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Smart DNS vs VPN. What’s the Difference?

Smart DNS vs VPN

Most internet users these days have come across the terms Smart DNS and VPN. If you’ve been looking for a way to improve your privacy, send data over a secure connection, or simply access geo-restricted content from various different locations, you’ve probably heard of these two technologies. But do you know about the difference between Smart DNS vs VPN?

For many people, the key aspects of each service remain a mystery, and you may not know which is better, Smart DNS or VPN. That’s why we’re going to give you a rundown of everything you need to know, letting you decide which service is right for your needs.

What Is Smart DNS?

Smart DNS is a technology that allows you to access different geo-restricted content from around the world. It does this by changing your DNS, or Domain Name System. This is the basic system that converts domain names into IP addresses. A Smart DNS sends your traffic through a proxy server, allowing you to access sites from locations other than the one you are in.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a combination of different technologies that offers added security and privacy. Like a Smart DNS, a VPN allows you to access online content from a variety of locations. However, a VPN also establishes a private network which encrypts all of your internet traffic. This provides added security and privacy.

Differences Between Smart DNS and VPN


Smart DNS

When carrying out certain online transactions such as purchasing products, you will need to use your personal IP address. A Smart DNS does not change your IP address, so you will not have to alter or change the service when carrying out transactions.


A VPN needs to be turned off when purchasing products, in order to make your personal IP address visible.


Smart DNS

Smart DNS simply routes your data via a different location, with negligible difference to any streaming from geo-restricted sites.


A VPN will encrypt all of your traffic before sending it through a server. This takes time, resulting in somewhat slower internet speeds. However, the difference is not noticeable when streaming from geo-restricted websites.

Security & Privacy

Smart DNS

Smart DNS offers no security benefits, as there is no encryption. Also it does not mask your IP address. This means that your online traffic will not receive any protection from your Smart DNS service and your location will not be hidden in any way.


VPN encrypts all of your data. This means that no third parties, including government agencies or your ISP, will be able to view or tamper with any of your online activity. Also VPN changes your IP address. This means that no one will be able to trace your online activity to you, your device or your location.


Geo Restrictions and Geo Blocks

Smart DNS

  • Smart DNS allows you to unblock multiple countries at the same time. Providers generally have a complete list of pre-unblocked media and streaming sites that users can view.
  • Some ISPs make use of transparent DNS proxy technology. This allows them to intercept all DNS lookup requests, and force users to make use of their servers. As a result, you won’t be able to change your DNS and access geo-restricted content if you are with one of these ISPs.


  • A VPN allows you to access one server at a time, meaning that you are only ever able to view the content from one country at a time.
  • A VPN allows users to get around restrictions imposed by workplaces and schools.

Ease of Setup

Smart DNS

Smart DNS only has to reroute your data. This means that manual setup is straightforward, and most Smart DNS providers offer a straightforward tutorial for use. They also generally provide apps for the most popular platforms, which allow you to install and set up the service with ease.


VPN services make use of a selection of different VPN protocols. This makes them more complicated than a Smart DNS, and if you want to set up manually, you may need a degree of technical understanding. However, as with Smart DNS, providers offer a step-by-step guide to setup, and apps for installation on the most popular platforms.

Supported Devices

Smart DNS is compatible with more devices than a VPN. This is because more devices allow you to change your DNS address, and there are fewer devices that support VPN technology.

So Which Is Better? Smart DNS vs VPN?

The choice between Smart DNS or VPN very much depends on what you mainly use the internet for. Smart DNS has found a lot of favour among people looking for a straightforward way of accessing global content and avoiding geo restrictions, without compromising internet speed. If you’re simply looking for a convenient way to access streaming sites around the world, this could be a good choice.

VPNs have become a crucial tool for whistleblowers, journalists, and other people in need of a way of masking their internet traffic. A VPN provides multiple levels of security and privacy, and guarantee the highest levels of anonymity possible. They also provide the same benefits of avoiding geo-restrictions that Smart DNS offer, albeit at the price of lower internet speeds.


Whatever the differences in Smart DNS vs VPN, more and more internet users are waking up to the benefits that both services provide. More and more streaming content is made available every year, but without the right services, you’ll fall foul of geo restrictions. Meanwhile, more and more revelations of online surveillance and data harvesting are appearing every year. There may be a number of differences regarding Smart DNS vs VPN, but odds are, either service can offer a number of benefits to your internet use.

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Posted on in Smart DNS