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Help build a freer internet by using OpenNIC DNS servers

The Dynamic Name System (DNS) is used to translate domain names (www.bestvpn.com) into the numerical IP addresses (216.172.189.144) used by computers to uniquely identify every computer, service or resource connected to the internet. This translation service is usually performed by your ISP using its DNS servers, although as we explained in this article, it is possible to change your internet connection setting so that you connect to third party DNS servers, the most well-known of which being Google Public DNS and OpenDNS.

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With the recent and ongoing Edward Snowden revelations however, plus the growing trend in many countries of blocking or censoring certain websites (most notably those accused of copyright infringement), it is becoming increasingly clear that anyone who values privacy on the internet and who does not wish to have their access to the internet, should not trust privately owned centralised companies who can be bullied into blocking website addresses, hand over information about who is trying to access certain website, and who can have domains seized from them. Google, OpenDNS and your ISP all fall into this category.

Enter OpenNIC, a non-profit, decentralised, open, uncensored and democratic DNS provider. Designed to take back power from governments and corporations, OpenNIC is run by volunteers and provides a completely unfiltered DNS resolution service, with DNS servers located all across the world.

OpenNIC can resolve all ICANN TLDs (Top Level Domains, e.g. .com, .net, .co.uk, .es etc.), and so appears seamless in use,plus it has added a number of its own which can only be accessed if using OpenNIC. These are indy, .geek, .null, .oss, .parody, .bbs, .fur, .free, .ing, .dyn,.gopher, and .micro (plus it cooperatively operates the shared TLD .glue, which is shared among alternative domain name systems).

Membership in OpenNIC is open to all, internet users and decisions are made either by democratically elected administers or direct vote, with all decisions appealable by a vote of the general membership.

To find out more about OpenNIC, check outs its Wiki and website (where you can find guides to changing your DNS settings in different operating systems, no download required).


Douglas Crawford I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. Find me on Google+

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11 responses to “Help build a freer internet by using OpenNIC DNS servers

  1. Wow, I was using Google DNS for such a long time I didn’t know that they log websites you visit. Thanks for the article, I am now using OpenNIC.

  2. Hello:

    I am interested on creating my own TLD, but can’t afford to pay nearly $200K to a corrupted organization like ICANN. What can I do? how can I go from creating my own DNS server and my own TLD extension, so that I can offered to my customers? My brand is trademark and I would love to used it as my own private TLD domain extension.

    What are the ramifications or consequences if ICANN try to govern my TLD I have created?

    Thank you

    Jacinto

    1. Hi Jacinto,

      I’m afraid that currently the only way to create a new generally recognized TLD is through ICANN. The consequnces if you create your own TLD are simply that no DNS service will recognize it (it just won’t work).

      You might be interested to know that Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, is a major campaigner for removing ICANN’s (and by extension the US government’s) on stranglehold TLD’s.

  3. It’s a real pity you did not encrypt the signals to and from the servers.
    That way your software would be brilliant.
    As is it is simply useful.
    Far far better to use DNSCrypt (but not the one from OpenDNS – they log EVERYTHING!)

  4. OpenNIC now also supports the .BIT TLD – the domains of which are maintained on blockchain like BitCoin. See http://namecoin.info

    OpenNIC is independent of government, but depends on a small number of servers, which government can easily shut down or take over. NameCoin is decentralized, like BitCoin and much harder for government to shut down or take over.

    Using NameCoin for .bit domains (like http://wikileaks.bit ) requires new software for your computer (e.g. the freespeechme browser plugin). But you can use the .bit domains right away by using OpenNIC, which as of last week connects to the .BIT TLD as well.

    1. Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for the valuable input. We’ll take look at NameCoin and .bit domains in the near future.

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