Smart DNS

A better way of accessing many Internet services from abroad.

VPN – the established way

The recognised way of accessing geographically-restricted Internet content has been to use one of the many VPN services, either free (often advertising-supported) or paid, which allow your computer to appear to be in a different country. A VPN has the added benefit of encrypting your connection, making data that you send and receive, along with the names of websites that you visit, difficult for third parties to determine.

The disadvantage of using a full VPN service for this, is that there is some overhead to directing your web traffic in this way – all the data has to be encrypted, sent and unencrypted in each direction. Additionally, your data has extra steps to travel from website to computer screen, introducing more likelihood of congestion, especially at peak times. This can lead to the frustration of, for example, video playback stuttering and pausing, which severely limits viewing pleasure.

Smart DNS proxy

Restriction of web content by geographical location generally uses your IP address (which is sent with every request from your web browser) to determine where in the world you are. A VPN disguises this by presenting your web requests in the country of the VPN provider. (Most VPN providers allow you to choose the country in which you wish to appear to be located.)

Smart DNS overcomes many of the problems of a VPN by using a proxy server only for the DNS look-up parts of your web browser's requests. This is sufficient for most online content providers to be satisfied with your location. Once this initial contact is established, the actual content is sent directly to your screen without the additional overhead of a VPN connection.

For everyone or just a single device

A Smart DNS account can enable all devices using your Internet connection to access restricted content with a simple adjustment to the router settings. This is possible for all generic routers and many ISP-provided 'boxes', though some (e.g., Orange Livebox) have locked this setting.

Even if your router is not compatible, it is still possible to configure an individual device (e.g., Windows, Mac or Linux computer, Android or Apple smartphone or tablet and the vast majority of 'connected' televisions and satellite receivers).


We recommend the Smart DNS service of HideIPVPN, offering unlocking of most UK and US content providers.

Set up a free seven day trial account if you want to see if it works for you. Subscription periods from a single month to a full year are available and there is plenty of advice on how to set a wide range of devices to use the service. If you really can't get it to work, their Support service is excellent.

Alternatively, ask us for assistance, either using our contact form or by telephone – we can help at all stages, from setting up an account to configuring your router or other device. This is often possible by Remote Assistance, so a visit may not be necessary.

Security note

There are many Smart DNS proxy services advertised on the Internet, free and paid, which are not necesarily all that they appear to be. Getting you to change your DNS settings is a great way to eavesdrop on your Internet activity and can lead to all sorts of security problems. Always use a credible and reputable supplier. Above all, if a service is free, then the product is usually either you or your information.