Smart DNS vs VPN: What is the Difference Between VPN and SmartDNS?

Smart DNS vs VPN: What is the Difference Between VPN and SmartDNS?

It is all but indisputable at this point that everyone needs a VPN. Either because of security or utility, we need a system to reach our favorite content without exposing our location or our devices to hackers and malicious software. But, sometimes we need our full internet speed, such as when streaming or gaming. At these times we are often willing to forgo our security just to get those few additional megabytes, so it may be a good idea to use a Smart DNS vs VPN.

Here we usually switch to the Smart Domain Name System or Smart DNS vs VPN connection, that will remove any restrictions from our IP address but do very little for our security.

Thankfully, there is a solution that combines the two systems. Premium VPN providers like Le VPN came up with a hybrid system that gives the security of a professional VPN and utility of the fastest SmartDNS, and called it HybridVPN.  In this article, we’ll compare the differences and uses of Smart DNS vs VPN vs HybridVPN.

Smart DNS vs VPN: What is the Difference Between VPN and SmartDNS?

What is a Smart DNS

Originally, a DNS was a way to translate domain names into IP addresses quickly. Most people today don’t even remember that once you needed to write in all of the technical information to access the domain, as you were talking to the computer.

Now, you can use human language to access all of your beloved content.

A Smart DNS is an advance to that system. Not only is it faster than its predecessor when it comes to access, but it also removes some information from your source IP address.

As dedicated binge-watchers might have noticed, this feature can be used to access some of the best video streaming services and their entire libraries.

Sadly, using a Smart DNS doesn’t conceal your home IP address provided by your ISP, but rather removes the location data computers associated with the address. If someone has access to your connection, such as through malware, they will be able to reverse-search your IP and find your location regardless.

Smart DNS vs VPN: Reasons Why We Use VPNs and Smart DNS Proxy Service

The ways we use our VPN varies greatly. Depending on your device, as much as on your age, gender, interests, and several other factors you may use your VPN just for basic protection, or for a wide variety of reasons, from business to communication, to simply entertainment.

These uses require different internet speeds, and may even suffer from high ping value.

Also, there are a lot of users that use several devices at the same time, and for different purposes. You might be waiting for your business files to download and decided to chat with your friends a bit on your phone.

Finally, those who use their desktop or laptop might be doing two or more different things on a singular device. You might be extending your screen and streaming a video on one screen while writing, browsing, or chatting on the other.

Using a VPN

Because of the increasing number of attacks on our cybersecurity, using a VPN has become a necessity for any person going on the internet, regardless of the purpose.

Additionally, it has been proven that using a free VPN, or a simple proxy connection is not only insufficient, but these services can often be the source of leaks and data thefts. On the other side, premium VPN providers like Le VPN have built up their reputation over the years as safe, reliable, and with a wide variety of additional features.

Although the majority of people using a VPN could be considered ‘’regular users’’, this category is all but simple. Regular use includes anyone from a business person connecting with their contact abroad, to regular surfing and using social media.

Whichever is your reason for being online, using a VPN will always be a baseline for your cybersecurity.

Remote Connection

This is probably the feature most associated with using a VPN. By running your connection through a secure server, your IP will be masked, and your location changed to that of the server.

Depending on your internet service provider (ISP), and the laws of the country in which that ISP operates, you might be locked out of significant parts of the internet. Although this will usually include political, religious, or adult content, there are also communication and social platforms that are banned or restricted in some countries. For example, here’s the list of top 25 websites only available in the US, and here’s the list of countries with Twitter censorship.

Finally, there are other ways how to use a VPN to improve your experience on the internet, which mostly stem from this single feature.

Increased Security

It is considered bad luck to call any cybersecurity system impenetrable, but a VPN is as close to it as possible.

The safety of your devices, and thus your identity, experienced while using a VPN come from a combination of features that work in unison to both hide your existence and protect your connection.

If you are using a premium VPN provider, your connection will be established through a military grade encryption tunnel, making it almost impossible for anyone to intercept your data.

