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Updated August 5, 2022

If you are new to the world of private networks, you may want to compare DNS vs VPN offerings. Some of the best VPNs, after all, are extremely similar to DNS plans. So what are the benefits of each type of service, and which is best for you and your home Internet? Keep reading to find out.


  • Virtual private networks (VPNs) and domain name servers (DNS proxy servers) are both good ways to get around geographic restrictions on the Internet.
  • A VPN server offers much better encryption during use, but by doing that, they tend to be on the slower side when making Internet connections.
  • A smart DNS service integrates with just about every device, as they work with routers, but they don’t offer much by way of increased privacy while partaking in online activity.

DNS Server vs VPN

DNS, also called Smart DNS or domain name servers, and virtual private networks (VPNs) both spoof your location to get around geographic restrictions, but they do this in very different ways, similar to when comparing an iCloud private relay vs a VPN. Simply put, VPNs encrypt the information on your network, and DNS servers route the information to different parts of the world to confuse would-be snoopers, just like when comparing IPsec and OpenVPN.

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If you want a clean video feed, the best option is to connect a high-quality camera to your laptop or computer.

Of course, you aren’t here for tech mumbo-jumbo, like comparing the IKEv2 vs the IKEv1. You are here to learn what these solutions offer for your specific setup, like when deciding between a free VPN vs a paid VPN. Here are how the differences between the two types break down in real-world scenarios.


Virtual private networks tend to be slower than adopting a DNS solution. VPNs have always been known to be a bit slow, as they encrypt everything you do as you do it. However, some paid VPNs amp up the speed, bringing them nearly in line with your average DNS. Still, if surfing speed is your number one priority, go with a DNS over a dedicated VPN. This data, however, is subject to change as virtual private networks advance.


If privacy is your number one concern when using the Internet, VPNs are the best bet. These systems are designed from the ground up to maximize privacy, with full encryption at every point of contact. Only the VPN provider knows your true IP address and related details. On the other hand, your average DNS is not designed with privacy in mind, so they tend to offer nothing by way of increased privacy technology.


VPNs only work with certain devices that allow for the installation of a VPN app. This means computers, some smartphones, some tablets, and a few other device types. A DNS, however, works with just about anything, as it works with the router and not your actual devices.

STAT: Smart DNS service replaces the DNS address provided by your ISP with one for a different DNS server. (source)


How do you troubleshoot smart DNS issues?

Troubleshoot by looking at your Internet connections, smart DNS proxies, and connection speed, and then updating the software.

How do you choose a smart DNS or VPN?

It truly depends on personal preference, as DNS proxy servers and a good virtual private network both bring efficiency to various online services, including online privacy and safer Internet traffic.

Is changing the DNS legal?

Yes, opting into a smart DNS service or proxy servers is absolutely legal, as changing your IP address is legal. Accessing geo-restricted content, however, may not be legal, so check on geo-blocked content ahead of time.
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