Smart DNS Proxy is the next privacy/geo-restriction bypasser service we’re going to test today. Many people who actively use the Internet are facing the bitter reality of content that’s restricted for them, mainly because they’re in the ‘wrong’ country.
Although this situation is not convenient, a service such as the one named above can be used to bypass these limitations. The service assigns you a different location, so the servers you’re trying to access can detect you as being in the ‘correct’ country.
The product we’re reviewing today is actually a two-in-one since it can provide you with the benefits of being in a secure, VPN tunnel, while also unlocking various content that’s not available for you.
A bit of company information
Smart DNS Proxy is a brand belonging to the Global Stealth Inc. company, which have been developing and providing users with security solutions, data encryption and anonymization services since 1995.
The company’s headquarters is located in Seychelles. Nothing more is available on the official website regarding the company activity other than the involvement with other companies such as Apple, Microsoft, IBM, BP and Shell and that they focus on bringing you fast, secure and stable connections.
Seychelles, as you may know, is an offshore, sovereign state located in the Indian Ocean, but belonging to the African continent. While VPNs are legal to use here, this state has some history with corruption, drug trafficking, money laundering and uneven wealth distribution.
There are reports regarding abuses against journalists, and, even though the country has strict defamation laws, they haven’t been used for a long time. On the bright side, they’re not a member of the 5, 9, 14 Eyes Alliance.
A quick introduction to their service
First things first, Smart DNS Proxy wasn’t developed as a VPN service, to begin with, but as a secure DNS proxy, as its name clearly suggests. What’s the purpose of such a service?
Well, it’s simple. If a VPN is used to keep your connection private and secure, away from prying eyes, a DNS proxy such as Smart DNS Proxy is used to unblock various content, such as websites and multimedia streaming services.
As they claim on their website, there’s really no connection needed such as when you’re using a VPN to achieve the same goal and it’s much faster, since it doesn’t rely on any actual applications. Another perk of using a DNS proxy is that it can work on any Internet-enabled device that supports custom DNS.
However, although originally the service was a DNS proxy, a VPN service with the same name is also available for use, so you can “hit two birds with one stone” and benefit from the security perks their VPN has to offer while being capable of accessing all the content that would otherwise be unavailable to you.
As any other similar service, this one also comes with a few clauses you must adhere to if you want to use it without any issues. We’re not going to include the whole thing here, but only the highlights:
- You can’t engage in any form of unsolicited communication such as spam while connected to the service, regardless of the communication channel you intend to use;
- You can’t transmit any content that’s illegal while connected to the service (such as child pornography), regardless of the communication channel you intend to use;
- You can’t upload, download, post, reproduce, share or distribute any copyrighted content or content that’s protected by any other proprietary right, without the permission of whoever owns the copyright;
- You can’t use the service to deceive anyone and/or attempt to avoid paying for premium (paid) services – aka making ghost accounts to abuse trial systems;
- You can’t, through your actions, attempt to limit or restrict any other service user from making use of this service;
- You can’t access, probe or connect to other devices without authorization while using this service or engage in other similar hacking operations;
- You can’t post or transmit unlawful materials and/or engage in unlawful communications, such as ones that might be deemed as threatening, harmful, abusive, defamatory, blackmail, discriminatory and so on;
- You should only use the service in a lawful manner;
If you break any of the clauses explained above, you understand that Smart DNS Proxy can and probably will terminate your account, without the possibility of any refund. More so, you’ll be held responsible for whatever went wrong during your usage of the service. Long story short, don’t break the law.
- Global Stealth, Inc. can (and probably will) collect personally identifiable information from users in various ways on its websites, online forms, service orders and other cases when the users get invited to share these bits of data voluntarily;
- They claim to collect this data only because it’s “reasonably necessary” for them to provide you with the service you want, as well as manage notices regarding your account (and sending them, too). This information is, reportedly, not going to be shared with third parties;
- The data they collect will be secured with “industry standard security systems”;
Only their automation system will be able able to access the personal data they collect about you;
- They can’t guarantee that the data mentioned above, whether it’s submitted to, transmitted from or maintained on their systems, will be completely secure;
- Illegal actions on their service will not be tolerated and will result in the termination of the accounts that violate the terms of their policy;
- The policy can be modified at any time, so you should make it your priority to check it as often as possible, even though they will post important changes on the home page and other “places they deem appropriate”;
As you can see, there’s no mention of logging, or whether your online activity is recorded, monitored, logged or stored whatsoever.
