DNS Filtering is a category of web security solutions that allow admins to prevent users from accessing unwanted web content. This works by filtering domains or IP addresses at the Domain Name System (DNS) level.
When enabled, DNS filtering solutions allow admins to prevent users from accessing malicious websites, or any other pages that go against company policies. DNS Filtering also gives admins more overview into the web content that users are accessing, showcasing potential risks, and alerting admins when threats have been blocked.
DNS Filtering is one of the best ways to protect your users against online threats. They block online viruses and filter access dangerous websites. They also provide reporting of user behaviour online. The products are often very easy to manage and deploy.
To help you find the right product, here’s Expert Insights’ list of the top DNS web filtering platforms. We’ll compare their effectiveness at web filtering, the threat protection they offer, the quality of reporting and the admin controls.
How Does DNS Filtering Work?
DNS Filtering uses the DNS lookup process to filter access to web content for users connected to the DNS Filtering system.
DNS Filtering services can either filter web content by domain name or by IP address. When filtering by domain name, the DNS process will not take place at all for certain domains. When filtering by IP address, the DNS system will resolve the IP address and domain name, but access to the resolved domain will be blocked for the user requesting the lookup.
In practice for a user, both methods have the same result. When you look-up a blocked domain name, instead of being taken to the webpage you will be taken to a page hosted by the DNS filter. This page should explain that the webpage you have requested has been blocked for being unsafe or inappropriate.
What Features Should You Look For In A DNS Filtering Solution?
If you’re considering investing in a DNS filtering solution, there are a number of important features to look for:
- Real-Time Filtering: It’s important to look for a solution providing real-time filtering of malicious domains, to ensure the best protection against phishing and malware.
- Instant categorization of web content: We recommend solutions that instantly categorize web domains, which provides more comprehensive domain filtering.
- Flexible admin policies: Look for a solution that offers flexible admin controls around filtering, including team-based access controls.
- Comprehensive reporting: Reporting is an important benefit of DNS web filtering, so we recommend looking for a solution with advanced analytics in a reporting dashboard.
- No latency issues: We highly recommend conducting a trial to ensure whichever solution you choose does not slow down web browsing for end users.
- Flexible Pricing: For SMEs and smaller organizations pricing will be an important consideration. We suggest looking for a cloud-based solution with flexible pricing policies.