In this case they are talking up a new service called OpenDNS. OpenDNS is a very simple idea – it is a centralised series of DNS servers which protect you against phishing sites and speed up your browsing.
How do you use the service? Simply change the DNS settings in your computer (or router) to point at OpenDNSs DNS servers (126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52) and off you go!
They claim to be much faster by enabling huge DNS caches (does this mean changes to a sites DNS settings will propagate more slowly?) and by having their caches “at the major intersections of the Internet” – so far U.S. only.
They also claim to protect you against phishing by comparing sites you want to visit against their database of known phishing attacks. This strikes me as a dubious claim as these sites change daily and keeping up with phishing sites is a fast paced game of leapfrog. Marshal Kirkpatrick is equally skeptical (if not more so!).
The speed difference of using the OpenDNS servers isn’t especially obvious for anyone based in Ireland. Browsing to any of my regular sites is in fact, initially, a little slower then normal (most are not in their cache yet I suspect) but speeds up on second load.
However, one place I did notice a definite speed bump was in my RSS reader. Chris Pirillo mentioned it in passing when he said:
If you use a news aggregator, either one (or both) of these solutions is mandatory
He was correct. Browsing websites might not seem much faster but my NetNewsWire RSS reader refreshed my >200 feeds in a fraction of the time it normally takes. Maybe this is how they should be promoting their service. Anyone else notice this?