SmartDNS vs VPN – What’s the Difference?.
If you haven’t lived under a rock in the past few years, chances are you already know what a VPN is. But chances are that this is your first time hearing about SmartDNS and wondering how it differs from VPN. Well, in this quick guide, I’ll give you a clear understanding of SmartDNS and how it differs from a VPN known as VPN.
How do VPNs and SmartDNS work?
In the usual internet connection
Let’s say you’re in India and want to access Netflix. So open your browser and type netflix.com . On a regular internet connection (no VPN or proxy setup) it will redirect you to your regional directory, which in this case is Netflix India.
But let’s say I wanted to watch the Netflix US catalog. Well, the first thing I thought of was using a VPN to get past geographic restrictions.
With VPN connection
So, to watch Netflix in the US, I would use a VPN in the US. And that, for the most part, works and is standard.
But since you are using a VPN, all your data is encrypted, so streaming is very slow
So VPN is not the best choice for streaming video
With SmartDNS connection
When it comes to unblocking geo restrictions on video sites like Netflix, HBO NOW, and more, Smart DNS is the best option. Why? Well, unlike VPN, SmartDNS does not change my IP address or encrypt my data. This way, every connection you establish is as high-speed as a normal connection.
SmartDNS works very smartly. As long as you’re browsing regular pages, it doesn’t interfere with your connection. But when you connect to video streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon prime video, etc., SmartDNS will change the DNS server from your country to USA. So, instead of using the DNS server provided by your ISP, it will redirect the specific website to the US DNS server. And since Netflix (or any geo-blocking website) sees traffic coming from a DNS server in the US, they think you are in the US, and thus allows you to bypass geo restrictions without slowing down the traffic, unlike from VPN.
Smart DNS is like changing the license plate on a car. The car is still in India, but Smart DNS will change its license plate to US, and when Netflix US sees this, it will think of it like any other.
SmartDNS vs VPN – the difference
If you are using a VPN, your IP address will change and all traffic will go through the encrypted tunnel. This encryption provides privacy and security. But since all traffic goes through the encrypted tunnel, video streaming will be slower. Don’t forget that VPNs are a bit expensive and quite difficult to set up on routers and media streaming devices like PS4, Apple TV
Smart DNS, on the other hand, does not change your IP address or encrypt your traffic. Now, since there is no encryption, you also don’t get any privacy or security benefits, but on the other hand, video streaming will be much faster and cheaper to set up on every device, including routers and media streaming devices.
|1. Change IP address||Yes||No|
|3. Privacy & Security||Yes||No|
|4. Video streaming speed||Slow due to encryption||High due to lack of Encryption|
|5. Price||Free VPNs are not very good, and all good ones cost a little more||All SmartDNS services are paid, but generally a little cheaper than paid VPNs|
|6. Setup process||Easy setup on your PC and smartphone. But difficult to set up on router and media streaming device like PS4, Apple TV, etc.||Easy to set up on any platform including desktop, mobile phone, router and other devices streaming media such as XBox, PS4, etc.|
VPN or SmartDNS – Which is Better?
Well, that’s not the question, rather which one is best for which situation. If you need privacy and security, choose a VPN, but if you use a VPN primarily to overcome geographic restrictions on video sites, choose SmartDNS.
Imagine I’m at the airport using free Wi-Fi. then it would be more secure and private to use a VPN to browse, but but if I want to rollback and stream HBO / Netflix outside of my country, Smart DNS would be the safer choice.
Which SmartDNS or VPN should I choose?
There are many things to consider before choosing a VPN or SmartDNS, such as where the servers are located, their privacy policies, is your data being logged, etc. In general, I suggest TunnelBear for VPN and SmartDNSProxy for SmartDNS. The former gives 500MB of free data every month, followed by $ 10 per month, while Smart DNS Proxy comes with 14 free trials, after which it costs $ 5 per month. I use both of these services and so far I am a satisfied customer.
I use both services and am a satisfied customer so far.
Here’s a quick video on VPN and SmartDNS: What’s the real difference?
Also Read: 10 Best VPN Extensions for Google Chrome