OpenDNS – What is OpenDNS and Why You Absolutely Need It ?

Jan 22, 2010

opendns-tutorial When you type an address like in your browser address bar, the computer doesn’t know where points to and it will therefore ask the DNS server.

The job of a DNS server is to translate this human-readable web address (like into a computer-readable number also known as an IP address ( Once your computer knows the IP location of a web domain name, it opens the website in your browser.

DNS is such an integral part of our Internet life working behind the scenes every time we connect to a website. In most situations, our Internet Service Provider specifies the DNS Server address that we key into the browser network settings or the router.

Unfortunately, this can prove to be the weakest link in the entire workflow. For example, if the DNS server of your ISP is slow, the time it takes to resolve the web address adds up to the overall loading time of the website.

To solve this problem, we look at a simple and reliable service called OpenDNS that speeds up your Internet connection and also handles some other very important issues. There are no software to install, it’s very easy to set up and the price is just right – $0.


To use OpenDNS, all you have to do is open your Network Connections or Router’s settings page and update the default DNS server to point to the OpenDNS nameservers that are and

The whole process takes a few seconds but with this single step alone, you just made your computer safer and increased the overall browsing speed. Here’s why:

Unlike the DNS servers of your less reliable ISP, OpenDNS servers store the IP addresses of millions of websites in their cache so it would take less time to resolve your requests. So if you have asked for an IP address of a website that has been previously requested by another OpenDNS user, you will get the reply instantly.


Another huge advantage of using OpenDNS is that it blocks phishing websites from loading on your computer. It uses data from Phishtank, a community site that is also used by Yahoo! Mail to determine if some particular website is part of any online phishing scam.

OpenDNS also takes care of any typos that you commit while typing the name of popular websites. For instance, if you type omitting the additional “o” by mistake, OpenDNS will open the main site automatically.


If you are a parent worried about kids visiting adult websites on the home computer, you can configure OpenDNS to block any adult website from loading on the computer. In fact, quite a few business places use OpenDNS to block social sites like MySpace and Facebook on employee computers.

Power users can assign abbreviations or OpenDNS Shortcuts to access their favourite websites more quickly.

For instance, you can set “mail” as a shortcut for or something like “a” for – just type the shortcut to access the site. A good alternative for browser based bookmarks and it works across all computers where you have logged in to your OpenDNS account.

opendns shortcuts

Now that you are prepared to switch to OpenDNS, please don’t expect huge gains in browsing speed since OpenDNS only improves the cycle between your computer and the DNS server.

And do keep handy the old DNS settings given by your ISP as you may need them in the extreme scenario when OpenDNS system goes down or you want to disable / remove OpenDNS completely from your computer. [Piece written for Financial Express newspaper]

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Free Website Building Tools That Are Good Replacements for Google Page Creator

Google Page Creator AlternativesGoogle Page Creator is awesome – anyone can build a good looking website in minutes using the built-in templates or they can write pages externally (say in Dreamweaver) and upload them to Creator.

And everything is free – there are no ads on your pages and Google takes care of all the web hosting bills. But as they say, all good things come to an end, and so is Google Page Creator getting replaced by Google Sites.

Compare Google Sites with Google Page Creator

While Google Sites and Google Pages have common feature (like the WYSIWYG AJAX editor), they are still quite different. For instance, you can’t upload HTML pages to Google Sites and are therefore limited to using one of the built-in themes for your site design.

The second issue is that if you make a Google Site public, the associated ’site activity log’ also becomes public – most website publisher will have reservations sharing this data with unknown visitors. Lastly, all external hyperlinks are ‘nofollow’ if that means anything to you.

Free Alternatives to Google Page Creator

Here’s a roundup of some website building services that are free and non-technical.

1. Office Live Small Business – While the name may suggest that the service is only for small business owners, just about anyone can create their website here.

office live website
Website Builder inside Office Live Small Business

Office Live is easy and filled with goodies – you have tons of professional web templates and color themes to choose from, there’re ready-made modules for common tasks like web forms, photo galleries, live maps, email newsletters, etc. plus you can also upload office documents to the website.

Everything is free including web hosting and server space. See a sample site.

2. Weebly – This is powerful but very user friendly and easy web page builder where you start with a blank canvas and build the page by dragging elements that include text, videos, pictures, maps and more.


Geeks can write their own HTML and add them to Weebly pages. There’s support for Google ads as well so you can even monetize sites created inside Weebly. Another advantage – site publishers download their full site with pictures and CSS as a zip file. Free users gets 100 MB of free storage space and there’re no bandwidth limitations. See sample site.

3. Snap Pages – This is Flash based website editor that is very beautiful and may be a perfect place if you looking to create a small website for sharing some photos and your calendar. The options are slightly limited for non-premium users as they can’t create new pages. See sample site.

snap pages

4. Edicy Pages – It’s a new website creation tool that is just perfect for the techie crowd who wants more control over their site layout.

Start by picking a design from the template gallery and then you may completely change the look and feel of your site by editing the blog template similar to WordPress themes or Blogger template. It also supports JavaScript code and like Google Sites, Edicy tracks all changes made to a site. See example site.


5. Synthasite – This is again an easy yet very powerful tool for building websites but unlike competition, Syntasite is completely free. Images uploaded to Synthasite can be diretly edited in Picnik just like you have in Flickr. The tool also lets you embed Google AdSense ads in web pages much like Weebly. See example site.


Some more site builders worth checking out are WebOn, WebSketch, Viviti, Wix and Webs.

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Directory of Bollywood Celebrities on Twitter

Here’s a complete list of Bollywood actors, actresses, playback singers and film makers from the Indian cinema industry (primarily Hindi movies) who have a presence on Twitter.

If I am missing your favorite star, please let me know at @labnol.

Bollywood Celebrities from India on Twitter

aishwarya_rai – Aishwarya Rai (not verified) priyankachopra - Priyanka Chopra
sonamakapoor – Sonam Kapoor gulpanag – Gul Panag
Asin_Thottumkal – Asin Thottumkal (not verified) MallikaLA – Mallika Sherawat
BipSexy – Bipasha Basu Amritarao17 – Amrita Rao
Aamir_Khan – Aamir Khan CelinaJaitly – Celina Jaitly
akshaykumar – Akshay Kumar rgvzoomin – Ram Gopal Varma
Lisaraniray – Lisa Rani Ray udaychopra – Uday Chopra
realpreityzinta – Preity Zinta kjohar25 – Karan Johar
Shahrukh_Khan – Shahrukh Khan (not verified) shreyaghoshal – Shreya Ghoshal
arrahman - A.R.Rahman 1mrankhan – Imran Khan
Riteishd – Riteish Deshmukh DinoMorea9 – Dino Morea
PritishNandy – Pritish Nandy R_Khanna – Rahul Khanna
DuttaLara -Lara Dutta shekharkapur – Shekhar Kapur
Tarunmansukhani – Tarun Mansukhani V1SH4L – Vishal Dadlani
rohansippy – Rohan Sippy mbhandarkar – Madhur Bhandarkar
Kailashkher – Kailash Kher Ayeshatakia – Ayesha Takia Azmi
MaheshNBhatt – Mahesh N Bhatt konkonas – Konkona Sensharma
Neha_Dhupia – Neha Dhupia meghnagulzar – Meghna Gulzar
5hekhar – Shekhar Ravjiani sujoy_g – Sujoy Ghosh
emraanhashmi – Emraan Hashmi kunal_deshmukh – Kunal Deshmukh

Related Resource: Directory of Best Indian Bloggers

If you are new to Twitter, check this Twitter Guide to learn about some interesting things that you can do on Twitter.

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