Let us start our OverPlay review by noting that it is a multi-faceted provider. They offer not only a VPN but also a Smart DNS service. For those who just want to access content that might be geo-restricted from them, Smart DNS is an excellent choice because it delivers content at the full speed of your ISP. If you need the encryption offered by a full VPN, then they have you covered there too. Their VPN service can provide you with a virtual address through any of their 650+ servers across the globe while ensuring that all your Internet traffic is securely encrypted. Perhaps best of all. their new client apps make the VPN easy for anyone to use.
Pricing and Special Offers
OverPlay markets their services in two different packages. The first of which is SmartDNS plus VPN and the second is a stand-alone SmartDNS. Each of these is sold using four terms which are discounted according to the length of the term. Greater discounts are given for longer terms. These plans include one month, 3 months, 6 months, and one year.
The first package OverPlay offers is a stand-alone SmartDNS service. If you are sure that you do not need encryption, have price concerns, and only want to unblock geo-restricted content from other places in the world, then stand-alone SmartDNS is an excellent alternative for you. It has pricing plans of $4.95 a month and $49.95 for 12 months. This means you can have access to the OverPlay SmartDNS service from just $4.16 a month. This is a total savings of over 15% off the regular monthly SmartDNS price.
The second package that we will discuss includes both SmartDNS plus VPN service. If you think you will need encryption for any reason, then you should sign up for the combined package. It has pricing plans of $9.99 a month and $99.95 for 12 months. This means you can have complete access to both OverPlay services from just $8.33 a month. This is a total savings of over 16% off the regular monthly price.
So, what do you get for your $8.33 per month? OverPlay offers all VPN subscribers the following benefits regardless of your chosen plan:
- Free custom VPN Software for Windows and Mac OS X
- 2 Simultaneous connections – 1 desktop and 1 mobile
- Unlimited VPN bandwidth and usage
- Virtual IPs from more than 330 servers around the world
- Shared IP addresses among subscribers for better privacy
- Choice of VPN protocols: OpenVPN, PPTP, L2TP
- The ability to bypass censorship and geo-restrictions
- Wi-Fi hotspot protection against hackers
- VOIP support to save on long distance costs
- 100% online data security
All VPN and SmartDNS subscribers will have access to:
- Over 200 streaming media websites through the OverPlay SmartDNS service and their revolutionary JetSwitch technology.
- 5-Day money-back guarantee
OverPlay offers a few standard ways to pay for their services. The credit cards they accept are VISA, MasterCard, and American Express. You can also pay using PayPal which will only require you to enter username, password, and an email address. PayPal will also let you take care of all of your online transactions from a central location.
Risk-Free Trial Period
Although they do not have a free trial, OverPlay knows that you will want to try out their services so they are offering all new subscribers a 5-day money back guarantee. This should give you enough time to test their service(s) for yourself. If for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with it, they will refund the full purchase price of your chosen plan. You must request this refund within five days of the purchase date. Requests made later than five days from purchase date will not be honored.
OverPlay Network and Server Locations
The OverPlay VPN network of servers has steadily grown in size over the years. Their network has more than 650 servers in 50 different countries with 10,000 shareable IP addresses. They have servers on nearly every major continent including Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Oceania, and Africa. The best coverage is in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia where OverPlay hosts more than 650 servers. Here is a list of the countries that you can connect to using the OverPlay VPN:
- Africa – Egypt, South Africa
- Asia – China, India, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey
- Europe – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom
- North America – Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States
- Oceania – Australia, New Zealand
- South America – Argentina, Brazil
It is easy to see from this list that OverPlay has servers all over the world and multiple fast servers in more popular locations like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Netherlands, Canada, and Malaysia. Their network defaults primarily to the OpenVPN protocol but also supports L2TP/IPSec and PPTP.
Privacy and Security
Overplay, Inc. does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service.
OverPlay is located in the UK and subject to all UK laws and jurisdictional procedures. So, based on the previous statement, they would have to comply with judicial orders from the proper authorities and turn over any service usage data they had. However, it does not appear they log any traffic or usage so they wouldn’t have much to turn over in that situation.
