How to Block Websites with OpenDNS on home WiFi?

Last Updated: August 22, 2018
Block Website OpenDNS

OpenDNS is a free domain service that can be used to block individual websites on the home WIFi network. The configuration is pretty easy and you can get a free account to customize the filtering on websites and categories. We have already covered the article to block website direct on Router. The router level block depends on the Router model and the features provided in the firmware. OpenDNS is a free DNS service that can be used to block websites for WiFi networks.

Let us see how to Block Websites with OpenDNS and filter web traffic on home WiFi with free OpenDNS service.

Step 1: Replace Router DNS with OpenDNS.

You can change the DNS address of your Windows or Mac, iPhone or Android to route traffic through OpenDNS servers. However, this needs to change each decic’s DNS address and going to be a lot of work. If you want to get a whole protection for entire home network, you have to do this DNS change on home WiFi router.

Once you change the WiFi router DNS to Open DNS, the traffic to the all devices connected to this WiFi router will get filtered through OpenDNS security. You have to enter the Router Gateway address on the browser to get backend access and change DNS. Please see the list of most used router gateway address to get the backend access.

Once you are in the backend, select the Internet Tab to change the default DNS address. For those who are doing this first time, please see an article from Netgear to change DNS IP. Most of the available routers in the market follow the same steps to change the DNS IP on the WiFi router. Based on the router manufactures, there may have slight differences on these steps.

WiFi Router DNS Change OpenDNSSee one screenshot from NetGear WiFi router Interface and you can replace the DNS IP Address. Now you have to set these router IP to OpenDNS Server IPs. Please use the Primary and Secondary Server IP provided by OpenDNS 208.67.222.222, 208.67.220.220 respectively. Once you set this DNS IPs, save the settings on router and exit form Router interface.

Step 2: Add Static IP Adress in OpenDNS Account

Open DNS offer more customized control for your home network. Now you have to create a free account on OpenDNS (OpenDNS Free Account Link) and login to the dashboard.

Open DNS Add Network IP

The next step is to set up a personal Network using OpenDNS free service. After you log in to the OpenDNS dashboard;

  1. Go to Settings tab.
  2. Add your Wireless IP address.
  3. Make sure OpenDNS dashboard shows your IP address on the top bar in the masked area.

You can enter the same IP address to add network. The static IP address is depending on your ISP provider. Some of the providers are giving dynamic IP for home WiFi. For Dynamic IP address, the IP address will change after a certain period. Please see the screenshot below for Dynamic IP address users.

Step 2a: Add Dynamic IP in OpenDNS

Open DNS is providing a software tool for Mac and Windows users who have a dynamic IP address. If you have a dynamic IP, you have to check the box stating that “Yes, it is dynamic.”

Open DNS Add Home Network

Open DNS will offer the link to download the tool to your Mac or Windows machine. You have to install this tool on PC to proceed further. This software tool will update the home IP address with OpenDNS account whenever your ISP provider changes your IP address.  (We recommend to install this tool on your Desktop machine that kept on most of the time).

Step 3: Set Website Content Filtering with OpenDNS

Once you set up the network successfully on OpenDNS, then you can see the screen under settings to chose the web filtering level. Make sure to select the “Settings for: Home Network” before selecting the Web Content Filtering.

Open DNS Web Filtering

There are four levels of protection is offering by OpenDNS. You can customize this filtering level by adding additional categories into it.

  • High: Protects against all adult-related sites, illegal activity, social networking sites, video sharing sites, and general time-wasters (26 categories in this group).
  • Moderate: Protects against all adult-related sites and illegal activity (13 categories in this group).
  • Low: Protects against pornography (4 categories in this group).
  • The “Custom” option let you add the categories on your choice. You can select and filter level and add more categories to that to customize your filtering with OpenDNS.
  • The “None” option skip your WiFi form all filtering and protection, but still, all the traffic will go through OpenDNS servers.

This website content filtering option is to block Adult websites from your network. You can choose the level of blocking from High/Moderate/Low/Custom. You don’t have much control at here other than just selecting the level of block.

