Unlocator Review Performance – A Smart DNS Proxy Tested

Unlocator is a Smart DNS Proxy. Basically it allows you to unblock content that is locked in your location. For example BBC Iplayer, American Netflix, Canal Plus and the likes. In this performance test I will look at DNS speed numbers of Unlocator, Google DNS, OpenDNS, DynDNS , Ultra DNS and two of Unlocator’s competitors.
Unlocator Smart DNS Performance Review
Unlocator Smart DNS Performance Review

 

Unlocator Performance Review – The Basics

Smart DNS Proxies are in essence DNS servers with a twist. So regardless of their magic in unblocking Netflix and the likes. A Smart DNS provider still has to resolve DNS queries, and it has to do it fast and reliably. Otherwise, all of your Internet activities will suffer as probably most of your Internet and WWW request will start with a DNS request. See the illustration below :

how-dns-works

The steps taken each time you do a DNS request are :

  1. You ask your DNS server for the IP of a hostname “Google.com”
  2. The DNS server checks it’s cache
    1. If hostname is in cache it returns cached answer
    2. If hostname is not in cache it gets the result and returns answer
  3. Now your system does have the IP of Google.com and it can send the search request.

So in essence, unless you actually transform a hostname to an IP you are stuck. That is why speed of DNS is essential to the speed of your Internet experience.

To do this test I did use a utility called namebenchQuoting the namebench site “It hunts down the fastest DNS servers available for your computer to use. namebench runs a fair and thorough benchmark using your web browser history, tcpdump output, or standardized datasets in order to provide an individualized recommendation.

Finally, I did do this test from Denmark, results might vary from other global locations, but I guess for all of Europe the results should be similar.

Unlocator Performance Reviews – The contenders

OK, so now that we know why DNS speed is important, and we have the tool needed. It is time to find other DNS providers to test against. Otherwise, the results are meaningless. So, please see below the other DNS servers in this test.

  • Google DNS 8.8.8.8
  • Google DNS -2 8.8.4.4
  • Unlocator DNS 185.37.37.37
  • OpenDNS 208.67.220.220
  • OpenDNS-2 208.67.222.222
  • UltraDNS 156.154.71.1
  • UltraDNS-2 156.154.70.1
  • DynGuide  216.146.35.35
  • DynGuide-2 216.146.36.36
  • Unotelly DNS 46.16.234.83
  • Unblock-US DNS 208.122.23.23

So as you can see, I did only choose the best of the best for this test. And I got to say I was surprised by the results. It does seem that the Unlocator guys are running a pretty tight operation.

Unlocator Performance Review – The results

Average DNS Response Duration

DNS Average Response Duration - Unlocator Peformance Review
DNS Average Response Duration – Unlocator Peformance Review

This result shows the average response times. Unlocator comes in first before Google DNS and OpenDNS at 90ms.

DNS Response Distribution Chart

DNS Response Distribution Chart - Unlocator Peformance Review
DNS Response Distribution Chart – Unlocator Peformance Review

This graph shows the percentage of DNS queries below 200ms, Unlocator comes first at 80% of queries below 40ms.

Namebench DNS Recommendation

Namebench DNS server recommendation - Unlocator Peformance Review
Namebench DNS server recommendation – Unlocator Peformance Review

Namebench does provide a recommendation of what DNS to use once it finishes the result. As per namebench the DNS servers to use are Unlocator’s DNS server first and foremost.

Unlocator Performance Review – Conclusion

It is not easy pulling of a working Smart DNS Proxy, but beating Google DNS in terms of speed is definitely a big achievement by Unlocator worth noting. So combining American Netflix with top speed DNS is unbeatable ! If you want to try out Unlocator head to their site and signup for a free 7 day trial. They currently sport 125 different channels on most available devices “ipad, iphone, ipod, Android, Apple TV, Smart TVs, Roku, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii, WD TV, PS Vita and so on“online. See Video and Picture guides for setup here.

If you do the same test above from a different locations and would like to share your result please do contact me using the comment box below.