What kind of encryption does OverPlay offer to their subscribers? OverPlay implements the OpenVPN protocol as its primary default protocol in both its Windows and Mac OS X clients. The cipher used for server authentication and control TLSv1, cipher TLSv1/SSLv3 DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA, 1024 bit RSA. Data is encrypted and decrypted using a BF-128-CBC cipher initialized with a 128 bit key. SHA1-160 bit is used for HMAC authentication. This means you can always be assured that all of your Internet traffic is securely encrypted when connected to the OverPlay VPN network of servers.
OverPlay provides 24/7 email ticket support for any problems you may have. Most will be answered within a day. Their formal ticketing system has a template to help you formalize and clarify your problem so that their support staff can provide the answers you need. Their website has an extensive support area where you can see common questions and support issues that have been answered for other users. The support area also has well written manual installation and configuration guides for all the protocols that they support if you decide not to use their easy to use custom software clients and apps.
Client Software and Mobile Apps
OverPlay has custom VPN clients for Windows and Mac OS X. You can download the software directly from their website. Start by hovering over “Setup” in the top menu area of the site. Then click on “VPN Setup”. They also provide instructions for SmartDNS and JetSwitch setup. Next, click on the appropriate button for your operating system. They also have manuals to help you configure Overplay VPN on Android, iOS, Tomato routers, and DD-WRT routers. We also have a full set of guides available to help you get started. Rather than include them in the review we have links to the guides for each operating system in the sections that follow.
Once you sign up for an account, they will send you a welcoming email with your username and password so that you can connect to their VPN network of servers using your chosen client software.
We’ll begin by taking a look at OverPlay for Windows (OverPlay Windows Setup Guide):
Those who used OverPlay in the past will notice a big difference in the software. The Windows v4 release was redesigned from the ground up and it shows. The user interface has a clean look and is very easy to navigate. You can set a connection preference that will help balance the speed and security based on how you plan to use the VPN. This is nice as you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge. Behind the scenes the client will use higher level encryption when you move the slider to security and lower levels as you slide toward speed. This provides a nice balance. Take a look at our Windows setup guide for more details.
You will also notice a second screen in the above image. This is where you can go to choose a server location. Along with the country and city, the screen displays the ping time for each location. You can sort by any of the columns. I recommend sorting the by ping time and looking for the lowest value. That will provide you with the fastest connection most of the time. As for the speed / security slider, our guide has a full set of speed test results. Our performance was impacted less that 4% when running in the secure mode. We recommend you keep the slider on the security side anytime you want the extra privacy protection.
Next up is OverPlay for Mac (OverPlay Mac Setup Guide):
You will immediately notice the similarities between the Mac and Windows clients. They are almost identical which is a huge help to those who use booth operating systems. You will not need to learn two different apps since they work the same. Once again you have a slider that puts you in control of selecting between speed and security. In our tests the performance difference was under 4% so we recommend running the client in secure mode as sown above.
The server list screen should also look familiar. It has an even nicer look on Mac, with the alternating colors for each row. Otherwise the functionality is the same. You can sort the server list by country, city, or ping. We recommending sorting by ping and selecting the location with the lowest ping time for the country you want to use. This will very likely provide you with the fastest connection.
OverPlay Speed Test
We were very pleased with the overall performance of OverPlay VPN. You can see from the speed test below that their service performed excellent in our speed test. As expected, there was some decrease in speed while using their network. This is due to the overhead caused by encrypting all of your Internet traffic. However, this speed loss was small in the case of OverPlay VPN and worth it for the peace of mind that it gives you at your local Wi-Fi hotspot. Remember that SmartDNS has no impact on ISP speed.
As you can see from the images above, the OverPlay encrypted connection lowered our base ISP download speed from 63.18 Mb/s to 60.93 Mb/s. This is a drop of less than 4% to a server in Atlanta, GA which is great and one of the best speeds we have observed. This small loss in connection speed is well worth the security and peace of mind offered by being able to encrypt all of your Internet traffic and help protect your anonymity as well.
