Internet / Wireless Router FAQ: What is DNS? What are SmartDNS VPN Servers?

What is DNS and whyu it is important to know how to optimize your use of them?

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If you’ve ever used the Internet, it’s a highly likely that you’ve used a Domain Name System, or DNS, realizing it. DNS is a protocol within the TCP/IP protocol that uses a set of standards for how computers exchange data on the Internet and on many private networks.

The basic job of DNS is to convert a user-friendly domain name into an IP address that computers use to identify one another. Think of DNS like your cellphone contact list; you tap the name and the phone contacts to a phone number. Remember the good old days, when you actually had to remember people’s phone numbers and dial them from a house line? I still use a rotary phone for fun. Those were the days!

Users can always bypass a DNS lookup by entering a website’s actual IP address directly into a browser. However, you’re probably more likely to remember a catchy name, like than it’s digit based equivalent. A Web site’s IP address can change over time, so typing in the name will always get one to the site they are actually trying to visit.

Thanks to DNS, there is no need to maintain an address book of IP addresses. Instead, a connection is made through a Domain Name Server that maps a massive database that links domain names to their respective IP addresses.

After typing in a domain and and connecting, a browser on the computer or wireless device  shows the user what they are asking for. The proper term for this process is DNS name resolution.

Using SmartDNS Servers with Overplay VPN

Without DNS servers, the Internet would be quite difficult to navigate.  Yet, how does a computer know where to find these DNS Servers. Usually, when a device (laptop, iPad, iPhone etc) connects to a WiFi network, a home network, or an Internet service provider, a modem or router assigns the device a network address simultaneously supplying important network related instructions. Those instructions includes a list of at least one (but probably more) DNS servers.

If you use VPN service providers, you may be hearing about their new SmartDNS servers. SmartDNS differs from standard offering in a few ways.  This isn’t a VPN per se. It doesn’t encrypt traffic, everything still goes via your ISP so it does not slow down your connection. SmartDNS Servers are not for users who need the extra safety provided by the VPN. Rather, it is a “smart” way to get around local blocks while piggybacking onto your standard ISP.

By enabling the SmartDNS service on your OverPlay account and then performing the incredibly simple configuration change, you’ll instantly enable access to websites currently blocked at your office, school, or location.

With no software to install, it even works on connected devices – iPhones, iPads, Intenet HDTVs, AppleTVs, Roku or Boxee… and much more! Furthermore, if you make the simple configuration change on a DD-WRT Router, you’ll even benefit from the SmartDNS service on your entire network.

Sounds interesting, right but how much extra does this upgrade cost? Nothing for Overplay users. It’s included FREE as part of Overplay’s unbelievably priced $9.95 per month standard VPN service.

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