we have found 3 free DNS services that come with protection policies to block porn and other types of unsavory websites.
OpenDNS was one of the very first to offer a public DNS service for free with the ability to block adult websites. Previously the configuration was a pain especially for users with dynamic IP address because it requires signing up an account, setting up the filtering and then installing an updater client so that the IP address is up to date. OpenDNS have come up with a new service called FamilyShield where it is pre-configured to block pornography websites by using their DNS servers.
Preferred DNS Server: 184.108.40.206
Alternate DNS Server: 220.127.116.11
OpenDNS still offers the classic service called OpenDNS Home where you get to customize the filtering by choosing the categories that you want to allow or block and also adding individual domains to whitelist or blacklist.
2. Norton ConnectSafe
Also known as Norton DNS, Norton ConnectSafe offers 3 different protection policies for free with different IP addresses. The first one is for security to block out malware, phishing and scam sites, while the second one adds the ability to block porn to the list and the last one adds non-family friendly sites such as drugs, gambling, crime, etc.
Preferred DNS Server: 18.104.22.168
Alternate DNS Server: 22.214.171.124
Security + Pornography
Preferred DNS Server: 126.96.36.199
Alternate DNS Server: 188.8.131.52
Security + Pornography + Non-Family Friendly
Preferred DNS Server: 184.108.40.206
Alternate DNS Server: 220.127.116.11
3. MetaCert DNS
MetaCert is well known for their plugin for Firefox and Chrome to protect your children from pornography. They are currently venturing in the DNS service where it has more flexibility to work on more devices rather than from just web browsers. Do note that currently MetaCert DNS is still in beta and they only have one DNS server. During testing we found that MetaCert DNS filtering fails periodically.
Preferred DNS Server: 18.104.22.168
On the next page there are another 2 family friendly DNS services and a utility you can use to try out some of these services with the click of a button.
SafeDNS is a relatively new DNS service that concentrates on be able to block porn and a range of other unsavory websites such as violence, alcohol & smoking by default. If you sign up for a free account you can setup filtering for over 50 different categories containing around 5 million websites, configure exceptions and also view your DNS usage history. A Windows tool called SafeDNS Agent is also available to control all of the SafeDNS service options from the desktop.
Primary DNS server: 22.214.171.124
Secondary DNS Server: 126.96.36.199
The free SentryDNS service is able to provide limited content filtering and can block a number of websites in addition to pornography, including malware, phishing, botnets and illegal downloads. Optionally signing up to the service will allow you to control web filtering from different categories. A companion tool called SentryDNS WAN Agent will watch your WAN IP address and notify the SentryDNS service of any changes when they occur, a useful option for dynamic IP users.
Primary DNS Server: 188.8.131.52
Secondary DNS Server: 184.108.40.206
Try Out 3 of these DNS Services Using a Simple Program
The problem when you have a choice of services is you maybe can’t decide which one you should use. Or perhaps changing the DNS server is not something you’re comfortable in doing. Well, the good news is, there’s a handy little tool around that will give you the opportunity of trying out 3 of these DNS services with just the click of a button, no manual setting up needed.
DNS Angel is basically a cut down version of a useful tool called DNS Jumper which allows you to easily try out several different DNS servers from a preset list. DNS Angel has no preset list, and instead concentrates on enabling and switching between the OpenDNS FamilyShield, MetaCert DNS and Norton ConnectSafe services just by clicking on the relevant button.
Simply start the program, it’s free and portable, and it will show your current DNS which will likely be something like 192.168.1.1 etc. All you need to do is click on the button for the DNS service you want to try and then test it out in your browser, the web browser may need restarting if it’s open while changing DNS servers. You will obviously need to hide this tool on your computer so no-one else can change the DNS back to the default and enable adult website viewing again. Perhaps something like password protection might be included in a future version.
Editor’s Note: One very important information that you should know is the DNS settings in Windows will override the one on your router. For example, if you’ve configured your router to use OpenDNS FamilyShield but the computer is using the Google Public DNS, the computer will end up using the Google’s DNS rather than OpenDNS. To prevent the DNS method being bypassed, you will need to create a restricted standard user account for your children so that they cannot change the DNS settings.