The connection makes a safe line from your device to the VPN server, which is itself secured with layers upon layers of various security and protection protocols.

In all regular situations, the only way your device can be insecure when using a VPN is by you personally authorizing the download of any malware.

Invisible Home IP Address

You might have noticed that there are a lot of ‘’weasel words” like almost and virtually when we are talking about the security of VPN encryptions. This is because, technically, there is a processing power planet-wide that may break this code inside a month. Those processors are probably working on sending humans to Mars, but they do exist.

But, unless someone already knows your IP address, and has some other data on you, even the full processing power of NASA and Space X will not be enough, because they won’t be able to find you.

By hiding your IP address in the pool of hundreds or even thousands of others, even these searches will be scrambled, making it impossible to know who accessed these websites and content, and from where.

You can’t hack what you can’t see.

Higher Ping

Depending on your location, as well as the location of the server you are trying to connect to, you might experience a much higher ping than you would without using a VPN.

While your data is traveling literally at the speed of light, even this speed needs up to a sixteenth of a second to circumnavigate the globe, leaving you with a bit of a lag. This may be up to a third of a second (338ms) if you are trying to connect to a server that is on the other side of the Planet.

If you are browsing or watching movies online, this difference is generally unnoticeable, but it can pose a major challenge if you are gaming, especially for fighters and first-person shooters (FPS).

Using a Smart DNS vs VPN

Switching from a regular Domain Name System to a SmartDNS doesn’t actually increase your internet speed, but makes a better server prioritization and authorization. The Smart DNS works to increase the number of blocks you will receive at once and use the bandwidth you have more optimally. The DNS lookup will work directly against the main authoritative server, as to give you access to the page you want, and not the page your ISP wants you to see.

There are three reasons why you would want to use Smart DNS services or change your DNS settings to include the same features.

Most people use this type of DNS server to remove their geo-tagging information, enabling them to reach otherwise restricted content. Also, any streaming would load faster and connect to peers quicker, lowering any buffering time needed, even for high-resolution videos.

Finally, gamers usually use this service to lower their ping, making it more stable and never over 90ms, which is faster than a regular click rate of an average gamer.

Unfortunately, using a Smart DNS proxy on its own will not mask your home IP address and wouldn’t exchange it for the DNS address of the server you are connecting through.

Bypass Geo-Restrictions

Although it has the same result, a Smart DNS service has a different approach to bypassing restriction than a VPN.

When using a VPN, you connect to a secure server in another country directly, using that server’s internet connection as your own. If you want to watch YouTube or a US TV program as if you are in the US, you can just connect to a US-based server and surf freely and safely from there.

If you are using a DNS server, you are connecting to a domestic server first, which relays your connection to a DNS server in another country, unblocking websites and letting you access the streaming content available in that country.

Your VPN connection will automatically recognize when you are trying to access content pre-approved for SmartDNS. Because of this, you will still be able to access content from your Smart TV or Raspberry Pi in the same way as you would from any iOS or Android device. Additionally, both X Box and Play Station game consoles will connect without an issue.

Although Netflix is not supported by SmartDNS, many other video streaming services are, including Pandora.TV, Amazon Instant, ESPN, as well as HBO GO.

A Smart DNS vs VPN will not conceal your original IP address, but will just allow you to avoid your ISP’s domain naming system, and connect to another.

Faster Connection

As a SmartDNS connection doesn’t use another device’s bandwidth, your internet speed will only be dictated by the bandwidth provided by your ISP.

Although, if you are using a premium VPN provider, such as Le VPN, you wouldn’t see a visible difference in most services even with regular VPN service, there are some aspects in which only using a VPN wouldn’t provide you with adequate speeds.

Faster Streaming

The fact that you are connecting directly doesn’t just increase the speed, but the number of packets received as well. Faster traffic greatly influences the streaming of videos, music, as well as games.

