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Smart DNS Proxy Review 2022 - Keep This in Mind Before Buying
Smart DNS Proxy claims to offer a 3-in-1 service that includes a proxy, a VPN, and a SmartVPN. In reality, I found out it really only offers 2 services — the proxy and the VPN. The proxy claims to give you fast access to 400+ sites and services (by rerouting only your traffic to those specific sites), but doesn’t provide any online privacy or the option to change your IP address. The VPN encrypts your traffic and masks your location, but slows your speeds.
The third service, the SmartVPN, is just a combination of the two. It offers all the features of the VPN, plus access to smart DNS servers designed to unblock specific streaming sites.
So far, so complicated. Smart DNS Proxy seems a very roundabout way of offering what lots of better VPNs give you in one simple app (and at a comparable price). I decided to test the entire range of services to see if I was missing something. Is this confusing service and its complicated setup worth the hassle? I don’t think so. Read on to find out why.
Both Smart DNS Proxy and its VPN allowed me to unblock lots of the streaming platforms I tested.
The service claims to be able to provide access to 400+ geo-restricted channels. In truth, this wasn’t quite right. Both the VPN and proxy allowed me to access some big streaming sites like Disney+ and HBO Max, but neither service could unblock Netflix.
Getting the proxy to work with certain sites is also complex in comparison to a traditional VPN. You have to manually install the proxy via your device settings, and then select which country you want to use to access which service. This can be done by individual platforms or by choosing a country for various “Channel Groups.”
This was frustrating when I wanted to access different streaming sites in different regions
If I wanted to change which region I used to unblock a streaming service, I had to go through and change all of these settings again. This was a bit annoying. The only benefit is that the proxy exclusively reroutes your traffic to your chosen streaming platforms. So you can access other sites and services as normal (using your real location and IP address) while you stream.
The VPN was a bit easier to use. I just chose a server country to unblock streaming sites in that region. The app also has Smart DNS servers optimized for certain platforms, as well as regular servers for accessing content in other countries.
Unblocks: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITV, and Peacock TV
Both Smart DNS Proxy and its VPN helped me unblock an impressive number of sites.
To access US-specific platforms, I set the servers to the United States for some of the channel groups. Accessing Hulu was super-easy despite the platform’s strict geo-blocks and VPN detection. HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ also worked on the first try.
Setting my Channel Group preferences to “United States” gave me access to the most content
I then set the server to the UK for the BBC channel group. This helped me unblock both BBC iPlayer and ITV Hub.
Out of curiosity, I also tested Smart DNS Proxy’s VPN app with BBC iPlayer. To my surprise, I could access my account with no issues.
Smart DNS Proxy’s VPN is decent at unblocking too
The SmartVPN’s US servers additionally helped me unblock platforms such as Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
Blocked By: Netflix
Netflix is the only platform I couldn’t access using Smart DNS Proxy or its VPN.
Since Smart DNS Proxy could unblock all other platforms I tested, I was curious what support would say. I reached out via live chat and the support agent confirmed that due to Netflix’ changes, Smart DNS can’t unblock any Netflix libraries at the moment but is working on a solution.
Their excuse seemed odd as I don’t have trouble unblocking Netflix with other VPNs like ExpressVPN
All in all, I was impressed by Smart DNS Proxy’s unblocking capabilities. Both the proxy and the VPN gave me access to a lot of my streaming accounts. However, it’s worth noting that the proxy on its own doesn’t give you any online privacy while you stream. Anyone can monitor or track what you do online, which could get you into trouble if you’re viewing content that’s blocked in your country.
The VPN does give you better security measures, but it slows you down by up to 50%.
Speeds — Decent Speeds, but Slow Over Long Distances
Smart DNS Proxy doesn’t provide any online security, so it won’t slow you down — but its VPN could.
