VPN vs Smart DNS: What to Choose and Why

When it comes to online privacy and accessing geo-restricted content, two technologies often come to mind: Smart DNS and VPN. Both of them can be incredibly helpful, but they work in different ways and offer varying levels of protection. In this guide, we’ll delve into the details of both, provide some recommendations for reputable providers, and help you decide which one might be best for your needs.

Understanding Smart DNS

A Smart DNS (Domain Name System) is a technology used to help you access geo-restricted content from anywhere in the world. It does this by rerouting your DNS queries through a server in another location, effectively fooling websites into thinking you’re accessing them from that location.

While Smart DNS can be an effective tool for bypassing regional restrictions, it’s worth noting that it doesn’t encrypt your data, so it doesn’t provide the same level of privacy and security as a VPN. Instead, its strength lies in its ability to provide faster speeds since it doesn’t encrypt and decrypt data.

There are several reputable Smart DNS providers, including:

SmartDNS Proxy: Provides a vast number of servers worldwide and supports hundreds of global streaming services.

Unlocator: Specializes in unblocking popular streaming services and offers a free trial so you can test their service.

It’s important to note that while Smart DNS can give you access to geo-restricted content, it won’t hide your IP address or encrypt your data. That’s where VPNs come into the picture.

Understanding VPNs

Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a technology that offers enhanced privacy and security while you’re on the internet. Unlike Smart DNS, a VPN doesn’t just reroute your DNS queries; it routes all your internet traffic—encrypted—through a server in a location of your choice. This process not only allows you to bypass geo-restrictions but also hides your IP address, making your online activities private.

The encrypted connection that a VPN provides creates a secure tunnel for your data to pass through, protecting it from hackers and anyone else who might want to snoop on your activity. This makes VPNs an excellent choice for public Wi-Fi networks, where your data could otherwise be exposed.

Here are a few highly recommended VPN providers that are known for their reliability, speed, and privacy:

PrivadoVPN: A robust VPN provider with a strict no-logs policy, ensuring that your online activity isn’t being recorded. They also offer high-speed connections and access to servers in over 44 countries.

IPVanish: IPVanish is known for its high speeds and robust security. They operate more than 1,500 servers across 75+ locations and provide excellent customer support.

NordVPN: One of the most reputable VPN providers on the market, NordVPN offers advanced security features, including double VPN and onion over VPN. They operate a large network of servers in 59 countries.

ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN offers lightning-fast speeds, making it a great choice for streaming. They also offer robust security features, including AES-256 encryption and a strict no-logs policy.

Surfshark: Surfshark offers excellent value with an unlimited number of simultaneous connections. They also offer robust security features and high-speed connections.

Smart DNS vs. VPN: Which One to Choose?

The decision between Smart DNS and VPN comes down to your specific needs. If your primary concern is speed and unblocking geo-restricted content, and you’re not so worried about the security of your connection, then a Smart DNS might be the best option for you.

However, if you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution that offers both privacy and security, then a VPN would be the better choice. A VPN not only helps you access geo-restricted content but also encrypts your connection, protecting your data from potential prying eyes.

In terms of cost, most VPN services offer more value for your money since they usually include Smart DNS services. Additionally, with the increasing importance of digital privacy and security, investing in a reliable VPN service is a smart move.

Choosing a VPN with Smart DNS: Best of Both Worlds

If you’re torn between the speed of Smart DNS and the privacy protection that a VPN provides, there’s good news: many VPN providers include Smart DNS services as part of their packages. This means you can switch between using Smart DNS and VPN as required, giving you the flexibility to choose speed when you need it and enhanced security when it matters most.

Here are a couple of options that provide both VPN and Smart DNS:

For users seeking the best of both worlds, here are a few VPN providers known for offering both VPN and Smart DNS as part of their packages:

  1. PrivadoVPN: While primarily focused on their VPN services, PrivadoVPN also offers Smart DNS. This provides a fast and easy solution for accessing geo-restricted content, especially for devices that do not support VPN applications.

  2. ExpressVPN: With their MediaStreamer feature, ExpressVPN combines the capabilities of VPN and Smart DNS. MediaStreamer helps users access geo-restricted content at high speeds on devices that may not support VPNs, such as certain smart TVs and game consoles.

  3. NordVPN: NordVPN offers a feature called SmartPlay. SmartPlay is designed to help users access more than 400 geo-restricted streaming services, providing both the speed of Smart DNS and the security of VPN technology.

  4. Surfshark: Surfshark offers a robust VPN service and includes Smart DNS in their package. This allows users to quickly and easily bypass geo-restrictions on devices that do not directly support VPN connections.


Remember, before making a choice, it’s important to identify what your primary needs are. If you want the fastest possible speed for streaming and don’t mind about encrypting your data, Smart DNS could be the right choice. However, if you’re more concerned about privacy and security, then a VPN is your best bet. Providers offering both VPN and Smart DNS give you the flexibility to switch between these services as needed, ensuring an optimal balance between speed and security.

Recommended VPNs

Privado VPN
ipvanish vpn
Nord VPN
Surfshark VPN
Express VPN
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