There are several ways around geo-blockades. One solution is called “SmartDNS”. Foreign streaming services can thus be used in Germany and German services can be used abroad. In this SmartDNS guide we highlight the advantages and disadvantages of SmartDNS services for you and compare them with VPN services.
There are two terms in SmartDNS: “Smart” and “DNS”. The latter has certainly already crossed one or the other. DNS are responsible for resolving domain names on the network. Human-readable domain names – such as netzwelt.de – are converted into a machine-readable format – the IP address.
The smart thing about SmartDNS is the ability to redirect data exchange on blocked pages in such a way that it is made to believe that you are in the country in question.
What is the difference between a VPN proxy and a SmartDNS proxy?
Initially, a VPN offers significantly more functions. It is perfect for bypassing country barriers, but its real strength lies in the encryption of all data traffic. This is a major advantage over SmartDNS services, especially at public hotspots. SmartDNS services, on the other hand, do not encrypt data traffic. Only individual server requests are forwarded to the target server via the SmartDNS proxy.
Unlike VPN services, a SmartDNS can be built so cleverly that the actual data traffic runs over the normal line, but the identification of the country of origin runs over the SmartDNS proxy. This will bypass the geo-blockade, but still have your 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 capacities at all. Firstly, encryption is no longer necessary, which of course saves resources. On the other hand, most of the actual traffic is handled via the normal DSL line and does not run via the SmartDNS service.
Which streaming services can be used with SmartDNS services?
Most SmartDNS services which you can compare at http://www.smartdnsservice.net/ focus on the major streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon Video or Hulu. Sure, here’s what’s needed most. Many SmartDNS providers can handle significantly more streaming services and websites. Mostly between 300 and 400 portals are listed here, which can be “unlocked”. These include German services such as Magine TV, Zattoo or ARD and 3Sat.
- The price of SmartDNS services is around USD 5 (approx. EUR 4.40) per month.
- It is definitely worth taking a look at the VPN comparison.
- Sometimes you get a bundle of VPN and SmartDNS services for the same price – ExpressVPN for example has both a VPN service and a SmartDNS. You should also check out the Tech Deal pages. Here you often find VPN or SmartDNS services from 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 separate software. All you have to do is enter the DNS addresses of your provider in the network settings, restart your computer once and the services are already activated. The nice thing about it: You don’t have to worry about the country of destination and country of origin. For example, if you have set up a SmartDNS on a laptop, you can easily watch Hulu at home and stream the sports show on holiday.
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.