One of the most frequently requested features in a world where the Internet is both more accessible and harmful is protecting your online anonymity and navigating content geo-restrictions. The most crucial services are VPNs, Smart DNS, and Proxies, which you may use to access region-locked material while maintaining your online anonymity. But what precisely do these services entail? How do they function? And when ought one to be preferred over the other? If you have any (or all) of the following questions, keep reading to learn how VPNs, proxies, and smart DNS differ from one another:
What is VPN, Smart DNS, and Proxy
- A VPN, or a Virtual Private Network basically creates a private network that is accessible over the Internet (public network). It allows users to communicate as if they were directly connected over the private network, when they are, in fact, communicating over the Internet. VPNs are widely used by companies that need to allow remote employees to access the private network, and are also used as a way to get secure, encrypted access to the Internet.
- Smart DNS is a server that is specially configured to redirect users to a proxy server. Unlike VPNs, which forward all internet traffic through their tunnels, Smart DNS only forwards very specific traffic. All other traffic is allowed to travel through the Internet as it would without a Smart DNS, VPN, or Proxy server. As such, SmartDNS servers are mostly used to access online streaming websites that restrict their content to specific countries. In such cases, the Smart DNS server tricks the website into thinking that the user is accessing the website from an eligible location.
- A Proxy server, is basically used to maintain anonymity over a network. Every web request you send is first forwarded to the Proxy server, which then transmits it to the server it was intended for. This makes the recipient server think that the Proxy server sent the original request, therefore keeping the user anonymous. When the server responds to the Proxy, it sends the response back to the user.
Differences Between VPN, Smart DNS, and Proxy
VPN vs Smart DNS
Although accessing geo-restricted content is one of the common uses for both VPNs and Smart DNS, their operational principles are fundamentally dissimilar.
- A VPN sends all your internet traffic through a tunnel that is meant to mask your IP Address, whereas Smart DNS usually only routes the traffic that is related to determining your geographical location.
- While VPN provides encryption of traffic, and hides your IP address; Smart DNS does not do either of those.
- A VPN uses a tunnel to make it appear as if you re accessing the Internet from a different location. Smart DNS, on the other hand, uses a different method. It changes your DNS to fool websites into thinking that you re accessing them from a different location, often one that falls within their list of eligible locations to access them.
- Smart DNS is often faster than VPN, because, unlike VPN, it doesn t have to route your data through a distant server.
VPN vs Proxy
Both virtual private networks (VPNs) and proxies provide the impression that you are accessing the Internet from a different place than you actually are. However, the parallels between the two stop there. There are several other differences:
- A Proxy is like a man-in-the-middle. Your computer sends data to the Proxy, and it forwards it to the Internet, acting as if it is the source of the request. VPN, on the other hand, works at the system level, and captures all your network traffic, and routes it through the VPN tunnel.
- Proxies simply hide your IP address, they do not provide any encryption, whatsoever. VPN, on the other hand, encrypts your Internet traffic, and communicates with the Internet.
- Since Proxies don t encrypt any data, and they simply change the IP address that is shown to websites, it is pretty easy for someone to snoop in on your data, and it s not even too difficult to find out your real identity. More often than not, Proxies don t strip any identifying data from your network, except for changing the IP address. A VPN, on the other hand, heavily encrypts the traffic originating from your computer, which makes it very secure, and thus, it prevents someone from snooping in. If you re using a VPN (a good one), not even your ISP will be able to get a gander at your traffic. The same can t be said for a Proxy.
- However, since Proxies do not encrypt any data, the overhead is very low, and latency is minimum. A VPN, on the other hand, has a lot of overhead, due to the processing power required to encrypt data. It also usually introduces a lot of latency into the connection. This is simply the cost you need to pay for a reliable VPN.
Smart DNS vs Proxy
Although the two services appear identical at first glance, they are extremely different. The following are some key distinctions between Smart DNS and a proxy:
- A Proxy hides your IP, and replaces it with its own IP address, so websites don t know who s actually trying to access the data. Smart DNS does no such thing. It simply tricks the websites into thinking you re from a location that is eligible to access their data.
- Smart DNS can unblock major websites from a number of different countries at the same time, since it does not depend on changing the IP address. A Proxy, however, can only unblock access to a single country at one time.
- Smart DNS also has a higher speed than Proxy. This happens because Smart DNS doesn t do anything except hide traffic relevant to your geographic location, allowing the rest of the traffic to flow through normally.
