If you often have to deal with geo-restrictions getting in the way of your entertainment, and having to find a way to bypass them, you probably heard how you can use a Smart DNS to do just that.
Well, if you’re a bit new to the topic, or understand what a Smart DNS is to some extent and want to learn more, we’ve got you covered with this informative article discussing everything related to Smart DNS services.
DNS (Domain Name System) is a protocol that allows domain names to be translated into IP (Internet Protocol) addresses. Basically, DNS makes it possible for your device to connect to a website by returning the appropriate IP address when you type in the website’s name in your browser.
A Smart DNS is a service you can use to access geo-restricted Internet content. It became extremely popular due to the increased use of geo-blocking technology by content providers like Netflix. The service allows you to hide your geo-location, meaning you can watch geo-blocked content from anywhere in the world.
When you use a Smart DNS, it will replace your ISP-assigned DNS address (which contains info that can reveal your geo-location) with the address of a new dedicated Smart DNS server. When you’re connected to the server, your traffic will be routed through it.
The Smart DNS server can be located anywhere in the world since the provider uses proxy servers in the country where the content you want to access is available to unblock websites. The new DNS you are provided with will essentially help you unblock websites in all the countries covered by the Smart DNS provider.
On top of that, a Smart DNS will also intercept your connection requests to the server you want to access, and replace any data in those requests that can leak your geo-location with new information that points to an “acceptable” geographical location.
So, for example, if you are located in Denmark, where BBC iPlayer is unavailable, a Smart DNS would help make it seem as if you’re accessing BBC iPlayer from the UK, giving you direct access to it.
Yes – using a Smart DNS is perfectly legal. After all, even Google offers access to free DNS server addresses for people who want to change their DNS address. Still, it’s worth mentioning that your ISP might interfere with you using a Smart DNS if they use a Transparent DNS Proxy. But even if that happens, it doesn’t mean that it’s illegal to use a Smart DNS.
However, you must keep in mind that illegal online activities are still punishable by law with or without a Smart DNS.
Both a Smart DNS and a VPN (Virtual Private Network) are popular methods of bypassing geo-restrictions. The main difference is that a VPN helps you access blocked content by hiding your IP address, while a Smart DNS masks your original DNS address.
Other differences include the fact that:
Overall, if you really care about getting the best online speeds while accessing geo-blocked content, you should use a Smart DNS. Otherwise, if you want to secure your Internet privacy on top of accessing geo-restricted content, and also be able to bypass firewalls, you should use a VPN.
Not at all. Like we already mentioned, a Smart DNS – unlike a VPN – doesn’t use any type of encryption. As a result, you can use your original ISP-provided connection speed to enjoy any Internet content you want.
Besides just helping you bypass geo-restrictions, there are also other perks you get to enjoy if you use a Smart DNS:
There are a few things worth mentioning:
Some ISPs might use a Transparent DNS Proxy, which can force you to use their DNS services instead of the Smart DNS-assigned address you get. Why? Because a Transparent DNS Proxy intercepts DNS lookup requests, and transparently proxies them to the ISP’s own DNS servers.
There’s a way to bypass that issue, fortunately. As long as you have a DD-WRT router that supports IP tablets, you can set up a Smart DNS on it, and direct DNS requests from port 53 (the port used for DNS lookup requests) to port 54. Just type in the following commands in your router firewall:
iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i br0 -p udp –dport 53 -j DNAT –to 22.214.171.124:54
The DNS address used in that example (126.96.36.199) is Google’s public DNS address, but you can freely use your Smart DNS provider’s own addresses (or any other DNS address for that matter).
With a Smart DNS, websites are unblocked one by one – the service will not automatically allow access to all websites from a certain region. Most popular websites are usually unblocked, though, and if you come across one that isn’t, you can ask your Smart DNS provider to try and unblock it.
Like we already mentioned, a Smart DNS won’t be able to protect your online identity on the Internet by encrypting your Internet traffic to make it hacker-proof, nor will it be able to help you bypass firewall restrictions (whether they’re imposed at work or school, or are just a form of government censorship) since it doesn’t mask your IP address.
This is a minor thing, but you might have to manually configure a Smart DNS if there are no apps available for your device. Normally, you just have to tweak your network connection settings by changing the DNS address assigned to you by your ISP, and by validating your IP address.
While that might seem a bit complex if you’ve never done it before, most Smart DNS providers offer step-by-step tutorials you can follow to quickly configure the service.
As appealing as the concept of a “free” Smart DNS might be, you should know that most free DNS proxies you might find online aren’t reliable. And just to be clear – we’re not talking about free DNS addresses like the ones Google provides, but actual Smart DNS providers who claim to offer free services.
So, what’s the actual problem with free Smart DNS services? Well:
In the end, a Smart DNS really doesn’t cost that much – at most you’d end up paying maybe around $4-$7/month.
A Smart DNS provider is a company that offers Smart DNS services, allowing you to unblock an extensive list of geo-restricted websites. Usually, they also offer Smart DNS apps for the most popular devices alongside a wide range of features.
In recent years, a lot of Smart DNS providers have started offering access to VPN services alongside Smart DNS services. Many VPN providers have done something similar by adding Smart DNS services to their subscription plans as well.
Most Smart DNS providers offer paid services, but there are also providers who offer free Smart DNS services. However, we already discussed why choosing a free Smart DNS isn’t a good idea.
Here are the kinds of things you should be checking out when considering which Smart DNS provider to choose:
We here at SmartyDNS offer high-speed VPN servers with military-grade 256 bit AES encryption and highly-secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, SoftEther and IKEv2) and we adhere to a strict no-log policy.
Our VPN servers double as proxy servers and we also offer a Smart DNS service that lets you unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other 300+ worldwide geo-restricted websites.
We offer user-friendly VPN apps for Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, and Fire TV/Stick and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Oh, and we’ll also have your back with our 30-day money-back guarantee.
There are various ways you can bypass geo-restrictions, and a Smart DNS is one of the most popular methods. It’s basically a service that replaces your ISP-assigned DNS address with a different address in order to hide your real geo-location.
In terms of perks, a Smart DNS helps you unblock geo-restricted content, lets you enjoy your original ISP speeds, and you can enjoy access to content from different regions at the same time. Regarding drawbacks, some ISPs might be able to interfere with a Smart DNS with a Transparent DNS Proxy, and a Smart DNS doesn’t use any encryption to secure your online connections (like a VPN does).
Overall, if you’re only interested in accessing geo-blocked content while enjoying fast speeds, and aren’t concerned about your Internet privacy, a Smart DNS is a good option.
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