66 thoughts on “Unlocator Review Performance – A Smart DNS Proxy Tested”

  1. I’ve just signed up to Unlocator, it worked fine on the free trial, but now I’ve signed up – it is very slow downloading content and won’t let me download from BBC Iplayer. Any ideas?

  2. Brian McCreery

    Unfortunately Unlocator is having more and more problems with the BBC. It has been great for me for several years but I’m wondering, am I going to have to look for another answer, if there is one. iplayer has been very temperamental and although the service response by the Company has always been superb, they seem to be trying to climb a mountain at the moment, with browser issues regarding the whole BBC site

  3. Morgan Smitherman

    Ok so i didnt really know what i was doing and i used a free trial dns proxy. Well the trial is up in 24 hours. Will my service with my internet provider be interuppted? Help???!

    1. Hi Morgan. No, your Internet service will not be affected. Simply remove the Smart DNS proxy DNS addresses you have setup and either use your ISP’s DNS server addresses or Google DNS (8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4) instead.

    1. Hey Jay. I don’t think that’s possible. If your ISP is using DNS hijacking, you can check the Intercept DNS port 53 checkbox on your Tomato Router. All traffic will be then directed to the DNS servers you have configured on your router.

  4. Well I been using unlocator for the past few years now, had some issues but most where solved quite quickly. The service solves most of the geo blocked content. I do have some buffering issues with UK content (bbc iplayer, bt sport) and I am currently testing of its due to the unlocator dns service or due to isp issues.

  5. I run OpenDNS at the router level for managing parental controls. Using this DNS service at the device level does not work. Nothing loads and I cannot unblock/allow an IP using OpenDNS. Any suggestions?

  6. I was so excited when I was able to watch blacked-out baseball on opening day by using Unlocator to change the DNS’s on my Hitron router . . . until it knocked my router offline. The router lit up normally, but there was no signal to be found–the customer service person I called was stumped, as was the service person they sent to my home the next day. My provider ended up replacing the router. Then I tried a different service: Unlocate-us. Even worse: messed up the router again–and this time, I couldn’t even pick up a wireless signal on my phone. Had to create an expensive hotspot to get back online and figure out how to reset my router. I’m back online, but now afraid to try Smart DNS again. Is there a reason this keeps happening, and if so, a way to overcome the problem? Unless I solve it, I won’t be able to see my favorite team play for less than $200/month. :-(

    1. Hi Susan. What you are experiencing does seem weird indeed. There are two options I can suggest in this case: Either setup the DNS directly on your streaming device if possible, or connect a secondary router to your Hitron router and setup the DNS on the secondary router.

      1. Thank you so much for your prompt response! Unfortunately, I have to change the DNS in my router if I want to watch the games on t.v. via my Roku (I should have mentioned that in my original post). I’d also considered setting up a secondary router, so I’m glad you suggested it. :-) I’ve never done anything like that before; do you have any recommendations as to the best type of router? I have an older Linksys wireless broadband router. Would it be possible to use this, or better to buy something new? If I did use it, would I connect the routers together via the Ethernet ports? Thanks!

        1. Hi. That Linksys router should, in theory, do the job. You have to connect the Linksys router’s WAN Port to your router’s LAN port using an Ethernet Cable. Once done, setup the DNS on the Linksys router and connect the Roku to it.

  7. Hello, I use unlocator dns settings on my Xbox one in the Netherlands. Netflix USA works well however bbc iplayer is always buffering?

    1. Hi Paul. There seems to have been an issue with BBC iPlayer on Xbox One that has been rectified since. If you are still facing issues, I suggest getting in touch with Unlocator support so they can fix it for you.

  8. Hi,

    I am using unlocator (and DNS 185.37.37.37) from Australia to access US and UK netflix via an apple tv. I have no problems accessing US netflix and quality is great. However when I access UK netflix I have a lot of buffering and quality issues. Do you have any advice / solutions?

