SmartDNS & VPN

SmartDNS: Bypass country blocks with the VPN alternative

Country blocks of streaming services can be circumvented not only with a VPN. SmartDNS providers let you bypass geo-blocks, but do not offer the protection typical of VPN services. We list the advantages and disadvantages of SmartDNS services.

You’ve probably already encountered a DNS, since it is responsible for resolving domain names on the Internet. In this process, domain names that can be read by humans are converted into a format that can be read by machines – the IP address. SmartDNS now becomes smart by redirecting the data exchange on blocked pages so that they think they are located in the corresponding country.

What is the difference between a VPN proxy and a SmartDNS proxy?

VPN proxy and a SmartDNS proxyFirst of all, a VPN offers significantly more features. They are not all the same, there are VPNs for certain uses. There is a best vpn for torrenting, a best vpn for streaming, and so on. It is perfect for bypassing country blocks, but its real strength lies in the encryption of all data traffic. Especially at public hotspots, this is a significant advantage over SmartDNS services. With SmartDNS services, on the other hand, the data traffic is not encrypted. Only individual server requests are forwarded to the target server via the smart DNS proxy.

Unlike VPN services, a SmartDNS can be set up in such a clever way that the actual data traffic runs over the normal line, but the identification of the country of origin takes place via the SmartDNS proxy. This way, you avoid the geo-blockade, but still have your full line capacity for streaming music and videos.

This is exactly where the advantages of SmartDNS services lie. Some VPN services – especially free providers – are not able to provide the necessary bandwidth via their VPN proxies. SmartDNS services do not even have to maintain the capacities. On the one hand, encryption is omitted, which of course saves resources. On the other hand, most of the actual traffic is handled via the normal DSL line and does not run through the SmartDNS service.

Which streaming services are supported by SmartDNS services?

Most SmartDNS services focus on the major streaming providers like Netflix, Amazon Video or Hulu, after all, that is where there is the greatest demand. However, many SmartDNS providers can handle significantly more streaming services and websites. Usually, between 300 and 400 portals are listed here, which can be “unlocked”. Among them are German services like Zattoo or ARD and 3Sat.

SmartDNS services are priced at around 5 US dollars (approx. 4.40 euros) per month. It is definitely worth taking a look at the VPN comparison. Sometimes you can get a bundle of VPN and SmartDNS services for the same price – ExpressVPN, for example, has both a VPN service and a SmartDNS. You should also take a look at the corresponding tech deal sites. Here you can often find VPN or SmartDNS services starting at 30 US dollars (about 26 euros), but you can use them for life.

How are SmartDNS services set up?

Even though downloads are sometimes offered for setup, a SmartDNS service does not require any separate software. All you have to do is enter the DNS addresses of your provider in the network settings, restart your computer once and the services are activated. The nice thing about this is that you don’t have to worry about the country of destination or origin. For example, if you have set up a SmartDNS on a laptop, you can watch Hulu at home without any problems and stream the sports show on vacation.

We’ll explain how to set up a DNS server here using the public Google DNS. Simply replace the Google DNS addresses with those of your provider.

Amazon Prime abroad: What is streamable, what unfortunately not

Streaming Amazon Prime abroad – not an impossibility. That’s because the provider wants you to enjoy its streaming content even when you’re traveling. Here’s how to stream Amazon Prime outside of Germany.

In the past, you were still looked at askance by your friends if you turned on the TV in your hotel room while abroad and watched a movie or series, even in a foreign language of the country. Why, the argument goes, travel abroad and not take advantage of the sights and experiences of the country, instead of bogging down in front of the screen like at home. But much has changed, thanks in no small part to mobile screens and streaming services that you can use abroad via an app. Here’s how you can stream Amazon Prime abroad.

Amazon Prime Video is down?

The desire of many users to stream Amazon Prime abroad has already reached the provider. In an official statement in the help section of its website, Amazon affirms the question about whether you can use the Prime Video while traveling abroad. However, there is one restriction: Amazon Prime members can stream selected Amazon Originals outside their respective home countries. A reduced selection of Prime Video titles is also available, but these are only for EU citizens within the European Union. For this, there is a “watch abroad” marked selection in the catalog.

If you are smart, you can use the option to download the Amazon Prime titles you want in advance on compatible devices. These titles can then be watched anywhere in the world even without an Internet connection. If you don’t have enough storage capacity, you have to hope for a good Wi-Fi connection in the hotel of your choice. Then they can watch most of the Amazon Prime titles via the device of their choice, but not all of them within the EU via streaming. Switzerland and the UK are not included. There, the selection is even smaller.

Exceptions and detours abroad when using Amazon Prime

Within the EU, you benefit from the EU Portability Regulation, which was passed on 01.04.2018. According to this, streaming services must allow their paying users to use a service without additional costs and under the same conditions as in their home country, even if they travel to another European country. But outside the EU, this law does not apply. Because of the vastly different situation with licensing rights, the choice varies greatly from country to country….

When streaming Amazon Prime abroad, one has access to all purchased videos at all times. These are just as exempt from the restrictions as rented titles. But if you want to have full access to Amazon Prime’s more than 12,000 movies and series (significantly more movies than Netflix) while traveling outside the EU, the best advice is to set up a VPN connection.

By connecting to a German VPN server, you can access all Amazon Prime content as usual and bypass the geoblocking that allows Amazon Prime to offer different content to its users in each country. For example, you can set up a VPN connection with your Fritzbox at home.

Conclusion: Streaming Amazon Prime abroad – no magic trick

Streaming Amazon Prime abroad is definitely possible, as long as you travel prepared and either download your desired titles beforehand or set up an intact VPN connection. But maybe you should listen to your friends and leave streaming at home and enjoy the sights and experiences abroad.