Beware of the dreaded DNS leak! For those playing along at home who have no idea what I'm talking about, a DNS leak is essentially when your IP address slips through, even though you are using a VPN. It is usually due to some problem with the configuration or how it has been set up.
You don't need to worry too much though, because this handy article will tell you all about it and how you can avoid them.
What exactly is a DNS leak?
To explain things a little bit more thoroughly, we'll have to go into what DNS is. The Domain Name System is used to translate domain names like vpsnrus.com to their numerical IP address [188.8.131.52]. Normally, your ISP will do the translation for you with its DNS servers.
When you are using a VPN, things happen a little differently. The DNS request will go through the encrypted tunnel of your VPN provider and it is translate on their DNS servers instead of your ISP's. This is one of the mechanisms that allows your web traffic to be private and secure.
Sometimes when you are using your VPN, things don't go quite as planned and the DNS request will go through to your ISP instead of your VPN provider. This is called a DNS leak and it means that your VPN isn't working correctly and your ISP can see what you are doing.
Thankfully, there are ways to check that this is happening and there are several measures to stop it from occurring and make sure that you are safe and anonymous.
Detecting a DNS Leak
This part is super easy. All you have to do is go to a DNS leak testing site such as dnsleaktest.com.
Look at the results it gives you and see if the IP address matches up to your own. Take a look at the country as well to make sure that everything is okay. If the results are your actual IP address and location, then it looks like you have a DNS leak. If not, you should be fine.
If you do have a DNS leak, you don't have to worry, because there are ways that you can fix it.
- Get a VPN client with built-in leak protection
One of the best ways to make sure that you don't have any DNS leaks is to choose a VPN provider that includes DNS leak protection in their clients. Our favourite VPN that does this is ExpressVPN , but there are other options as well.
In-built DNS leak protection makes it super easy. All that you have to do is go into the settings and click the box that says Stop DNS Leaks. It's a pretty simple way to have peace of mind and ensure that your VPN is working as it should.
- Use a VPNCheck Pro
VPNCheck Pro is a program that can enhance the reliability and utility of your VPN. One of its great features is that it will fix your DNS leak. All you have to do is download it, install it and get it running.
On the main screen, click Config. A new window will pop up and you just have to click the checkbox that says DNS leak fix in the bottom right.
To get it going, go back to the main screen and click on CycleIP: Task or Cycle IP: Network.
- Change the DNS Servers
If you change your DNS servers, you can be sure that your ISP can't see what you are doing. Many of the good VPN providers will give you the details of their DNS server, but you can also route your requests through one of the public DNS servers, such as Google Public DNS. Here's how to do it one Windows:
Step 1: Go to the Control Panel and open the Network and Sharing Centre
Step 2: Click Change adapter settings
Step 3: Right click on the internet connection that you normally use, then select Properties
Step 4: Go down the list to Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)
Click on Properties.
Step 5: Write down your previous DNS settings
At some stage, you may want to revert back to your old settings.
Step 6: Click Use the following DNS server addresses
Enter the DNS server address that you plan to use. This can be from your VPN provider, Google Public DNS or somewhere else. Click OK and you are done.
In addition to providing greater security, changing your DNS server can also help to boost your speeds. Your new static IP will make sure that your DNS requests are always routed through your DNS server of choice, rather than a random one which could be routed through your internet service provider's DNS server.
One important note for Windows 10 users is that they need to disable Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution. There are online guides on how to do this.