A little while back a bunch of Rabbis from around the globe organized an Internet “Asifah,” or gathering of like-minded individuals on using the internet more safely. The biggest thing they said was to install an internet filter at home. And no, Brita filters don’t count 🙂
However, there are many filters to choose from. There are browser-side, client-side (Desktop), ISP-side, and router-side. Possibly the most robust yet intimidating filter to use is a router-side filter.
Well, good news! You don’t need to pay too much money for an router-side filter, and I’m here to tell you that it’s easy and fun to set up.
Note: Router-side filters work best when you have a dedicated IP. This is because router-side filters call websites that matches up a manually-defined IP address. If you have a “dynamic IP,” which is common with DSL connections, then a router-side filter may not be for you as you will need to update the IP address on OpenDNS’s website every other day. Check with your internet service provider (ISP) on which type of IP address you have before proceeding further.
Anyhoos, here’s how to set it up via OpenDNS:
1. Go to OpenDNS.com
The first step to recovery is visiting the darn site!
2. Click the orange button that says “for home.”
3. Click the “Parental Controls” option.
You don’t need to click the “Premium Service.”
4. Click the OpenDNS Home (Free) tab on the left side.
The signup is free and quick.
5. Click “Add/Manage Networks.”
6. Note: the “Free” service will limit your access to only 1 network.
This is fine for most normal home configurations. If you need more, just register more email addresses and sign up with those!
7. Router Setup – Choose the router that you own
8. Router Type Setup
Look at your router, see the model number, and choose the router type that you own on the website.
9. Change The Settings of Your Router
Configure it so that it matches what’s on the screen. For nerds, there are 2 nameserver IP addresses to use for all configurations:
10. Login to your router
This may be the most intimidating part. You need to know
a) Your router IP Address. You can figure it out by going to Start/Run, then type “cmd.” Once the command screen pops up, type in “ipconfig.” There will be 4 numbers. Your router IP is usually the “AAA.BBB.CCC.1”.
b) Your router username. Usually it’s Admin unless somebody changed it.
c) Your router password. This you need to know. Otherwise you may need to reset your router to its original settings and start from scratch.
11. Once logged in, modify the settings.
12. Filter Categories and Individual Domains
Even after all that, you need to be responsible by filtering categories. Enter individual domains to add and remove as filters are generally far from perfect.
13. Assuming everything works, you should have a blocked page with Ads.
This is another limitation with the Free service. Web Ads! It doesn’t bother me, personally. As long as it does the job.
14. Enjoy visiting certain sites with certain Ads not showing up.
Great! Now you can do your illegal activity without feeling guilty!
Admittedly, nothing is perfect. Here’s why:
a. What if your IP Address is one that always changes, like an internet service that runs on DSL? Well, OpenDNS has a desktop tool for you to use to update your IP Address!
b. I’ve personally experienced bugs in the router both ways: When it blocks most sites whether I want to visit them or not, and when it blocks nothing.
The best internet filter is yourself. You alone can morally dictate what’s good to go onto and what’s not, and can likely do a much better job than a piece of machinery.
c. I know, the internet community will likely rail me on technicalities for not suggesting server side filters, or a better paid service. Technical shmechnical!