Search Engine Challenge

Have you ever had the experience of searching for something on a search engine and then been exposed to offensive content?  Have you ever had guests use your computer only to find out, they’ve been visiting places they shouldn’t have gone?  Have you ever visited a site and wondered whether the website is legitimate or not?  Have you ever wished there was a way to restrict the results that come from search engines?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then look no further.  There is an absolutely free solution to your internet content filtering needs.

A Solution

There is a way to limit what your computer displays when it is visiting the internet.  The answer is OpenDNS.com. The setup is relatively simple.  It works for changing the access of a single computer or changing an internet access point like a router.  The directions are found at https://www.opendns.com/start/.  The configuration I have personally used is to configure it on the NAT Router that’s connected to the Cable Modem.  This catches all output searches and filters them through OpenDNS.  This means I don’t have to worry about new computers that are connected to my network.  They’re all subject to the OpenDNS internet filtering.

You basically create an account with OpenDNS to access the OpenDNS Dashboard.  Once you have logged into OpenDNS.com you can change the internet filtering from High (Very Restrictive) to Minimal (Very Relaxed) to None.  Each level turns on/off category filters listed in the level of protection you’re seeking.

  Protects against all adult-related sites, illegal activity, social networking sites, video sharing sites, and general time-wasters.27 categories in this group – ViewCustomize

  • Adware
    Sites that distribute applications which display advertisements without user’s knowledge or choice. Does NOT include sites which serve advertising.
  • Alcohol
    Sites about alcohol use, commercial and otherwise.
  • Chat
    Sites where you can chat in real-time with groups of people. Includes IRC.
  • Classifieds
    Sites for buying and selling (or bartering) goods and services.
  • Dating
    Sites for meeting other people.
  • Drugs
    Sites about illegal or recreational drug use.
  • File storage
    Sites that offer space for hosting, sharing and backup of digital files.
  • Gambling
    Sites that offer gambling or information about gambling.
  • Games
    Sites that offer game play and information about games (news, tips, cheat codes).
  • Hate/Discrimination
    Sites that promote intolerance based on gender, age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or other group identities.
  • Instant messaging
    Sites that offer access or software to communicate in real-time with other individuals.
  • P2P/File sharing
    Sites that facilitate the sharing of digital files between individuals, especially via peer-to-peer software, including torrent sites.
  • Social networking
    Sites that promote interaction and networking between people.
  • Video sharing
    Sites for sharing video content.
  • Visual search engines
    Sites for searching for images based on keywords.
  • Weapons
    Sites about weapons, commercial and otherwise.
  • Webmail
    Sites that offer the ability to send or receive email.
  • Photo sharing
    Sites for sharing photographs, as individual images, galleries and albums.
  • Adult Themes
    Sites that are adult in nature and are not defined in other rating categories. Note: This category should only be turned on if you want to be very restrictive on your network.
  • Tasteless
    Sites that contain information on such subjects as mutilation, torture, horror, or the grotesque.
  • Lingerie/Bikini
    Sites displaying or dedicated to lingerie/bikini that could be considered adult-only.
  • Proxy/Anonymizer
    Sites providing proxy bypass information or services. Also, sites that allow the user to surf the net anonymously, including sites that allow the user to send anonymous emails.
  • Sexuality
    Sites that provide information, images or implications of bondage, sadism, masochism, fetish, beating, body piercing or self-mutilation.
  • Nudity
    Sites that provide images or representations of nudity.
  • Pornography
    Anything relating to pornography, including mild depiction, soft pornography or hard-core pornography.
  • Forums/Message boards
    Sites with discussions, including bulletin boards, message boards and forums.
  • Phishing Protection
    By enabling phishing protection, you’ll protect everyone on your network from known phishing sites using the best data available.
  Protects against all adult-related sites and illegal activity.14 categories in this group – ViewCustomize

  • Adware
    Sites that distribute applications which display advertisements without user’s knowledge or choice. Does NOT include sites which serve advertising.
  • Alcohol
    Sites about alcohol use, commercial and otherwise.
  • Dating
    Sites for meeting other people.
  • Drugs
    Sites about illegal or recreational drug use.
  • Gambling
    Sites that offer gambling or information about gambling.
  • Hate/Discrimination
    Sites that promote intolerance based on gender, age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or other group identities.
  • Weapons
    Sites about weapons, commercial and otherwise.
  • Tasteless
    Sites that contain information on such subjects as mutilation, torture, horror, or the grotesque.
  • Lingerie/Bikini
    Sites displaying or dedicated to lingerie/bikini that could be considered adult-only.
  • Proxy/Anonymizer
    Sites providing proxy bypass information or services. Also, sites that allow the user to surf the net anonymously, including sites that allow the user to send anonymous emails.
  • Sexuality
    Sites that provide information, images or implications of bondage, sadism, masochism, fetish, beating, body piercing or self-mutilation.
  • Nudity
    Sites that provide images or representations of nudity.
  • Pornography
    Anything relating to pornography, including mild depiction, soft pornography or hard-core pornography.
  • Phishing Protection
    By enabling phishing protection, you’ll protect everyone on your network from known phishing sites using the best data available.
  Protects against pornography and phishing.5 categories in this group – ViewCustomize

  • Tasteless
    Sites that contain information on such subjects as mutilation, torture, horror, or the grotesque.
  • Proxy/Anonymizer
    Sites providing proxy bypass information or services. Also, sites that allow the user to surf the net anonymously, including sites that allow the user to send anonymous emails.
  • Sexuality
    Sites that provide information, images or implications of bondage, sadism, masochism, fetish, beating, body piercing or self-mutilation.
  • Pornography
    Anything relating to pornography, including mild depiction, soft pornography or hard-core pornography.
  • Phishing Protection
    By enabling phishing protection, you’ll protect everyone on your network from known phishing sites using the best data available.
  Protects against phishing attacks.1 category in this group – ViewCustomize

  • Phishing Protection
    By enabling phishing protection, you’ll protect everyone on your network from known phishing sites using the best data available.
  Nothing blocked.
  Choose the categories you want to block.

But wait there’s more

Not only does it allow you to set category filtering, it also has these other features:

  • Track which websites are being accessed by users of your computer or network just by enabling statistics
  • Track which websites were blocked, which sites are phishing, which sites have malware.
  • Add URL shortcuts to OpenDNS and it will resolve it to the proper address.
  • Add a website to a Blacklist to never allow access to the URL.
  • Add a website to a Whitelist to always allow access to the URL (for instance, allow a subdomain to be accessed even if it’s in a blocked category)

The best part of OpenDNS is it’s absolutely free.  I’ve been using it for a couple of years now and I usually forget it’s there until something pops up as being restricted.  If you’re looking for something to protect your family, home, church or any other organization you should give this service a try.