Streaming fans are probably familiar with various unblocking tools available on the web. The list of these tools usually includes 2 related but distinct types of services: proxies and VPNs. However, there is another type of unblocking tool that works wonders if you want to access streaming websites: SmartDNS.
A SmartDNS offers the same unblocking benefit that VPNs do, but it also has the advantage of being generally faster than VPNs. But there are some downsides to it as well, such as the lack of encryption inherent in VPNs.
In this article, I’m going to explain SmartDNS a bit more along with recommendations for the 5 best SmartDNS services that work remarkably well for streaming purposes.
What is Smart DNS?
A Smart DNS service basically changes your geolocation as perceived on the web by changing your DNS address. This allows you to gain access to streaming sites that may be geo-restricted in your region. However, SmartDNS services generally lack encryption protocols and other privacy features that are built within VPN services.
As a result, SmartDNS services work quite fast because there are no extra layers of protocols and other security mechanisms within a SmartDNS service. The consequence of no encryption is obviously the fact that SmartDNS is a less secure solution as compared to VPN services.
If you are primarily looking for fast speeds while unblocking streaming services, then a SmartDNS is the right option for you.
Working Mechanism of Smart DNS Service
The Smart DNS services slightly differ from the VPN services when it comes to accessing geo-restricted content. The latter tunnels all your traffic, while the former tunnels only what it needs to give you access to popular streaming services of the UK and US.
You need to only switch the server of your Smart DNS to make it understand that the traffic needs to be rerouted. It will do the rest. The rerouting will see you accessing the streaming services like Netflix and Hulu without any hassle.
See also: Best QNAP VPN
Are Streaming Speeds Affected by Smart DNS Services?
No. Your streaming speeds are never affected by the Smart DNS services. The Smart DNS providers make sure they don’t slow down your streaming speeds and use the original speed provided to you by your ISPs.
How is a Smart DNS Service used to Block Websites?
DNS can be used to block website access very easily. For instance, if your ISP doesn’t want you to access www.netflix.com (for any reason), it will simply program its DNS to stop connecting you to the netflix.com IP every time you punch in the URL.
How can Smart DNS Services be used to unblock websites?
Fortunately, you’re not required to use your ISP’s DNS. You can use any other DNS as well. By using the Smart DNS service, you can instruct your computer to contact a DNS of your choice – a DNS in which all websites are unblocked.
Just like phone-books, there are multiple DNS on the internet.
All you have to do is to use a DNS that would allow you to stream the content of your own choice. You will only need to install a Smart DNS service in one of your devices to access whatever you like.
Is it safe to use a DNS to unblock a website?
DNS means ‘Domain Name System’, but it should really mean ‘Do Not Stop’ because a Smart DNS service allows you to unblock every single website on the internet – may it be international or local.
There are numerous methods that are now available to help you unblock websites, but perhaps none are as effective and efficient as the DNS technique.
Using a DNS to unblock websites is perhaps one of the most harmless ways to unblock websites.
Best Smart DNS Providers
Up till now, we have told you enough about how and why the Smart DNS services are used. Now we are going to tell you about the best Smart DNS service providers. We have described them in detail including their pricing plans and features to ease your buying decision process.
1 – ExpressVPN SmartDNS MediaStreamer
ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer SmartDNS functions through the standard ExpressVPN application. This gives you unlimited control over your SecureDNS connection. The SecureDNS is available at the very same prices as the ExpressVPN standard all-in-one VPN service.
Considering the reasonable prices that ExpressVPN offers, the 24/7 customer support, and the 30-day money back guarantee, everything rounds up perfectly.
- 1 Month – $12.95/mo
- 12 + 3 Months free – $6.67/mo
- 6 Months – $9.99/mo
2- TorGuard SmartDNS
The TorGuard SmartDNS service is one of the latest DNS services to have hit the internet. Powered by the very same network architecture that has made TorGuard a household name amongst online freedom advocates, the SmartDNS service is based in 6 countries.
The SmartDNS comes with TorGuard’s 30-day money back guarantee and sets up within seconds to unblock websites.
- 1-Month– $9.99/mo
- 3-Month – $19.99/mo
- 6-Month – $29.99/mo
- 1-Year – $59.99/mo
ibDNS is ibVPN’s very own Smart DNS service for users who want to unblock websites without the extra hassle.
The ibVPN DNS service is much cheaper and much faster than the standard ibVPN VPN service.
- 1-Month: $4.95/mo
- 1-Year: $36.95/yr
4- OverPlay SmartDNS
Leading VPN provider OverPlay offers a service it likes to call SmartDNS.
The SmartDNS service comes in addition to the standard OverPlay VPN service and is available for as low as $10.00 per month and comes covered with a 30-day money back guarantee.
- 12-Month: $34.99/mo
- 1-Month: $10.00/mo
5- HideIPVPN Premium SmartDNS
The HideIPVPN Premium SmartDNS is for people who want to unblock websites that are restricted to internet users outside the US and the UK.
The Premium SmartDNS service comes with a 3-day money back guarantee and is available for as low as $3.24 per month (in the 12-month plan) and goes up to $4.95 per month (in the 1-month plan).
- 1-Month: $6.99/mo
- 3-Month: $5.99/mo
- 1-Year: $4.99/mo
Comparison b/w SmartDNS and VPN Providers
Even though the two serve the same purpose of unblocking the blocked websites and channels, both are slightly different from each other. The VPN also gives you access to the blocked contents, but it also encrypts your data. A VPN may heavily affect your internet’s speed.
While the Smart DNS providers ensure that your speeds are not affected. SmartDNS takes the lead when it comes to speeds, but when it comes to safety and security, a VPN sits way above the SmartDNS services. Each and everything you do while connected with a VPN is encrypted while the basic purpose of SmartDNS is to access the blocked websites, and therefore no encryption.
How does the Smart DNS layer work?
The entire process spans take place within milliseconds when you enter a URL.
- You punch in a URL, and your DNS Cache (websites you visited previously) is checked if the corresponding IP address is there as a result of a previous visit.
- If the search query doesn’t turn up in your DNS Cache, your ISP’s DNS servers are searched. These are called Recursive DNS Servers. Most processes end here because ISPs make it a habit (and are often required by law) to update their Recursive DNS Servers regularly.
- This very rarely happens, but if the search query doesn’t turn up in your ISP’s Recursive DNS Servers, it is forwarded to the Root Name-Servers, which forwards your request to Top-Level Domain Name-Servers based on the website type. Forwarding decisions are made based on .com, .org, .edu or .gov domain name. These domains are called Top-Level Domains, hence the name Top-Level Domains.
- The Top-Level Domain Name-Servers do not contain any information on their own but are capable of forwarding requests to servers responsible for queries for the specific domains. The Authoritative Name-Servers are contacted as the last resort.
- Once your query is found, the recursive server (which started it all) brings it back to you, and stores it in your computer’s DNS cache, so that the long trip doesn’t have to be made the next time.
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