DNS leak test and protection | NordVPN
Find out if your internet traffic is fully secure and NordVPN NowNordVPN sends all your DNS queries through a secure VPN tunnel to keep them private at all does DNS mean? The Domain Name System (DNS) is the reason why browsing the internet is so quick and simple. Its job is resolving domain names such as “” into actual IP addresses. In other words, it translates the long, complex numeric names of web servers into human language, and the other way is how it works: Whenever you want to visit our website, you type “” into your browser. Your computer or smartphone sends a query to a DNS server: it contacts the server and asks for the unique IP address of our site. Only after the DNS server provides the IP address, your device can finally connect to the website you is a DNS leak? When you connect to a VPN, all your online traffic is supposed to be routed through the VPN network. That includes the DNS queries we mentioned before. They should go through the encrypted tunnel straight to your VPN provider’s DNS that’s not always the case. A DNS leak is a security flaw that allows your queries to travel to the default DNS servers, which belong to your internet service provider (ISP). That may happen if you:are running Windows 8 or later with the “Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution” feature enabled;have recently reset your system preferences;have set up a VPN manually;are using a VPN service that doesn’t own its DNS servers nor offer adequate protection from can it affect me? If any of your online traffic goes out through the regular, unencrypted route, third parties may intercept it. That includes your ISP or DNS provider, who would be able to see the websites you visit, the services you use, and top of that, you won’t even know about it, unless you take a special DNS test for leaks, like the one provided here. You could call it a VPN security test because if a service won’t fully reroute all your traffic, it’s not as secure as it should be. That’s why it’s imperative to choose a VPN with DNS leak does NordVPN prevent DNS leaks? When you connect to NordVPN, your device only uses DNS servers operated by NordVPN. All your DNS queries travel over the encrypted tunnel and are resolved on the same VPN server you are connected way, you never have to worry about your confidential information leaking and third parties spying on can I test my VPN for leaks? You can check for DNS leaks in just a few easy steps:Step 1Go to the DNS leak test website. It not only allows you to check your VPN connection for leaks, but also provides advice on how to fix any leaks you 2For VPN check, see if the displayed IP address and location match your real ones. If so, either you’re not connected to a VPN, or your VPN service is not 3To check your DNS status, select Standard or Extended Test. If you are connected to a VPN server and the VPN leak test displays DNS servers that don’t belong to your actual ISP, your traffic is if you are connected to NordVPN, and still see a DNS leak during the test? Please contact our support team our support team over live chat or email. We’ll help you sort out any issues as soon as a VPN service you can trustFrequently asked questionsHow do I know if my VPN is leaking? In order to find out if your VPN service is leaking any of your real information, you need to perform a test. You can go to the DNS and VPN leak test website and take a look at your IP address. Is it your real one? If so, either you’re not connected to a VPN server or your VPN is not do I know if my DNS is leaking? To check if your DNS is leaking, you’ll have to perform a DNS leak test. Go to this website and do the tests. If at least one of the servers does not belong to your VPN service provider, it’s probably leaking your does a DNS leak test work? A DNS leak test works by sending a number of domain names for the VPN to resolve. If at least one of the servers in the results belongs to your ISP, the VPN likely has a DNS do I fix a DNS leak? If you think NordVPN has leaks, get in touch with our support team for a DNS leak fix. We will help you figure out how to stop DNS leaks and get you back to secure and private browsing in no time.
What Is a DNS Leak? How to Find & Fix DNS Leaks – InfoSec Insights
DNS records tell a lot about you and your online browsing behaviors — explore what a DNS leak is and how you can detect & prevent DNS leaks
A lot of people turn to Google to answer the question, “what is DNS leak? ” And for many people around the world, a DNS leak may not seem like a big deal. (“If I’m not doing anything wrong, I’ve got nothing to hide, right? Wrong. ) But for some individuals, depending on their country of residence and its laws, a leaky DNS is a big concern.
When you type a website’s domain name in the address bar, the browser opens up that website within seconds. But there are a lot of processes that take place in the background which you are not aware of. And if any of those procedures has a security vulnerability known as a DNS leak, it means that third parties can eavesdrop on your entire browsing behavior.
