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Once upon a time I decided to try out OpenDNS. OpenDNS is a free alternative to using your ISP’s DNS servers. Besides allowing me to be less dependent on Comcast, which is great, OpenDNS also offers potentially speedier DNS lookups, phishing filtering, domain blocking and typo correction. I’m still in the testing phase, but so far it seems to live up to the promises.

I only had one hitch in the setup: when I switched over my computers to OpenDNS, I could no longer ping any of them on the LAN by hostname. The pings would head off onto the Internet and be unresolved, rather than staying on the LAN. With a little websearch, I discovered that there is an easy fix. The problem is that OpenDNS doesn’t make it easy to find, because they use terms that the ordinary home user wouldn’t to describe the problem. In fact, the fix should should be a default setting, given that OpenDNS specifically targets home users. Fix:

  1. Change the DNS addresses on your static IP computers and in your DHCP config on your router to and (don’t forget to release/renew IPs if you use DHCP)
  2. Setup an account on
  3. Add a Network (the outside IP address from your ISP) and give it a name
  4. Click Settings, go to Advanced Settings and find the section called Domain Typos
  5. Under Exceptions for VPN users click “Manage”
  6. In the box, type the name you used in step 3, click “Add’, then “Done”, then “Apply” at the bottom of the page.
  7. Give it a few minutes, and then do a test ping. Everything on your LAN should be pingable by hostname.

Source: WRT54GS and Local Names

UPDATE: I have discontinued use of OpenDNS. I couldn’t see any noticable performance gains.


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