VPN vs. Proxy vs. Smart DNS: What’s the difference?

Protecting our identity in today’s online world is a tough but important task. Keep anonymity online is not one of the easiest jobs to do but it’s still possible. Another thing that is extremely popular on the internet is how to get around regional restrictions on content? We are sure you all must’ve been in that situation where you wanted to watch a video or a tv show online, but the region you live was denied the access to watch it, or when you wanted to go through a forum but weren’t allowed due to regional restrictions placed by the owner of that particular website or forum. But thankfully, there are some services you can use to get access to all of the things mentioned above. VPN, Smart DNS, and Proxy are some of the most popular and used ones in the internet community.

If you are someone who’s new to all these services, don’t worry, in this article, we will tell you what exactly VPN, Smart DNS, and Proxy are and what they do. We will also answer some important questions related to them. But the most important thing is VPN vs. Proxy vs. Smart DNS- What’s the difference?

Let’s first discuss what exactly VPN, proxy and smart DNS are:

VPN – A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. That being said, it creates a virtual private network which is attainable on the internet, and internet is a public network. It lets users communicate like they are communicating over their private network but in real, they are communicating over a public network. It is a virtualized extension of a private network but over a public network, i.e. the internet. VPNs are used by a lot of companies that want to give access to the internet to their remote employees, and it’s also used by a lot of students who go to a cafe to access internet and stuff. It’s a safe and secure way by which you can access the internet without anyone getting to misuse your personal information.

Proxy server – The word proxy itself means “the authority to act like someone else, ” and that’s actually what this proxy server does. It’s used to maintain anonymity on the internet and also to get access to some websites using the address of somebody else’s server. Any web request that is sent by your server will be first forwarded to the proxy server, and then the request will be directed to the server it was meant for. This makes the recipient think that the request was made by the proxy server but in real, it was made by you. This way you can keep your details safe or even hide it.

Smart DNS – Smart DNS is designed to redirect you to a proxy server automatically. But it’s very smart as its name suggests. It doesn’t redirect all the internet traffic but only selected traffic. They are widely used to watch or stream videos and tv shows from a website that deny access to their country. In this case, it forwards you to a proxy server and lets you watch all those videos.

VPN vs. Proxies vs. Smart DNS: What’s the difference exactly?

  • VPN vs. Proxy

The only similarity between these two is that both of them make it seem like you are accessing the internet from a location completely different to your real location. But these two have quite a few differences.

  1. A proxy is just as a mediator. You send the request to the proxy server, and it changes its IP address and then redirects it to the server the request was meant for. VPNs work on a system level. They acquire all your network traffic and information and push it through their VPN tunnel.
  2. Proxies simply change your IP address, or you can say they hide your IP address and fake someone else’s IP address. They don’t offer you any encryption. VPNs do offer encryption and also communicate with the server.
  3. Proxies do not provide you any encryption which means it’s easy for someone to steal your information and difficult, if not impossible to trace your location and even find out your actual identity. But because VPNs offer encryption, they’re very secure, and it’s almost impossible for someone to steal your information. If you have access to a good VPN, not even your ISP will be able to snoop on your traffic. The proxy doesn’t provide this much security when compared to VPN.
  4. But one good thing about proxy is that it doesn’t charge much. Proxies do not encrypt any data and because of that their overload is quite low. VPNs encrypt almost all the data, and that means the processing power to load that much data is very high, so you will end up paying a lot for that.

vpn, proxy ,smart dns

  • VPN vs. Smart DNS

These two services are used for pretty similar purposes. They are used to get access to sites and videos that are restricted to their location. But the way these two services function is centrally different.

  1. A VPN forwards all your traffic through its tunnel, whereas a Smart DNS only forwards specific traffic and all other traffic is forwarded the way it normally does without using any of these services. Smart DNS only redirects those requests which are related to your location.
  2. A smart DNS does not encrypt any of your data. It also doesn’t hide your IP address, whereas a VPN does both of those tasks.
  3. The way by which VPN makes it appear like you’re accessing the site through a different location is by using a tunnel. On the other hand, a Smart DNS smartly changes your DNS to make websites think that the request has been sent from a country which is allowed the access to their website.
  4. In terms of speed, Smart DNS is way faster than VPN as it doesn’t have to redirect your data through a far-off server.

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smart dns - vpn free

  • Smart DNS vs. Proxy

Looking at from the surface, these two might look very similar, but in reality, they are very different from each other. Let’s have a look at all of their differences

  1. A proxy hides your actual IP address and replaces it with a fake, proxy IP address, and this is why sites think that you have accessed their site from a country that is allowed to access their website. On the other hand, Smart DNS does neither hide your identity nor your IP address. All it does is tricks the websites into thinking that the request has been sent from a location that has access to their site.
  2. A smart DNS can give you the access to a lot of sites from different countries by unblocking them at the same time, but a proxy server cannot do that as it masks a fake IP address and not all the websites restrict same countries. All websites have different lists of countries they do not give the access to, and thus, the proxy server will only be able to unblock one website at a time.
  3. In terms of speed, Smart DNS is way faster than a proxy server. It is so because it does not redirect all the traffic. It only lets those requests pass through it which are related to location.

Also Read : About Google home

So above we have listed all the differences between VPN, proxy server and smart DNS for your ease. Now, it depends on you which service you want to use according to your preference and requirements. But if you are still confused about which service to use when then continue reading.

vpn, proxy and smart dns

When and why should you use a proxy server?

A proxy server is not really the best option when it comes to security and maintaining anonymity over the internet. It doesn’t encrypt any data, and thus, it is quite easy for someone just to figure out your real identity. You can use proxies when you just want to do a task online for which you have just to fake an IP address. For example, you want to vote for your favorite music band but the site only allows one vote from one IP address, or you want to use a photo editor which gives only limited free trials, but you can get more trials by using a proxy server and faking an IP address. In that type of situations, a proxy will be your best bet.

When and why should you use a Smart DNS?

You should use a Smart DNS when you are trying to access a website or videos from a geo-restricted location. It will also have a great speed because it doesn’t have much overload and allows only geography related requests to pass through. You can also choose Smart DNS when you are trying to access multiple such websites online at the same time. It can do that because it is not using a particular IP address; rather it is just tricking other websites into thinking that you are accessing them from an eligible location.

We don’t think you should use a Smart DNS when you are looking for great security as it doesn’t encrypt any data.

When and why should you use a VPN?

VPN is the most processor escalated; transfer speeds substantial alternative of all.  VPN also offers the highest security amongst the three services. Its security is so tight that even the ISP cannot figure out what you’re actually browsing on the internet. You should use it when you’re using a public wifi and want to protect your identity and browsing history. It’s perfect for students who go to cyber cafes to use the internet. You can also use it in hotels. If the only thing you’re looking for is security, then we recommend you to go with VPN.

A VPN can sidestep most confinements put on sites, regardless of whether it is by the site designers, or even from your government. If anyone, by chance anyone tries to find out your browsing history or identity, all they’ll see is encrypted data. That’s it. VPN is the safest of all. The only downside to VPNs is that they do not offer good speed and that’s because they let all the traffic go through their tunnel and have a heavy load. They can also be costly, but for the security they offer, we’d say it’s definitely worth it.

Final words

In the article above, we have listed all the differences between a VPN, Smart DNS, and Proxy. Now depending on your use and requirement, you can choose between those three services by yourself. We hope we were able to explain all the basics and also, any doubts that you had. Now, you can easily firgure out the difference between VPN vs. Proxies vs. Smart DNS anytime and then choose the desired one. However, in case of any confusion, please connect to use via the comments section below 🙂


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