In this article, we will answer the following questions:
What is a DNS and how does it work? What is a DNS leak and what causes it? How to perform a DNS leak test to tell if your DNS is leaking How do you prevent a DNS leak? What risks are associated with a leaky DNS?
What Is a DNS?
Since this article’s focus isn’t about explaining what a domain name system (DNS) is (but it’s still necessary to understand the topic), we’ll keep this brief. If you already know the basics, feel free to skip this part.
Everything that is connected to the internet (such as your computer, smartphone, and organization’s web servers) has a digital identity that’s written in either a numeric or alphanumeric format. This is known as an internet protocol (IP) address. IP addresses come in different formats — public, private, static, and dynamic — and are written in different ways based on their size.
A 32-bit IPv4 address is numeric and consists of four numeric segments that are separated by periods. So, an IPv4 address for looks like this: 64. 233. 166. 113. A 128-bit IPv6 address is alphanumeric, which means it’s much larger. This type of IP address consists of eight 16-bit hexadecimal blocks, all of which are separated by colons. An IPv6 address for looks like this: 2607:f8b0:4002:c08::8a.
So, if you want to connect to a website, you need to provide that website’s IP address to the web browser. But as you can see, that’s a lot of random numbers or letters to try to remember.
It’s inconvenient and almost impossible for the average human brain to remember IP addresses for thousands of websites. That’s where the domain name system (DNS) technology comes in handy. DNS essentially translates the website’s domain address into the IP address for you.
The domain name system (sometimes called “domain name service”) is a series of servers and computers that connect domain addresses to their corresponding IP addresses (either IPv4 or IPv6). They do this through a process known as a DNS lookup. So, instead of typing in a series of seemingly random numbers every time you want to shop on Amazon, you can instead type in “” This simple approach makes things a lot easier to remember.
How Does DNS Work?
This simplified illustration shows how the domain name system works in terms of handling DNS requests.
Basically, the domain name system serves as an intermediary between you and the website you are trying to open.
When you type a website’s name, let’s say, in your web browser, the browser needs to find that website’s corresponding IP address to open it. So, it sends requests to DNS servers to track down the IP address. This request is sent via your internet service provider (ISP).
The DNS server looks into its cache and responds to your browser with the website’s IP address from its DNS cache memory. If the DNS server can’t find it from the cache, it starts a four-step process that involves recursive resolvers, root nameservers, TLD nameservers, and authoritative nameservers. (Read more about these processes: DNS servers)
After all these processes, the DNS submits the corresponding IP address of the website you are searching for to the browser. The browser connects to the server where that IP address is (website) is hosted. Hence, the DNS works like a phonebook or a directory. You gave it the name of a website, and it searches for the website’s IP address.
What Is a DNS Leak?
This simplified illustration shows how what happens during a DNS leak.
Now that we know what a DNS is and how it works, it’s time to answer the question, “what is a DNS leak? ” In a nutshell, a DNS leak is a term that’s used to describe data exposure despite the use of a virtual private network (VPN). Basically, your DNS server requests are visible to third parties.
A VPN is a software that hides your original IP address and provides a new random IP address, which keeps changing frequently. It also creates an encrypted tunnel that securely transmits all the traffic between your browser, DNS, and the website’s server you are trying to connect! So, no one can track your online actions using your IP address.
But sometimes VPNs fail to hide your IP address and encrypt the communication. When this happens, they reveal your original IP address (provided by your ISP) to anyone who can intercept the traffic between your browser and DNS, causing the DNS leaks.
What Does a DNS Leak Mean in Terms of Privacy and Security?
So, a DNS leak means that someone can intercept the communications between your browser and DNS or steal the data from a DNS cache even though you’re using a virtual private network (VPN). This is also known as an IP leak.
But what does steal this type of data accomplish? It means that intruders can:
Trace your device’s IP address, See what types of sites you visit (based on your browser’s DNS requests), andMonitor all your online activities.
But wait, don’t your ISP’s DNS servers already keep records of your DNS requests? Yes, if you’re using your ISP’s DNS servers by default instead of the VPN’s DNS servers. That’s because browsers need the internet to communicate, and your ISP (and its DNS servers) to make that happen by default if the VPN isn’t configured to use its own servers. That means your internet provider — and anyone else who can legally (or illegally) access their servers — can monitor all your actions online by tracing your IP address from the browser-IPS DNS communications.
