Recently the Malaysian Commission for Multimedia and Communications (MCMC) issued a directive to local ISPs to filter a number of file sharing websites because they violate the Copyright Act. While some of the content may be in violation of the Act, some think the Government is being too heavy handed by issuing a blanket order to block these sites.
I don’t want to debate the Government’s decision, but I believe that sometimes there are legitimate reasons to access websites that your Government / ISP / employer doesn’t want you to. This article will explain what is DNS filtering and show you 3 ways to get around it.
What is DNS blocking?
DNS blocking or filtering is a common method of denying access to certain websites. Let’s have a look at how it works.
Each website is hosted on a web server that has a IP address. For example, the IP address for Facebook is 22.214.171.124. If you type those numbers in your web browser, you will arrive at Facebook’s website (may not work if your ISP disallows it).
However, IP addresses are not very user friendly. It’s easier to remember facebook.com than 126.96.36.199 isn’t it? Therefore the inventors of the internet also created a phone book called the Domain Name System, or DNS.
The DNS translates domain names into IP addresses so that you don’t have to remember random strings of numbers. Each ISP (e.g. Streamyx, P1, etc) have their own DNS servers that functions as phone books for their subscribers.
Whenever you type a website address into your browser, your browser first asks the ISP’s phone book what the IP address for that website. Once it’s figured out the IP address it will then load the website for you.
With DNS blocking, the ISP is simply removing the record for the blocked websites from their phone book. So when you try to load one of the blocked websites, all you get is a blank screen in your browser because it doesn’t know what the IP address is.
3 ways to get around DNS blocking
1. Use another DNS server / phone book
What do you do if your phone book doesn’t contain the address you are looking for? You use another phone book! Read More »