Let’s start off this guide with some definitions: DNS, which stands for Domain Name System, is a naming convention for anything connected to the internet.
If you want to parallelize DNS with a service, it could be compared to a phone book. This phone book interprets the host names that are inserted at the address bar of your browser into IP addresses, in order to redirect you to the specific website you’re searching for.
So, rather than memorizing a substantial set of numbers, you simply write down the URL you’re interested in visiting. Accordingly, the Domain Name System does all the hard work for you.
Now that we’ve clarified what a Domain Name System means, let’s move on to how it can be used for unblocking sites that are typically restricted to you. This requires using a different DNS for unblocking content that has been blocked for your device. Still, it is worth taking the extra step of using a SmartDNS, which will allow you to surf the internet freely.
5 Top SmartDNS Service Providers
Warning:A SmartDNS is a great tool for unblocking some content, BUT be aware that if you want to use it to unblock the popular video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, then a SmartDNS will not work. You will need a good VPN service to do that.
StrongDNS is a smart DNS service provided by its parent VPN service provider, StrongVPN. This SmartDNS service comes for free with a StrongVPN subscription plan.
StrongDNS works with all the major streaming services such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. Using StrongDNS you can access these sites from any place in the world.
The service is fast since it doesn’t waste resources on encryption. It also doesn’t have any bandwidth restrictions.
StrongVPN costs $10 per month if you sign up for one month. If you sign up for a period of 12 months, then you only have to pay $5.83 per month. At the same time, you’ll get StrongDNS for free with the VPN service. So you not only get the speed and versatility of StrongDNS, but also the security of StrongVPN.
Overplay SmartDNS is one of the best and cheapest options on the market.
The fact that is works seamlessly to unlock U.S. Netflix, as well as tons of other locked streaming services, makes Overplay rise to the top of the list.
If you are only interested in using SmartDNS, you will be expected to pay $4.95 per month. However, there is also the option of combining VPN and SmartDNS at the price of $9.95 per month.
Unblock Us offers a one-week free trial before the cost goes up to $4.99 per month. No software needs to be installed, and there are detailed instructions describing how to set up the service on your device.
With Unlocator, you also get a seven-day free trial of the services provided, with no credit card requirement. After that, you get to pick among the monthly subscription or the longer commitments (six months and a whole year). The prices are $4.95 for one month, $27.50 for six months and $49.95 for one year.
TorGuard Smart DNS completes our list of top SmartDNS service providers on the market. It provides unlimited speeds and bandwidth, working on any operating system and device and requiring no software installation. A subscription costs $9.99 monthly or $19.99 quarterly.
What’s the Difference between DNS and VPN?
The concept of a DNS might remind you of a VPN (Virtual Private Network), but the two are markedly different.
It is true that DNS is used as an alternative method to the use of a Virtual Private Network.
Both of these services aim at offering you a pathway towards unblocking any website that you had been unable to access otherwise.
However, these two systems are not the same. A few distinct features set them apart. First, there is no encryption involved with DNS, meaning a VPN is the better option for securing data.
Due to the lack of encryption, though, using DNS can offer you much faster speed than any VPN. In fact, the more advanced and thorough the encryption, the greater the impact on the speed of your connection.
Additionally, no connection sharing is allowed when using DNS. Therefore, it is not a viable option for those who wish to use a single account on multiple devices. Still, DNS does not require any difficult setup.
So, in a nutshell, the differences between DNS and VPN include:
- Protection and anonymity (VPN uses encryption, unlike DNS)
- Speed (DNS is much faster)
- Connection sharing (DNS does not allow connection sharing)
- Ease of setup (DNS is much easier)
The Good and Bad of Using DNS
There is no such thing as the perfect service, and this is something that applies to the use of SmartDNS, too. There are strengths and weaknesses everyone should be well aware of before deciding whether or not DNS is an option worth putting into effect.
Among the most highlighted advantages of using a DNS is its speed. Undeniably, since DNS does not use any type of encryption protocol for ensuring that the data transferred is kept anonymous, it is a lot faster than any other method (including a VPN) used for unblocking websites.
However, even with the higher speeds, you have to consider the fact that your data is in no way protected online with the use of a typical DNS. What’s more, DNS requires you to have a static IP or register your IP every time you wish to use DNS (which can be tedious).
Other than that, setting up the DNS is a piece of cake and does not require any special knowledge at your end. Nevertheless, it does not allow connection sharing and therefore it can be a bit frustrating to use different DNS on each device you own.
So, let’s summarize both the advantages and disadvantages of using DNS:
- Fast speed when browsing
- Efficient unblocking of sites
- Easy setup without any requirement of technical knowledge
- No encryption involved
- No connection sharing allowed
- Must have static IP or renew registration
Now that we’ve learned all about how DNS works, below we refer to the best SmartDNS providers available on the internet.
Note:If there’s a Smart DNS service you think we missed, then please use the comments section to let us know.