Creating an account
If you want to create a Smart DNS Proxy account, all you have to do is:
- Navigate to the landing page;
- Click the “Sign Up” button (check the screenshot);
- Input your name, email address and a password;
- Hit the “Submit” button;
- Verify your account via email so you can successfully login;
Supposedly, you’ve completed all the steps above and are now the proud owner of a Smart DNS Proxy account. Time to log in. You can find the log in button somewhere at the top-right corner of the window. If not, use this shortcut.
Notice that the dashboard is split into various sections, which are somewhat self-explanatory. Therefore, you have the:
- Account Home (the main section of the dashboard);
- Regions section which lets you customize regions depending on services you want to access;
- VPN tab where you can activate the VPN (it’s optional);
- Subscription category where you can manage your plan;
- Profile tab where you can customize your account information;
- Options menu that lets you access the Smart DNS Proxy API for activating your IP, the Affiliate program and the help/contact services;
Downloading the VPN on your computer
In order to download the VPN application on your computer, you must perform some specific actions, since it’s a bit more difficult than for many other VPN service providers. Remember, Smart DNS Proxy is not a VPN to begin with, it only offers this type of service on the side.
- Log into your account;
- Locate the “VPN” section in your dashboard and click it;
- Activate the VPN service;
- Locate the “Click here for our VPN Applications for Windows, Mac, iOS & Android” hyperlink and click it;
- In the newly opened window/tab, click the Download button corresponding to the device that you want to install the VPN on;
Scanning for malware
If you’re not doing this every time you’re downloading new content from the Internet on any of your devices, then maybe you should. And we’re talking about scanning the file you’ve just downloaded for malware.
As a general rule, everything that comes from the outside can be harmful to your computer, regardless of the trust level of your source. Remember that attacks are getting more and more creative and even trustworthy websites can be targeted by such threats, so it’s better to watch your back.
We’ve used VirusTotal, since it has multiple antivirus engines and its accuracy, while not 100%, is as close to this value as it can get. You can see our results here.
Installing the VPN on your computer
The setup process for the VPN is pretty simple and straightforward and you can easily complete it if you have basic computer skills, since all the instructions are on the screen.
- Double click the installer;
- Hit the “Next” button on the main screen;
- Choose a destination path on your PC and who should the app be installed for;
- Hit the “Next” button again;
- After the setup is complete, hit the “Close” button to exit the installer;
Configuring the Smart DNS on your computer
Remember what we said in the beginning? Smart DNS Proxy was not designed as a VPN, so its main functionality remains the DNS proxy we’ve told you about. However, configuring this service is a bit more difficult than just launching an installer and pressing a bunch of buttons. You have to get your hands dirty.
However, if you follow these steps, you should have the Smart DNS Proxy service up and running on your computer in no time.
- Right-click on the “Start” button;
- Select the “Settings” option from the menu;
- Hit the “Network & Internet” button in the “Settings” menu;
- In the newly opened window, click the “Change adapter options” button;
- Right-click the interface that you’re currently using for connecting to the Internet;
- Select “Properties” from the combo menu;
- Uncheck the “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6) box;
- Select the “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) item and click the “Properties” button or just double click the item;
- In the properties window, select “Use the following DNS server addresses:” option;
- Input Smart DNS Proxy DNS addresses in the “Preferred DNS server” and “Alternate DNS server” fields;
- You can access a list of servers here or scroll down to “The list of Smart DNS Servers” section;
- Check the “Validate settings upon exit” box and hit “OK”;
- Wait for the Windows Diagnostics tool to finish handling stuff and click “Close” whenever it does;
- Restart your computer;
Although there are several steps to follow, we believe that you can easily go through with them, since we also included helpful screenshots to help guide you along the way.
Running the VPN on your computer
Double click the Smart DNS Proxy VPN shortcut on your desktop. The main window requires that you input your username and password in order to gain access to the app. Note that the username is not your email address. If you want to find your username, go to the Dashboard and access the “VPN” section. You’ll be able to see it there. The password is still the same.
The main window of the app consists of a large “Turn On” button, a server selection menu and a server type selection menu. The top of the window can be used to switch between the VPN app and the “Settings” category. You can also access logs from the bottom-right corner of the app’s screen.
SmartVPN service included
We told you earlier that the Smart DNS Proxy needs to be configured separately, but that’s only in case you want to use it as a standalone feature, without a VPN.
However, Smart DNS Proxy’s VPN offers you a bunch of SmartVPN servers (check out the list of servers, you’ll know what I mean), which offer you all of the Smart DNS Proxy services while you’re connected to any of them.
