April 21st is here, and HBO has followed through on their threat to disable HBO Now users located outside the United States. It seems HBO Now used IP trackers to find users who used Smart DNS services. However, it left users of VPN services like IPVanish VPNs untouched. Most likely this is due to the masking VPNs offer.
With a Smart DNS server your IP address is still visible to the servicers and sites you use. Even though they may be tricked into thinking your DNS is in a different location, it only takes a little bit of work for them to find out that your IP address is not where your DNS server says it is.
VPN services, unlike Smart DNS services, hide your IP. While it may be a bit of an over simplification to say VPNs creates a mask over your IP address, it is a good analogy. This masking makes it hard for services like HBO Now to find out where you are located.
Services like Smart DNS often offer slightly better streaming, but the VPNs ability to mask your IP address makes it the only true way to hide your IP address.
VPN services are also great ways to protect data. While you may not need a VPN to hide your IP address, we highly recommend using a service like IPVanish when you travel, if for nothing more than the protection it offers your data when using public Wi-Fi.
Never log into your bank account, or other similarly important services, on a public Wi-Fi without a VPN from a respected VPN service. Your banking information can easily be stolen over most public Wi-Fi services.
Many have speculated that HBO Now is blocking out of country Smart DNS users in an effort to appease content creators who want to reserve the right to sell their content overseas. Often, content overseas is sold at a higher markup in countries like Australia, in order to help drive revenues for content creators.
While HBO Now seems to be the only service making a major push to block Smart DNS services, we do expect other services to make similar moves in the near future.