Customize Web Content Filtering with OpenDNS

If you are not satisfied with the set of filtering options, you can go for custom filtering with a category. To get this category list, you can click on Customize link from any filter level options and you will get a list of categories.

OpenDNS Customized Filtering

You can check the categories of websites you want to block. Stil not satisfied and miss some individual websites? OpenDNS offers you to block individual websites from your WiFi network for free. Move to the next topic here for blocking individual websites with OpenDNS.

Block Individual Websites with Open DNS

To block a website, you can use OpenDNS service to filter individual websites. Now scroll down to the Settings page to get the option for Manage Individual Domains. This would be the most interesting part for us to get more granular control on a website that can block from reaching to your Home Router.

Open DNS Block Websites

You have a drop-down option to select Always Block or Never Block to add websites. Here you can add individual websites that you want to block. Finally, you have to save those settings and quit from OpenDNS dashboard.

Flush DNS on Windows and Mac

Once you add this website to the block list, your PCs may still allow these websites for a while from the cache. To get the immediate effect of this website blocking, you have to flush DNS on the PCs connected to the network.

For Windows users, type ipconfig /flushdns in the DOS window. For Mac users, open the terminal and type dscacheutil -flushcache. For Linux computers, type the code sudo /etc/init.d/nscd restart on Terminal. If you have a different OS or PC that is not covered here, please see the complete list of commands to flush DNS here. Please be aware that the DNS cache clearing is not mandatory, the system clear the cache automatically after a while.

How to Bypass on Persona PC?

What you do if you want to get rid of this OpenDNS server from your personal device, say your Personal PC? Well, you can always bypass OpenDNS on the computer you want. You can have change DNS server on your computer to a different server address, say, Google DNS. The Google DNS servers are free to use and open your computer network setting and replace the DNS servers with 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 (Google DNS). There are plenty of other Public DNS services available for you to use if you don’t want to use Google DNS.

Open DNS Configuration Troubleshooting Steps

Once you set your WIFI Network, you have to make sure your traffic is going through OpenDNS servers and protected from the sites that you blocked. There are a couple of steps suggesting by open DNS to make sure you are protected.

How to Check you are Using OpenDNS?

Ths is to make sure all the traffic is routing through the OpenDNS servers. You can check this by clicking on the link http://welcome.opendns.com.

If you see a “Welcome to OpenDNS” screen, you are good to go. If your traffic is not going through the OpenDNS servers, you will get an error message “You aren’t using OpenDNS yet. Let’s fix that“. You can check on OpenDNS Knowledge Base to investigate the issue further.

How to check the Security Settings of OpenDNS Configuration?

OpenDNS is recommended using the following test site to test blocking the Security setting for Phishing: http://www.internetbadguys.com. This is a demo site for testing the security setting.

If your network is not protected, then you will see a message: “InternetBadGuys.com is only a demonstration site”. If you were using OpenDNS, real phishing sites would be blocked.”. And if you are already protected and OpenDNS is working as expected, then you will see a message “This domain is blocked due to a phishing threat.

How to check OpenDNS Content Filtering Configuration?

OpenDNS recommend using the following demo site to test blocking pornography sites http://www.exampleadultsite.com. If you are successfully blocking the adult sites through OpenDNS, you should see: “This domain is blocked.”

How to Check Open DNS Blocking the Website?

Once you successfully go through these steps, you see the Open DNS servers start to block the websites that you entered on the Always Block list. You can type a URL on the browser that you blocked on the OpenDNS and check if that is loading. If you did all successfully, you can see a screen like this below.

Open DNS Blocked Website

Here is a sample screenshot from the browser that we already blocked a website just for the demonstration purpose. You will get a message like This site is blocked on all the computers that connected to the same network when they try to open the website. Those who want to block individual websites from home or small office WiFi network, this workaround is a reliable solution to block individual websites.

OpenDNS is a free DNS service can be used to filter the websites on your home network for free. In addition to the pre-configured filtering, you can customize the filtering to secure your network. If you want to block individual websites from home network, you can use OpenDNS to add these websites into blacklist to block these sites.

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