Accessing and configuring settings
If you want to mess around with the settings, you can simply do so by clicking the “Settings” button in the main window. Here, you’ll be able to see a bunch of parameters just waiting for you to toy with them. These are:
- Connection type: OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, SSTP;
- Protocol: TCP, UDP;
- Port: 53, 80, 443, 1194;
- Auto Launch: On/Off;
- Internet Kill Switch: On/Off;
- Auto Reconnect: On/Off;
Keeping it simple. There isn’t a lot of elbow room regarding the possibility of customizing the app to your liking, but it’s more than enough considering that they let you choose your connection type, protocol and port, which is more than other VPN services offer.
The list of VPN servers
Although it’s not exactly a list of servers, Smart DNS Proxy has a list of locations that they have servers placed in. The list is as follows:
San Francisco, CA, USA
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Dallas, TX, USA
New York City, NY, USA
Washington DC, USA
St. Louis, MO, USA
N. Virginia, USA
San Jose, Costa Rica
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Vina del Mar, Chile
London, Great Britain
Hampshire, Great Britain
Johannesburg, South Africa
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Auckland, New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand
As you can see, the list isn’t exactly impressive, but at least they cover important areas all around the world.
The list of services unlocked by Smart DNS Proxy
Smart DNS Proxy, as advertised, can give you facile access to a huge range of content that would otherwise be unavailable to you, and we’ve included each and every single service, as displayed on the official website, for you to see.
BeIN Sports AU
DPlay Kanal 5
Sky Go Germany
Channel 5 Demand5
Animal Planet GO
ESPN GO US
FOX SPORTS GO
FX Networks NOW
Investigation Discovery GO
National Geographic Channel
Science Channel GO
AT&T Watch TV
NZ Film On Demand
The Criterion Channel
Optus Sport Australia
Seven Network Australia
BeIN Sports France
SAT 1 GOLD
Laugh Out Loud
You can agree with us that the list of content is nothing short of impressive and, whatever you have in mind, it’s probably already on these lists. If not, feel free to suggest new content by using the form on their website.
Make no mistake: we’ve tried some of the more popular services in this list to see if they’re actually working, and they were!
The list of Smart DNS servers
Smart DNS Proxy provides you with a list of Smart DNS servers so that you can easily set up your device with their secure DNS proxy service.
|Brazil, Sao Paulo||188.8.131.52|
|Canada, Montreal 2||184.108.40.206|
|Israel, Rosh Haayin||220.127.116.11|
|South Africa 1||18.104.22.168|
|South Africa 2||22.214.171.124|
|South Korea, Seoul||126.96.36.199|
|United Kingdom, London||188.8.131.52|
|US East – N. Virginia||184.108.40.206|
|US Center – Dallas||220.127.116.11|
|US West – Los Angeles||18.104.22.168|
|United States, Atlanta||22.214.171.124|
|United States, Chicago||126.96.36.199|
|United States, New Jersey||188.8.131.52|
|United States, Los Angeles||184.108.40.206|
TOR and Torrenting support
Getting back to the VPN; many users rely on VPN services for security and privacy reasons and don’t care much about what they can unlock, so we’ll try testing two of the most sought-after features of a VPN: the support for TOR and P2P-friendliness.
First, we gave torrenting a try. We’ve connected to a VPN server (a torrent-friendly one), fired up our torrent client and attempted to download a file (legally) to our computer through the torrent while connected to the VPN.
The result: no slowdown, and, after the download was completed, the upload speed was satisfying, as well.
Now for the TOR. We tried running TOR on top of the VPN connection and, as before, we encountered no trouble while doing so. However, note that using TOR in conjunction with VPNs, while adding an extra layer of security, it will slow your connection down. Also, if you happen to be on a malicious TOR exit node, your traffic will most likely be unencrypted and even more likely monitored. Watch your back.
The customer support experience
Smart DNS Proxy comes with the full customer support experience, meaning that they have a live chat system, email support service and a database of articles available for you on their website, just in case you’re not a big fan of human interaction.
We’ve decided to give them a try. The live chat advertises 24/7 support and requires that you input your name and email, choose a department, type your message and only after then you can start chatting. They’re also offering you the possibility of signing in with your Facebook or Google accounts, but that’s not really an option if you care about privacy, to begin with, right?
The live chat team responded pretty quickly to our inquiries and their replies were friendly and helpful. Nothing to argue about here. The email customer support, although it took longer for them to respond (as it should), greeted us with the same level of friendliness and eagerness to help.
