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Many people who live outside the US use "DNS unblockers" such as Unblock-Us to access region restricted services such as Netflix and Hulu. My understanding of these services is that for DNS requests to blocked services it instead returns an IP for one of their proxy services.

Netflix is approximately 5 times cheaper than the cheapest "pay TV" service in my country, so obviously DNS unblockers are a very attractive proposition. On the other hand, using DNS servers from some little known company is a huge risk! Obviously TLS provides some protection, but I'll acknowledge that I'd most likely fall for an SSL stripping attack for example.

My question is: What options are available to make these unblocking services less of a risk?

Currently, I have to set it as the default DNS service on my router because some of my devices don't have customisable DNS settings – however I override the DNS settings on my PCs to use Google's DNS or my ISP's. This would mitigate the risk somewhat, but it obviously doesn't help on devices that I want to use both Netflix and perhaps also access sensitive services, such as my iPad.

I was thinking I could perhaps set up my own DNS server (I have a media/file server on 247) which proxies DNS requests to say Google DNS ordinarily but uses my DNS unblocker for Netflix related requests. I'm not sure how to go about this, or how I might be able to determine what domains need to go to the unblocker.

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If you are using a dns proxy like dnsmasq, you could use conditional forwarding to send netflix.com to your dns unblocker, while leaving the rest of your dns traffic unmolested - the best of all worlds! Even some consumer dsl modems have dns proxy - though most probably don't offer conditional forwarding.

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There's a guide on how to do it here. Summary:

there is a simple way you can keep using your current DNS and make the changes locally to your PC instead to use Unblock-us's reverse proxies, without a DNS change. This involves editing your PC's HOST File and making the changes that unblock-us do on their public DNS, to your local PC.

For Netflix US for example, you need to make the following changes to your PC's HOSTS file:

204.12.200.61 movies.netflix.com

204.12.200.65 cbp-us.nccp.netflix.com

  • Thanks, this will certainly be useful to some people. It won't work on devices such as a Roku where you can't access the host file, although that list of domains and IP addresses might also be useful for some kind of DNS proxy. – thexacre May 30 '14 at 23:00
  • Right, those entries can be configured on a local dns server. – Ángel Jul 16 '14 at 22:11

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