Well maybe not eight times, but noticeable to say the least. The overhaul of an age-old Internet paradigm makes OpenDNS take the eighth day of our Christmas special.

DNS (Domain Name system) has been around almost as long as the Internet itself. It’s the protocol that reroutes a web address (“www.hackcollege.com”) to an IP address (“″). It makes the Internet human-friendly; could you imagine what the Internet would be if you had to memorize the IP address of every site you liked? I can hardly remember my own phone number sometimes. DNS has (obviously) worked for decades now. But OpenDNS promises to make it better.

A Better Browsing Experience

OpenDNS is a recent start-up company that unobtrusively commercializes this previously uncommercial venture. Because OpenDNS is making some money off of standard DNS requests and because not many people use the service right now, it’s fast.

Really fast. If you’re wondering how they make money off of a transparent service, it’s simple. They just take the usual “Firefox could not find this” page and turn it into a “OpenDNS could not find this page. May we suggest what you’re looking for?” page.

There are a slew of benefits to using OpenDNS. Here are the major ones:

  • Faster web surfing. One of the main selling points of OpenDNS is that their DNS servers are ultra-fast. After using it myself for a few days, I can say it’s definitely faster. (Note: OpenDNS will only decrease lookup times for each site. Once you’re on the site you won’t notice much of a difference.)

  • A more secure browsing experience. OpenDNS is able to fight the battle against phishing on the DNS level. If a certain domain or IP address is identified as dangerous, OpenDNS will block this site. No longer will you have to worry about logging into Skype, eBay, PayPal, or any other frequently targeted site for phishing.

  • URL typo correction. A minor thing, but not too shabby.

  • URL shortcuts. A superfluous feature, but I’m sure a few people might find it useful

Get Yourself Hooked Up

Getting yourself hooked up to OpenDNS is pretty easy. Just change your DNS servers in your network settings to the following:

There are a few more customizations you can make if you want to, but you’ll need to go through the directions on OpenDNS to do that.

This post is part of the 12 HackCollege Days of Christmas feature.