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A new reason to love OpenDNS: no more ads

The OpenDNS Guide is going away.

Starting on June 6, 50 million plus users of OpenDNS’s free DNS around the world will no longer see ads in our service. We put a great deal of thought into this decision. Here’s why we made the call to eliminate it:

  1. We always want to do what’s best for you.
    The Internet has evolved and it’s simply no longer in the best interest of Internet users to redirect to search results. The OpenDNS Guide was, until recently, a helpful tool. If the website you wanted to visit wasn’t loading, we took you to search results instead of an error page. But times have changed. Browsers work differently. Internet users have become accustomed to their browser address bar behaving like a search box. We want to give you the behavior you expect. As of June 6th, all of OpenDNS’s users will get NXDOMAIN and SERVFAIL messages to get truly RFC compliant DNS.
  2. Ads are annoying.
    Let’s be honest, few of us like to see them. So we’re making them go away, at least within OpenDNS. We provide the safest, fastest and most reliable DNS service in the world free of charge. The revenue from the ads on the Guide has historically enabled us to do that. But we’re excited to report that in the past few years we’ve built a thriving enterprise security business and now have more than 10,000 happy, paying customers. So, while that revenue from ads is nice, it’s more important to us to provide you with a delightful user experience.
  3. Ads and security don’t mix.
    OpenDNS is a security company above all else, and ads can often be a vector for security infections and intrusions. Malware might surface through third-party ad networks, or be hidden inside the ad creative itself in the form of flash exploits or javascript tricks. Removing the ads makes our service more secure and that’s a good thing for both users of our free DNS service and of our enterprise security service. Finally, pretty much every major ad network out there participates in pervasive user tracking through cookies. Those cookies can compromise your privacy, and in the wrong hands, your security. Less of that is better for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the OpenDNS Guide?

    The Guide is a page of relevant search results and ads that OpenDNS users see when they try to visit a website that isn’t resolving. It was originally designed to be helpful and an alternative to the dead-end error page from your browser.

  2. When will the OpenDNS Guide be shut down?

    At midnight GMT June 6 (that’s 5pm PDT June 5th) the OpenDNS Guide will cease to get redirect traffic. The URL will exist for a while, but after that, the site will eventually go offline.

  3. Do I need to make any changes on my end to see this impact on my network?

    No. If you’re using OpenDNS’s free DNS service, the change will happen automatically without the need for any action on your part.

  4. Why is OpenDNS making this change?

    A number of reasons. Primarily to give our users the best possible experience. Also, because ads and security simply don’t mix: ads are often a vector for the spread of malware. And because the way the Internet works has changed. Your browser’s address bar acts as a search box and we want to give you the experience you expect.

  5. So does this mean OpenDNS is now RFC compliant?

    Mostly. We are more RFC compliant today because of this change, and realistically, we could say yes since most people ask this question just wondering about NXDOMAIN redirection. However, we still intercept phishing and malware attacks, which technically violate the RFCs. But we think the RFCs will change overtime to accommodate and endorse this kind of optional, opt-in, interception of malicious and harmful traffic. We were the first to do this kind of work, but many others are doing it now, too, including one of the inventors of DNS, Paul Vixie.

  6. What will happen with NXDOMAIN and SERVFAIL responses?

    OpenDNS users will get NXDOMAIN and SERVFAIL responses instead of our Guide page. DNS behavior as it was originally intended.

  7. I’m using OpenDNS Parental Controls on my home network. Will it still work?

    Yes, this doesn’t impact your filtering whatsoever. Your OpenDNS Parental Controls will continue to protect your loved ones from unsafe or unsavory websites of your choosing.

  8. Will my network still be protected from phishing?

    Yes, and good news: OpenDNS phishing protection is being constantly improved. New phishing sites are surfaced and blocked for you every minute. This makes OpenDNS more than just the world’s fastest and most reliable DNS but also an additional layer of protection against phishing.

  9. Will this change also disable typo correction?

    Typo correction is being deprecated in favor of proper NXDOMAIN behavior. However, if your typo is a phishing domain, we will block it to keep you and your users safe.

  10. What if I like the OpenDNS Guide?

    If you’re one of the few who like it, our apologies. We hope you’ll find the Guide- and ad- free experience zippier and overall superior.