TorGuard SmartDNS Review

TorGuard’s SmartDNS service is currently unavailable while they are renovating the servers.  They plan to be back online some time in April.  TorGuard has a SmartDNS service that will help you unblock geo-blocked content in the US and the UK.  Their service will let you watch some of your favorite TV series, original content, and new release movies from channels like Hulu Plus, Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, and many others.  You will have access to some of the best entertainment in the world from anywhere.  The TorGuard SmartDNS service works transparently behind the scenes so you will not observe any change in connection speeds when streaming media from content providers like Spotify.

TorGuard SmartDNS Review

TorGuard Free Trial

Although TorGuard does not have a free trial of their SmartDNS, they do offer a 7 day money back guarantee so you can test out their service.  This is a full 100% money-back guarantee with no limitations on connections.  There is however a 10GB download limit during the 7 day trial period.  So feel free to fully test their service.  Use it to watch some of your favorite movie from Netflix or stream part of a live sporting event that you can not attend.  You should fully test their complete service during this guarantee period to see if it will do everything that you might want to use it for but remember to not exceed the 10GB download limit.  As this is a guarantee and not a free trial, you must sign up for one of their paid packages.  They do sell SmartDNS as a separate service from their VPN, Proxy, and E-mail services.  They have one of the more reasonable guarantees in terms of number of test days of the Smart DNS providers that we have reviewed.  However,  we wish they would remove the 10 GB limit.

If you decide that the service is not right for your purposes or are unhappy with it for any reason during the guarantee period, you can request a full refund.   You should request a refund of your subscription fee within 7 days of the date of purchase.  Also as I mentioned above, you must not have exceeded the 10GB or more in download volume limit during the 7 day trial period  If you meet these 2 requirements, you will receive a full refund of your purchase price.  No refunds will be granted after the 7 day purchase window.  You will also have to cancel from within your billing area.  Also, any refunds for transactions using BitCoins will be assessed on the BitCoin exchange rate to USD at the time of the refund disbursement, and not at the time of the original transaction or refund request.

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Pricing and Special Offers

Like many providers we have reviewed, TorGuard offers a variety of services, including SmartDNS, VPN, proxy, and anonymous email. This review will mainly focus on their SmartDNS  service.  I will briefly mention that the difference between a Smart DNS service and a VPN is one word, encryption.  Simply put, VPN encrypts all of the data.  If online privacy is important to you, then you can visit our VPN Fan sister site to learn more.  If your goal is simply to access geo-restricted websites in the United States or the United Kingdom,  then their Smart DNS is a good choice.

As I stated previously, Torguard does have a stand alone SmartDNS service.  They offer package discounts that vary based on the length of the sign up term.  The packages include 1 month, quarterly, semi-annual, and yearly term plans.  The pricing starts at $5.95 for a 1 month plan with increasing discounts on longer term plans.  You can enjoy a full 12 months of their complete SmartDNS service for $46.95.  That works out to just $3.92 a month.   This makes them a better value if you sign up for their 12 month term package.

TorGuard SmartDNS Pricing

Torguard currently offers over 80 payment options.  They accept all forms of credit card, Visa, Amex, Mastercard, Discover, PayPal , Bitcoins, litecoins, Alipay, CashU, PaySafeCard, Gift Cards, and many others.

Torguard SmartDNS Payment

As I stated previously, you may cancel your subscription at anytime but no refunds will be granted after the 7 day purchase window closes. Additionally, your account will remain active for the remainder of your current billing cycle.  To cancel your service, you will first have to sign into the client area.  Then go to your billing area –> My Services –> View Details –> Management Actions.

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 How Does TorGuard Work?