  9. I have unotelly and all of the sudden couldn’t watch Amazon Prime . So I started free trial with unlocator and same thing. Amazon prime instant video detects I’m not in USA

  10. Hi Ali, thank you for your answer. However can you please be more specific? I would like to use VPN or DNS. Although I believe VPN could be less complicated and less difficult to mess with. Can you answer directly please, if this would create problems with my current Internet provider Centurylink? such as, not having internet at all? or is DNS/VPN a completely diffent route set up from centurylink set up? So far I have set up VPN in my smartphone and gpad and the unlocate connection works, but TSN/CBC applications really crashes all the time and there is not way to watch TV stream live unless you subscribe and I don’t know if they would allow to subscribe when they will see I don’t live there. Maybe I will give it a try from my PC through VPN, maybe the connection will be better? but scared to mess up the settings and stuck with no internet at all in the end. Then will have to contact my service provider to fix it and that won’t be good…. I am in the US and would like to access Canada TSN or CBC but their apps do not work good on smart phone or gpad. and if I go to their sites they require a subscription which in the end they would probably will want a physical local address to register sooooo? not sure if this is all worth but I am running out of 7 day trial. Thank you in advance and appreciate ahead of time with all the advice you can provide.

    1. Changing your DNS settings should be safe… unless your ISP, CenturyLink, has some specific rules against their customers doing such a thing and explicitly blocks it.

      My recommendation is the same as Isso Jawad: write down the current settings, make the change and see if it works. If not, change the settings back.

      1. ok it worked – thanks. now when i go to TNS canada chanel will need a susbscrition to their channel, which i have no problem, except will ask a canadian address to subscribe?? how do u subscribe when I am in the US?? it is nice to unlock the channel but if they won’t let me subscribe to a paid channel…then what do I do? their app do not work in phones/ smartphones much less in an gpad…please help!

  11. ok this is going to sound a very silly question so never mind, because I hardly know much about serves, names, pcs , etc….so please be patient with me. Before trying to mess up with my PC and router/VPN etc. I have a question. I use Centurylink as a internet provider. If I were to try to install either the DNS in my router or the VPN in my PC or other device, is this going to cause me a nightmare with centurylink? my current service provider? I mean since they are who I have the account for my cellphones, internet, Direct TV, is this going to make a mess? and not be able to have internet at all? or is it DNS a completely apart set up that will not affect at all my current server provider? or maybe is it safer to just do VPN set up to start and then maybe later DNS? thank you :)

    1. Hi. Whenever you make changes to your network settings, it’s always safer to take screenshots of your initial settings so that you can reset everything back to how it was in case you run into issues. Both VPN and Smart DNS are viable options. It all depends on what you want to achieve using either method.

  12. Hi, I’m in the UK and wish to watch American TV via my Alple TV using DNS. I watched the Unlocator tutorial video which makes it look very simple but, do I need to create a new Apple id account with an American address and an American credit card or does that just apply to VPN? Bit confused.

      1. Yes , I can do it also but restarting the roku and reentering your ssid password and changing the dns settings can be time consuming?

  13. I changed my router to get us stations on roku 3. The only problem is any other wi-Fi device I use in the house will also get us stations I only want the roku to get us stations and have everything else show canada. Possible or not?

    1. You just need to set up specific DNS on the equipment that you don’t want to get the US service, for the example on my router i have the DNS from unlocator but on my phone i have the google DNS servers and thar works for me.

      1. Roku 3 doesn’t allow you to change its DNS settings so you need to change the settings in the router it connects through. I had an old router sitting unused on the shelf and added it to my network exclusively for the Roku, and changed its DNS settings to point to Unlocator.

  14. Eighties Dude (@HootyHaHa)

    Will this help with ABC? The site requires you to sign on with your cable provider. I do so and it accepts it. But then the player constantly gives a 400-1 Error message. This happens on every browser I use, the cache is cleared, there are no blockers on any of the browsers. Im certain it’s a problem with the abc site and they don’t realize it’s on their end.

  15. Hello,

    I am noticing some websites not coming up since I blocked google DNS in my router. I put in the unlocator IP’s in my resolv.conf file on my linux computer also.

    http://www.cocoalife.org/ does not come up and some others.

    Is this normal or should I remove the unlocator IP’s from my computer and use another for DNS? I can’t watch any video from netflix on the computer because it’s Linux anyway. Not sure about Amazon Prime Video as I haven’t tried it yet.

    Thanks.

