Nowadays, information on the Internet is not limited only to text-based content. A lot of media streaming services have become popular over the last few years. However, due to multiple conflicting issues, most of the streaming services are only available in certain parts of the world. Unlocking geo-restricted content is quite common. But when it comes to media streaming, most of the solutions are unsuitable mainly due to limitation in speed, bandwidth and other factors.
We have already covered in brief about most of the workarounds to unlock geo-restricted services in an earlier article. Here, we’ll focus on two suitable solutions for unlocking geo-restricted content (especially media streaming services), without compromising on speed and reliability.
- 1 Smart DNS
- 2 Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
- 3 When to use a Smart DNS service
- 4 When to use a VPN service
- 5 Why pay for Smart DNS/VPN services
- 6 Bypass geo-restrictions with UnoTelly
- 7 Disclaimer
Each website on the Internet has its own IP address. But since addresses are not easy to remember, a domain name is also assigned to it. A Domain Name System (DNS) typically translates domain names into their corresponding IP addresses.
A Smart DNS Proxy is a special type of DNS that channels requests via proxy servers for specific domain names. Smart DNS can help users unblock geo-restricted services by routing their requests through proxy servers located in the supported regions. Using a Smart DNS service, users can also simultaneously access multiple services restricted to different geo-locations, without modifying any settings. For example, Hulu is a streaming service exclusive to the US, while BBC iPlayer can be accessed only in the UK. A Smart DNS based service can help you to simultaneously access both the channels.
When a particular website is requested by its domain name, the DNS first translates it to the corresponding IP address. The request is then sent to that IP address, and the connection to the website is thus established. For the same website, Smart DNS may instead translate its domain name into a different IP address, which belongs to a proxy server. Thus the website may be partially tunneled through that proxy. Smart DNS Proxy doesn’t actually mask your IP address; rather, it tricks specific websites or online services to misinterpret the user’s location as a valid one.
Advantages of Smart DNS
Speed: Smart DNS routes only a small portion of the network traffic through the proxy server. Hence users are directly connected to the destination server, providing fast access to services.
Device support: Smart DNS can be set up on a wide range of devices, including computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. You may even set it up on your network router and access blocked online content from any device connected to it.
Simultaneous access: Smart DNS lets you to simultaneously unlock multiple services that are restricted in different geo-locations.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
A VPN service allows devices to connect to a private network from outside by extending it across a public network. Using this type of service, a computer is able to remotely join a private network, over the Internet. Any device connected to a VPN service is considered to be a node of the VPN, and shares the IP address of the network. All requests made through a VPN service to a particular website, are routed through that network.
When connected to a particular service or website via VPN, your original IP address is masked and the web server can only track the IP address of the VPN. If your VPN’s IP address is supported by a particular geo-restricted service, you may also be able to access its restricted content even if it is blocked in your physical location.
One important feature found in VPN services is that they usually implement end-to-end encryption. The data routed through VPNs is secure and protected from external interception and snooping. However, it is not recommended to interact with confidential information (such as login credentials, bank transactions, etc.) over VPN unless the service is trustworthy.
Note: In a practical scenario, there is very little chance that you would even perform bank related transactions over a VPN Network. If you want to pay for a service that is available in another country, you’d need to provide the details of a credit card issued from a local bank of that country. This is not possible unless you’re using any third party payment service (such as EntroPay) or have a relative (who can make payments on your behalf) over there.
Advantages of VPN
IP Masking: VPN protects your identity by hiding your IP address behind its own network IP. Thus you can anonymously browse and download content from websites and other online services, by connecting through a VPN.
Note: Your IP address might still be trackable with the help of your VPN service provider. Thus, VPN won’t give you (arguably) complete anonymity like Tor network.
Encryption: VPN protects your network traffic from being snooped by external agents by providing end-to-end encryption.
Bypass DNS filters: VPN can be used to access geo-restricted services from networks (usually found in hotels, public WiFi hotspots, 3G/4G mobile networks, etc.) where DNS filters are used.
Note: If your ISP or network provider blocks VPN protocols or ports, you might not be able to use a VPN service.
