OpenDNS

Cost: Free, or $10/year, depending on the service you choose

Website: http://www.opendns.com/start/

Overview

OpenDNS is a service that will filter the content for you before it is directed into your home. When you connect to the Internet, you need to tell your computer where to get the Internet addresses from. Usually, this setting is given to you by your Internet Service Provider. With a simple reconfiguration of the router that provides service to your home, you can direct your computer to get its Internet addresses from OpenDNS rather than from your ISP. Using this method, all requests to the Internet are first directed to OpenDNS. If a request is made to an inappropriate site, OpenDNS will simply tell your computer that the page is not available.

Features:

OpenDNS has two services for home users. One is a free version, in which you get basic content filtering with the ability to add up to 25 websites to a white/black list, and you protection from some Internet security threats like phishing and malware. For the paid version, you gain the ability to whitelist/blacklist more websites (up to 50), and you also get more access to reports and logs of activity.

Pros:

Since this is a “cloud” service, there is nothing to install on any computers in your home. Like Pandora’s Hope, it will protect every device that connects to the Internet, including wireless devices and game consoles, in your home. It is truly a “configure and forget” solution. Since the settings are embedded in your ISP modem, it also makes the solution more difficult for someone to bypass.

Cons:

This solution is primarily a content filter. You will not get the more robust features that you can get from a software filter, such as time controls, individualized reporting, and game rating enforcement. Since this is an Internet service, you loose some control over the way the service functions – for example, you cannot bypass the block page in the even that a website was blocked incorrectly. And, you can only control a list of 25 websites (in the free version) for the white or black list.

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