Fix for unresolved DNS queries that are reported by DNS servers to display ads

If you have an ISP that displays a ‘site not found’ page when ever you enter an incorrectly typed domain name in your address bar and it drives you nuts, then this post is for you.

My new ISP, WOW Internet (Wide Open West Cable), has their DNS servers configured to return a specific IP address when the queried domain name does not exist. It loads a splash page that contains the text of the address you just typed. This method of harvesting web surfers reached a head 2 years ago when VeriSign launched their Site Finder service. Read more here: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/tlds/sitefinder/ Other Other DNS services such as OpenDNS do the same thing. In OpenDNS.com case, the advertising displayed in the search results are how they make their money. For WOW Internet though, they are already getting my hard earned money and I see no reason for them to make additional money from me by directing me to their search pages. Not only that, but other TCP services now function incorrectly. If someone gives me a domain name that they are unsure about, my computer is going to return an IP address whether it is valid or not and the only way I know for certain is if I know that IP address is part of the WOW Internet Site Finder service or I type in the domain name in the address bar and view the WOW Internet Site Finder page. This also relegates client side Anti-SPAM software that use a common technique of looking up the DNS entry of the received messages ‘From’ address to verify the E-mail actually came from a registered domain name.

Solution
Configure your own local DNS server. There is a windows port of Bind, or if you are knowledgable of Linux, I recommend setting up your own local Linux DNS server. For those who run Windows and don’t want to learn how to setup Bind on Windows, there is another solution called TreeWalk. TreeWalk is already configured to not resolve a default address if the initially queried domain does not exist.

I installed TreeWalk on my main Windows machine in my home. Then I setup my routers DNS settings statically with the first DNS server ip the ip of my local windows machine on my network. Then the other 2 additional ip addresses for dns servers I set to my ISP’s DNS servers. The first DNS server is used by default unless it is inaccessible.

4 comments on "Fix for unresolved DNS queries that are reported by DNS servers to display ads"

  1. What system has WOW deployed? Do you know? Could you find out?

    Just curious as it sounds pretty weird, like a proxy or something tied with a DNS server if they trap EVERY web request you do.

    -david

  2. angelo says:

    I am not sure what system WOW is using. It is very similar to OpenDNS though. Their DNS servers simply redirect to another server with the invalid domain name in a search box. Even the HTTP GET request looks identical to OpenDNS’s. I can send you a screen shot if you like.

  3. angelo says:

    By the way, I am very impressed with both OpenDNS.com and EveryDNS.net. These are great alternatives for users like myself who want a fast and reliable name servers and server administrators like myself who only have a hand full of domain names they need name servers for.

  4. Pingback: to domain name

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