VPNs are powerful tools. They allow you to browse the internet anonymously, they bolster your internet security, and they can bypass the region locks on country specific websites like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, and more. Not everyone needs these features, though. While the additional security and increased privacy are powerful features, they’re not useful for users who only want to access region locked websites. For these users, a DNS unblocking service might be a much better choice.
This article will take a look at Unblock-US, one of the most popular DNS unblocking solutions currently available.
How DNS Unblocking Services Work
Warning: This explanation is fairly technical in nature. Skip to the next sections to learn the pros and cons of DNS unblockers versus VPNs.
When you type a website address into your internet browser, the browser contacts a special system known as the ‘Domain Name System’ (DNS for short) and uses it to learn the “IP address” of the server hosting the website. The browser then uses this IP address to locate the server and ask it if it can access the website contained on its hard drive. At this point, the server will carry out a number of checks to see whether the browser should be able to access the website or not. If the browser passes all the server’s checks, the website will start downloading.
The servers hosting region locked websites like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer check the location of the person using the browser as part of their checks. If the person lives in a country where the website is not supported, the server blocks the website from being downloaded by the browser.
How a VPN Does the Trick
VPNs are able to bypass these checks by tricking the server hosting the region locked website into thinking that you are accessing it from a country where the website is supported.
When you use a VPN, a server in another country acts as an intermediary. When you type an internet address into your browser, your browser tells the VPN server to download the website. The VPN server will then download the website and pass it through to your browser. Since the VPN server is downloading the website instead of your browser, the server hosting the region locked website you wish to access will carry out the region checks on the VPN server rather than your browser. If the VPN is able to pass these region checks, the website will load.
How DNS Unblocking Services Counter Region Blocking
DNS unblockers work in a slightly different way. After switching your regular internet DNS service to Unblock-US, Unblock-US will act as your DNS service. This means that, when you enter a website address into your internet browser, your browser will consult Unblock-US to find the IP address of the server hosting the website. Instead of supplying the IP address of a server that will carry out a region check on your browser, Unblock-US will supply the IP address of a server that will not carry out a region check. By doing so, you’ll be able to access region locked websites with ease.
Advantages of Unblock-US over VPNs
Unblock-US’ DNS unblocking service has a number of benefits over VPNs. They include;
Even the fastest VPNs carry a small speed penalty. While this penalty is normally unnoticeable when browsing the internet or checking emails, it can usually be felt when streaming video and downloading files. Unblock-US does not slow down your internet connection at all. As such, region blocked websites will load incredibly quickly.
No data caps
Some VPN services have strict quotas on the amount of data that can be downloaded and/or uploaded through the service. Since Unblock-US uses your own internet connection to download data, it does not have any data caps.
Easier to set up
While it is easier today to set up a VPN than ever before, it still requires a fairly technical mind. Unblock-US is much easier to set up than a VPN.
Works on 99.9% of internet connected devices
Virtually every internet connected device can be easily set up to work with Unblock-US. Some of these devices may be incompatible with VPNs.
No need to change settings for each individual region locked website
With a VPN, you always need to make sure that you’re connected to a VPN that is located in a country that is able to access a region locked website. For example, if you want to connect to the BBC iPlayer service, you’ll need to connect to a VPN located in the UK. Then, if you wanted to access Hulu, you’d need to switch to a VPN located in the US. This can be a fiddly, time consuming, annoying process.
Unblock-US works transparently in the background. If you want to access the BBC iPlayer website, you simply type the BBC iPlayer website address into your browser and Unblock-US will handle the rest. If you then wanted to access Hulu, all you have to do is type the Hulu address into your browser and Unblock-US will grant you access without you having to change any settings.
Once you’ve set up Unblock-US on your internet-connected devices, you won’t need to tweak the settings or change the setup at all. It just works.
No software to install
Some VPN services require you to install extra software onto your computer so that you can access their service. This is not the case with Unblock-US. You’ll be able to easily set the service up using the setup guides on the Unblock-US website.
Cheaper than most VPN services
Unblock-US is designed to do a single job — bypass website region locks — and it does it incredibly well. Since the service is so specialized, it can be provided at a lower cost than a VPN.
Disadvantages of Unblock-US versus VPNs
While Unblock-US has a number of advantages over VPNs, it also has some disadvantages, too. These include;
No privacy protection
VPNs give you the ability to surf the internet anonymously without anybody tracking which websites you’re visiting or looking at. Unblock-US provides no privacy protection.
No increased security
VPNs act as an added layer of security between hackers and your computer. Unfortunately, because of the way Unblock-US works, it does not provide any extra protection against hackers.
Can only access region locked websites supported by Unblock-US
While Unblock-US has support for dozens of region locked websites, it does not have support for every region locked website on the internet. As such, less popular websites may not work correctly with Unblock-US. These websites will, however, work with a VPN.
Unblock-US is an excellent solution for users wanting to access region locked websites without incurring the speed penalties of a VPN. If you’re looking to purchase a service to bypass the region locks on websites like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and Netflix, make sure to consider Unblock-US.