What is Smart DNS?

Smart DNS is a service for bypassing online restrictions and blocks. It doesn’t change your IP and doesn’t encrypt your connection like VPN but offers better speed when watching video content. It's available on almost any device and it allows you to access websites from different regions at the same time without having to change any settings.

How does Smart DNS work?

By changing your DNS settings to match our Smart DNS servers. This way we can reroute your data. This technology will not change your IP.

Does Smart DNS affect my speed?

This is one of the beauties of this technology: it almost does not affect your speed.

Will my connection be encrypted?

No, with Smart DNS all data is sent directly to your device and is not encrypted (unless you are visiting an https site).

Will my IP be hidden/changed?

No. Smart DNS does not change or hide your IP.

How many devices can I use simultaneously with my Smart DNS service?

You can use as many devices as you want as long as they are in the same network and have the same external IP.

What is a Transparent HTTP proxy and what is a Transparent DNS Proxy?

You might not know it but your ISP might be “proxying” all your web/http traffic through their own transparent proxies.

Transparent HTTP proxy
Transparent proxying (also known as interception proxying/caching) is gaining popularity with more and more ISPs. With transparent HTTP proxy, the user wouldn’t need to specify any proxy details to his browser or anywhere else – all web HTTP traffic will be always forced to go through the proxy server. It involves intercepting packets that normally would go directly to web servers, and redirecting them to go through their proxy servers and then to the web servers.

Transparent DNS proxy
Some ISP’s are now using a technology called ‘Transparent DNS proxy’. Using this technology, they will intercept all DNS lookup requests (TCP/UDP port 53) and transparently proxy the results. This effectively forces you to use their DNS addresses and you are not able to change them.

What is Dynamic DNS (DDNS) and why I should use it with my Smart DNS service?

To say it very simple: Dynamic DNS (DDNS) is a method of automatically validate your IP address. This helps if your ISP changes your IP often. To use this "hack" you will need an active DDNS service and a router.

To set up a Dynamic DNS on your router follow this tutorial:

  1. To be able to validate your IP address via Dynamic DNS with our service you should have your dynamic DNS hostname first. If you don’t have one already, you’ll have to register an account with a Dynamic DNS provider. Activate the host before you configure it on the router.
  2. Set the DDNS on your router. You should have instructions from your Dynamic DNS provider.
  3. Sign in to your account on CactusVPN website.
  4. Go to Settings -> Dynamic DNS Settings.
  5. In the “Hostname” enter your dynamic DNS host-name (we will check if this is not used already) and click the "Update" button.
Why you ask me to validate my IP very often?

You have to validate your IP every time it's changed. This can happen when you change your location or your ISP is providing you a dynamic IP.

  1. If you are using Smart DNS services with the CactusVPN Software, you can set it to validate your IP automatically. In the Settings tab, set an time option under the section "Update IP every".

  2. You can validate your IP address from your account -> Settings -> Validate Your IP Address, by clicking the "Validate IP" button.

    Or you can validate it by accessing the "Validate IP" Link, which you can bookmark and open in every time to validate your IP address.

  3. If you set up the Smart DNS service on a DD-WRT router, please follow this tutorial.
Can I use Smart DNS and VPN simultaneously?

You cannot use both VPN and the Smart DNS service at the same time as they conflict with each other.

In case you are connected to VPN and the VPN connection is set up with the Smart DNS service, the Smart DNS service will work, but the downside of this is that the validated IP address will be the IP from the VPN server. That means that it is very likely that other users will have the same IP validated at the same time and this will conflict with the website region set up by the user. In other words, the chances are low that the selected website region will be the one to load with your Smart DNS connection.

On the other hand, if you have your device/network set up with Smart DNS and then you connect to VPN on this device or network, the VPN connection will ignore the DNS addresses you have set up on your device/network. Also, the VPN encryption will affect the speed of the internet connection and you will lose the biggest advantage of using Smart DNS.

There is only one case when it is practical to use both services at the same time. Let's say that you want all the devices in your house/office to use the Smart DNS service but also you require some of the devices to be connected to VPN. In this case the best option is to set up our DNS addresses on your router and to have the devices that require a VPN connection connected to the VPN separately.

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