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Move To Mexico And Your Online World Will Never Be The Same

WHERE DID MY ONLINE SERVICES GO?

If you are an American ex-pat living outside the U.S. borders - or really if you are anyone who would like access to streaming music or video content currently only available in the U.S. (from site such as Pandora, Netflix, Spotify, Hulu, etc.) - then you have two options: use a DNS service or a VPN (Virtual Private Network).  FRUSTARTED WOMEN

As an American ex-pat living in Mexico, one of the toughest things to adjust to was the reduction in the quality, speed and access of my internet.

I was prepared for the slower internet connection when I moved to Mexico - but it had never even occurred to me that so many common websites would either (a) offer content only in the language of my host country, or (b) have restricted content; or (c) be entirely off-limits outside of the U.S.

 

I NEED MY INTERNET TO WORK

After a few months of frustration, I began to experiment with software-based VPN programs.

These worked – sometimes – but came with a myriad of headaches including routine crashes, constant packet loss, severely restricted/reduced speed, inability to use the VPN from many of the devices in my home, and often even finding out my VPN provider had been blacklisted from a website/domain entirely.

These problems were a big deal for me because I worked from home, used an American VOIP phone service, and relied upon services such as Pandora and Netflix throughout each day.

After two years of dealing with the frustrations of software-based VPNs, I paid almost $300 for a WAN VPN (router + 1 year of service).

With that type of service, the VPN routing is configured directly into a router which connects to the internet modem.

Using a WAN VPN allowed each device in my home to connect to the net from a U.S. IP, which was a huge step forward but was still not what I needed.

The VPN still left me with a long list of problems including communication errors that resulted from my crummy local internet causing the router to crash multiple times each day which would cut off the internet until I reset both routers.  Speed loss from using the VPN frequently brought my 10MB base bandwidth down to below 3MB per sec (the amount required for the optimum video streaming) and major instabilities with my VOIP phone service, especially when using the internet with any other device at the same time.

WORLD WIDE WEBBottom line: although the service worked and was better than nothing, beyond my $300 investment I had problems seemingly every day, and spent many dozens of hours working with tech support to try (unsuccessfully) to fix the issues.

So when my service renewal came up for another $130 for 1 year, with no monthly option. I knew I had to find an alternative.

One of the best solutions I was able to find is a company called SmartyDNS

DNS is an unencrypted service which is extraordinarily simple to set up and allows people to view streaming content designated for other countries (most frequently used by people outside of the U.S. to view U.S. content) without many of the drawbacks that come with using a VPN.

It’s also far simpler to configure than a VPN which allows most people with a small amount of tech savvy to have the service set up in a matter of minutes!

It is important to note that both VPN AND DNS services have many pros and cons and after 3 years of testing and experimenting I can say that the DNS service is by far the best solution for me.

The Smart DNS setup was extremely simple. After resetting my DD-WRT router to factory default, it took less than 2 minutes to configure.

IMMEDIATELY, I could see the difference.

No speed loss! No packet loss! And almost instant load times with services like Netflix.  Previously the VPN would take around 45-90 seconds to load Netflix.

All of the headaches were gone. For the first time in over 3 years, I had reliable, stable, GOOD internet which also allowed me to access U.S. Streaming content!

I have now been using SmartyDNS for about a week, and I can tell you that I am in absolute heaven.

 

TWO IMPORTANT CHANGES 

1. If you use Chromecast, or prefer U.S. Google, you will need to add an exception into your DD-WRT Router’s firewall.

SmartyDNS will provide you with the settings in cut-and-paste format, and the configuration change takes a matter of seconds. 

 

2. Because only streaming content sites are unblocked, many websites may default to the language of the country you are in so the first time you visit each site you will need to create an account or configure your browser to accept cookies and then change the language to English so that from now on the site will load your preferred language. 

 

ONE FINAL NOTE

Transitioning from a VPN to a Smart DNS service takes a little work, a little research, and a little getting used to.

You will find the small investment of time pays HUGE dividends almost immediately: in addition to the reduced cost (50-80% cheaper than a VPN), the performance is nearly incomparable.

This might seem like a simple fix to some of you but trust me it took years to finally find a solution that works.

 

Written By:
Kanoa Biondolillo &
Luis Soriano
Baja123.com

 

Published Tuesday, February 25, 2014 4:50 PM by Kanoa Biondolillo

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