It really does not matter if you are talking about TorGuard SmartDNS or another Smart DNS service,  it helps to know something about how the process works. These services primarily help to remove the geographic restrictions placed on content by streaming media providers .   They accomplish this by sending data (an IP address) to the site that you want to unblock that says you are located in a region or country that is not restricted.  This is a simplified version of the process but it gives you the main concept.  This allows you to enjoy different content that may not be available in your country from streaming media providers such as Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer as well as many others.   You can watch TV series, movies, original programs, and live events that you may otherwise not be able to see from your current location.  As an added bonus, you can see them from anywhere in the world.  As I briefly mentioned above, this differs from a VPN which adds privacy protection through encryption.  The encryption used by a VPN can slow down your connection and generally costs more.  This makes Smart DNS a better choice for anyone who does not need the online privacy and anonymity of a VPN connection.

Here’s an explanation of how the SmartDNS works taken directly from the TorGuard website.

TorGuard has engineered Smart DNS services to allow easy IP masking from anywhere in the world and from any device. This means you can enjoy and unblock your favorite TV shows just as if you were located within the US.  Overcome ISP censorship and bypass website blocks in restrictive countries, or access your favorite youtube videos while at work.

Unlike VPN service, Smart DNS does not require any software install and works on a variety devices that may not support traditional VPN service. Smart DNS works on almost any device including WiFi routers, Computers, Smartphones, Tablets, Roku, Apple TV, or even popular gaming systems like Playstation and Xbox.

In a minute, I will tell you about the variety of devices supported by the their service.  First, I want to mention that they have set up guides for devices that they support in their knowledgebase.  Once you sign up for one of their plans and your payment processor approves the payment, you will be emailed an activation email with complete instructions on how to get up and running.  Following the email instructions and logging into their site will allow you to access popular sites like Netflix, Hulu Plus, BBC iPlayer, and Amazon Instant Video from anywhere in the world.

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Supported Devices

TorGuard SmartDNS supports a wide range of devices: PC, Mac, Ubuntu, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, and Smart TVS.  They have a knowledgebase which contains setup guides and tips for using their service on many devices that they support.  Their knowledgebase page is easy to get to.  Just hover the mouse over “Support” in the main menu of the site and select “Knowledgebase” from the drop down list.  This page has a category for “smartDNS How-To’s which contains the categories for the Guides themselves.  It lists the devices in nine separate categories:  Android How To’s, Game Console How To’s ,HDTV Box How To’s, iOS How To’s, Linux How To’s, MAC How To’s , Router How To’s, Television How To’s, Windows How To’s.  It is well organized and easy to navigate which makes finding the guide you are looking for a lot faster.  Their guides are pretty straight forward and some are graphically illustrated to aid in configuring your device with their SmartDNS service. They mention that if their guides cannot help you setup  your device feel free to ask questions through their online chat service or call their 800 number.  Likely, if you have a device that allows DNS setup, they can support it.   Also, their service allows you to use five SmartDNS device connections simultaneously with a single account.

Torguard SmartDNS Devices

Here’s a list of supported devices:

  • Computer – Mac OSX, Linux, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP, Windows Vista
  • Mobile – iPad, iPhone, iPod, Android
  • Gaming – Sony PlayStation 3, Sony Playstation 4, Xbox One, Xbox 360,
  • Home – Samsung Smart TV, Apple TV, LG Smart TV, WD TV, Roku
  • Router – DD-WRT, WIFI Routers

As you can see they have support for routers using DD-WRT custom firmware.  As always, the key is being able to configure the DNS settings for whatever device you want to access streaming media with.  Making the change on your router can help you use the service with all the devices connected to it.   You can have five devices connected simultaneously to one account login.  This means with only one account, you could be watching an NBA game on your laptop, your child could be watching a movie on his iPad, another family member could be watching Netflix on Roku, and still others could be enjoying other streaming content, all at the same time.

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Channel Line-Up

What does TorGuard offer you?  They unblock channels in both the US and UK.  Watch anything just as if you were located within the USA or UK.  This includes programming like Netflix, BBC, Hulu, Spotifiy, Amazon Instant Video and others.


