SmartDNS vs. VPN – What’s the Difference? Find Out Here

SmartDNS vs. VPN – What’s the Difference?

If you’re internet savvy, you must have already realized that certain websites are geo-restricted. That means that you cannot access them if you’re not from a particular region. So, if the site grants access to only Canadian residents, viewers from America can’t access the website.

However, many internet users have learned to overcome this problem by using a VPN. Others find SmartDNS to be a viable alternative to VPN. If you’re new to these terms, you might be confused about what exactly they are. 

Why are they so important for unlimited website access? If they perform similar functions, what makes them so different? This article will put a rest to your confusion.

What Is SmartDNS?

DNS is short for Domain Name Server. SmartDNS uses this server to unblock sites and services that are geo-restricted. In other words, SmartDNS uses DNS to grant you access to websites you otherwise can’t access because of your location.

SmartDNS works by changing your devices’ DNS address from local to the website’s address in question. So, let’s assume that you live in the UK and need to access Netflix. Normally, Netflix’s site automatically redirects you to Netflix UK based on your regional catalog. 

However, you wish to access Netflix US regardless of your UK location. To help you achieve this, SmartDNS will change your DNS address to Netflix’s US-based DNS servers. As such, the site reads your location as US and grants you access to Netflix’s US-based streaming services.

Why Use SmartDNS?

In today’s world, where unlimited access to information is everything, SmartDNS offers numerous advantages to its users. People use SmartDNS to access geo-blocked sites to obtain sensitive information, stream movie channels, etc. Compared to other similar technology, users prefer SmartDNS because it offers a great user experience on the whole.

What Is a VPN?

A VPN (Virtual Private Network), like the name suggests, offers you online privacy and protects your online activities from prying eyes. A VPN creates a private network and hides your IP addresses when you connect to the internet. That way, your online activities remain private and untraceable.

A VPN provides online data security for its users through end-to-end encryption. This system encrypts data from the source and decrypts it only when it gets to the authorized receiver.

What Is a VPN Used for?

People use VPNs for the various advantages that it offers. First, as a customer using an online service, a VPN helps to keep your activities secure. That means that no unauthorized entity snooping around can get a hold of the details of your ecommerce transactions. 

Apart from security purposes, VPNs protect users’ privacy. With VPNs, you can hide your identity and location from services and websites that want to trace you. Again, you can use VPNs to evade geo-blocked content, just like SmartDNS.

Many companies and organizations use VPNs as an affordable and convenient means of enhancing security in their cyberspace. It’s a sure way for businesses to gain control over their online activities without worries of breaches.

A Quick Comparison of SmartDNS and VPN

SmartDNS and VPN are two different technologies. However, their functions may interlap in a way that makes it difficult for users to understand their differences. As such, it’s important to examine their similarities and differences for better comprehension of what they are.

Key Similarities Between SmartDNS and VPN

SmartDNS and VPN have the following similarities: 

1. The DNS Server 

The Domain Name Server is a common denominator between SmartDNS and VPN. The DNS is like a phonebook that contains domain names with their respective IP addresses. The DNS translates domain names into the IP addresses that VPN requires to perform certain functions. On the other hand, SmartDNS uses domain names to help users access certain restricted websites. As such, both SmartDNS and VPN need the DNS server to run successfully.

2. Access to Geo-restricted Content 

Perhaps the most obvious reason SmartDNS and VPN seem so similar is that they both can evade geo-restrictions on websites. SmartDNS changes your DNS addresses while VPN changes your IP address to help users access geo-blocked contents. 

That means if you want to access a site that’s inaccessible from your location, you can either use SmartDNS or VPN to access them.

Major Differences Between SmartDNS and VPN

Now, the distinctions between SmartDNS and VPN: 

1. Security

SmartDNS doesn’t provide you with the level of security that VPN does. The main aim of SmartDNS is to help users bypass geo-restrictions on websites and services and nothing more.

2. End-to-end Encryption

SmartDNS doesn’t use end-to-end encryption to ensure users’ privacy and anonymity. That means that, unlike VPN, unauthorized users can access your data and know your identity while you use SmartDNS. 

3. Slow Connection and Performance 

SmartDNS has little or no effect on your internet connection and performance. It’s faster to stream channels over SmartDNS than VPNs. That’s because users have a higher chance of congestion and performance overhead when running traffic via encrypted tunnels.

4. Universality 

SmartDNS works with all internet-capable devices. However, VPN only works with certain specialized routers. If you don’t have a specialized router that can run VPN client software, you will have difficulties using VPN.

Which Is Better Between SmartDNS and VPN? 

SmartDNS and VPN both have their pros and cons. What’s better for you will depend on what your aims, preferences, and objectives are. It also depends on your budget and peculiar situation. For example, if your sole goal is to stream Netflix or HBO from outside your location, SmartDNS serves you best. 

However, if privacy, anonymity, and security are priorities for you on the Internet, you’re better off with a VPN. So, when you want to use public WiFi and don’t want unscrupulous elements snooping over your data, you know what to use.


SmartDNS and VPNs are important technologies, and their usefulness in today’s world cannot be overemphasized. However, to get the most of both worlds, it’s best to consider their pros and cons carefully before you choose either. 

Now that you understand the difference between both technologies, you’re in a better position to make informed decisions about your choice of internet solutions.