When to use a Smart DNS service
Smart DNS is faster compared to a VPN service. So, if you want to unlock a service that offers media streaming and download, Smart DNS is the recommended choice – provided your Smart DNS is able to unlock that particular service.
When to use a VPN service
You may want to use a VPN service for unlocking geo-restricted services in a number of circumstances. If your preferred channel uses DNS filters, it could block access DNS-based traffic. A VPN might help you access the channel in this situation. VPN could also be useful when you want to browse the web securely, as it implements end-to-end encryption. Additionally, VPN can hide your IP address, allowing anonymous torrent downloads and also letting you to anonymously browse the web.
Why pay for Smart DNS/VPN services
There are several free and paid Smart DNS and VPN services solutions to choose from. But when considering a VPN or Smart DNS service, it is usually better to go for a paid rather than a free one. Providing these type of services on a large scale requires dedicated resources, and the cost of building and maintaining such infrastructure is huge. Sometimes, companies may also need to scale up their existing infrastructure as the number of users increase. In a paid service, a significant portion of the fees taken from the users is usually invested in the development and maintenance of the service as a whole. If a company provides Smart DNS and/or VPN services free of cost, they are probably cutting costs in infrastructure maintenance and dedicated resources. These services might have low reliability and could be discontinued at any time.
We already know about a Smart DNS service called Tunlr, which used to provide a Smart DNS service for free. Later on, the developers found out that they needed more dedicated resources and better infrastructure to provide a fast and reliable service to its growing number of users. They realized that this was impossible to maintain if the service was to remain free of cost. Tunlr DNS was eventually shut down with the following note from the developer:
We didn’t want Tunlr to become one of the many mediocre DNS unblocking services available on the market today. That’s why we pulled the plug.
Bypass geo-restrictions with UnoTelly
There are several companies that offer Smart DNS and VPN as paid services. UnoTelly is a company that provides paid subscriptions for their DNS and VPN services, in order to unblock geo-restricted content offered by numerous websites. It has dedicated resources and offers reliable, quality services.
UnoDNS is the proprietary name of UnoTelly’s Smart DNS service. UnoTelly’s fast DNS servers are strategically placed around the world to give you access to more than 250 globally unlocked channels. Also, UnoDNS automatically uses your nearest available DNS server for routing requests, and connects you directly to the requested source; thus providing speed and stability.
Being a Smart DNS service, UnoDNS lets users to simultaneously access multiple geo-restricted channels from different locations. It has a well managed dashboard feature called Dynamo, which enables you to switch between different available regions for certain online services. For example, you can configure the Dynamo settings to watch Netflix from Brazil, UK, Finland, USA, etc., according to your preference.
UnoDNS unlocks more than 250 geo-restricted channels and streaming services including (but not limited to) ABC Networks, Amazon Instant (multiple locations), AOL, BBC iPlayer, Beats Music, CBS, Comedy Central, Crackle, Deezer, Fox Networks, HBO Go (multiple locations), Hulu, iHeart Radio, iTunes Radio, MOG, MTV, Netflix (multiple locations), Pandora, Rdio, Red Box Instant, Rhapsody, Sky Networks, Songza, Sonos, Spotify, TuneIn Radio (multiple locations), Vevo, VH1, Xbox Music, Xbox Video, Xfinity TV Go, Yahoo Screen and many more.
New channels are being added to the list every now and then. You may also request UnoTelly to add support for specific channels, if they are not already supported.
The full list of services supported by UnoTelly can be found here.
Advantages of using UnoDNS
UnoDNS offers the following benefits in addition to the general advantages of being a Smart DNS service:
Unlimited access: With UnoDNS, there is no bandwidth cap. Once you pay your subscription fees for a particular duration, you are granted unlimited access to the UnoDNS servers throughout that period. So, you don’t have to worry about exhausting your monthly quota while streaming your favorite movies or TV shows.
Dashboard controls: UnoDNS offers an integrated dashboard to control its various available options. You may also use the Dynamo feature to seamlessly switch the location for particular channels.
Better maintenance: UnoDNS servers are fast and reliable to provide quality experience to its customers. The company is also scaling up its existing infrastructure to expand their network and unlock more geo-restricted channels.