Using the OverPlay Smart DNS Service
OverPlay SmartDNS will allow you to connect to over 200 streaming media providers from anywhere in the world. What’s more their revolutionary JetSwitch technology will allow you to watch content from different countries in the world just by changing your DNS servers to their Turbo DNS servers. Anyone who subscribes to OverPlay has access to this great service. Unlike OverPlay VPN, their Smart DNS service does not encrypt your Internet traffic so all streaming media transfers are at the full speed of your ISP.
Their service simply negotiates with the providers on your behalf during your initial handshake phase to help you overcome pesky geo-restrictions used by some streaming media providers. Once this initial introduction is completed all resultant traffic is between you and the provider. Thus your connection speed is as fast as possible. As we previously mentioned, all that is necessary to get this great service is a subscription to OverPlay and a reset of the DNS servers on the device you want to stream to.
What is a DNS Server?
For those of you not familiar with DNS servers, first understand that every device that connects to the internet has a unique address which we call an IP address. This address has a geo-component built into it so that it can be tracked back to the country, ISP that issued it, all the way to the person or organization it was assigned to. Each of these addresses at least for IPv4 has a number format like this:
###.###.###.###; where # = 0-9.
Computers can read these numbers but most people would have a hard time remembering just a couple of these numbers much less the millions assigned to Internet users. We associate better with word names so we developed name addressing like www.vpnfan.com but remember computers only understand numbers so certain computers which we refer to as Domain Name Service (DNS) servers translate our word names to the IP addresses that computers understand. This is what happens every time you type in a URL in your address bar. All devices that communicate across the Web do so through DNS servers.
Devices the OverPlay Smart DNS Sevice Can Be Configured With
Overplay SmartDNS works on PCs, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, game consoles and even Smart TVs. If fact, any device that can stream media, connect to the Internet, and whose DNS settings can be changed can be configured to work with their service. A list of devices that they have guides for to configure for their SmartDNS includes the following:
- Computers – Windows, Mac OS X
- Mobile devices – Android, iOS
- Gaming consoles – PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 Wii U
- Streaming devices – Amazon TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku
- Smart TV – Samsung
- Routers – D-Link, Asus, Linksys, Netgear, 2Wire, Apple AirPort,
TP-Link, Huawei, DD-WRT
If your device is not on this list but you can change the DNS settings for it, it is likely that it can be configured to run the OverPlay SmartDNS service. Also, configuring their DNS servers on your router will allow all of the devices connected to it to stream media.
So, What Can You Stream and Where Can You Stream It From?
We have talked about what DNS servers are, how they help us everyday when we use the Internet, and what kind of devices can be configured to use OverPlay’s Turbo DNS. This is what OverPlay calls their DNS server infrastructure because it is not only fast and reliable but also adds the ability to select different regions. We will talk more about that later when we look at their JetSwitch technology. Additionally, it automatically selects the closest, fastest server to your location.
The next big question is what can you stream and where can you stream it from. Many streaming media providers have content that can only be distributed in certain countries or regions due to usage agreements with its manufacturers or distributors. This mean it is blocked from other countries which means you pay full price for partial content libraries from some of the most well known and popular content providers in the world like Netflix, Hulu, and the BBC iPlayer. OverPlay calls these restricted content libraries, channels.
Overplay has a large number of channels that it can open up for its users. A list of these organized by county follows. Netflix, the most popular channel is not included in this list because it will be covered later.
