Comparison l July 11, 2018

VPNs and Smart DNS: What's the real difference?

We all know what VPN is right? But do you know how it’s different from a Smart DNS?

Let’s get down to the brass tacks and figure it out, shall we?

This video will give you a clear idea about Smart DNS and how it differs from a VPN aka Virtual Private network.

Say, you’re in Australia and you want to access Netflix. So, open up a web browser and type in ''.

In a normal connection, it would redirect you to your regional catalog which, in this case, is Netflix Australia.

But say, I wanted to watch the catalog from Netflix US. I can’t do that with a normal connection so what would I do?

Well, the first thing I’d think of is using VPN to overcome geo-restrictions.

I’d use a US-based VPN to gain access to Netflix US.

This, for the most part, works and is bog standard.

Because you’re using a VPN, all of your data is encrypted making your streaming really slow.

So, a VPN is not an ideal choice while streaming videos.

What is a better option? Well, it’s something called a “Smart DNS”.

To understand that, we’d have understood what a DNS or Domain Name Server is first.

It’s easier for us as humans to remember Domains like Netflix or Hulu but computers, on the other hand, only understand IP addresses. A DNS server is the bridge between us and computers that connects the Domains and the IP address. Consider a Phonebook with names as domains and Phone numbers as IP addresses. So basically, a DNS server is just like a phone book.

Consider the same scenario where I’m in Australia trying to access the Netflix US catalog but with a Smart DNS instead. Now, this, unlike a VPN, wouldn’t change my IP address or encrypt the data. So, every connection that I make is high speed just like a regular connection.

But the cool thing about Smart DNS is when you’re accessing video streaming sites like Netflix, it will change the DNS server aka the phonebook from Australia to the US. So instead of the Australian DNS server, it would redirect the case-specific website to the DNS server in America. Now, since Netflix is seeing you from the same the DNS server in America, it would grant you access to the US catalog. This will let you bypass the geo-restrictions without slowing the stream down, unlike a VPN.

If you’re using a VPN it would change your IP address and push all the traffic through an encrypted tunnel. Since all the traffic goes through an encrypted tunnel, your video streaming would be a lot slower. Not to forget that VPN’s are a bit expensive and rather hard to set up on routers and media streaming devices like PS4 or Apple TV.

Smart DNS, on the other hand, doesn’t change your IP address or encrypt your traffic, which means your video streaming will be a lot faster and it's cheaper to set up on every device including routers and media streaming devices.

So, which one’s better?

A VPN or a Smart DNS?

Well, that isn’t the right question. The right question is which one’s better for what situation.

Imagine I’m at an airport and using the free Wi-Fi, the best bet would be use a VPN because it’s a lot more private and secure.

But if I want to kick back and stream some Netflix or HBO from outside of America, Smart DNS Proxy is the best bet.

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