Common Questions and Troubleshooting

CleanBrowsing offers you a solution to take control of the sites that are allowed on your network. It does by using DNS, that’s why during the setup phase, you need to switch your DNS (aka nameservers) to the ones we provide.

Changing the DNS is very simple, but if you are not technical, it may seem too much. In this guide we’re going to try and capture some of the more common questions and provide better troubleshooting instructions; this should ensure that when we chat we’re working off the same page.

1- Nothing is working, why?
2- Content is not being blocked

Nothing is working, why?

When working with a support team it’s extremely important to take the time to provide a little more context. We are not sitting next to you, unfortunately, so trying to make sense of what is happening is not always easy.

To help, here are a few common questions we’ll respond with and things you should consider:

  1- What have you done already?
  2- Are you using a Free or Paid plan?
  3- What is the exact issue you’re facing?
  4- What operating system are you using? (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc..)?
  5- Did you try to configure this locally on the device, or at the router?

These questions will help us, help you.

Content is not Being Blocked

The most common troubleshooting issue is that the desired content is not being blocked. This can happen for a number of reasons.

  1- Misconfiguration of the Router or Device
  2- If you are on the paid plans, your public (WAN) IP address was not added to the dashboard.
  3- DNS is being HiJacked by ISP or Router
  4- Configured for IPv4 instead of IPv6
  5- Other weirdness with your network

1. Misconfiguration in the Router or Device
Router Misconfiguration

When configuring a router you want to make sure that you’re configuring it inside the Wide Are Network (WAN) settings page. This will make sure that you cover your entire network. We have Guides for some of the most common router models.

Device Misconfiguration

In addition to IPv4 vs IPv6, see below, the most common issue when configuring locally is configuring the wrong network interface.

Using Wrong DNS IPs – Free vs Paid

A very common mistake is to forget to update the configured Free filters with your new paid DNS IP. They are not the same IPs.

A customer might have tried the Free filters first, then switched over to the pain plans. In these instances a customer might configure their router, but forget the original testing on the local machine. This creates a situation where the router is configured correctly, but the local DNS configuration is bypassing the router. It is always good to double check that your local system is obtaining the IP from the router or locally, and it’s configured to the appropriate DNS resolver you are trying to test. If you purchase a plan, be sure to switch all your test systems to the DNS IPs provided in your dashboard.

A great way to verify which filter you are using is to run the following command in your terminal (or command prompt):

nslookup -q=TXT mylocation.whois.dnscontest.cleanbrowsing.org
Server:        10.0.0.1
Address:    10.0.0.1#53

Non-authoritative answer:
mylocation.whois.dnscontest.cleanbrowsing.org   
 text = "CleanBrowsing: dns-edge-usa-west-la-v, 185.228.168.10

This tells me that the CleanBrowsing DNS IP is: 185.227.168.10 so we now know you are using the Free filter, not a paid plan.

2. DNS is Being HiJacked by ISP or Router

The most problematic is when the network refuses to accept a local DNS change. This can cause a lot of frustration, and it does happen. It varies between ISP providers around the world, and your local environment.

There are some simple tests you can run via the command prompt / terminal to verify if this is the case.

nslookup badexample.com 185.228.168.10
Server:		185.228.168.10
Address:	185.228.168.10#53

** server can't find badexample.com: NXDOMAIN

This test tried to query badexample.com using the Free CleanBrowsing Filter. The output you see here:

** server can't find badexample.com: NXDOMAIN

Is the expected result. If you query our DNS and you get something like this:

Non-authoritative answer:
Name:	badexample.com
Address: 66.33.212.160

Then it’s safe to say something is hijacking your DNS. It might be your antivirus (like Avast or AVG), where you need to disable their DNS protection, or even your ISP. Comcast, for example, have a “Protected Browsing” option that needs to be disabled if you Xfinity to allow our DNS to work.

3. Configured for IPv4 instead of IPv6

This is another one of those configurations that can cause problems. There has been a big push over recent years to migrate, or at least adopt, to IPv6. This means a lot of devices are setting IPv6 by default on their devices (routers and computers). This means it’s going to be in your interest to account for this change by setting both IPv4 and IPv6 when configuring CleanBrowsing.

All Free filters have IPv6 alternatives, and you can activate IPv6 on Paid Plans in the CleanBrowsing dashboard.

4. Weirdness With Network

Other times it honestly comes down to some weirdness in the network. It can be an incompatible router. It could be the topology in place on the network. It could be that the ISP has to give access prior to the change. In either case, we’re committed to helping the best we can.

If we get to a point that engaging via email is not helping we might ask to do a screen share so that we can see what you’re seeing. When we do this, we leverage an application called TeamViewer. It’s a highly secure platform that allows us to see and take control of the environment, critical to helping us to understand what is going on.

When we log in we might ask you to have your router information readily available so that we can log in.

5. Can’t Change DNS on Router

One of the bigger issues we’re encountering these days are ISP routers that do not allow DNS to be edited. They let you change the DNS on the network, but not the router. This can be very infuriating and to help troubleshoot we’ve prepared a guide that will walk you through the steps: Dealing wiht Routers that don’t allow DNS to be changed.

6. Bad Content is Slipping Through

We work to be as effective as possible in our detection, but sometimes we might miss things. You can help improve our engines by reporting those errors. We gladly accept all feedback. Please send the information to support@cleanbrowsing.org.

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