The fist time you hear about smart DNS, you will understandably have a number of questions about this nifty technology. Smart DNS is most often specialized in providing access (or unblocking) restricted (blocked) content online. This material is almost always some sort of Internet entertainment. Below you are presented with answers to important questions that might be problematic for those not well acquainted with smart DNS yet. Furthermore, there are some similarities between a smart DNS and a VPN (Virtual Private Network), a more well-known kind of online service. We are going to make clear distinctions between the two. Some of the terms you can come across (like proxy or man-in-the-middle attack) might also come as new, which is why we recommend consulting our glossary whilst going through this FAQ. We are going to spare you from the complex technical details about them and instead, we are going to signify how they are important.
What is a smart DNS service?
A smart DNS service is a product, or a selection of products that are primarily involved in providing you access to various online entertainment channels. This is done so via you being served by smart DNS proxy servers, requiring you to change the DNS address of your internet connection either manually or with the help of a third-part program the smart DNS company supplies. By changing a device’s DNS address, you make it think that it has access to another country’s or region’s online content.
Is smart DNS legal?
Yes, it is. You can think about smart DNS as a shortcut to access content you otherwise cannot because of different countries’ internet restrictions. Since the act of accessing can be understood as accessing knowledge, prohibiting the use of a smart DNS service would be reducing the person’s freedom of expression, a fundamental human right. Therefore, no countries officially sanction against such services. Rather, they find indirect ways to discontinue these companies. But, from a legal standpoint, nothing is illegal about smart DNS.
Is using a smart DNS proxy secure?
Does smart DNS encrypt my connection?
No, it does not. Certain companies may offer encryption as an additional type of service, but the process of connecting to a smart DNS server in itself does not include this kind of protective measure. The primary purpose of a smart DNS is providing access, and little else.
Does smart DNS hide my IP?
No, it doesn’t. Your IP address is completely unaffected (and should be unaffected) by any smart DNS service. Hiding IP addresses is usually done via encryption.
How does smart DNS work?
Setting up a smart DNS most often involves having the DNS address of your internet connection changed. This means that the setup process is more or less the same, regardless of the device you use – you do not have to modify any of your hardware’s settings. Rather, you must access the specific section of your system’s internet connection properties where your IP and DNS addresses can be found. You do not need to do anything with the former. However, in order to connect to a smart DNS server, you must change at least the primary address, though a lot of companies also supply secondary ones to fill in.
Does the smart DNS proxy work on all devices?
Technically, all devices that are capable of handling internet connections (and have internet connection settings) are capable of the smart DNS method of going online. Most companies do offer very extended device support, but the concept of absolutely all of them is rarely approached. The major types of machines or software associated are desktop and laptop operating systems, mobile devices, smart TVs, Set-top devices and routers.
Can multiple people use my smart DNS service?
In the sense of other people around the world, in different countries or cities, no, they cannot (at least by default). Smart DNS companies are protective of the account you create, and so the only way your service can be used by someone else is via theft. Of course, anyone whom you provide your account credentials to can potentially use your smart DNS. Still, it is important to highlight that all companies work with an account-based model – that is customers getting private environments to use products in. They are designed not to be used by anyone else but you.
How much speed loss can I expect with smart DNS?
You can experience a minimal amount of speed loss in the worst case. The most significant reduction in connection speeds comes from encrypted data traffic, but smart DNS in itself is not involved in such protective measures. The minimal amount of speed reduction you might experience only stems from the distance your new internet connection covers – high ping values are the only source that could affect you smart DNS service.
Why should I choose smart DNS over VPN?
If your main interest is gaining access to online content that is restricted for you, then smart DNS is your solution. It is worth noting that most companies that offer such services produce lists of television channels, music streams and other entertainment websites you can unblock if you use their smart DNS. This means that these organizations are less interested in other online content, they are looking for people who wish to view these entertainment materials only.
A VPN on the other hand grants you access to a given country or region’s complete online environment, most often at the expense of connection speeds. Therefore we can conclude that a smart DNS is specialized for providing access to online entertainment, while VPN is more useful if you are interested in other restricted material as well.
Do I need a smart DNS if I already have a VPN service?
That depends on your preference towards connection speeds. While a VPN offers much more extended access to content, the connections themselves are usually automatically encrypted (some companies allow turning it off). Encryption means that you will suffer from slower internet performance. A smart DNS on the other hand barely (if at all) has speed issues. A VPN will unblock everything that a smart DNS can, and more, but is generally slower, while a smart DNS is as fast as your regular internet connection, but it is focused on specific online content.
What are the alternatives for smart DNS?
The aforementioned VPN (Virtual Private Network) is one safer alternative. If your preference is establishing contact and communicating online, Tor (The Onion Router) is also a solution to consider. Proxying – that is utilizing proxy servers on protocols like HTTP, HTTPS (encrypted), or SOCKS (SOCKS 4-5 recommended) – is also a possibility, especially if you seek file sharing, torrenting, P2P activity. Some companies combine VPN and smart DNS, creating “smart VPN” packages.
Can I find free smart DNS services?
If a smart DNS service is free, it is most often an inclusion as a “sidekick” to a VPN service. The VPN must be purchased to acquire the smart DNS with it. If a company’s main product is smart DNS however, your best bet is to utilize a free trial program. The usual length of these is seven to fourteen days.