VPN, Smart DNS or Proxy: When to Use What
You must have a good understanding of how these three services differ from one another by this point. Although they are still extremely similar, it is entirely up to you which service you choose to utilise. How do you choose which of these three to utilise when, then? Here are a few typical applications for each of these services:
Why You Should Use Proxy
The least secure approach is a proxy. It can’t actually prevent you from being recognised by network snoopers; it can only hide your IP. When a website needs to treat your computer as a separate system every time, you can use proxies to do this. For instance, if you wish to rate the game server numerous times in a game where you can earn points online. To trick a website into believing a different machine is accessing it each time, you can use a proxy. Most websites that impose limitations, such the number of ratings you can post each day, can easily be fooled by this.
Proxies should essentially only be used for situations where you don’t require any kind of security. As a result, using a proxy to maintain your anonymity while using a coffee shop to access the Internet is not advised.
Why You Should Use Smart DNS
The best choice to employ in circumstances where you only need to access geo-restricted websites at the fastest speeds is smart DNS. Therefore, if popular online streaming sites are not yet accessible in your country, you can utilise Smart DNS to access them. A Smart DNS is probably your best option if you wish to access many websites, each of which is only available in a particular country, as it can simultaneously unblock access to several distinct nations.
Simply put, smart DNS deceives a website into believing that you are accessing it from a place that is permitted to view its content. However, Smart DNS also doesn’t provide any encryption and isn’t advised to be utilised if you need a secure Internet connection.
Why You Should Use VPN
The option that uses the greatest processing power and bandwidth is a VPN. It is, nevertheless, also the most secure. You can be confident that no one will be watching your internet traffic as long as you use a VPN from a reputable VPN provider. Even your ISP is unable to monitor what you are doing online. The strongest point of VPNs is their great security. As a result, if you want to browse with the maximum level of protection possible, you should use VPN services. When surfing the Internet from a public WiFi network, such as one at a hotel or your neighbourhood coffee shop, VPNs should unquestionably be utilised.
Most restrictions imposed on websites, whether by website developers or even your government, can be circumvented via a VPN. Without being concerned about being watched by your ISP, your government, or a man-in-the-middle, a VPN can let you freely surf the Internet. Only encrypted data will be visible to anyone trying to spy on the connection.
Best VPN, Smart DNS, and Proxy Services
Finding a reputable supplier is the only issue with using services like VPN, Proxy, and Smart DNS. How can you choose the finest provider when there are so many that offer these services? So, the top VPN, Smart DNS, and proxy services are listed below for your reference:
- TunnelBear is one of the best VPN services. They even have a great free tier of their service, which will give you 500 MB of free data every month a limit you can increase by tweeting at the TunnelBear twitter handle. TunnelBear is very competitively priced, and I would definitely recommend that you give it a try.
DownloadTunnelBear (Free, monthly plans begin at $3.33); (Available for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS)
- ExpressVPN is another really great VPN service that you can try. They include unlimited data with any of their plans, and while they don t offer any free tier, you do get a 30 day money back guarantee, so there s no harm in trying.
Download ExpressVPN (monthly plans start at $8.32); (Available for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS)
Smart DNS Services
- Smart DNS Proxy is a really great option to go with if you want to use Smart DNS to access geo-restricted content on your system. They offer competitively priced plans for their service, and support more than 300 websites and services. They have a trial option available, so you can definitely check it out.
Visit the Smart DNS website (14-day free trial, $2.07 per month for the cheapest plan); (Available for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS, Smart TVs, and Gaming Consoles)
- CactusVPN is another website that offers Smart DNS services. They have a 7 day trial period when you have access to all of the premium features, after which, you will have to pay to continue using their service.
Visit the CactusVPN website (free trial for 7 days, $4.99 monthly); (Available for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS)
You can access websites that are ordinarily inaccessible in your area by using one of the many websites that offer Proxy servers. You can use a proxy server to access geo-restricted websites by using4everproxy ordontfilterus.
SEE ALSO: 10 Free VPN Apps for iPhone That Will Protect Your Online Privacy
Use VPN, Smart DNS, or Proxy to Freely Access the Internet
To unblock geo-restricted content, you can now choose between a VPN, Smart DNS, or proxy depending on your needs and the type of service you wish to access. To ensure that your internet traffic is encrypted and that no one can see the websites you’re browsing online, you can utilise a virtual private network (VPN). However, because VPNs are naturally slower, you should use Smart DNS if all you need to do is access an online streaming service. The decision to select the service you believe is most appropriate for your purposes is ultimately up to you.
As always, we’re interested in hearing your opinions on VPNs, Smart DNS, and proxies. Please share in the comments below the VPN and Smart DNS services you like.