Country blocks of streaming services can not only be circumvented with a VPN. SmartDNS providers let you bypass geo-blocks, but do not offer the protection typical for VPN services. Netzwelt tells you the advantages and disadvantages of SmartDNS services.
You have certainly already encountered a DNS, after all it is responsible for the resolution of domain names on the net. It converts human-readable domain names - such as netzwelt.de - into a machine-readable format - the IP address. Smart becomes the so-called SmartDNS by redirecting the data exchange of blocked pages in such a way that they think that you are located in the corresponding country.
What is the difference between a VPN proxy and a SmartDNS proxy
First of all, a VPN offers considerably more functions. It is perfectly suited to bypass country restrictions, but its real strength lies in the encryption of all data traffic. Especially at public hotspots this is a major advantage over SmartDNS services. With SmartDNS services, however, the data traffic is not encrypted. Only individual server requests are forwarded to the target server via the SmartDNS proxy.
In contrast to VPN services, SmartDNS can be so cleverly set up that the actual data traffic runs over the normal line, but the identification of the country of origin takes place via the SmartDNS proxy. This bypasses the geo-blockade, but still gives you full line capacity for streaming music and videos.
This is exactly where the advantages of SmartDNS services lie. Some VPN services - especially with free providers - are not able to provide the necessary bandwidth via their VPN proxies. SmartDNS services do not have to provide the capacity at all. On the one hand, there is no encryption, which of course saves resources. On the other hand, most of the actual traffic is handled over the normal DSL line and does not run over the SmartDNS service.
Which streaming services are supported by SmartDNS services?
Most SmartDNS services are concentrated on the major streaming providers such as Netflix, Amazon Video or Hulu, which is where there is the greatest demand. However, many SmartDNS providers can handle considerably more streaming services and websites. Mostly between 300 and 400 portals are listed here, which can be "unlocked". This includes German services such as Zattoo or ARD and 3Sat.
SmartDNS services are priced at around 5 US dollars (approx. 4.40 euros) per month. It is definitely worth taking a look at the VPN comparison. In some cases, you will be offered a bundle of VPN and SmartDNS services at the same price - ExpressVPN, for example, has both a VPN service and SmartDNS. You should also have a look at the corresponding tech deal sites. Here you will often find VPN or SmartDNS services starting at 30 US dollars (about 26 Euro), but you can use them for life.
How are SmartDNS services set up?
Even if some downloads are offered for setup, a SmartDNS service does not require any separate software. All you have to do is enter the DNS addresses of your provider in the network settings, restart the computer once and the services are activated. The nice thing about it is that you don't have to worry about the country of origin and destination. For example, if you have a SmartDNS on your laptop, you can watch Hulu at home and stream the sports show while on vacation.
How to set up a DNS server is explained here using the public Google DNS. Just exchange the Google DNS addresses for those of your provider.