Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Filtering offensive internet content for your home network

I have three boys - 13, 11 and 6 years old. They are all active internet users and I was looking for ways to protect them from offensive and explicit internet content.

First thing I wanted to do was to setup a home proxy server that would only allow pre-defined domains to go thru the firewall. However this would require always-on computer and would cost me $100+ each year to keep it plugged it for power and cooling. Plus all manual install and maintenance.I did not want that cost and complexity.

Second thing I thought was to install Firefox plugins to filter content. I even used it for a little while, but it is a mess to synch between different computers, plus kids can start using other browser (Chrome or IE) to work around it. Plus it wont work on mobile devices.

I have looked at some other options, but then I stumbled upon OpenDNS.com! You only need to configure it once on your router and every device that uses your router would use this preset DNS server. You do not have to do any config at all on any of your home computers or mobile devices (as long as you do not manually override DNS config). The next step is to create a FREE account on OpenDNS.com and setup your filtering preferences. there are few predefined settings:

And you can also use Custom to setup any level of granularity and control over what you want to be filtered. Works beautifully! Free, easy to setup and fast! Can't beat it!