VPN vs. SMART DNS: Which one is the best for you?
Safeguarding your anonymity online and bypassing regional restrictions on content tend to be two of the most prominent concerns of the people on the internet that is becoming easily accessible, and just as dangerous. In an effort to conceal your identity online, you could try several different services that provide you access to geo-restricted content. Some of the most-reputable services are VPNs and Smart DNS.
But, what are these services and how are they different from each other? How do they work? And when exactly should you choose one over the other? If any (or all) of these questions are crossing your mind, then you must read on.
What are VPN and Smart DNS?
A VPN or a Virtual Private Network makes way for a private network that could be accessed while surfing the internet. It empowers the users to communicate on the web just as freely as if they were directly connected to the private network. VPNs are mostly used by the companies that need to provide remote access to their employees over the private network. It also ensures security, in addition to encrypted access to the Internet.
On the other hand, Smart DNS is a server that is designed to redirect users to a proxy server instead. Employing a different working mechanism than the VPN, Smart DNS only forwards specific traffic. The rest of the traffic is allowed to traverse through the Internet just as it would without a DNS. Essentially, SmartDNS servers are used to access the geo-restricted content on the online streaming websites. So, the Smart DNS server deceives the site to assume that it is accessed by the user from a desirable location.
VPN vs. Smart DNS
VPNs and Smart DNS services are primarily used to serve similar purposes, such as getting through geo-restrictions and access the blocked content from any corner of the world. But, both these services employ different features and fundamentals. Let’s see the differences at a glance:
1. Working Principle:
- A VPN encrypts and transmits all of your internet traffic by employing an encrypted channel complimented by an external server. So, your data is redirected to a private network before it reaches the websites you are using.
By utilizing an external server to handle your traffic, a VPN smartly alters your IP address to the one of the server you are redirected through, to give you the luxury of accessing the geo-restricted content hassle-free and reliably.
- Smart DNS proxies swap your device’s DNS address while routing a specific part of your traffic through its DNS server. As VPN encrypts and transmits all your traffic, a Smart DNS redirects merely the traffic to hide your geographical location. Now you know why it is called “Smart.”
2. Set-up and Installation
- Setting up and installing a VPN is easy and straight-forward with most of the VPN providers. All you need to do is install the chosen software, register, log-in and select the desired country and you’re done.
- Setting up and installing a Smart DNS takes longer on most of the devices as it requires manual configuration of the Network Settings. Above all, you will also need to traverse to your client area and input your IP address every time your IP changes. In this case, the Smart DNS service, Overplay, could come to your rescue as it allows you to place a quick link in your bookmarks and automatically change the IP address for you. Furthermore, it also provides you with the luxury to set it up on many devices and thus to save your precious time.
3. Security and Privacy
- Without a doubt, a VPN boosts your security and privacy by creating an encrypted tunnel in-between the server and your device. So rest assured, with a VPN, your data is protected from hackers. Additionally, VPNs provide an enhanced layer of security by protecting your IP address. It swaps your IP with the IP address of its server, so nobody gets to track your internet activity. And you surf anonymously. Thus, the watchdogs might know which requests you made, but VPN restricts their ability to link the requests to your real IP address.
- Security is the drawback of SmartDNS– It doesn’t change your IP address, but the DNS settings. So, it fails to provide any protection or privacy what so ever!
And so, your identity will not be masked, and it remains the same using a Smart DNS. Similarly, your internet traffic could also be subjected to cyber threats as it travels unencrypted.
- A VPN is slower than the Smart DNS as it needs to encrypt the traffic and carry out a few other processes involved. Anytime your traffic has to run through another server before being redirected, it will be slower. Furthermore, if you are sharing a VPN connection in an endeavor to access geo-restricted content, then your speed will again suffer a downfall.
- Since a Smart DNS doesn’t require changing the IP address or encrypting the traffic, it has close to no speed loss at all. So, if you’re only concern is simply changing your DNS to stream geo-restricted content, then a Smart DNS might be the choice for you.
- Even though a VPN connection’s reliability varies from one provider to the other, all of the providers generally offer an uptime guarantee of 99.9%.
- A Smart DNS connection shares the same base reliability as a VPN connection (99.9%). Nevertheless, this could considerably fall depending on how frequently your ISP changes your IP address, as this will entail you to update your account settings and after that resulting in the loss of connection time.
