If you’ve ever been away on holiday abroad and booted up your Netflix account, you may have noticed you receive an entirely different set of shows to what than you do when you’re at home. Or gone to a YouTube video only to be told it’s “not available in your country”. This is due to something known as ‘geo-blocking’. Where certain websites or content is ‘locked out’ depending on where you’re geographically located… Or rather where your computer’s IP address is geographically located…
The most common way to get around this has been to use one of the many free proxy server services out there, or a VPN service. These trick the site into thinking your computer is somewhere it’s not. However, proxy servers and VPNs can have a number of issues, such as being quite slow, unreliable or fiddly to set up, and can be blocked. This is where UnoDNS from UnoTelly steps in.
UnoDNS works by changing your primary and secondary Domain Name Servers (those are the bits in your internet settings that tell your computer where websites are), rather then bouncing your existing internet connection through someone else’s system, like you do with a proxy.
The nice thing about UnoDNS is it doesn’t ‘relocate’ your entire browsing experience. It only alters the location for certain media based geo-locking websites like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube or iPlayer – full list here. It always alters it to being local to that site. So, for example, using UnoDNS’s servers, if I visit Netflix or US streaming service Hulu, I appear to be in the US, however, if I go to the BBC iPlayer, I appear to be in the UK. And if I visit a site (such as geektown.co.uk) which isn’t covered by UnoDNS (as we have no desire to geo-block), it defaults to using Google’s free DNS servers (which are superfast in their own right). This means you don’t need to turn the service on and off, switching DNS’s back and forth, depending where you need to appear you’re located. You can just leave it running!
So… I know the first thought that comes to mind (and the first question I put to the company)…
Is UnoDNS legal?
The owners of UnoDNS say categorically, yes it is legal:
“In simple words, our service allows users to access services that are already free or paid but barred only due to nationality. On accessing paid content like Netflix, users will still have to subscribe to Netflix’s paid plan. And importantly, in cases where users are watching shows directly on rightful owners website (e.g. Hulu.com or Fox.com), they are contributing to the advertising revenue of the rightful owners.
They went on to say:
We have thousands of members, and Netflix actually love us because we are helping them to get members who otherwise won’t be paying for a Netflix account. A Netflix PR told one of our sources that during last year’s South America launch, CEO Reed Hastings is aware of usage of Netflix in South America even before the official launch by using services like UnoTelly.”
UnoDNS does not copy, download or host shows in anyway. It simply removes the geo-blocking, which is not illegal.
So, with that out of the way…
How easy is UnoDNS to set up?
Really REALLY easy!
1. Go to a page on the UnoDNS site and find the 2 DNS’s closest to you.
2. Change your DNS (by following a really good step-by-step guide on the website.)
3. Activate account.
That’s basically it to set up on PC, Mac or Linux! Really easy!
Additionally, because UnoDNS relies on DNS settings on the hardware rather than something like a browser plugin or altering the router, once it’s set up from a computer, you can use it on hardware which traditionally it would be hard to set up a proxy on – such as XBox, Ps3, phones, or even a Panasonic Smart TV! And if you want to leave devices on the original DNS so you can view Netflix UK on one computer, and Netflix US on another, that works too!
I tried setting up on a Mac first, and was online and watching US TV within 5 mins! I later ran through setting up on a PC, which took a little longer (more because of Windows than UnoDNS though!). Setup on a PS3 was slightly trickier, but still easy following the instructions.
Is it fast?
Yes! I’ve noticed absolutely no drop in speed between using Uno’s DNS’s and my original ISP’s DNS at all! US Netflix still loads at exactly the same speed as UK Netflix.
I’m hugely impressed with UnoDNS. Fast, reliable and really easy to set up. It’s cheap too! The cost for gold membership i was trialling is $4.99 (which is about £3.10 currently!) a month! So if you’re an American stuck in Blighty missing your NFL, or an Englishman in Australia missing the iPlayer (…or just want to access a different selection of Netflix shows…), UnoDNS is well worth a look!