Unblock-Us Review

VPNs provide security for your data, but they can also slow down your connection due to the encryption applied. Unblock-Us is a provider that aims to offer privacy protection without sacrificing speed. Established in Canada in 2010, Unblock-Us claims to be the first company in the world that launched a DNS-based solution to offer people the option to access content restricted in their location. While theirs is not a traditional VPN but a SmartDNS, they are committed to privacy, which is why the moved to Barbados. We will discover more about Unblock-Us in this review.

Privacy/Security

Unblock-Us is focused on providing a solution that is fast, secure and easy to use. Their service is called SmartVPN, but this is not a traditional VPN since it doesn’t encrypt your data. When data is transported, their SmartVPN seals its content, keeping the information protected from eavesdropping and monitoring. All your DNS requests are routed through their own servers, but your actual location is only disguised for sites that require it.

Only data related to websites and services that are subject to geo-location restrictions are sent through their system. Unblock-Us is ideal for streaming content that is only available in specific countries and for accessing websites that are not available in your region. However, it may not be the right choice for those who need advanced security and protection for all their online data.

Although they claim that their service is more secure than a traditional VPN because with a VPN, all data goes through the provider servers and users won’t have visibility of how their traffic is handled, it is likely that many people who are looking for enhanced privacy and protection from online surveillance and hackers, would still opt for a no logs, reliable VPN instead.

It is worth noting that Unblock-Us moved from Canada to Barbados in order to avoid the proposed Canadian legislation that would have required them to keep logs of their customers’ activities for 6 months. Operating from Barbados, enables them to offer a privacy policy that established that there are no logs kept of customers’ location or online activities. While this shows that they want to help users’ to keep their privacy protected, it is disappointing to see that they require name and surname during signup and that they only accept card payments.

Features

Unblock-Us works on practically any device and platform including Mac OS X, Windows, Android, iOS, SmartTVs, gaming consoles, Roku, DD-WRT routers and more. There is no software installation required and the service has to be configured manually. You will need to change your DNS settings, The all-in-one servers will change the backend DNS addresses dynamically, which will enable you to access most locations with no additional changes required. Although the manual configuration can be a bit more complicated than installing custom software, on their websites you will find detailed guides for all platforms supported.

Once the service is configured you will be able to access the website and select a region for the streaming service you want to use or browse through the options supported. The main downside is that the only way to “disable” the service is to manually remove the DNS change to go back to your original settings. As previously mentioned, Unblock-Us is mainly suitable for streaming due to the good speeds that it offers for this purpose. The service is easy to use and the helpful video tutorials will allow you to set up the service on any device.

Unblock-Us offers the possibility to access a wide range of streaming services, including Pandora, Spotify, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Netflix and more. They also help you to unlock special events, football matches and other sports competitions. Unfortunately, many customers have complained that options that they are not able to access Netflix anymore, due to the changes implemented by this streaming platform. The fact that the list of channels supported is not available on the website at the moment, suggests that they are updating the information or that their service is no longer working for certain channels/services that they used to cover.

Plans

One of the advantages of a service like Unblock-Us is that it is cheaper than most traditional VPNs. Their plans start at $4.99 for one month and if you subscribe for a full year, you pay $49.99, which means that you would only end up paying $4.16 per month. They offer a free trial that gives you the chance to try the service for 7 days and no credit card is required to avail of this option. There is no list of servers available because SmartDNS doesn’t change your IP address. The service is designed to allow you to access websites and applications that are blocked in your country.

Customer Support

The website offers practical set up guides that will take you through every step of the process for all the platforms supported. There is also a Support section where you can find articles about different aspects of the service. You just need to enter a phrase or word and a list of relevant articles will be displayed.

If you need to contact the team, you will only be able to email them. In the past, Unblock-Us was known for their responsive customer support. Unfortunately, things seems to be slipping down lately and some of their responses take a long time. Some customers also reported that even though they received a response, their issue was not resolved.

Conclusion

If you are mainly interested in streaming and accessing content from services and websites that are not available in your location, Unblock-Us offers a good solution. Their service is fast and you won’t need to install additional software on your device. Unblock-Us is compatible with a wide selection of platforms, which means that you will be able to enjoy their service anywhere you are. However, if privacy is your main concern, you would be better off with a high quality VPN. After all, there are many good VPN options available for the same price as Unblock-Us and even less. In addition, it seems like some Unblock-Us customers are affected by the fact that Netflix is taking action to prevent access from different regions.