Online privacy is increasingly important in today's world. Bad actors and corporations alike are out to collect user data, and often sell this data for a profit. Revealing information about your online habits to your internet service provider, or ISP, can be a bad thing. If you don’t take measures to secure your connection and protect your privacy, your ISP can see a lot of information about you including sensitive details such as the sites you visit, how long you visit them and your geo-location. Revealing this information is a violation of your privacy, and also leaves you vulnerable to having your data collected and sold, your connection throttled based upon your activity, or if a hacker is involved, something even worse. One technological threat that leaves your information vulnerable to your internet service provider is a DNS leak.
What is DNS?
DNS stands for “Domain Name Service,” and is often referred to colloquially as the internet’s address book. DNS is responsible for communication between websites and internet-connected devices, and its job is to translate website names into IP addresses, or map hostnames or domain names to their associated IP address. When you use the internet you send a query to a DNS server, and then the server sends back what you have looked for. All of this occurs at a very fast speed and as a result, a DNS is connected to almost all your online activities!
What is a DNS Leak?
A DNS leak refers to a situation in which your information becomes visible to your internet service provider unintentionally. This can happen when DNS queries are unencrypted, or when the connection to the DNS occurs outside your encrypted VPN tunnel. Many public DNS servers store a lot of information about the IP address that connects to them, so if you experience a DNS leak your privacy is at great risk. Even if your DNS provider is secure, if a leak occurs your Internet Service Provider is able to gain a peek into what you’re doing online. This means your online activity such as the sites you visit and applications you use, when you use them and where you’re coming from (your location, based upon IP address) is visible.
DNS Leaks Occur When:
- Using a manually-configured VPN where something isn’t set up properly
- A hacker or bad actor has infiltrated your network
- Your connection drops (features such as Kill Switch can help with this issue)
VPNs and DNS Leaks
One good way to protect against a DNS leak is to use a reliable VPN. Effective VPNs encrypt your traffic and hide your IP address, so that information about your location or internet activity is not visible to you ISP or DNS provider. However, there are times when a VPN does not protect DNS queries even if the rest of your traffic is encrypted, as outlined above. Additionally, some VPN companies do not own their own DNS servers and instead use third parties, or outside vendors, to provide this service for their network operations. This means they’ve ceded some control over your traffic (even if they claim not to), and the DNS provider is responsible for protecting your privacy. DNS leaks may also occur if the VPN connection drops.
How to Detect a DNS Leak
If you’re using a trusted VPN which owns its own DNS, it’s unlikely you’re at risk for a leak. Regardless, it’s always good to check and ensure you are as private as expected.
- Visit a DNS leak test website – DNS Leak Test is a reputable option
- Click the button to run the test
- View your results - if the results include the name of providers outside your VPN provider, it is likely there is a leak
Defend Against DNS Leaks with VyprVPN
VyprVPN prevents DNS leaks in a way that many other providers don’t - we own and operate 100% of our network without third parties, meaning we retain control over all our users’ data and information at all times. we do not use a third-party DNS, and all requests travel through our own fully-owned DNS servers, meaning there is no chance of an outside party or provider viewing or intercepting it – even if there was to be a leak. We do not keep any logs (we're the first independently-audited no-log provider), so we can’t see anything even if there was a leak.
We also have a Kill Switch feature to cut the connection if your VPN drops, meaning your data will never be exposed. With apps available for every device, there is generally not a need to manually configure your VPN, an activity which can often lead to leaks. We utilize strong encryption on all connections, protecting your data.
Protect Yourself from DNS Leaks
If you want to protect against DNS leaks and prevent your internet service provider form seeing your online activity, it’s important to sign up with a trustworthy VPN provider. Usually, this means a paid provider as opposed to a free one. VyprVPN is proud to offer users our proprietary DNS, VyprDNS, and exceptional protection against not only DNS leaks but other privacy and security threats.