Smart DNS Proxy does not change your internet speed as it does not encrypt your connection. It only redirects your traffic without changing your IP address. In fact, Smart DNS reroutes your normal geolocation data through a proxy server, making your IP look different only to some services and websites it has specifically marked. This does not affect your speeds.
The VPN reroutes and encrypts all your traffic, so a slight speed drop of around 10-20% is expected and normal.
Key speed metrics that you need to pay attention to include:
Download speed (measured in Mbps) refers to the speed at which data can be transferred from the internet to your device.
Upload speed (also measured in Mbps) refers to the speed at which data can be transferred from your device to the internet.
Ping (measured in milliseconds) is the time it takes for data to travel from your device to an internet server and back again. In contrast to download and upload speeds, you want this number to be lower (so you can get a response from sites and servers faster).
Before I began my tests, I checked my base connection for comparison. I got 49 Mbps download, 2.6 Mbps upload speed, and a ping of 10 ms.
The first server I tested was in the UK, which slowed me down by 6%. This is a great result, as I didn’t notice any differences with it connected. Servers in France and Germany had similar results, with ping standing at 51 ms. This should allow you to play multiplayer games with no lag.
46.03 Mbps (6% decrease)
1.72 Mbps (34% decrease)
45.33 Mbps (8% decrease)
2.12 Mbps (18% decrease)
45.80 Mbps (7% decrease)
1.87 Mbps (28% decrease)
43.54 Mbps (12% decrease)
1.33 Mbps (50% decrease)
On its Spain server, I experienced a 12% decrease in download speed (down to 43.54 Mbps) with ping of 61 ms. The upload speeds dropped by 50%, which can be an issue if you want to place a video call on a slower connection.
Its long-distance speeds were a lot better than I expected. On the US server I only experienced a 12% drop (similar to the Spanish server), but the ping increased to 124 ms. Unfortunately, this can be a problem for gaming, as you shouldn’t have more than 100 ms to play multiplayer shooters without lag.
43.98 Mbps (12% decrease)
1.19 Mbps (55% decrease)
41.54 Mbps (15% decrease)
1.19 Mbps (55% decrease)
38.06 Mbps (20% decrease)
0.19 Mbps (92% decrease)
44.29 Mbps (10% decrease)
1.22 Mbps (53% decrease)
25.71 Mbps (49% decrease)
0.39 Mbps (85% decrease)
26.02 Mbps (46% decrease)
0.48 Mbps (81% decrease)
36.25 Mbps (26% decrease)
0.43 Mbps (83% decrease)
Servers in UAE and Canada slowed me down to 44.29 Mbps and 41.54 Mbps, which allowed me to stream in HD without any lag or interruptions. Plus, the ping didn’t go over 200 ms.
The slowest servers were the ones in Japan and Singapore, where my speed dropped by up to 49%. While I didn’t feel a very big difference on my connection, it can pose a problem if your network is slower. Plus, the ping shot to 276 ms. However, these locations are over 9000 km away from my location, so it was understandable.
Most servers I tested were fast enough for streaming
Overall, I was impressed with SmartDNSProxy’s speeds. All the local servers and most long-distance servers allowed me to stream without lag. The ping was very high, but this is expected since a lot of the servers I tested were far away from my real location.
Are Smart DNS Proxy’s Speeds Fast Enough for Gaming? No
I wouldn’t recommend using Smart DNS Proxy or the VPN service for online games.
Gamers tend to use VPNs to either access geoblocked games and content, or to protect themselves against common cyberthreats like DDoS attacks. Since Smart Proxy DNS offers neither IP masking nor online security, it’s practically useless for gamers.
The VPN does offer you some security and IP masking, but the VPN servers made my ping so high that gaming was impossible. Good ping for online games is considered to be 100 ms or under. All but the closest servers I tested gave me ping of well over the desired range. The resulting lag and latency made gaming too frustrating.