Security test results
We have run a series of security tests on the VPN service, as we always do, in order to determine whether it can keep your connection secure or not, and the results are here for you to see. We’re using the IPX, ipleak, BrowserLeaks and fast.com tools for performing our security and, respectively, speed tests, as described here.
Conclusion: After running the three tests, it’s safe to say that Smart DNS Proxy doesn’t leak IP, DNS, WebRTC or Flash IP data. There were some inconsistencies (?) with the detected server location, but that’s not a real threat, no major security issue there, probably just the consequence of using virtual servers.
Speed test results
After getting security out of the way, we’ve performed a series of speed tests and the results are as follows:
U.S.A. – 45 Mbps;
Germany – 24 Mbps;
Hong Kong – we had trouble connecting to the server;
Japan – we had trouble performing the test;
Brazil – 730 Kbps;
South Africa – 1.3 Mbps;
Australia – 560 Kbps;
As you can see, the speed results aren’t exactly impressive. They’re actually far from being impressing, more so when some of our tests couldn’t even be performed due to the impossibility of connecting to a certain server or to the fast.com service after successfully connecting to the selected server.
Free trial available
Compared to other similar services, Smart DNS Proxy also comes with a free trial that allows you to test-drive its capabilities before making the commitment of purchasing a subscription plan.
And the best part? You don’t even need a credit card in order to activate it. Wanna hear another awesome thing? It’s a 14-day trial. Yeah, you read that right. Two full weeks of unlimited usage is way more than enough to make up your mind regarding buying a subscription plan.
Pricing plans and features
Smart DNS Proxy comes with 4 subscription plans, each of which is cheaper (compared to the monthly fee) and available for a longer period than the previous one. So the plans are as follows:
Although the website might be a bit confusing regarding the type of service you’re purchasing a subscription plan for, you should know that there’s no separate subscription plan for each service. Instead, the service is provided to you as an all-in-one solution, with a universal subscription plan. The table underneath explains the situation better.
|Smart DNS Proxy||SmartVPN||VPN|
|400+ Services Supported||Encrypt and secure your internet traffic.||Encrypt and secure your internet traffic|
|Unblock websites & digital media
with the fastest way
|PPTP, L2TP & OpenVPN Support||PPTP, L2TP, SSTP & OpenVPN|
|Works with any Internet
|Access all Smart DNS Proxy services
while you are connected to any
|Stream media from the country
of VPN Server you are connected
|Unlimited Device Access||Download Torrents||Download Torrents|
|Unlimited Device Access||Unlimited Device Access|
|5 Simultaneous VPN Connections||5 Simultaneous VPN Connections|
It’s clear that the most profitable way to make use of the provided service would be to rely on the SmartVPN features. However, note that your maximum number of VPN connections is limited to 5 (five), regardless of the “Unlimited Device Access” feature available in the table.
To wrap it up, Smart DNS Proxy is an all-in-one service that can provide you with the functionality of a VPN, while also giving you the ability to unlock various content that would be otherwise not available to you.
You can choose to use either one of the services, meaning that you don’t necessarily have to use their VPN if you just want their DNS proxy service. Although configuring the DNS service might prove to be a bit more difficult than installing the VPN app, we’ve covered the steps above and if you follow them carefully, you should make it work in no time. More so, if you connect to a SmartVPN server, you’ll receive the DNS proxy functionality as well, without additional configuration.
They provide you with a fully-functional 14-day trial. More so, their subscription plans are cheap and accessible for a wide range of users.
Smart DNS Proxy can unlock a huge range of content, geo-restricted or not so that you can enjoy it no matter what your current location might be. TOR and torrenting are also supported, and they provide you with dedicated torrenting servers, as well.
Their customer support consists of a live chat, an email support system and a knowledge base. They get back to you pretty quick and their responses are friendly and overall helpful.
Do we recommend it? No. Its VPN service is weak and their logging policy is not clear. More so, they keep mentioning the fact that using the service in an unlawful manner will get your account suspended, and learning about unlawful behaviour usually takes heavy monitoring, so we’re going to pass on this one. However, if you just want it for its DNS proxy capabilities (unlocking geo-restricted content), we wholeheartedly recommend it.
+ Unlocks wide range of content; (5)
+ Cheap subscription; (4)
+ 14-day trial; (5)
– Unclear logging policy; (0)
– Weak VPN service; (1)
– Slow speeds; (0)
– Unstable connections; (0)
We grant Smart DNS Proxy a 2.14/5 rating.