This is especially important if you are trying to view your content over mobile devices as well as a Wi-Fi network. As the number of modems and servers increases, the number of packets will decrease, slowing your stream and increasing needed buffer times.

Works with All Devices

One of the best features when it comes to SmartDNS from Le VPN, is that the service works on virtually all devices without the need to configure the device itself.

For instance, if you want to watch Amazon Prime shows in the UK, you don’t need to dwell deep into your Smart TV settings to change the connection. If you have the service enabled, the app will simply be available as if you were connected through a British ISP.

The fact that the service works without changing anything with the device means that it will work with a wide variety of TV sets and gaming consoles. Even if you have an Apple Smart TV and a Samsung Smart TV, which have different operating systems, you will be able to view your content on both of them, at the same time if you like.

Finally, backward compatibility isn’t a problem. If you have the original X Box 360 that came over fourteen years ago, you will still be able to stream shows and other content.

For all intents and purposes, your devices will treat as they have teleported to another country, without the need for you to change the settings manually for each product.

Using HybridVPN by Le VPN

As premium VPN providers like Le VPN are not willing to let that streamer and gamer bread go to waste, they have developed the best of both worlds, a HybridVPN that uses both VPN safety and SmartDNS speed. Basically, they provide a free Smart DNS service on top of their VPN security.

This is done by creating a whitelist, letting the customer reach full speed through the Le VPN Smart DNS when accessing any of the supported channels, while their VPN is still active for all other purposes.

Increased Security

A HybridVPN has the same security as the regular VPN for any internet traffic that is not whitelisted. If you are working, browsing, or visiting social media, you will still be protected by the same protocols as you were before.

Being placed on the list of secured channels is not taken lightly, as only services that stream content without collecting additional data are considered.

HybridVPN will include on the SmartDNS whitelist both television and music streaming, such as ESPN or Spotify, but will exclude social media platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, which are unsafe to access without a VPN.

Increased Speed

To make this sort of service, Le VPN used a genius solution to use their existing VPN servers as DNS servers, forwarding information freely to and from websites and services that are considered secure.

The VPN turned DNS providers like Le VPN make a separate ‘’fast lane” that removes some of the checks usually caused by the server and sends all of the data directly to you.

As your first relay will still be a secured VPN server, this also applies to public Wi-Fi connections, allowing greater speeds while still shielding your device from snoopers.

No Geo-Restrictions

Both a virtual private network service and a Smart DNS provider will have this feature, but with a HybridVPN, it is both faster and more diverse.

For instance, Le VPN has servers in 100+ locations worldwide. All of these countries are accessible via a VPN for all content. But, for a selected number of countries, and a selected number of channels, you will be able to use a faster connection using a SmartDNS.

While this doesn’t apply to most countries, it does for the US and UK (as well as Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, and Singapore) which do have some of the best channels and streams for both TV shows, sports, as well as music.

Hidden IP

This is probably the biggest difference between a regular SmartDNS and a HybridVPN, as your IP will still be masked at higher speeds, which is not the case with a regular transparent DNS proxy connection.

For the whitelisted services, you will appear as the VPN server of the corresponding country, while for all others you will seem like the one from the VPN server you have selected. The dynamic DNS address has little influence on how you will experience these services but will mean a lot when it comes to your security.

Currently, there is only one scenario where this security feature will come in handy, and that is while playing MMORPG or MMOFPS games. In these games, other players can contact you and from your messages extract your original IP address.

While most people playing these games are good people, the sheer number of players means that at least one psycho is snooping for private data out there, eager to overplay their hand and try to assault your system.

