Setting up a smart DNS is usually an easy task. As blunt as it may sound, all you have to do is change your online connection’s DNS address. Remember that a DNS address is not the same as an IP address, even if they can be set up on the same page.
After you subscribed, or registered for the “free to try” plan of the company (it is different from a free trial), you are given a handful of DNS server addresses. It is one these addresses that you have to modify in the relevant section of the Control Panel (in Windows) of your machine, or in the settings that correspond to it. The StrongDNS website provides helpful and detailed information in this matter, for each and every supported device. Once you have set things up – which should not take more than a minute or two – off you go. The most important property of StrongDNS is that despite the fact that there is a VPN service as well run by the company, you can purchase the DNS side as a standalone product. Even though the VPN offers more protection (but less speed), you are not forced into a buy you potentially do not need. However, the company does highlight that if you are subscribed to both, any StrongDNS purchase you make gets a discount.
As it is perhaps apparent, “using” a smart DNS is essentially nothing else than changing the DNS address. Since this can be done in a matter of minutes even if you are not necessarily adept at using computers or mobile devices, utilizing StrongDNS is naturally a user-friendly and easy experience.
Channels & Streaming Services
The selection of television channels, entertainment portals is sizable for StrongDNS. You can stream up to 174 different stations or websites online. The distribution of these is irregular. Most of the channels within reach are from Europe, or North America. Among them are Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu, BBC channels, NBC, Comedy Central and RTL, to name a few. It is worth noting that the company’s device support is quite extensive, but not all channels are available on all devices. The official website proved to be very helpful in finding out which is supported by which machine. Next to every channel, the “Supported Sites” section marks the types of devices supported for that channel.
Smart DNS Network
StrongDNS’… strong side is the number of locations they provide. You can connect to 27 countries and thus unblock any online content that they restrict from foreign lands. While most countries are European, you can enjoy the internet of India, Saudi Arabia, Colombia or Japan, even. These less frequently streamed locations have a worse selection of channels, mostly sports; but in the case of Argentina for example, Netflix is available. Also, keep in mind that a smart DNS provides access to these tested and unlocked websites. It does not, cannot and should not be able to hack into Netflix giving you free access to the service, for example. A smart DNS’ main advantage is speed, and our tests with StrongDNS verified this. We conducted our probing using the smart DNS of the company, and we did not notice any difference with or without StrongDNS.
StrongDNS also has a VPN counterpart. Or rather, the opposite should be addressed. There is a bit more emphasis on VPN usage than smart DNS. The two are not the same by any means; a DNS service offers less protection but does not impact your speeds at all. In turn, a Virtual Private Network does slow your connection, but for a just cause: it encrypts your traffic, making it hard to detect whatever it is you do online. There is a strange mix of content between the two; one would expect them to be either closely intertwined or not at all, but StrongVPN and StrongDNS co-refer each other occasionally only. Thus, if you are more worried about safety than speed, we recommend taking a look at the VPN side of things as well.
OS, Device Support
StrongDNS has… strong device support. They are advertised as being available across all devices, and that is not too far from the truth. In terms of operating systems for laptops, desktops and other personal computers, Windows is good to go, from XP to Windows 10. You can also use StrongDNS on Mac OS X, Linux Ubuntu and Chrome OS. Gaming consoles are also welcome, with PlayStation 3, 4 and even Vita open for business, along with Wii, Wii U and Xbox 360. Television services include LG SmartTV, Sony TV and players, Samsung devices in general and Panasonic VIERA. Mobile machines are similarly supported, with Android 2.3 and 4.0 (and beyond) present, next to the iPhone, iPad and iPod. Amazon Kindle is available as well. Routers include D-Link, Netgear, Linksys, Bell Cellpipe, 2wire, TP-Link, Sabai and DD-WRT. And finally, you can also use StrongDNS on AppleTV, Roku, GoogleTV, Boxee Box and WD TV Live Devices. Overall, this is indeed an excellent selection.
There are several durations to subscribe to when it comes to the pricing of StrongDNS. However, it must be noted beforehand that there is also an option that is labeled as “Free to Try”. This is not the same as a free trial. When you sign up for a Free to Try account, your billing information is taken. Additionally, you have to select a package, thereby ordering it. From that point on, you have seven days to enjoy StrongDNS, free of charge. However, if you do not cancel your order you will be charged for it after this one week. So this is a mix of the free trial – that usually does not require billing information – and a refund. We are not too happy with the way StrongDNS offers their service for tryout (with billing info and additional work bestowed upon you), but at least they do.
For actual subscriptions, things are kept simple, clean and fast with StrongDNS. Also, if you are a StrongVPN customer as well, you get 20% off by default on any StrongDNS package. Next to this, there are other discounts for the latter, too. One month costs $5, and the annual 12 Months package is the most advantageous, with an overall of $50 ($4.17 per month) that corresponds to a 16% discount.
For payment options, you have credit cards, which includes MasterCard and Visa by the least, along with PayPal and Bitcoin.
There are a couple of ways to contact StrongDNS. They are available 24/7, meaning that you should expect relatively short reply times. The main method of doing this is by submitting a ticket. The form used for this purpose is the same both for DNS and VPN, yet again signifying the closeness of the two services. You can also call the company – its telephone number is supplied at the bottom of every page. Additionally, the company has its own forum and blog – they are actively updated. The same is true for StrongDNS’ social media presence. You can find them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. In terms of guides and knowledgebases, StrongDNS reserves separate sections for billing and VPN info. Smart DNS has its own guides on its own page; you should not look for them among the VPN material.
Overall, StrongDNS stands out in one particular aspect of DNS service: the number of locations. Even though the number of unblocked entertainment websites are few in less frequently streamed countries, you can potentially browse other sites as well. We must also drop a few friendly words towards device support. StrongDNS’ selection is one of the most extensive on the market, and while it does not cover “all of them” (so their advertisements say), they get pretty close to it for sure. We were not sure about the lack of payment options, though; and while you can easily establish contact with the company via their ticket system, we would appreciate other methods of direct contact. Nevertheless, StrongDNS is a worthy service, especially if you seek a more extensive network of connections.
- A lot of lcoations
- Good device support
- Veterans on the market
- 24/7 support
- Few Contact options