Server Network — Small and Complicated to Choose From
Smart DNS Proxy has 400 servers. Some of the DNS and VPN server locations overlap, while other locations are exclusive to one or the other service. South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia are particularly poorly catered to by the proxy. The VPN servers offered a slightly better spread but can’t compare to the server networks of bigger and better services like ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.
Having such a small server network is undesirable as it often leads to overcrowding and connection slowdowns. It also means that you’re less likely to be able to find a server nearby to your real location — if you’re using the VPN, this can lead to poor speeds as well.
If you’re using the Smart DNS proxy, choosing and changing a server involves manual setup. It can even require a computer restart for the changes to take effect. This is obviously quite time-consuming and less than ideal. Proxy locations are in:
The US, Canada, Mexico
Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Turkey
India, Israel, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, UAE
Australia, New Zealand
On the VPN apps, changing a server is simple. You simply disconnect from your current server, pick a new location, then click connect. However, I also noticed that available servers vary depending on which device you’re using. For example, the Android app offers more server locations than the Windows app. But, on Windows, you can filter streaming or torrenting optimized servers. You’ll find VPN locations in:
The US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica
Brazil, Panama, Bolivia
South Africa, Egypt, Angola, Mozambique, Sudan
Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, Finland, Turkey, Russia
India, Israel, Kyrgyzstan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Vietnam, UAE, Saudi Arabia
Australia, New Zealand
That being said, all the servers I tested are reliable and connected within 10-20 seconds. The VPN also offers servers in locations you don’t see too often, such as Angola, Bolivia, Mozambique, Nepal, Panama, and Vietnam.
Smart DNS Proxy has no security or privacy measures — only its VPN offers protection.
Since the proxy is only designed to unblock specific sites, it doesn’t encrypt your traffic or protect you from hackers and snoops. If you want to safeguard your online privacy, you need to use one of the service’s VPN apps. These come with varied encryption levels, several protocols, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection.
The VPN’s website does not provide clear info on which protocols and encryption levels are available, so I reached out to support. The team told me that encryption levels vary depending on the protocol you use to establish a connection. You can choose from the following:
PPTP Protocol & AES-128-bit encryption. This protocol is one of the oldest available and not recommended. Because it is less secure, it is faster but it shouldn’t be used if privacy is your main concern.
L2TP Protocol & AES-256-bit encryption. The protocol itself is more secure than PPTP but needs to be paired with IPSec to work. It’s simple to set up and is supported by almost every operating system on PCs and mobile devices. It provides fast speeds and supports 256-bit encryption which is impossible to brute force.
IKEv2 Protocol & AES-256-bit encryption. It uses similar security as the L2TP protocol, is super-fast, and is more stable. The protocol is supported by even more operating systems and devices than L2TP, but works best with mobile devices thanks to its ability to auto-reconnect if you switch networks (e.g. from WiFi to cell signal).
IKEv1 Protocol. An older version of the IKEv2 protocol. Should be used on older devices that don't have IKEv2.
SSTP Protocol & 2048-bit encryption. A very secure protocol, but supported only on Windows. It’s simple to set up. Although it’s slower than PPTP and L2TP, it’s much safer thanks to the 2048-bit encryption.
OpenVPN Protocol & 2048-bit encryption. A strong and secure protocol that’s supported by almost every device. It can be slightly slower than other protocols, but is the most popular choice for VPNs thanks to its excellent security.
In the native Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS apps you can only use OpenVPN. If you want to use any other protocol(including the combinations above), you have to set it up manually. Although this seems limiting, I didn’t mind too much as I would always choose OpenVPN anyway.
There’s a kill switch too, but only for Windows and Android users. A kill switch is really important as it shuts down your connection to protect you from any data leaks in case your VPN malfunctions. It’s a disappointing loss if you’re an Apple user as you miss out on this additional layer of security. Plus, the kill switch isn’t automatically enabled so you have to remember to turn it on yourself.
