Web content isn’t always the same when you travel the world. Most countries have specific restrictions that can disrupt streaming when you travel. However there are DNS, VPN, and Smart DNS tools that help you enjoy your favorite series abroad. Here’s how they work.
Domain Name Systems (or DNS) are like the address books of the internet. You access websites via domain names (like https://nordvpn.com), but these domain names are translated into the IP addresses that computers use by DNS. Then your browser can process the URL address and connect you to a website.
DNS servers store these IP addresses so you don’t have to memorize them. There are millions of DNS servers out there, so without DNS, the internet would be a wild and complicated mess.
Our article about DNS hijacking attacks has more info about how DNS works.
Smart DNS service replaces the DNS address provided by your ISP with one for a different DNS server. The location depends on the server infrastructure of the provider. In this way, Smart DNS lets you access geo-blocked content because the website thinks that you are in a different location. It’s important to note that this doesn’t give you a new IP address – it just changes how a website sees your IP address.
Normally, your devices use DNS servers provided by your ISP, which is convenient but allows your ISP to track what you do. You can choose a different DNS provider, but you should always take into account the following aspects when choosing one:
However, it is difficult to find a service that provides all of these benefits.
Even though some of the functions of Smart DNS and VPNs (virtual private networks) overlap, they are quite different. Furthermore, in the hands of a premium VPN service that offers smart DNS service as well, you won’t be forced to make this choice at all. You can run both tools at the same time or switch them on and off as needed.
If you want a Smart DNS service, consider getting NordVPN. Our VPN comes with a Smart DNS service built-in. If you’re using other VPN providers, take a DNS leak test to see if your VPN is not leaking.
When comparing DNS and VPN services, you should consider the following:
In summary, a DNS helps to resolve the website or the service that you’re trying to access. The main feature is that instead of the user having to search for the correct address, the Domain Name System will do it automatically.
When a Smart DNS is used, the DNS address provided by your ISP will be overridden with a new one.
A VPN, however, will encrypt your data and online activity. While it may be slower than a DNS, the VPN will come packaged with a plethora of privacy protections.
NordVPN also has the private DNS feature that shields your DNS requests from third parties and protects you from DNS hijacking.
Check out our video on Smart DNS vs. VPN below.
To sum up how they’re related: a DNS is a normal part of everyday internet connections, SmartDNS is a way to use DNS more securely, and in our case, a VPN (NordVPN) is the tool you use to access SmartDNS service. SmartDNS can be accessed without a VPN, but when they’re integrated, they provide some of the best security, privacy, and content access solutions available.