3 Simple Steps to Secure your Home Wired / Wifi Networks

In this Work-From-Home (WFH) or Living-At-Work (LAW) world, we, as parents, are constantly concerned about the websites our children may come across while browsing the web. All their digital devices and aps are constantly bombarded with ads and junk links, which can lead to god-knows-where.

While we can’t control what happens outside the house, we would like to be able to control what they can and cannot access through our home wired/wifi network, and protect them from the evils of the web. This post will guide you through one such solution. It’s a bit techy, but I’ve taken the pains to walk you through every step, and if executed correctly, within a few minutes you will have a more secure home network!

While there are many free and paid Parental Control apps and programs, I found the solution provided by OpenDNS to be simple and effective. It’s not perfect, but for most parts, it does a great job. It’s easy to setup and monitor, and allows you to add exceptions when required. And with one setting, it applies to all devices connecting to your home network.

If you are technically challenged, stop reading NOW and #phoneAfriend. If not, let’s get started. It shouldn’t take you more than 5–8 minutes.

Pre-requisites: You will need access to your home router’s settings page (login and password) and know where to change the DNS servers.

  1. Visit OpenDNS and create a FREE OpenDNS Home Account from here.
  2. Once your account is setup, login to your router’s settings page. Your router is generally at 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 with login and password both as “admin”
  3. Change the DNS addresses in your network setup to 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220. More instructions for a typical router can be found here.
  4. Hit the SAVE or Apply Settings button at the bottom of that page.
  5. Restart/Reboot your home router.

Your router is now setup with use OpenDNS as a filtering service!

Now let’s test and add your router as a Network in OpenDNS:

  1. Connect to your home network on your laptop/desktop.
  2. Confirm your DNS settings have been setup correctly by clicking on the link here or here
  3. Log back into your OpenDNS account. It should show your IP address on the top.
  4. On the same page, you will see an option to add network here.
  5. In Settings, you should see your IP address. Select it and follow the instructions until it says you have successfully added your network.

Your router’s network is now setup in OpenDNS.

Finally, lets do some more content filtering:

  1. Go back to Settings, and re-select your network. You will be taken to the Web Content filtering page. Here you can choose your filtering level.
  2. If “None” is selected by default, you can change it by selecting one of the predefined defaults, or select “Custom” and choose any additional category of sites you want blocked and hit the Apply button.
  3. If for some reason you come across a site you do not wish to block, come back to this page, scroll to the bottom, and under “Manage Individual Domains” add the website you want unblocked, select “Never block” and hit the “Add Domain” button.

That’s it. You should be good to go. The most popular inappropriate content sites are now blocked (even for you!!!) If someone on your home network visits a site that is blocked, they will be given the option to send you an email to unblock the site. You can also login to OpenDNS and review stats related to the site requests that have been blocked.

For those of you using android smartphones, there are apps that allow you to change DNS for your phone’s Wifi and 3G networks too, but I haven’t used or tested any of these, so can’t comment on them.

Hope this helps. Let me know if any of you have used any other service which is easy to setup and use for Parental Control.

Note: Originally written on http://bringingupourchildren.blogspot.com/2015/05/securing-our-home-wiredwifi-network-for.html and republised and updated for 2021.

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