Smart DNS Proxy’s VPN also offers leak protection. As the name implies, when the feature is turned on it will prevent any data leaks and keep your online activity safe and private. Again, this feature is off by default so make sure to toggle it on. I tested the VPN myself and didn’t detect any leaks, even when I forgot to toggle on the feature.
The VPN kept my real location and identity hidden
I also liked the Auto Launch and Auto Reconnect features. They ensure you’re protected by the VPN from the moment you start up your device, and reestablish the connection in case it drops.
Overall, Smart DNS Proxy’s VPN offers a good level of security, so I can recommend it.
Smart DNS Proxy does not provide privacy, but its VPN claims to have a no-logs policy.
According to the Contact Us page, the company is located in Turkey. The country is not part of the 5/9/14 Eyes alliance and doesn’t have data retention laws.
You can only torrent with the VPN, and it has dedicated P2P servers and unlimited bandwidth.
Much like gaming, Smart DNS Proxy can’t be used for safe torrenting as it's designed to unblock specific sites and services like TV channels and social networks. However, its VPN allows torrenting on all its servers and offers some that are optimized for the job.
In the Windows app, you can filter servers by type — making it easier to find the best ones for torrenting or streaming servers. Alternatively, you can manually set up a Socks5 proxy for uTorrent.
Since the service is located in Turkey and has a no-logs policy, torrenting with Smart DNS Proxy should be safe.
Does Smart DNS Proxy Work in China? Yes, but Only the VPN and Only with Windows
Smart DNS Proxy VPN works in China if you have a Windows device. The proxy service itself won’t work behind the Great Firewall.
There was no specific info about China on the website, so I emailed support. The representative explained that Smart DNS Proxy’s VPN works there, but only with the SSTP protocol — which is available only on Windows.
You can use it in China, but only on Windows
This is obviously very limiting. If you’re on any other kind of device, you won’t be able to use the VPN in China.
Smart DNS Proxy allows you to use the service on up to 5 devices simultaneously using one subscription.
While this is not a big number, it was enough to cover my personal devices.
Device Compatibility — Multi-Platform Support (But Only for the Proxy)
Smart DNS Proxy has excellent device compatibility. Because the proxy relies on manual setup, it can be used with computers, smartphones, SmartTVs, media players, consoles, and routers. The website also provides detailed setup guides for each device.
I could set up Smart DNS Proxy on almost any device
Smart DNS Proxy can be used with the following:
Computers: Windows 7, 8, 10, XP, Vista, Chromebook, macOS, Ubuntu
Mobile devices: Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod
Media boxes: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Boxee Box, Chromecast, Google TV, Ruku, WD TV Live Devices
SmartTVs: Hisense, LG Smart, Panasonic, Smasung, Sony, Toshiba
Consoles: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 5, PS Vita, Wii, Wii U, XBOX 360
Routers: TP-Link, Asus, Netgear, D-Link, Linksys, AVM Fritz Box, DD-WRT DNS, Apple Time Capsule, Airport Extreme, Asus Modem, Belkin, Tomato, 2Wire, Bell Aliant Speedstream, Actiontec R1000H.
However, native VPN app support is poor. The VPN only has native apps for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS — though it can be manually set up on Ubuntu, ChromeOS, AndroidTV, and routers. The native apps also only offer OpenVPN. Using any other protocol requires manual setup.
Set-Up & Installation — Complex Proxy, Easy VPN
Smart DNS Proxy offers 2 different services that need to be set up separately.
The Smart DNS Proxy service has a slightly more complicated setup process, though there are step-by-step instructions for each device. Setup requires manually changing the DNS settings on your device and you have to restart for the changes to take effect.
The DNS servers you pick do not define which channels and services you can unblock, so it’s best to pick ones closest to your real location to get the best speeds. Once they’re set up, you then have to select the additional proxy servers you want to use to unblock each streaming site and channel group.
