DNS vs Smart DNS vs VPN – beginners’ guide

Smart DNS vs VPN

Grab your popcorn! We’re about to discuss streaming.

In this article, we will debate a hot topic that will clear things up – the differences between the Smart DNS and the VPN technologies.

Before starting to talk about Smart DNS vs. VPN, we feel the need to make sure you won’t make confusions between DNS and Smart DNS. So, let’s pretend we’re still in school and start with some basic definitions:

Here we go:

  • DNS (Domain Name System) is the way that Internet domain names are located and translated into IP addresses. The list of domain names and IP addresses are distributed through the Internet in a hierarchy of authority. A DNS server is located close to your access provider that maps the domain names in your Internet requests or forwards them to other servers on the Internet.
  • Smart DNS term is used by companies to describe a DNS server which directs users to a proxy server for an unknown list of websites and services. In most cases, users pay a fee to use the DNS server, advertised by companies as Smart DNS and they get access to websites and services that are usually geo-restricted and content is not available to be streamed or downloaded.
  • VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a method used to add security and privacy to private and public networks, like WiFi Hotspots and the Internet. Users, set up a private VPN service, also known as a VPN tunnel, to protect their online activity and identity. By using an anonymous VPN service the Internet traffic and data remain encrypted.

Smart DNS vs. VPN

Compared to a VPN (Virtual Private Network), the Smart DNS does not provide encrypted connections, and it does not change the IP address of the device in use. Instead, it changes the device’s DNS providing access to blocked content.

Because the Smart DNS does not encrypt data, the connection between website and computer is much faster than the connection established through a VPN tunnel. A Smart DNS cannot be used for security and privacy reasons. For additional security and encryption, VPN services should be used.

Let’s take a closer look at all the aspects of the two technologies.

The VPN technology explained from scratch.

In an era where we are confronting lots of threats, the VPN technology came as an answer to people’s request to protect their online confidentiality and privacy.

A VPN service contributes to users’ internet connectivity, by redirecting all the web traffic through an encrypted tunnel.

The VPN encryption level is almost unbreakable, and even if your ISP might recognize that you’re using a VPN, it won’t be able to track your final destination on the web.

A VPN will come in handy not only when you want to encrypt your traffic but, for example, when you try to bypass restrictions and access geo-blocked content. By connecting to a VPN server, all your favorite social media websites, streaming websites or a brand-new IP are just a click away.

A VPN can be manually set up on different operating systems, routers, Smart TVs, and even on gaming consoles.

There are lots of VPN providers that provide the customers with apps compatible with different devices and operating systems.

For a fast and easy understanding of how the VPN work, take a look at the picture below:

How the VPN work

To sum things up, we can conclude that a VPN is a secure and easy-to-use solution that allows you to send and receive data via the internet while maintaining the confidentiality of your data because your traffic is encrypted. We can say that this is the most important advantage a VPN service brings.

The Smart DNS Technology explained from scratch.

If you’re into streaming content and chill, then you probably know that some online streaming websites can be geo-blocked. For example, Streaming Netflix US is possible only from the US or BBC iPlayer can be accessed only from the UK. Also, these streaming websites can have completely different content based on the country you’re accessing them from.

This specific technique is called regional locking and is a huge problem for those who like to stream.

Compared to a VPN service, the Smart DNS technology doesn’t encrypt or hide your IP address.

However, the technology allows you to trick websites into seeing your location as an eligible one and, in this way, you’re able to bypass the regional restrictions.

Who’s winning the VPN vs. Smart DNS fight?

If we’re talking about regional restrictions applied to online streaming websites, the best option for you will always be Smart DNS. Compared to a VPN service, the Smart DNS will not affect your internet speed. Why? Because the Smart DNS will re-route or redirect only certain portions of your web traffic through the DNS servers, while the VPN will mask and encrypt all your traffic, due to security reasons.

So if your online purpose is to unblock geo-restricted streaming/social media websites, the best option for you is the Smart DNS.

When it comes to online security, encryption, and online freedom, the winner will always be the VPN.


Now that we know the differences between Smart DNS and VPN, we must highlight the conclusions.

A VPN service is a perfect solution for those who want to encrypt their traffic and to surf the web securely. Also, a VPN changes your IP address, while maintaining the confidentiality of your data.

Meanwhile, a Smart DNS solution allows you to bypass the regional restrictions and to unblock your favorite media content.

The Smart DNS does not encrypt your traffic, and your whole online activity is exposed.

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