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SmartDNS vs VPN – Which is Better for Unblocking Video Streaming

    SmartDNS Vs VPN – Which Is Better For Unblocking Video Streaming

    Geo-blocked streaming content is one of the most frustrating considerations for anyone looking to “cut the cord’ or watch their favorite TV show in the UK, USA if they live overseas.

    We discuss the best solutions to bypass blocked media content, so you can discover which solution suits your needs – SmartDNS proxy or a VPN service.

    Unless you’re a nerd, understanding the differences between these two technologies can be difficult.


    If you had to explain what a VPN does in the simplest way, a VPN ‘tunnels’ traffic from your device (for example, a smartphone or home router), to the endpoint that it’s connected. So basically between your phone and VPN provider server, for instance, ExpressVPN.

    Depending on what you need for your streaming, this can be both a strength and weakness.


    • If you’re seeking privacy from prying eyes, a VPN is perfect, because all computer traffic or ‘software packets in tech speak’ is encapsulated in a secure tunnel, and unable to be inspected by Telecommunication, Internet Providers, Government or privacy trackers.


    • On the other hand, if all you want to do is to simply watch NFL in Brazil, routing all smartphone traffic via a VPN connection to New York, make services such as Email, or Internet Browsing slower.
    • The protocols that ‘tunnel’ traffic in a secure encapsulation also reduce network responsiveness. This isn’t an issue with video and voice which are designed to be extremely efficient. But downloading large email attachments or uploading large documents will be slower over VPN.

    What Makes SmartDNS better than VPN?

    On Media Portals routing all traffic via a US server, means you’ll need to drop and reconnect your VPN is you want to watch streaming content from the UK or Australia which is geo-blocked.

    Smart DNS providers are agile enough to work around these limitations by allowing each TV service provider to operate from the region their geo-lock requires without any interaction from the viewer.

    How Do SmartDNS Work?

    The strength of a Smart DNS service. Network ‘packets’ to receive your latest email would be routed from Brazil to New York with your VPN provider. But when using your Smart DNS service, take the original path.

    IP addresses are often given the analogy of the postal service of the internet. Each device has an IP address that’s connected to the Net, and this is how Emails, Web browsing or Skype calls find your device.

    Just like a registered letter, Ohio pinpoints your location to a Country, State Suburb, and Street – IP addresses indicate the Country, State, ISP provider and Telco Exchange. This IP address is how TV apps geo-block sports games such as NFL, NBA, and MLB.

    Smart DNS detects when you attempt to watch the Dodgers vs. Giants, and ‘fools’ CNBC that you’re located in Oakland, California. You can now watch the game without a frustrating ‘service not allowed in your location’ error.

    Smart DNS makes unblocking content on AppleTV or Roku simple, with both platforms difficult to setup traditional VPNs. At the time of writing Chromecast, Amazon Fire Xbox 360 and Xbox One are also compatible.

    Downsides of Using Smart DNS for Unblocking Content

    Using SmartDNS is a pain-free solution. There are only a few scenarios that I’ve found frustration.

    These are:

    #1. – If your router connected to the Internet connection cannot modify the DNS Servers.

    There aren’t many routers are designed with this limitation, usually, because they have been supplied (and locked down) by your Internet Provider (ISP). I own a Netgear N600 router provided by my ISP, with the factory software running I’m unable to change DNS settings.


    Our recommended SmartDNS provider Overplay has compatible apps for Linux, Windows, iOS, and OSX which run on your device and updates the necessary DNS settings.  

    #2. – If you don’t run the SmartDNS app, and instead change your Macbook DNS servers manually in system preferences.

    When your internet IP address changes you’ll need to login to the Smart DNS account to update your new IP address.


    Where possible use the SmartDNS app, in cases where it’s compatible with your device, use an Onion router with SmartDNS configuration.

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