- VPNs are a little costlier than a Smart DNS, as more goes into developing and maintaining them. A good VPN may not be economical, but it’s not expensive either, costing in between $5 and $15 for a month for the most reputable.
- Smart DNS services are a tad bit cheaper than the VPN but not by a significant amount. But it does give you an option to get joint accounts with some providers for a much better price and grab yourself a great deal.
7. Online Streaming: Netflix and other Websites
Nowadays, many online streamers keep asking the question, “Which service should they use for online streaming (Netflix in particular), VPN or the DNS proxy?” Despite this dilemma, it is important to note that ever since Netflix extended its broadcast to different regions across the world; it started hunting down the VPN and proxy services.
The outcome of this clampdown was that many services including the VPN and Smart DNS also stopped working with Netflix.
- Nevertheless, a Smart DNS is better for streaming, only if you manage to discover which services providers are still operational for Netflix. One such service that works with Netflix is Unlocator.
- There are only a limited number of VPN providers who could cater to you the luxury of watching Netflix irrespective of your location in the world. The VPN providers that could open up your gates to Netflix and other streaming websites are listed here. Not all the service providers’ work with the Netflix so do your research before making a purchase.
8. The Best in the Business
- NordVPN might have been a market newbie, but it has emerged as a global leader in transforming the VPN industry. So, what makes it the best VPN on the market? First, it gives you a reliable and a hassle-free internet connection. Second, it boasts its coverage in a load of different countries: 54 countries and counting. Thanks to NordVPN, now you can watch your favorite streaming website from the USA, Australia, Canada or France, among others.
- Unleashed by a Panama-based company, NordVPN remains firm on its tagline of an Internet without censorship or surveillance. Plus, it also allows you to watch U.S. Netflix from any corner of the world—a rare feat these days. They have specific servers set up for this.
- Nord VPN provides you with the luxury of the most budget-friendly plans on the market. In fact, you could also connect up to 6 devices simultaneously!
- Other than the standard packages, the NordVPN also offers a fourth plan. If you choose the 2-year program, then you only have to pay US$4 a month (Which is merely 33% of the total amount)
P.S. This is the most economical 2-year plan on the market.
OverPlay Smart DNS:
OverPlay is a US-based company that deals with both SmartDNS and VPN services. They offer their subscribers a great blend of the benefits at an appealing price. Let’s unveil several aspects of the OverPlay Smart DNS:
When it comes to providing the SmartDNS service, OverPlay caters to its users a wide range of networks that spread across 200 channels, which is a brilliant feature, as it satisfies the taste of almost everyone through the rich variety and excellent quality of the channels. Furthermore, you could watch your favorite online streaming channels from any corner of the world, on all devices in a second. What makes this SmartDNS service more enjoyable and convenient to use is the high-speed connections and an easy-to-install setup.
Does OverPlay support VPN too?
Yes, it does. In a bid to make the maximum out of online security and offer you a full-proof protection on the internet, OverPlay presents the SmartDNS service integrated with the goodness of the VPNs. The company has 48 servers located across the globe that will help you encrypt all your traffic safely and bypass the blocked content.
If you choose to go with the SmartDNS services, OverPlay offers excellent value for money on all its packages. For instance, you could buy the monthly subscription at barely $4.95. Three months of subscription brings down the cost to $13.95, six months even more economical at $26.95 whereas the best grab remains the annual package at merely $49.95. The OverPlays prices are neither placed too high nor too low when compared to its competitors.
Which one is the Best for you?
All being said, VPN emerges as an undisputed winner as it has more advantages, with the security and privacy being the most prominent ones. While a Smart DNS is slightly more economic than the VPN service it fails miserably in altering the IP address of the device, and therefore, compromising the device’s security.
A VPN is slower than the Smart DNS as it needs to encrypt the traffic and carry out a few other processes involved. However, if security and privacy is your utmost priority then it is not only worth it but also makes up for the minor speed disadvantage.
And if you choose a reliable VPN provider such as NordVPN or IPVanish, then you are not only guaranteed access to your favorite websites but also ensures your safety and privacy thoroughly. In fact, these VPN providers also offer “hybrid” SmartVPN options that cater to you the best of both the VPN as well as the Smart DNS. So, you could rest assured that your traffic would be encrypted and you would also be able to access all Smart DNS-supported services.