Why does NextDNS want to present itself as a VPN on devices?
I'm a happy (paying) customer of NextDNS (beats running the PiHole that keeps crashing every other week and then I don't have "internet" until I get to a terminal to restart it), but I'm curious why the setup on both Android and Windows wants to present itself as a VPN?
Concrete problems I see on Android:
- I can't use it with an actual VPN (or rather: as soon as the VPN connects, NextDNS is deactivated and it's not re-activated even if the VPN in question discconnects)
- When using "mobile data" (ie. LTE/3G), if the signal gets weak enough, Android disconnects the VPN provider (this is with Android 11 on a Pixel 3XL). I never had this problem when using DNS-over-TLS (there, if the signal wasn't strong enough, it just blocked the connection rather than deactivating it)
On Windows I didn't see any problems, but I wouldn't have expected the installer to add a new network interface. I would have it expected though to detect the browsers that are installed and offer the option to set up DNS-over-TLS/HTTPS in them (instead of me having to follow the instructions on the website). The only platform where the app worked/works as expected is the iPad: it set the DNS server and that's it.
Why this focus on making it act as a VPN rather than just setting the DNS?
Following up (because it just happened again on my Android phone): not only will the app / VPN switch off "randomly", it will continue to show the "NextDNS is active" message on the top of the screen. I only notice that it switched off by seeing advertising unexpectedly. Then, if I launch the NextDNS App, it correctly shows as off and I can turn it back on again.
But why use this fake-VPN approach when it is less reliable and also has compatibility problems (compared to setting the actual DNS server)?