It might be no surprise that we are partial to a good VPN service, however, SmartDNS is a great service that can be worth a consideration if you want to get geo-location blocked media content on a much larger ranges of devices with a lot less trouble.
We have recently implemented our comparison tool so you can search by SmartDNS as well as reviewed the 5 Best SmartDNS providers so we thought it would be about time that we did a full in-depth comparison of the two services. For a few of our demonstrations we will be using CactusVPN as it ranked the highest in our list and we do think that they are fantastic.
Setting up a VPN is generally a straight forward case with most VPN providers as you will just need to install their software, log-in, select the country and you’re done.
The amount of security they provide varies from VPN to VPN but it can be extremely high level with some even going as far as disguising the fact that you are using a VPN service or using a double-hop to make your connection near untraceable.
VPN speeds tend to be a lot slower due to the encryption they need to carry out and other processes that are involved, further to this if you are sharing a VPN connection so you can access geo-location content on a media device then this will further slow things down.
The reliability of the VPN connection varies from provider to provider but you can usually get a 99.9% uptime guarantee.
VPNs are more expensive as more goes into their development and maintenance.
Setting up a SmartDNS takes a bit longer on most devices as you need to manually change it in the Network Settings but on the computer your provider will most likely include it in their software. On top of this you will also need to navigate to your client area and enter your IP address and this will need to be done every time your IP changes. Cactus is very helpful in this area as it has a quick link that you can place in your Bookmarks to automatically do this for you or even a code you can add to your DD-WRT router. Further to this you are able to set it up on a lot more devices as you only need to change the built in Network Settings and doesn’t require any installation as all the processing is done on the server side.
|Quick computer set-up using provider software||Set-up on provider website|
This is the biggest downside of a SmartDNS service – there is absolutely no protection of any type what so ever!
A SmartDNS connection has close to no speed loss at all.
The base reliability of a SmartDNS connection is the same as for a VPN connection (99.9%) however this can significantly drop depending on how often your ISP changes your IP address as this will require you to update your account settings and thereby lose connection time.
SmartDNS services are cheaper but not by a considerable amount. You can also get joint accounts with some providers for a good price and a good deal at the same time – again see our 5 Best SmartDNS list for more detail on these.
As we have mentioned time and time again a SmartDNS service is great if you want a cheap and fast service to access various geo-location content and not worried about the lack of encryption. If you are worried about your privacy then we recommend you check out our VPN reviews and especially our Top 10 VPN list.