What Does OpenDNS Mean?

OpenDNS is the name of a Domain Name System (DNS) service as well as of the company that provides that service. The OpenDNS service extends the DNS by incorporating features such as content filtering and phishing protection. It is also touted as faster, more reliable and having zero downtime because of its global network of DNS servers that ensures that, if one or two servers are down, the others can still carry the slack.


Techopedia Explains OpenDNS

OpenDNS, the company, provides a DNS service a step above those being provided by Internet service providers (ISPs) around the globe. DNS is an integral part of the World Wide Web that allows both humans and computers to understand each other when it comes to Web addresses; humans can identify words easily (domain names), whereas computers rely on numerical values (the IP address of a website). DNS is a directory service, and DNS servers are essentially lookup tables containing the associations between domain names and their respective IP addresses. The DNS server essentially points the user’s request toward the correct address of the computer/server that hosts the website being requested.

OpenDNS extends the DNS service by improving the efficiency of the system by adding more servers across the globe that can detect the nearest server to the user and use that to serve the user’s requests. This improves the efficiency since regular ISP-driven DNS servers are few and usually far away from most users. It also adds another layer of security through PhishTank, its anti-fishing service that takes the guesswork out of distinguishing phishing websites from the originals, and now also offers a cloud-delivered network security product called Umbrella. Added parental controls also allow filtering of websites and website contents. OpenDNS is free for its basic services, but advanced services targeted for businesses and larger institutions have subscription fees.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.