- United States – A&E, ABC (Go/Watch), ABC Family, ABC News, Acorn TV, Adultswim, Amazon Instant, Amazon Prime, AMC, Apple Beats 1 Radio, Big Brother USA, Blockbuster Now, Bravo Now, BYUtv, CBS, CBS All Access, CBS Sports Radio, CinemaNow, CNBC, Comedy Central, Crackle, CrunchyRoll, CW Now, Discovery, Disney, Disney Junior, Disney Movies Anywhere, Disney XD, Dramafever, ESPN, Fandor, Food Network, Fox NOW, Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer, Funimation, fuboTV, FX, HBO Go, HBO NOW, HGTV, History US, HuluPlus, IFC, iHeart Radio, Lifetime, Logo TV, Marvel, MaxGo, MGO, MTV US, MLB, MLS – Major League Soccer, NBA, National Geographic, NBC, NBC Sports, NBC Sports Live Extra, NFL Gamepass, NHL GameCenter Live, Nick, Oxygen, Pandora, PBS,PBS Kids, Radio.com, Rhapsody, Sesame Go, Showtime, Slacker, Spotify, Star Trek, Starz, Sundance, Syfy, TBS, TCM, TNT Drama, TruTV, TV.com, Ulive, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, USA Network, US Open New, USTVNOW, Utopia, Vevo, VH1, Vudu, WWE Network
- Australia – ABC iView, Channel Eleven, Foxtel Go, Jump-in (Nine Network), NRL, Premier League Pass, SBS (AU), Tenplay, Watch AFL
- Canada – CTV, Discovery CA, Funimation, NBA League Pass, Slice, Sportsnet World
- Denmark – DR.dk, HBO Nordic, ViaPlay Denmark, TV 2
- Finland – HBO Nordic, ViaPlay Finland, Yle
- France – 6 Play, Arte, Canal Play, France 1, France 2, France 3, France 4, France 5, Pluzz France, TF1 France
- Germany – ARD (Das Erste), Arte, ZDF, Amazon Prime, Sportschau, Watchever, Zattoo DE
- Ireland – iBox.ie, 3Player
- India – Star Sports
- Italy – Rai.IT
- Japan – Hulu
- Mexico – NBA League Pass
- Netherlands – NPO, RTL XL, Sport1
- New Zealand – 3NOW, Premier League Pass, TVNZ on Demand
- Norway – HBO Nordic, TV2 Sumo, TV3 play, ViaPlay
- Saudi Arabia – beIN Sports
- Sweden – HBO Nordic, 4Play, ViaPlay
- Switzerland – Zatoo Swiss
- United Arab Emirates (UAE) – beIN Sports
- United Kingdom – Absolute Radio, Amazon Prime UK, BBC iPlayer, BBC iPlayer Radio, BBC Sport, Blinkbox, BT Sports, CBBC Player, Channel 4, Channel 5, Demand5, Eurosport UK, Eurosport Player UK, ITV Players, NBA League Pass, Now TV, Sky Go, TV Player, Zattoo UK
They also have the world’s favorite streaming media provider, Netflix well covered. They make it possible to view regions of content for it from 27 different countries in the world. These include the following:
- Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.
We have now taken a look at the streaming media content that the OverPlay SmartDNS service can unblock for you. You will still need to subscribe to any premium services. You can easily see that it can open a whole new world of entertainment to you that might otherwise be censored. What is more OverPlay can do this with just a few changes to your DNS and you will be able to watch your favorite Netflix movies, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and content from other countries simultaneously using the innovative JetSwitch technology.
What is JetSwitch?
JetSwitch is OverPlay’s revolutionary technology which allows you to simultaneously watch streaming media content from different countries. What is more you can do this from anywhere in the world thanks to their Turbo DNS infrastructure. To access JetSwitch, simply log into your account on the OverPlay website. When you do, you will see a screen like that shown below. This is the top of your main account subscription page.
Selecting the blue “SMARTDNS” button will bring up a page similar to the one that follows. This is your DNS control page and this is where JetSwitch resides.
Changing the DNS settings for our Windows 7 computer is simple and the steps are summarized below. If you get a yellow warning bar as we did, then click on the “Check Again” link. If the bar is still yellow, then you need to change the DNS settings on the device you are using. Click on the “Learn How” link, select your device, and follow the step-by-step OverPlay instructions to configure it for their DNS.
- Click on Windows Start in the task bar.
