Nowadays, streaming services have become quite popular around the world. But due to licensing restrictions, these services aren’t authorized to distribute content in specific geographic regions. And even though a particular service is available in your country, certain titles may still be unavailable.
Though there are different solutions available to unblock geo-restricted content, they might not be suitable for every scenario.
How to get around geo-blocking?
Sometimes, you may have temporarily moved to a different country and still want to access the streaming catalog of your home region. To access a particular streaming site that is unavailable in your current area or to access the catalog of a different region, a VPN is one of the first options that usually come in mind. But is it the most suitable option for such requirements?
A VPN allows you to spoof your IP address and hide your actual location to a streaming service, making it look like you are connecting from a different location where the specific content may be available. They are a great choice if you’re looking to browse the Internet privately. Your ISP will only know that you are connected to a VPN network; your Internet activity would be hidden.
But, because a VPN encrypts and routes traffic from your devices through their network, they are usually slower compared to direct connections. Depending on the service, they can be relatively expensive, and the setup may be complex depending on the device you’re trying to configure it on.
Instead, if your primary concern is just to bypass geo-restrictions and unblock streaming content, a solution like Smart DNS may be more suitable.
What is a Smart DNS Proxy
Smart DNS is a special type of DNS, which routes requests for supported services through a conveniently-located proxy server, allowing global access to geo-restricted content. To provide faster access, Smart DNS services only route partial requests through their proxy to bypass the restrictions. The rest of the content, including media resources, is fetched directly without involving any proxy server.
If a particular service or website isn’t supported by the Smart DNS service, the requests would be handled directly, just like any normal DNS lookup.
Why Smart DNS is more suitable for unblocking streaming services
Smart DNS offers superior access speeds compared to other content unblocking solutions like proxy and VPN, as it routes only partial requests through a dedicated proxy server, while most of the other traffic is routed directly. Also, it does not involve any tunneling or encryption.
If you’re trying to access different regional catalogs of multiple streaming services, a SmartDNS is useful to unblock all the supported content simultaneously after a one-time setup. Other solutions, like VPN, require you to manually switch to different regions to access the specific regional catalogs for the respective streaming services.
Smart DNS is also more economical compared to other unblocking solutions, as they only handle minimal requests through their dedicated proxy servers. VPN or regular proxy services on the other hand, usually route the whole traffic through their servers, which is more resource-intensive. Hence, these alternative solutions may be pricier and have monthly bandwidth caps depending on the plan.
Smart DNS is dedicated to unblocking geo-restricted content for specific services. On the other hand, alternative solutions like VPN are primarily focussed on privacy. Hence, Smart DNS services are more likely to fix issues related to blacklisted IPs compared to VPN services.
Though there are many alternatives when it comes to choosing Smart DNS services, in this article, we’re going to explore one of the most budget-friendly solutions available, KeepSolid SmartDNS.
KeepSolid SmartDNS Proxy – The Cheapest Smart DNS Service?
KeepSolid has managed to keep things simple and economical while getting the essentials right. The SmartDNS service allows you to access geo-restrictions catalogs from the supported streaming services given below:
Sites and services supported by KeepSolid SmartDNS (as of this writing):
- Netflix (USA)
- BBC iPlayer (UK)
- RaiPlay (Italy)
- Hotstar (India, USA, Canada)
- Tubi (United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico. USA)
- Disney Plus (USA, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, USA)
- HULU (USA)
- ITV (UK)
- Amazon Prime (USA)
- Sony Crackle (USA)
- HBO Now (USA)
- Popcornflix (USA)
- CBS (USA)
- ESPN (USA)
- Fubo TV (USA)
- Philo (USA)
- Channel4/All4 (UK, Ireland)
- Pluto TV (USA)
- TNT (USA)
Note: If the streaming service or specific catalog isn’t available in this list, check with KeepSolid Support to know if it’s currently supported or will be supported in the future.
Fast & Easy set up process
Setting up KeepSolid SmartDNS is also pretty easy. It’s got native apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, but also works with any device that supports a manual DNS configuration.
Once you create a KeepSolid ID by going to the official website, you can log into the User Office Dashboard & activate the SmartDNS to start enjoying your 7-day free trial right away, without any commitment.
Next, you need to go into the SmartDNS settings on the web and register your current IP address. This is required for KeepSolid to authorize your IP to access the SmartDNS service. Without this, you would not be able to use any of KeepSolid’s SmartDNS proxy addresses. This can also be done using the official KeepSolid SmartDNS app.
KeepSolid SmartDNS Server IP List:
- EU DNS: 188.8.131.52
- US DNS: 184.108.40.206
If you’re planning to use the US DNS proxy to unblock US-specific content, you can just download the official app, log in to your KeepSolid account and flip the DNS switch on. The US proxy is automatically configured by default and no additional steps are required.
But if you want to configure other SmartDNS proxy addresses, or want to set up the service without installing any app, you can use your SmartDNS settings to configure the SmartDNS. If you use multiple SmartDNS proxy IPs on your device, the service should automatically detect the most optimal DNS server for the particular website or streaming service that you’re trying to access.
In our tests, KeepSolid SmartDNS performed well, and we were able to stream content from popular US streaming sites, like, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more, including some UK-specific sites, like BBC iPlayer.
Limitations of KeepSolid SmartDNS
Currently, though, the app lacks certain important features, such as the option to choose specific locations for specific services.
For example, even though you can configure both US and UK SmartDNS proxies when you open Netflix or Amazon Prime, it’ll always redirect you to the US version of the site, even though you might want to watch content from a different regional catalog.
According to KeepSolid, you may be able to switch to a different streaming catalog on a particular service with your existing account, or, depending on the streaming service, may need to create a new account to access a different catalog. KeepSolid does not provide any setting to manually configure a specific region at this time.
Also, the official KeepSolid SmartDNS app does not allow you to set any SmartDNS proxy other than the US proxy server. If you want to use the EU DNS proxy, the only way to do so seems to be to configure it within the native DNS network settings of your device. Not that this is a deal-breaker, but surely it’s one of those nice-to-have features.
Fortunately, all of the above-mentioned limitations can be fixed via software updates, and by including servers from more locations as the services expand.
KeepSolid SmartDNS Pricing – The Cheapest SmartDNS Service
One of the killer aspects of KeepSolid SmartDNS is the price point at which the company is offering the service. As mentioned before, SmartDNS services are usually cheaper compared to VPNs. But KeepSolid currently offers its SmartDNS service at an even lower price compared to other SmartDNS solutions, making it (as of this writing) arguably the cheapest SmartDNS solution available in the market today.
A monthly subscription of KeepSolid SmartDNS is available for $3.99. But it gets even more aggressive for the 1-year and 3-year plans, offering the yearly subscription at $19.99 and the 3-year subscription at $39.99.
KeepSolid SmartDNS is a decent SmartDNS service that offers a seamless, lag-free experience; even for 4K UHD streaming content.
If you’re looking for a solution to unblock streaming content from one or more of the services mentioned in the list above, KeepSolid SmartDNS might just be your best bang for the buck.
If a service that you want to unblock is not listed, you could try and find out if the company has added support for it by opting in for the 7-day free trial or reach out to the support team to know if it would be unblocked in future.