The internet has opened new avenues for users to consume content, especially media content like streaming videos. Unfortunately, when the internet opens up the world, the authorities and companies quickly start building walls. You may lack access to certain websites depending on the country you live in. Your government could prevent you from accessing certain sites, or the websites themselves can discriminate against you based on your geographical location.
The marvel of technology is that you can always find a workaround to such censorship and geo-filters. The easiest and most cost-efficient method to bypass geographical filters is using a SmartDNS proxy.
What is a SmartDNS?
If you want to understand what SmartDNS is, you first need to understand what basic DNS is. The acronym stands for Domain Name Server. Name servers are hardware connected to a public network (i.e. the internet), which translates human text into numeric identifiers that computers can understand. DNS is the hardware that translates domain names, which are designed so that people can easily remember them, into internet protocol (IP) addresses. These IP addresses identify computers, servers and other devices on the internet by location.
To better understand DNS, think of it as a telephone book. When you know a person’s name, but not the number, you use a telephone book. DNS is the telephone book between human web users and electronic devices that make internet possible.
When you want to visit a site, your computer first looks at the local DNS cache for the address. If the site is not there, it sends out a DNS query to your ISP’s recursive DNS servers to look it up. When this DNS query is generated, it also creates an IP address that identifies the location of your computer. Some websites, like Netflix and Hulu, scan this IP address to discriminate users based on their location. For example, if your IP address is from Australia, Netflix will automatically bar your access to certain content.
How Can SmartDNS Bypass Geo-Blocks?
SmartDNS works just like a regular DNS, except it can prevent certain websites from restricting access based on the location your IP address provides. A SmartDNS can re-route the traffic for your IP address using a proxy. Proxy servers are situated at various locations to accomplish this. For example, say you want to acc ess all content on Netflix that the site makes available only to U.S. users. Your regular DNS will not be able to get you to the site. However, a SmartDNS can detect geo-filters. So, if a site is restricted to U.S. users, a SmartDNS can reroute traffic so your IP address has the same access as an American IP address. Then the website automatically allows you in.
If you want a SmartDNS to get you through geo-blocks, you need to subscribe to a service. Good SmartDNS proxies are not sold separately anymore. SmartDNS is often bundled together with VPN packages. There are remarkable advantages for this bundling this article will discuss below.
Recommended SmartDNS Proxy Servers
ExpressVPN is best known for superfast connections to stream videos and security to avoid hackers and government spies. This company’s popular VPN packages also come with SmartDNS proxy servers. Note that you can only get the SmartDNS if you subscribe to a full VPN package the service offers. ExpressVPN is enhanced with advanced security features, so the VPN can get past even the toughest geo-blocks. ExpressVPN is one of the few services that can actually get past Netflix’s anti-VPN infrastructure. Plus, Express VPN packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN is the official name of the VPN service provided by Golden Frog. The company has modified OpenVPN software with a tool called Chameleon to create an advanced VPN. Chameleon is capable of bypassing stringent filters of China’s Great Firewall, which repels VPNs. Therefore, it’s one of the best services on the planet to bypass geo-blocks as well as censorship filters. VyprVPN is also highly secure, and is encrypted using military-grade protocols. You can use the SmartDNS service that comes with VyprVPN to access just about any site that uses geo-trackers to block certain countries. Also, VyprVPN servers delete all user data after 30 days, no third party will be able to trace your activity.
IPVanish promises to make web users’ IP addresses disappear. That is a very neat tool to have when trying to access geo-blocked sites like BBC iPlayer or Hulu. IPVanish owns over 50 servers in 60 different countries. So you can adopt any virtual nationality to access blocked sites. IPVanish also offers unlimited speeds and bandwidth to customers. Users who stream a lot of videos, download heavy files or browse the web 24/7 will certainly find these features extremely useful. IPVanish software is compatible with smartphones and computers. All packages come with a 7-day money-back guarantee.
PureVPN has over 500 servers located worldwide, which you can get access to within minutes. PureVPN offers software and apps that are easy to install on and use with over 20 devices. Setup is extremely easy. You can switch between the SmartDNS and the VPN as you like. Additionally, PureVPN can convert a Windows computer to a virtual router that can connect up to 20 devices. PureVPN offers unlimited bandwidth, data transfer, and speeds. Users can access all servers in a single package, regardless of the pay grade. Also, PureVPN comes with a split tunneling feature, which can prevent your ISP from throttling your connection speed based on data use.
CyberGhost gives users access to over 600 servers, many of them located in North America and Oceania. This service comes with an array of security and convenience-minded security features for all users. CyberGhost is compatible with PCs, Macs, Android, iOS, Linux, and Windows Mobile. You can download their secure apps onto any of these devices to access any geo-blocked site in the world. CyberGhost also offers ad-free browsing and malware protection, which many other services don’t offer. The data compression feature offered with premium packages can reduce your device’s data use and save you money.
How is SmartDNS Different from VPN?
You will notice that all of the above services primarily offer VPN packages. That’s because only VPNs allow encrypted data to pass through. SmartDNS is highly useful to access geo-blocked sites. However, the data your computer sends to SmartDNS proxies is not secure, and encryption protocols are not possible with these types of connections. That means a third party, like a government or a hacker, can trace your connection, even if you mask your real IP address. So, if you are concerned about the security of your sensitive data, a VPN will suit you better. Also, if you live in a country where accessing a geo-blocked site leads to arrests, you should probably use a VPN to protect your identity. However, if you want faster connections, use SmartDNS.
Installing a SmartDNS Client
The above VPN packages have install files for the VPN, not the SmartDNS. Once the VPN package is installed, which will only take a couple of minutes, you will be able to set up a SmartDNS proxy. Depending on the service you buy, you might have to manually install the SmartDNS client. This involves opening the properties window for IPV4 on your computer and obtaining an IP address by typing in the DNS server address. It sounds complicated, but the above VPN packages offer instructions on how to do this. You can visit the official website for the service provider for detailed information. You can also Google around for information regarding manually installing a SmartDNS client.
How to Use a SmartDNS Client
You do not have to tinker around with code or IP addresses to use a SmartDNS client. Once you obtain an IP address, simply use the connection to access the geo-blocked site of your choice. You will be able to access content, stream videos, and download content without getting an error message for being located in the wrong country.
The performance of the SmartDNS proxy will depend on the features offered with the VPN package. For example, if you want a SmartDNS to stream country-blocked videos on Hulu, you will need a VPN with reliable and speedy connections. Otherwise the videos will keep buffering. All of the above recommended services come with superfast connections that are extremely stable. The listed VPNs have uptimes close to 100 percent. So you wouldn’t have to worry about a connection dropping out in the middle of a big file download.
Do not hesitate to pay a bit extra for additional security features. While you may not be able to enjoy these with the SmartDNS, you will certainly find extra safeguards extremely beneficial for private browsing purposes. Some of the mentioned packages have free trial versions or free versions of premium packages. These free versions have limited features, so be aware that limited packages may not come with SmartDNS. If you need technical support, you can contact the 24/7 customer service centers all of the listed VPNs provide.