While VPN and Smart DNS might overlap in some cases they each shine in their own way. Let’s take a look at both of the products so you can better decide what is the right choice for you.
The Quick Comparison
- Encrypts Data
- Adds Privacy
- Anonymous Browsing
- Limited Device Support
- Need to turn on/off
- Adds Slight Overhead
Smart DNS Pros
- Made for Streaming
- Supports Most Devices
- No Software to Install
Smart DNS Cons
- Only Select Channels Supported
- No Additional Encryption
- Regular Privacy
NEW!Unlocator Hybrid – Best of Both Worlds
When using Unlocator VPN you automatically get access to Unlocator Hybrid, which is the privacy of VPN combined with global streaming from Smart DNS. Unlocator Hybrid.
If you want a more in-depth comparison of the two products and the pros and cons then read below.
Using the Right Tool for the Job
1. Unblocking Streaming Services
If you are primarily interested in unblocking geo restricted streaming services, then Smart DNS is the most obvious choice. The reason being is that Smart DNS is built for this exact purpose and for the most part the streaming happens directly between you and the streaming services.
Furthermore Smart DNS will work on most devices as all you have to do is change network settings.
Unlike VPN then Smart DNS will allow you to appear in multiple locations at the same time. For instance you can use UK and US streaming services on your Apple TV without having to switch between locations.
The combo of both Smart DNS and VPN in one subscription allows you best of both worlds.
But what about VPN for unblocking streaming services – is it a bad idea? Not at all. One of the draw backs about using Smart DNS for unblocking streaming services is that it will only unblock the supported channels. With VPN on the other hand you can unblock just about any streaming service as long as you can connect to a VPN server located in the origin country of the streaming service.
So why not always use VPN for unblocking streaming services? With VPN all your traffic is routed through the VPN server. This creates a small overhead and might not always be optimal for streaming but in most cases it’s unnoticeable. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, not all devices support VPN. We have VPN apps for Android, IOS, Mac and Windows. If you want to use VPN for unblocking streaming services on i.e. an Apple TV, then you need to load VPN on your router. A bit more complicated than using Smart DNS.
In conclusion – if you want to unblock streaming services then Smart DNS is the best choice. Unless you want to unblock a streaming service that is not supported by Smart DNS then you should use our VPN. Either way we got you covered.
2. Internet Privacy
On the other hand, when it comes to Internet Privacy the choice is not that difficult. In this case VPN is the clear winner. This is not because Smart DNS has a privacy issue but rather that Smart DNS does not add additional privacy features.
When using VPN your real IP is hidden and organisations that wants to track your online behavior is left in the dark when they can’t track your real location.
Once again VPN is the winner as VPN will encrypt all your data traffic. Like before it’s important to point out that Smart DNS is just as secure as when you use your normal DNS provided by your Internet Service Provider. Smart DNS simply does not add any additional encryption or any other security features like VPN does.
It’s important to take a look at the use case. If you want to unblock a streaming service on i.e. your Apple TV or Roku, then Smart DNS is the way to go. Using a streaming services is rarely a use case where you need additional security.
However, lets say you are using your laptop, phone or tablet on a public WiFi, then using VPN is critical. This is to avoid what is known as a man in the middle attacks, where 3rd parties can record critical data you send using the public WiFi. So if you ever connect to WiFi on the go then using VPN is vital for your security.
Censorship comes in many shapes and forms ranging from certain websites being blocked at a school network, to nation wide censorship of websites and topics online. In any case VPN is the right tool to use.
Since your data is encrypted between you and our VPN server then you get unrestricted access to the Internet with no censorship.
This is a typical example of using the right tool for the right job. So as a rule of thumb: If you want to unblock streaming services on a device, which does not support VPN, then Smart DNS is the best choice.
If you ever connect to WiFi networks outside of your home, and if you are interested in protecting your privacy and security, then adding VPN is a good idea.
When you create your Unlocator account, you get access to both VPN and Smart DNS so you can try out both. If you decide to upgrade we have both a Smart DNS package and a package with VPN + Smart DNS so you get the best of both worlds.