Better support: Users are offered dedicated support in case of any issues. Along with unlocking as many geo-restricted channels as possible, the company also accepts requests for unlocking new channels from its users. Even if a particular service suddenly blocks access using UnoDNS, we can expect team to find a suitable workaround for keeping the service unlocked.
How to set up and use UnoDNS
- Open your web browser and navigate to this link.
- Choose the platform on which you want to set up UnoDNS.
- Note the IP addresses provided as your Primary and Secondary DNS servers.
- Click on View Setup Instruction and follow the provided steps to configure UnoDNS on your device.
How to set up and use Dynamo
The detailed instructions for setting up and using Dynamo for UnoDNS is provided in this page.
UnoVPN is a VPN service provided by UnoTelly, which is exclusively available to the subscribers of the Gold Plan. UnoVPN allows you to access the Internet through 5 different networks based on US, UK, Canada, Netherlands and Germany. UnoVPN is designed for users who access different online services over networks that block DNS services. Of course, UnoDNS is still more preferable for accessing the supported channels since it provides a fast connection, which is suitable for streaming media online.
Advantages of using UnoVPN
UnoVPN enjoys all the advantages of a regular VPN service. Additionally, it provides the following added benefits:
Fast reliable servers: VPN services bear the full network load of its users. Thus, dedicated servers are required to keep the service running without any performance issues. UnoVPN’s servers are fine-tuned to ensure fast access to services without considerable network delay.
Unlimited bandwidth: Most VPN services usually limit their usage by having a specific monthly bandwidth cap. But UnoVPN doesn’t have any usage limitation. You may use UnoVPN to access unlimited content for as long as your subscription is active.
Strategic locations: UnoVPN’s servers are strategically placed in significant locations where most (if not all) the geo-restricted services are available. This ensures that you can access and unlock most of the restricted channels from around the world.
Platform independent: UnoVPN does not require you to install any client software, and can be easily set up by configuring the network preferences of your device. This removes platform dependency and makes it possible to configure UnoVPN on a wide range of devices.
Security and Privacy concerns about UnoVPN
Once connected to UnoVPN, all your network traffic is routed their network. This fact may cause many users to raise concerns about their security and privacy. But UnoTelly assures that their UnoVPN service is fully trustworthy. According to UnoTelly’s website, the company keeps minimum logs and only records information that is required to satisfy the jurisdictional requirements of their VPN server. Information that is logged by UnoTelly includes your login / logout times and the amount of bandwidth used. UnoTelly also adds that once you’re connected to the VPN, all your network traffic is channeled through a shared IP, so tracking of individual user traffic is not possible.
How to set up and use UnoVPN
To set up UnoVPN on your preferred devices, follow the steps below:
- Navigate to this link on your web browser. A list of articles will be displayed here.
- Click on the article corresponding to the device you want to set up the VPN on.
- The selected article will guide you to set up UnoVPN on that particular device.
There are primarily two subscription plans offered by UnoTelly:
- The Premium Plan ($4.95 / month), which includes unlimited access to the UnoDNS service.
- The Gold Plan ($7.95 / month), which includes the additional UnoVPN service with secure servers from US, UK, Canada, Netherlands and Germany, to prevent snooping and protect your identity.
Is it legal?
UnoTelly claims that their services are absolutely legal. According to UnoTelly:
In simple words, our service allows users to access services that are already free or paid but barred only due to nationality. On accessing paid content like Netflix, users will still have to subscribe to Netflix’s paid plan. Most importantly, users will be watching all the shows directly on rightful owners’ website and contributing to the advertising revenue of the rightful owners like Spotify.
UnoTelly helps you to unlock geo-restricted websites and services from anywhere in the world without compromising speed, reliability and quality of service. It also offers round the clock dedicated support to its users. Of course, there are some other ways to circumvent geo-blocks imposed by online services, and if you can find any other product that offers better services, do let us know via comments.
Even though UnoTelly claims itself as a legal service, it really depends on the content that is accessed using the service. 7labs may not be held responsible for any misuse of the information provided in this article.