Log in to your Smart DNS Proxy account to set up your preferences
This was the part of setting up I found most confusing. While I could set countries for some individual streaming sites, other “groups” only allowed me to choose one country — meaning I could only access one set of channels.
If I wanted to access a different set of channels, I had to change these settings each time
If you only ever want to access streaming sites from one region, this setup works quite well. You only have to configure your settings once. However, if you ever want to access a streaming site in different regions — i.e. switch between Netflix US and Netflix Canada to watch different shows — you have to repeatedly change your settings. This is time-consuming and much more complex than switching servers as you would with a VPN.
Setting up the Smart DNS Proxy VPN is simpler. Just download the app you need, click install, and start using the service. To sign in on Windows, you can use your email address or username. For all other apps — Android, macOS, and iOS — you need to sign in with the username provided by Smart DNS Proxy. This is available in your account, in the VPN section. There’s no way to change your username though.
All native VPN apps share the same simple and easy-to-use interface. Under the Smart DNS Proxy logo, you’ll find the “Click to choose server” option that opens the server list. After you choose a server, click Connect on the main screen.
The Smart DNS Proxy VPN apps have a simple interface
Settings are in the top-right corner, where you can choose an OpenVPN port, toggle features on and off, and change to dark mode. You can also see the logs the VPN keeps but you can’t turn that off or delete them.
Accepted payment methods are limited to major credit cards and PayPal. This is slightly disappointing since other services accept various alternative payment methods and cryptocurrencies.
Smart DNS Proxy offers 5 subscription plans to choose from: 1 month, 3 months, 12 months, 24 months, and a lifetime subscription. The monthly plan is the most expensive, and it’s pretty costly compared to other top-tier services. The lifetime plan gets you the service for $2.48/month but I don’t recommend buying it. Lifetime VPN subscriptions are nearly always a bad choice. Services very often deteriorate or even shut down over time — so you don’t get the value you’re sold.
All plans come with a 14-day free trial, which you can sign up for without handing over any payment details. Once you sign up, the plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it for 30 days. To cancel your subscription just contact support.
Overall, I was a bit shocked at the price tag of Smart DNS Proxy. It’s comparable to some of the best VPNs I’ve tested, despite offering worse security, fewer features, and a much less user-friendly experience.
Reliability & Support
Smart DNS Proxy offers good and reliable support.
You can contact the service via live 24/7 chat. If you don’t want to use the live chat option, you can contact the provider via the Contact Us page. There, you can leave your contact info and state your problem, or email directly at the displayed email address.
I contacted Smart DNS Proxy’s support via the messaging system and via live chat. My message was responded to in several hours. The live chat agents I talked to were helpful, provided me with answers, and sometimes even links to the resources related to my questions.
I got prompt answers to my questions
The website also has a support section that offers info on network updates and tips, Smart DNS Proxy Setup, VPN and Proxy Setup, Troubleshooting, and Billing & Affiliate. There you can find plenty of information about the services, solutions to some common problems, detailed setup guides, etc.
In the footer, there are links to Other Resources and More Information pages. These have links to blog posts, general information about watching specific channels, and Smart DNS Proxy-specific info.
Because of this, I highly recommend Smart DNS Proxy for its customer support.
Compare Smart DNS Proxy With The Top Alternative VPNs
Smart DNS Proxy is a proxy service that has attempted to move into the VPN market, without really capturing what’s useful about either. It’s very expensive for a proxy, and quite slow and limited for a VPN.
That being said, it did help me unblock an impressive number of streaming sites. If you’re only interested in unblocking TV shows and movies, Smart DNS Proxy might suit your needs — if you can be bothered with the complicated setup.
If online security and privacy are your main concern, the VPN does a decent job with a variety of protocols, IP and DNS leak protection, and a kill switch. The service also has a no-log policy and is located in a privacy-friendly country. But I’ve spent less on better VPNs that unblock content without complicated configuration and offer far more security features to keep you safe online.