Getting your CactusVPN Smart DNS to work is a simple task. Once you have registered and subscribed for the service, all you have to do is change your computer’s DNS address (not to be confused with the IP address), and then off you go. You have to access the Control Panel of your computer (on Windows), or whatever similar setup system you have for your online networks. There are a host of devices that CactusVPN Smart DNS supports, and you will find pretty helpful setup guides for each and every one of them on the official website of the company. Furthermore, you can dismiss your safety concerns regarding the CactusVPN Smart DNS service, as you can use it in unison with the VPN service of the organization. In fact, the client software you can use (let it be an application or a desktop program) has an extra section reserved for smart DNS. Similarly to setting up CactusVPN Smart DNS manually, using it as a part of the VPN software is also a no-brainer – you should not run into difficulties in understanding the little there is to.
CactusVPN mainly focuses on providing access to online entertainment websites. Additionally – since several video game platforms are supported – you can gain access to restricted online content related to gaming. It can be generally said that while the selection of locations is slim, those that are present are supported well. Another piece of useful information is that if you are happy with a proxy level security, you can purchase CactusVPN Smart DNS as a standalone service – essentially, you get DNS server addresses to connect to. You do not necessarily need VPN software to do work.
Channels & Streaming Services
By using CactusVPN Smart DNS, you can gain access to 183 channels online. These are spread across five countries, plus an additional one that has one channel available. So this means that the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Poland have good streaming support with CactusVPN. The lone raider mentioned is Spain, as you can only gain access to the Setana Sports channel. But in the cases of the rest, you can access websites like Hulu, Netflix (including country-specific contents of Netflix), Pandora, Amazon, Spotify, HBO, and so on. We suggest taking a look at the official website for an up-to-date and complete list of unblockable broadcasts. Selection wise, there really is nothing to complain about. CactusVPN Smart DNS grants access to a lot of online content considering that it is spread across five countries (and Spain). In most cases however, engaging in file sharing and P2P is not recommended by the company.
Smart DNS Network
Another great advantage of any smart DNS service is that they provide access to the aforementioned as if you watched it at home. By this we mean that for example if you connect from Europe to America, there is an obvious distance between the two continents. This shows even in electricity, where speeds near the speed of light. However, sticking to a proxy (and traffic encryption like in the case of a VPN) will slow down your online connection much less.
Oddly enough, CactusVPN Smart DNS has only three DNS server addresses: one labeled as “primary” and two as “alternative”. The oddity is that they are not country specific; you can access all the mentioned places’ online content through one given server. Nevertheless, all of them performed well, with no significant speed loss when compared to our direct internet connection without using a DNS proxy.
The Cactus company then also runs a VPN service. Interestingly enough, you can access locations different from the ones supported for CactusVPN Smart DNS. You can connect to the internet with the respective IP addresses of the USA, the UK, the Netherlands and Romania if you are also interested in subscribing to the VPN as well. The main advantage of this side of service is that your data traffic is encrypted. This means that whatever you do online, it will be hidden behind a protective layer of data, making it very hard for anyone to see what you do. Taking one step back, you should consider taking a look at this side of service as well, especially if you are interested in the online content of the Netherlands and Romania. We too have written an article diving deeper into the nature of CactusVPN. It should also be pointed out that there is a seven-day free trial available both for CactusVPN and the smart DNS service.
It is worth noting that CactusVPN Smart DNS, when purchased by itself, does not offer too much protection. Your network will not be encrypted like a VPN, but since smart DNS is a type of proxy, you will enjoy a slightly better protection than otherwise. The only instance when your connection will be encrypted is when you visit a HTTPS website, but that will be the work of the website itself and not CactusVPN Smart DNS. Thus, if you do prefer a bit of additional protection over speed, we suggest considering the VPN as well. You can also use DDNS (Dynamic DNS) for yet another type of safety; for this, we advise you to consult the otherwise impressive FAQ section on the company’s official website.
OS, Device Support
CactusVPN Smart DNS has extensive device support. Next to desktop, laptop operating systems and mobile devices, you can also utilize routers and gaming consoles to unblock online content. From Windows Vista to Windows 10, you can bypass restrictions on the Microsoft OS, while Mac OS X is also welcome. Mobile devices include iOS and Android. There are others machines as well that are supported including Samsung Smart TV, Apple TV, Now TV Box, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. In terms of gaming consoles, PlayStation 3 and 4, and Xbox 360 and Xbox One are supported. It must be noted though that not all unblockable websites are available for all devices – always check the availability of your desired channel on the official website. Overall, the selection itself is good; and while not all devices can play all online content, this is mainly a result of the limitations of the device itself.
The pricing structure for CactusVPN is done smart. On the same page, you can subscribe to both the VPN and smart DNS aspects of service. As mentioned before, there is a one-week free trial available for both of them, allowing you to test out whatever you are interested in for free. And, if you make a purchase, you are automatically eligible for the company’s thirty-day refund policy. If you decide otherwise at any point during the first month of your paid membership, your money back is guaranteed.
Now for the prices themselves, they are quite homogenous. All three VPN plans and the one smart DNS plan costs $4.99 for one month. Additionally, you can buy both as a bundle, resulting in a $6.99 price for 30 days. If you are interested in subscribing for longer durations, discounts await you. The quarterly packages only differ in duration and price. VPN and smart DNS costs $12.99 overall ($4.33 per month). Purchasing both means a $17.99 payment ($5.99); both are 14% off. The annual plan fares even better. Twelve months cost $38.99 ($3.24 per month) for smart DNS and VPN, while getting both at once is worth $54.99 ($4.49 per month). Yet again, both are 35% cheaper.
Payment options include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, Discover, Alipay (China), Boleto Bancario (Brazil), Webmoney and Yandex.money (Russia) and Qiwi. Overall, we found that both the pricing structure and the prices are acceptable, though the lack of locations hurts a bit if you consider the value you get for the price.
There is one prioritized form of contacting CactusVPN – by submitting a ticket. Even though the form necessary for this is available when you are not logged in, we suggest you register and explain your problem at the same page while being logged in, as you will receive help very soon in this case. The good thing here is that you can also attach files to illustrate your point. Sadly, this is the only conventional method of establishing contact. However, Cactus has extensive social media presence on top of it. You can find them on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linkedln, and the company also runs its own blog. We also compliment the amount of guides, FAQs and other helpful material on the official website, they are arranged creatively and also provide assistance.
Overall, CactusVPN Smart DNS is a fine solution to get faster access to a large number of streaming sites than you would with a VPN connection through the same service. It is true that your connection speeds will not suffer at all when utilizing the product, but there is a lack of safety if you use it by itself. If you prefer a bit of extra protection over slower loading times, then CactusVPN’s main VPN service with its smart DNS solution is a stellar combo. Otherwise, the DNS side of things fares well. Few countries are accessible, but those that can be provide an extensive list of channels (except Spain). Therefore, even though the uses are a bit limited, CactusVPN Smart DNS is still a viable option.
- Multitude of channels
- Customer support
- VPN synergy
- 7-day free trial
- Few countries
- ONly three DNS addresses