Bye, Bye to Proxies – Welcome to Smart DNS
Now for many years, although the internet has been growing exponentially there has been a considerable increase in the amount of web content which has is not accessible to many millions of web users. The most common source of these restrictions has been ironically one of the most popular area on the internet – media sites.
A decade ago it was virtually unheard of to watch TV shows, films or concerts online, now it’s an everyday occurrence. Virtually every large media site streams a large amount of it’s content online – sites like Hulu. BBC iPlayer, HBO, ABC and NBC for example represent some of the most popular sites on the planet. In fact many TVs and entertainment devices now stream directly from the internet rather than using traditional broadcast signal or cable networks.
Unfortunately most of these sites are restricted based on your location. SO although Hulu is packed full of wonderful TV, film and videos – it is only accessible to those in the USA. If you’re not registered to a US based IP address then you’ll get blocked when you try and access . It’s the same on virtually every media broadcasters in the world who stream their content usually only to people based in their location.
For global broadcasters like Netflix it means a slightly different thing. You can access Netflix from both Europe and the USA, yet you won’t see the same things. In fact the US version of Netflix has many thousand more films and movies than all the European ones despite it costing about the same.
But of course, this is the internet and not the place where you’ll find everyone passively accepting such big business shenanigans. While web designers where implementing methods to detect IP address locations, the internet was full of people developing ways to circumvent these restrictions. Initially the technology was fairly straight forward and available – routing your internet connection through proxies and VPNs based in the required country would allow access to any web site that you needed.
However using these servers came at a cost, routing your internet connection particularly whilst streaming video could slow down everything significantly. Fast, paid servers were available if you could afford the subscription but you’d still need to switch from USA, UK to Canada etc depending on what you needed to view. It could become quite annoying although certain applications made switching fairly straight forward.
The newest innovation is something pretty much more advanced and it’s called Smart DNS, you can see it’s power here. The reason why it’s so advanced is that it doesn’t route your entire connection through some third party server, so you don’t need any client software, or complicated configuration. It only filters the part of the connection which identifies your location, after that you stream directly from the web server involved. So there’s little overhead to your internet connection and what’s more you don’t need to change it every time you need a different country – there’s more technical details here.