VPN vs Smart DNS – Which is better for unblocking online streaming websites?
With the sudden increase in awesome shows and epic movies in the last few years, now is the best time to get into binge watching your favorite shows and movies on whichever streaming service you support as you will probably never run out of things to watch with so much great content out there.
But unfortunately, many great streaming services are either not available in the UK at all, or even if they are, the library is nowhere near as big as what you would get in the US. American Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go are the best examples of that.
Although we do have Netflix here, but the Us library puts ours to shame. And HBO along with Hulu is not even available in the UK, and with how things are going, that’s not going to change anytime soon either.
So, what is a person to do if he or she wants to get said services here in the UK you ask? Well, the answer is quite simple, you can do that with either a VPN or smart DNS.
What is this DNS you speak of?
Now you may be wondering how does smartdns work. A smart DNS service provider basically gives your computer a new name (IP address) that will not be blocked by the streaming service you are hoping to use.
Websites and streaming software’s use your computers IP address to track your location, and if you are outside the region that the particular service is allowed in, then you are blocked. And as mentioned before, how smart DNS works is by changing your IP so as to fool the website into thinking that you are from US for example.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a smart DNS. First of all, it’s much cheaper than a VPN. The monthly fee for Unlocator, one of the best DNS providers out there, costs around 4-5$. It also provides access to a bunch of other channels (219 to be specific), but unfortunately, one the most popular streaming services, Netflix is not supported at the moment. HBO go and Hulu are supported, though, so there is something.
There is also no required software installation for Unlocator, and so it supports almost all available platforms. But, it can be a pain in the arse to set it all up. It’s comparatively complicated and not everyone is capable of it either. Although detailed guides are provided on their website to help you out. There is a smart DNS trial available for free so you can check it out yourself.
Another honorable mention goes to Overplay Smart DNS.
What about a VPN provider?
Now the second option and a smart DNS alternative is a good VPN.
A VPN in general costs a little bit more, but it gives much more return as well.
One VPN or another is used in most businesses these days and even more homes. It protects your data by encrypting it and provides anonymity so you can work without any worries.
The best UK VPN in my personal opinion is none other than ExpressVPN! And that is because for a number of reasons, but the most important one is speed. The one crucial factor for any streaming service is good speed. Simple as that. The faster speed you have, the more easily you can buffer your episodes, skip ahead a little maybe if you want without seeing the dreaded buffering icon.
And ExpressVPN claims to be the fastest VPN on earth, and it more or less is.
VPN’s work by rerouting your data from their own servers, encrypting it and protecting your location in the process, but this comes at the cost of about 30-40% of your bandwidth speed. So, using a VPN will automatically reduce your bandwidth by about 30%, that is, in most cases.
But due to the extremely fast speeds, a massive network of 145+ locations in over 94 countries, and overall simple and easy to use UI, ExpressVPN only reduces your connection speed by about 15%. And all the while protecting your data with a 256-bit encryption.
It also gives you unlimited bandwidth, so you can use all other kinds of services and even download with the VPN on.
It provides all these services at about 8$ per month, so you decide. Would you rather pay 5$ for a service that only changes your IP address or get a VPN for a few more quid that protects your data and location along with a multitude of other extra little things.
Oh, and ExpressVPN (Rated best VPN UK in 2017) also comes with a full 30-day money back guarantee, so you can try it out and see for yourself if it’s to your liking.