If you want to access websites and services that are blocked by geo-restrictions, while keeping your browsing activities private, a suitable option is to use either a proxy or VPN service. But if the content you want to unlock includes streaming media and privacy is not much of a concern, Smart DNS is probably the best solution. Proxy services generally don’t support media streaming on all websites. And VPN services are usually slow as they channel all the network traffic through an encrypted tunnel. On the other hand, Smart DNS enables faster access to host resources and are thus suitable for unlocking geo-restricted media streaming services. In this article, we’ll cover a list of popular Smart DNS services.
Smart DNS is a special type of DNS that routes certain portions the network traffic (to spoof the user’s location) through a proxy server. Majority of the traffic is directly connected to the host server. This minimizes load on the proxy server and also reduces network latency, allowing users to fully utilize their network speed while streaming media online.
This way, a Smart DNS user can gain unrestricted access to many of the popular media streaming services like Spotify, Rdio, Deezer, MOG, Hulu, Netflix, CBS, BBC iPlayer, iHeart Radio, iTunes Radio, Pandora, FOX networks, SKY networks, and more.
It is easy to configure a Smart DNS service, and it also supports a wide range of devices. The service is usually configured at the system level, thus a single Smart DNS configuration works across all applications and web browsers running on the configured device.
Unlike VPN, which lets you connect to only one location at a time, Smart DNS lets you to simultaneously access and unblock channels and websites across multiple locations. Hence, using a Smart DNS service, one can access a US-based service like Hulu and a UK-based service like BBC iPlayer at the same time. To do the same, a VPN user would have to access these services in two different sessions.
Popular Smart DNS Providers
Here is a list of popular Smart DNS services that you may use to unblock online streaming channels from anywhere in the world:
It is one of the most popular Smart DNS services that lets you unlock and stream over 200 different across 29 countries, from anywhere in the world. It offers unlimited access to streaming content as there is no monthly bandwidth cap. In order to use Smart DNS Proxy, you can directly configure it on each of your devices. It also supports a wide range of devices, including computers, smartphones, tablets, Smart TVs, routers and more. Pricing is also affordable, ranging from $4.90 monthly to $49.90 for two years. Smart DNS Proxy also offers a free 14-day trial, just in case you want to test it out before purchasing the service.
HideIPVPN is a VPN service that also offers a paid SmartDNS service. This service lets you unblock most US, UK and Poland based geo-restricted services by configuring your DNS settings. it supports direct setup on almost any device, including PC, Mac, Smart TV, game console, smartphone, tablet and more. Prices range from as low as $1.24 per month to $38.95 per year, including a free 7-day trial period.
VPNWise is another company that offers Smart DNS as a separate product. Users can choose between a Smart DNS + VPN package ($3.99 per month) to browse the Internet securely and unlock geo-blocked channels, or a Smart DNS-only package ($1.99 per month) to only unlock geo-restricted media streaming services without VPN features. VPNWise Smart DNS service lets you to access over 200 music and video streaming services, and can be configured on a wide range of devices. They also have a 24×7 customer support for attending to user problems.
OverPlay has 48 different Smart DNS servers located around the world to provide unlimited access to media streaming channels from over 20 countries. It supports devices running Mac OS X, Windows, Linux and iOS, as well as on Roku, BoxeeBox, AppleTV, Playstation and Xbox.
SmartyDNS is a Smart DNS service that helps you unlock the most popular geo-restricted media streaming services from across the world. It allows access to numerous US, UK, Germany and Poland-based channels that offer streaming media content. It also works on a wide range of popular devices and platforms, such as Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Roku, Smart TV, AppleTV, Xbox, Playstation and more. Pricing starts from monthly $4.95 to yearly $39.95, and also includes a free trial period of 14 days.
UnoTellly’s Smart DNS service offers its users unlimited access to more than 300 worldwide media streaming services from anywhere in the world. It can be configured on almost any device or router and is quite easy to set up too. It uses fast, reliable proxy servers which allows users to watch media streams without experiencing lag. For customers who need it, UnoTelly offers 24×7 support. UnoDNS service is available with UnoTelly’s Premium Plan ($4.95/month – $47.95/year) as well as Gold Plan $7.95/month – $59.95/year). Additionally, an 8-day free trial of UnoDNS is also available.
This is another great Smart DNS service for unlocking geo-blocked media streaming sites from around the world. UnblockUS lets you access over 200 music, video, news and sports channels that are usually accessible from certain locations only. The service also supports a wide range of devices including Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android and Kindle devices as well as Smart TVs, routers, media players and gaming consoles. If you want to give the service a try, it offers a 7-day free trial. After that, the service costs $4.99 a month, or $49.99 a year.
Pros & Cons
Here are few of the advantages and disadvantages of using a Smart DNS service:
- Generally faster than VPN services; ideal for accessing streaming media content.
- Easy to configure and supports a wide range of devices.
- System level configuration enables its use across all applications and web browsers.
- Allows simultaneous access to multiple geo-restricted content blocked within different geographical areas.
- Usually cheaper than paid proxy and VPN services.
- IP address is not hidden, and user activity may be tracked as the connection is established directly with the host sever.
- Use of DNS filters can block access to Smart DNS services.
- Smart DNS services are usually not available for free.
Smart DNS is most ideal for unblocking geo-restricted streaming content and accessing them from anywhere in the world. These are usually paid services, but in return of the payment, you can almost unblock any geo-restricted web content from anywhere in the world. These services are also fast and reliable and provide individual support to customers in case of issues.
However, Smart DNS does not mask the user’s IP address and only a small portion of the network traffic is routed through the DNS. Hence, these services are not suitable if you want to anonymously browse the web. In this case, you can choose between different proxy and VPN services.