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What are the differences between a VPN and a SmartDNS?

VPN_vs_SmartdnsVPN services are the preferred option by many users that want to keep their privacy protected from online eavesdropping, as well as enjoying a flexible browsing experience. However, SmartDNS is another option for anyone that wants to access content from any website, regardless of geo-location restrictions. The advantage of using a SmartDNS is that it works in a large variety of devices and it is also simple to use. In order to see how a SmartDNS compares to a VPN service, we will list the main differences in terms of installation, features, affordability and usage. We will start with the main aspects of a VPN and then will take a look at what a SmartDNS can offer in order to help you determine which one suits better your needs.


The majority of VPN providers aim to offer a service that is easy to set up and to use. The installation process requires you to download the VPN client, signing up and adjusting the functions. The process of setting up a VPN will vary according to the device and operating system that you use but in most cases, you can get detailed tutorials and step by step guides on your provider’s website, or even better, most providers now offer great software for most platforms.

Once connected to a VPN server of your choice, not only do you effectively change your location IP and unblock any geo-restricted content, you now have a fully encrypted tunnel that hides your data usage from even your internet service provider. Therefore a VPN can be used for both security and unlocking online content from webpages to streaming services.

How secure is a VPN?

The level of security provided will depend on the VPN chosen and the plan that you are using. There are many services that offer a high encryption level, which ensures that your data is protected. Some providers can guarantee that your connection will not be tracked down as they can cover up the fact that you are using a VPN. You may also want to test your VPN connection and ensure that it is properly encrypted and not leaking your true DNS information.

How does a VPN perform in terms of speed?

A VPN will slowdown your connection since it encrypts the data that is transferred to its network. There are other aspects that contribute to making a VPN connection slower such as the location of the server that you are trying to access. If you want to access media content that is only available in an specific country, you would need to access a server located there, and you guessed it – the further away it is, the more this may affect your bandwidth speed. In the same way, a VPN can sometimes improve your speeds by providing a shorter route to a remote location. To better explain this, say you are in location A and need to connect to location B, your internet service provider will use a series of connection nodes to get you there, but your VPN might actually provide a much shorter line of connection, in turn improving speeds rather than hindering them, but this is to be taken with a grain of salt, as this does not apply to most applications. Check out my list of the fastest rated VPN providers here.

How reliable is a VPN?

Again, this is an aspect that depends on the provider that you select but if you opt for an established company, you should be able to enjoy in a consistently good service most of the time.

Is a VPN affordable?

There price ranges vary from provider to provider and each of them may also offer different costs in their plans. Most providers offer discounts and price reductions when you set up a subscription for a longer period of time. When compared to a SmartDNS, a VPN costs more because it has advanced options and its development and maintenance is more expensive. I have compiled a list of very affordable VPN services for the budget minded individual that cannot pay high prices, but still wishes to have the best possible value for their money. You can also opt for trials to test services before committing.


Setting up a SmartDNS is not as fast as setting up a VPN. The process is more complicated and takes longer in many devices because you have to manually modify the default options in the Network Settings. Users will also need to go to the client area of their provider and enter the IP address every time it changes. Some providers offer features that allow you to configure this IP address change automatically, so you not need to type it manually every time. The advantage of a SmartDNS is that once you change the configuration in Network Settings, you will be able to set it up in a larger number of devices. No installation is required after that.

How fast is a SmartDNS connection?

In terms of speed, a SmartDNS takes the advantage over a VPN connection because when using the first, you will not experience a noticeable slowdown.

How reliable is SmartDNS?

Usually a SmartDNS is very reliable and you should be able to use it most of the time without any issues but the reliability can be affected when your IP address is changed by your ISP. When this happens, you will need to modify your account settings, which will interrupt the service.

Is a SmartDNS service affordable?

The price for SmartDNS services is slightly lower when compared to VPNs. There are deals that could help you save money on the cost of the service, but you have to be careful as some providers cost just as much if not more, which at that point unless you really only want to change your DNS, a VPN would be the better choice.

Overall SmartDNS services are a convenient and affordable solution if you are only interested in bypassing geo-locations restrictions in order to access media content. However, if you are looking for security and a service that offers more features, a VPN is the best option.