  16. Hi,
    I’m located in Australia. I just subscribed to the 7 day free trial of ‘Unlocator‘, and I changed the DNS settings on the computer (Win xp) as per instruction, including a re-start.
    I seems to work only with some sites? I tried ‘netflix.com’ and it worked fine, but when I type in ‘google.com’ I get ‘google.com.au’? when I go to ‘find my location’ I’m found on google maps??
    my main reason to what to appear to be in an other country is that some ‘.com.au’ site offer cheaper prices to tourists from overseas. Do I need something other than ‘Unlocator‘ (maybe VPN) to archive that??

    Thanks

  17. Roku 3 makes you change the dns on the router itself. Some routers do not allow you to change the dns.. Hence the Roku 3 is of no value for you.
    Before you sign up for anything, make sure you can change the dns on your
    existing router.

  18. Thank you coach @Alinux for such an amazing tech review about Unlocator Smart DNS. Since 3 months ago I have been texting few SmartDNS provider in a daily bases and practices to see which one tel the truth about the Speed connection as I have 50mbps which helps you to watch 4K streaming content. If you ask me how did you measure that? My answer would be, Netflix has few episodes of 4K test that tells the Stream Resolution along with the speed. The SmartDNS provider that reaches 4K in no time is Unlocator.

  19. Is it worth using unlocator as a DNS even if I don’t want to make use of the smart facilities such as accessing US Netflix etc.?

    1. I dont think it is a good idea, given that if you do use the Unlocator servers without a valid subscription you will get an error each time you hit their servers for a geo unblocked URL. This includes some Google URLs as well, in that sense you might and up with better DNS speed but a few broken services.

  20. On the Unlocator website they don’t seem to list Netflix as one of the channels that can be accessed.
    Am I missing something?

  21. hi. I was using Unlocator successfully to use Netflix in Australia but it has suddenly stopped working. The DNS settings are not changed, but Unlocator says the DNS setup is not set up correctly. Any clues.

      1. Netflix are getting tricky about this and are adding geolocation DNS servers to netflix. To get around it you have to block some well known dns servers (googles at 8.8.8.8 is one)

        1. Actually Netflix replied officially and said that they only do the Google DNS thing so that they can gather market related info.

  22. Hi there, we live in Abu Dhabi in the UAE and find that our VPN is slow when we want to access UK and US tv. We have an apple tv box as well as a smart tv. Can you suggest a DNS proxy server that will get through Etisalat the ISP here as we have no access to the router as staying in a serviced apartment.

    Thanks
    Ron

    1. Hi
      In serviced apartments it is a bit tricky, as they are likely to use an internal proxy apart from the UAE proxies, but you could still setup a VPN router in the appartment

  23. Hello, I am using Unlocator service (with US region setting) with a Roku 3 as I live outside US (Bermuda) . It’s working great but I would like to also stream UK channels like BBC iplayer without losing my US channels (don’t want to change region setting to UK). Someone mentioned I can keep my region set to US and access BBC iplayer through PLEX. Is that a possible or a viable option?

      1. Yes, I tried it and it worked, however it buffers alot and so the transmission is intermittent. Maybe I need more bandwidth or need to change some setting somewhere.

  24. hello, what is the risk for private data such as web banking when using this system? If I understand correctly all traffic is redirected to Unlocator servers?

    thx

    Tom

    1. Hi Tom
      Actually traffic using decent DNS proxies in countries where there are laws regarding user privacy is quite safe. A good DNS proxy would only proxy a really tiny amount of traffic, I.e. the geo related bits and parts. You can test this by pinging the URL in question before and after you use the DNS proxy and see if you can spot any differences, if there are no differences then the Smart DNS is not redirecting that traffic. If there is a difference it might be that the DNS proxy is redirecting that piece of traffic.

    2. Hello Tom, good question. It is no more a threat than your ISPs DNS been hijacked thus why guys like openDNS came to be. Sharing your concern I just configured my smart TV and Media centre to use these DNS services, my iPad is using my isp’s DNS

  25. Pingback: How to get USA American Channels on Roku - VPN or DNS ? | The VPN Guru

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