Full Comparison of Smart DNS vs VPN vs HybridVPN by Le VPN

VPN SmartDNS HybridVPN
Internet traffic it applies to everything only to the whitelisted websites (SmartDNS list) everything
Faster streaming for the whitelisted websites (SmartDNS list) No Yes, may be faster than VPN Yes
Anonymous IP & remote connection Yes No Yes
Security of connection Yes No Yes
Bypass geo restrictions / unblock content Yes Only for the SmartDNS list Yes
Speed of connection (compared to the average speed of your ISP) same or lower or higher if there’s traffic limiting by ISP same same for the SmartDNS list;
same or lower or higher if there’s traffic limiting by ISP
Ping higher, but may be lower in some cases same higher, but may be lower in some cases
Recommended for streaming Yes (it may be as well used for streaming) Yes Yes
Recommended for security Yes No Yes
Recommended for privacy Yes No Yes
Used on desktops & laptops Yes Yes Yes
Used on mobile devices Yes Yes Yes
(if there’s is an OpenVPN app or DNS settings in VPN configuration of a mobile device)
Used on routers Yes Yes Yes
(if there’s is an OpenVPN support or DNS settings in VPN configuration of a router)
Used on smart TV Yes
(if VPN supported by that TV)
Yes Yes
(if VPN is supported by that TV and there’s OpenVPN support or DNS settings available for VPN configuration on TV)
Used on Amazon Firestick / Kodi Yes Yes Yes
(only via OpenVPN app)
Used on Apple TV No Yes No
Used on game consoles Yes Yes No
Used via Le VPN app for desktops & laptops Yes No Yes
Configured manually on desktops & laptops Yes (as well) Yes Yes
Used via Le VPN app on iOS & Android Yes No No
Configured manually on mobile devices Yes (as well) Yes Yes, if there is an OpenVPN app or DNS settings in VPN configuration of mobile device

Full Internet Potential

For a very long time, a discussion of cybersecurity was a question of safety over speed; so much so that people even avoided being safe online as to have access to their full bandwidth.

Thankfully, the answer to this question can now be simply answered by a little girl from the Old El Paso commercial: ‘’Why don’t we have both?’’

With HybridVPN, you can use the full potential of your internet and access everything, at all times, from all places, all of it while staying safe and sound from hackers, data thieves, and other malicious online entities.

With this service, you will be able to watch your favorite show and buy safely online from the same device, not noticing the difference in speed or utility. It is best to imagine it as a free DNS service that comes with your premium VPN account, so there’s no more hassle of picking between a Smart DNS vs VPN, it combines them both!


As the internet has become an integral part of our lives, ensuring our cybersecurity has become paramount.

Even if you are just a regular person without access to any sensitive data but your own, there are criminals and even unscrupulous companies who are more than willing to steal or collect your data and misuse it in various ways.

A good VPN is the backbone of your internet security, but shouldn’t be the only layer of defense you have. Always make sure that your operating system is up to date with all of the security protocols, and that you have an anti-virus and anti-spyware software activated at all times. Finally, you should always be prudent about how you share your personal data online.

Premium VPN providers like Le VPN include many features in their VPN plans, allowing you to pick the best option in the combination of Smart DNS vs VPN vs HybridVPN depending on your usage and on the type of hour Internet activities. The full list of features included in Le VPN plans can be found here.



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Written by Vuk Mujović @VukMujovic

Vuk Mujović is the founder of MacTíre Consulting, an analyst, data management expert, and a long-term writer on all things business & tech. He authored blogs, articles, and opinion pieces aimed to help both companies and individuals achieve growth without compromising their security. Vuk is a regular guest author to Le VPN Blog since January 2018, where he gives his expert opinion on the topics related to cybersecurity, privacy, online freedom, and personal data protection. He also often shares his tips and best practices in relation to internet security and digital safety of private individuals and small businesses, including some additional applications of using a VPN service.

Comments (2)

  • Logan

    Hi Le VPN
    Automatic connection to the VPN or smart DNS would be a real help. In Windows 10 the connection is laborious, how cool it would be if our machines connected automatically when turned on.
    It must be technically feasible?

    • Le VPN

      Hi John! An automatic connection on startup is already possible with Le VPN app for Windows! Plus, you can use our SmartDNS service through the app is well, for that you need to activate a HybridVPN connection in your app’s options. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our Support team if you need help figuring it out in the app!

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