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DNS vs Smart DNS vs VPN: What's the Difference?


Grayson Rodriguez

Mar 16, 2023 | 7 min read
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When you are browsing Internet content, not all content can be easily accessed. Most countries/regions have restrictions on accessing content, which means that different countries/regions present different content on the Internet. If your ISP cannot provide the content you want, you need some tools to help you access the content restricted in your country/region. The most frequently mentioned tools are DNS, Smart DNS and VPN , which can help you access restricted content to some extent. Next I will introduce them to you.




What are DNS, Smart DNS and VPN?

Which should I choose? Smart DNS or VPN?



What are DNS, Smart DNS and VPN?


DNS is the abbreviation of Domain Name System and a core service of the Internet. When we visit a website, we usually visit it through a domain name, such as However, the machine cannot directly recognize this domain name. It must be converted to an IP address in the form of to connect to the website. DNS can help transform domain names into IP addresses. People don't need to remember that complicated number, just need to know the domain name. Your DNS is usually provided by your ISP. Therefore, when your ISP prevents you from accessing a website, even if it exists, you cannot connect.


Smart DNS combines DNS and proxy servers to unblock geographically restricted websites and services on the Internet. It can replace the DNS server address provided by your ISP with the address of other DNS servers. For example, you are a user in the United States, but want to watch the BBC's content, and the BBC only allows access from the United Kingdom. Then you can use Smart DNS to use the DNS server located in the UK, so you can access the BBC and be believed to be from the UK.


VPN is a virtual private network. It allows the network to redirect your IP address through a specially configured remote server (run by the VPN host), thus hiding it. This means that if you use VPN to access the Internet, the VPN server will become your data source. You only need to select the country/region you need to access the content you want to access.



Which should I choose? Smart DNS or VPN?


Advantages of Smart DNS over VPN:

  1. Faster speed: encrypting traffic requires the processing power of the computer, while Smart DNS does not encrypt your traffic. Therefore, compared with VPN, Smart DNS connects to the site faster. Usually the speed is not reduced at all.
  2. Price: Smart DNS is usually cheaper than VPN.
  3. It can be used on almost all devices: Smart DNS can still work on some devices that cannot install VPN applications, thus expanding the possibility of streaming transmission.


Disadvantages of Smart DNS compared with VPN :

  1. Not anonymous: Smart DNS will not hide your IP address. Therefore, your ISP can still track your IP address.
  2. Low security: Smart DNS does not encrypt your traffic data. Therefore, your data will be easier to intercept.
  3. Cannot avoid censorship: Because traffic data is not encrypted, your traffic data will still be censored and blocked in some countries/regions.



In general, we recommend that you use VPN for access. Because VPN protects your privacy, it makes your access more secure. VPN service providers usually provide more additional services, such as automatic termination switch, advertisement interception, etc. In addition, the possible speed drop of using VPN is not as serious as you think. In fact, it has little impact on your use experience. If you don't have a good VPN tool, you might as well start with MetroVPN .


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