The modern web has enormous amounts of information, but not all of it is safe or appropriate. A parent or a workplace administrator might need some mechanism to enforce certain rules, to protect his/her children, or to prevent employees from wasting time on websites not related to their work.
Controlling and filtering content from the router itself has two benefits:
1. It allows you to have a central point where changes you make affect all devices immediately.
2. It doesn’t require you to do any modification on target devices (your PCs/tablets/etc), so its far more convenient compared to installing filtering software on every device you have in the house/office.
Throughout the years, we experimented with different filtering/blocking methods, from whitelisting/blacklisting, tools that fetch databases..etc. These methods had shortcomings; the web is rapidly changing all the time, new websites pop up and others go offline. Keeping up requires enormous resources. There’s an alternative.
“Cloud-filtering” is essentially using the services provided by a dedicated company that works on categorizing the web and keeping up-to-date with the changes. OpenDNS is one example. A router will force users to use this filtered list, therefore enforcing the rules in place.
All our devices are compatible with this method of filtering. Once enabled, your filters are current, never requiring manual updates. You will have a webpage where you simply tick categories you wish to block, eg “Social Media” or “Gambling”, and websites related to those topics are blocked, including new ones that pop up after you setup your rules.
Some of our tech savvy readers might wonder, if filtering works on DNS level, what if a user simply changed the DNS to Google’s 126.96.36.199?
The router’s firewall will render such changes without effect, it will always hijack any DNS and enforce the filter rules. In addition, you can have strict filtering where all non-standard ports are blocked too.. so using “VPN apps” will not work either!