- Click on Control Panel on the right of recently opened programs.
- Click on the Network and Internet category.
- Click on the Network and Sharing link.
- Click on the Change adaptor settings link on the left-hand side of this window. This is shown in the image on the left below.
- Right-click on the current Internet connection and click Properties on the drop down list. This is shown in the image on the right below.
- De-select the Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6).
- Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on the Properties button. This is shown in the first screenshot below.
- Write down the current DNS settings so they can be restored.
- Click on Use the following DNS server addresses which is shown in the right image.
- Enter the Turbo DNS addresses provided by the OverPlay website into Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server addresses which are shown above on the right.
- Click the OK button and reboot the computer.
Once you have rebooted your device and log into your account, you should see an image like the one shown below. Notice the yellow bar has now been replaced by a green bar with a check. This means your device is now properly set up to use the OverPlay SmartDNS service.
Now that we have our device properly configured with the OverPlay DNS servers, lets take a look at JetSwitch. An image showing how it operates is shown below. Notice first that the OverPlay SmartDNS has been turned on for our IP address as shown by the green “ON” button. Remember we said JetSwitch will allow you to access websites and stream content from multiple countries at the same time. The setup below would allow you to watch Netflix-US, Hulu-US, BeIN Sports from Saudi Arabia, and Funimation from Canada simultaneously. At the same time, you could view HBO Nordic content from Denmark, Finland, Norway, or Sweden. The choice is yours!
JetSwitch will let you access content from over 150 Channels with the preferences that you set up. It will also let you turn off SmartDNS for individual channels if you need to, as was done with Amazon Instant in the example above. This gives you complete control over your streaming media content from many of the most popular providers, like those shown above and many others from all over the world. Remember, all that is required is an OverPlay subscription and a few minutes to reconfigure your DNS settings.
OverPlay was one of the first VPNs to offer SmartDNS service in the industry. Their JetSwitch technology and Turbo DNS infrastructure make them the best SmartDNS service available today with over 200 channels available and over 150 being controllable within JetSwitch. Add to this the fact that they offer a fast VPN service with more than 300 servers around the world and over 10,000 sharable IP addresses to help protect your privacy. This means they offer the best of both worlds, an uncensored internet with privacy and security available if you need it.
They offer custom software apps for Windows and Mac OS X. These apps are simple to install. They are easy to use and require very little technical knowledge on the part of OverPlay subscribers. With just a couple of mouse clicks, you can be connected to one of their VPN servers. Its as simple as selecting your desired server location and clicking the connect button. Disconnection is even easier, just click disconnect.
OverPlay provides manual tutorials and visual setup guides to connect to their VPN service using Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, and DD-WRT and Tomato routers. They also provide setup guides to configure their SmartDNS with a variety of different devices including PCs, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, game consoles, and even Smart TVs. If your device will let you change the DNS, then they can probably help you configure it for their service. Their support begins with an extensive FAQ database and extends to a 24/7/365 email ticketing system with answers provided on a first come, first serve basis.
What we liked most about the service:
- They have the best SmartDNS service available today
- Their JetSwitch will let you watch streaming content from different countries simultaneously.
- They have easy to use apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
- They offer very fast server connections from almost anywhere in the world
- The have a 5-day money back guarantee with no limitations.
- They have competitive pricing and offer discounts for longer term packages.
Ideas to improve the service:
- Add bitcoin payments
- Add live chat support
OverPlay has a large VPN network which includes servers in almost every major continent including Europe, North America, Central and South America, Africa, and Oceania. It has some of the fastest speeds we have seen for a VPN service. They offer a 5-day money back guarantee so you will have plenty of time to test their service yourself and see how it performs for you. Give OverPlay VPN a test run and see what you think. Experience the expansion of your online entertainment by sampling their SmartDNS service. If you like their VPN performance and enjoy using their SmartDNS to watch some of your favorite movies, new shows, or comedy specials that you might not otherwise have had access to, you can sign up for unlimited access from just $8.33 per month.