TorGuard SmartDNS Channels
Here’s a list of channels available through TorGuard SmartDNS:

Channels they unblock – Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, Hulu Plus, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport,  BBC iPlayer Radio, Pandora, VEVO,  Crackle, Amazon Instant Video US, Amazon Instant Video UK, Crunchyroll, NFL Game Pass, FX, ABC Family, Sky Sports, HBO Go US, Channel 4, Channel 5, ABC, ABC News, MTV, CBS, NBC, NBC Sports, FOX, MTV UK, Cartoon Network, Food Network, Disney,  PBS Video,  PBS Kids, Rhapsody, Bravo TV, USA Network, USA Now, Lifetime, Cinema Now, Blinkbox, Blinkbox Music, CWTV Now, VUDU, HGTV, TV Land, Blockbuster, Blockbuster OD, MOG, Slacker Radio, iHeart Radio, LoveFilm, SyFy, SyFy Now, Alles Kino, TNT Drama,, Oxygen, NOW TV,, Sky Go, NHL Vault, ESPN Player, ZUUS, NCAA March Madness,  Absolute Radio, Yahoo Screen, Beats Music, Fox Soccer 2 Go, Playlist, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Telemundo Now, TV Player, BT Sport, ITV, Discovery UK, , NOW TV, Comedy Central UK, Viki

Their SmartDNS service will let you watch US  and UK channel content not in your geographical region or country.  Some premium channels such as  Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video, and others will still require a paid subscription fee to access their content.

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TorGuard SmartDNS Speed Test

So, what can you expect from a service like TorGuard SmartDNS?   As I mentioned earlier the difference between a Smart DNS service and a VPN service is data encryption.  Smart DNS is an excellent choice if you want to unblock access to TV series, movies, and original content or live events that are geographically restricted by a streaming media provider.  For example, if you have a subscription and want to watch Netflix (US) or Amazon Prime Instant Video content from outside the United States then SmartDNS should be your first choice.  The same is true for watching BBC iPlayer or Now TV from outside the UK and many other channels.  If you need the extra layer of privacy protection offered by encrypting your connection then I would suggest you consider using their VPN service.  As I mentioned before, encrypting your data can slow down your connection and generally cost more.  So if all you want to do is watch your favorite blocked streaming media content, then use their SmartDNS feature to access it and disconnect from the VPN.  You will be happier with the results.  You can visit our VPN Fan site to learn more.  Put simply,  Smart DNS is a better choice if privacy is not a worry that you have.  It will help you unblock sites in other countries without the speed loss associated with using their VPN service.  I did not experience any speed loss using the TorGuard SmartDNS service.

TorGuard SmartDNS Review : Conclusion

Although TorGuards SmartDNS service is currently unavailable while they are renovating their servers, it is supposed to be back in service some time in April.  They offer a stand alone version of their SmartDNS service.  Because it works invisibly, you will not observe any noticeable difference in your internet connection speed by using their service.  Thus, the audio fidelity of the music you listen to or the visual acuity of the movies that you watch will be unaffected by using their service. Their SmartDNS will grant you access to geo-blocked content from streaming media providers in the US and the UK.  What you will notice is that you have access to a greater library of media content to choose from and that you can listen to popular music and watch your favorite shows from channels like Hulu Plus, Netflix US, Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Instant Video, and many others from anywhere in the world.

TorGuard has support for a large variety of different streaming media devices including PC, Mac, Linux, smartphones, game consoles, tablets, smart TVs and routers.  Additionally, they have  manual setup guides for many of the devices that they support.  They say that if their guides cannot help you setup  your device feel free to ask questions through their online chat service or call their 800 number.  Likely, if you have a device that allows DNS setup, they can support it.   Also, their service allows you to use five SmartDNS device connections simultaneously with a single account. They give you access to a fair library of channels for a reasonable price which makes them a good value for those that want to access channels in the US or UK that may be geo-blocked from their location.  Especially for those who sign up for 12 months of service.

As with any Smart DNS service I suggest you try out their SmartDNS for yourself. Sign up for one of their plans to take advantage of their 7 day guarantee and try out their service.  I suggest you watch HD content from channels in different areas of the world like Netflix in the US and BBC iPlayer in the UK.  Also, find a live event that you want to watch and stream it while you are testing out their service.  If you determine that their service fits your needs and decide to keep it, you will have unlimited SmartDNS access from just $3.92 a month.

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