What Causes a DNS Leak?
There are different reasons for why you can experience a DNS leak. A few potential causes of DNS leaks include:
Your network’s DNS settings are incorrect or improperly configured. Your ISP may be using transparent DNS proxies. There are issues in your IPv4 to IPv6 transition process.
Needless to say, a DNS leak is no laughing matter. But how do you know if the DNS server you’re using is leaking?
How to Conduct a DNS Leak Test
As we mentioned before, by default, all the traffic between your browser and the DNS server is unencrypted. (This means that it’s sent in plaintext format, so anyone can read it. ) Your ISP and any hacker can easily track all your online actions when they intercept this communication.
But if you’re using a VPN and worry that you have a DNS leak, you should follow these steps.
Turn off your VPN. Open one of these websites: or Note down the resulting information the page displays. This is going to be your ISP IP address, ISP’s name, hostname, and geographical location. Now, turn on the VPN and select any other geographical location of your choice. Once again, go to the DNS leak checking website and conduct the test. This time, you should see the different IP addresses, internet provider’s names, and geographical locations. If you still see your original ISP IP address and other details, your VPN is suffering from a DNS leak.
Check out the screenshot below of my DNS leak test — the first one I took without turning on the VPN, which shows my original IP address. Then, I turned on VPN and chose Mumbai as my geographic information. As you can see, all the details changed when I conducted the DNS test. It indicates that my VPN is not suffering from a DNS leak.
If your DNS leak test shows your DNS isn’t leaking, that’s great news. However, just know that it means that you’re not experiencing a DNS leak now — but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience one in the future. So, you may want to periodically re-test to ensure your DNS doesn’t have a leak.
But what if you discover that your DNS server is experiencing a DNS leak? What can you do to stop or prevent future DNS leaks?
How to Prevent DNS Leaks
As we know, DNS traffic and records tend to be insecure and unencrypted by default. This means that if you’re using your ISP’s DNS servers, you can’t prevent your ISP from tracking your actions or selling that data to advertisers (we’ll speak more to the dangers of DNS leaks shortly) except by taking the legal route. But these are some steps you can take to prevent DNS leaks from occurring.
Let’s break down the steps for how to prevent a DNS leak.
1. Use a Robust VPN
Using a secure and reliable VPN is the best way to hide your original IP address and encrypt the tunnel between your browser and DNS servers. But, sometimes, the browsers bypass the VPN’s IP address and access your original IP address to send the DNS requests. This causes DNS leaks. Hence, use the following tips while using a VPN:
Enable DNS leak prevention feature. While purchasing a VPN, you should always check whether it has a DNS leak prevention feature. Use VPN monitoring software. VPN monitoring software keeps an eye on critical metrics to ensure the integrity of the VPN connection. They make sure that all the DNS requests pass through a VPN tunnel and can’t access the user’s original IP address.
It can immediately block the requests or alert the users if someone is trying to bypass the VPN IP address.
2. Clear DNS Caches
The DNS cache stores information of all your browsing history. If an intruder intercepts it, they can track all your online actions. So, keep flushing the DNS cache on a regular basis.
Here are a few quick steps you can take to delete your DNS cache on Windows:
Click on the Start menu, search for cmd. Open the command prompt.
Enter ipconfig/flushdns in the prompt.
3. Disable Microsoft Teredo
Microsoft Teredo is the technology that smooths the transition from IPv4 to IPv6 in Windows-based devices. Until all hosts are on IPv6, Teredo helps to give full IPv6 connectivity to the hosts that are on the IPv4 Internet.
While this is a great feature in many cases, it’s not perfect. Sometimes, it bypasses the VPN’s IP address and accesses the ISP’s IP address, causing DNS leaks. However, you can manually turn-off teredo by following these three steps:
Click on the Start menu and search for cmd.
When you see the command prompt apear, right-click on the icon and select Run as an administrator.
Type in the following command: netsh interface teredo set state disabled.
Whenever you want to resume using Teredo again, type netsh interface teredo set state type=default into the command prompt to enable it.
4. Change Your Settings to Default to Use Your VPN’s DNS Servers
If you don’t use the default IPS DNS server, your ISP won’t be able to track your actions. You can use the VPN’s DNS server instead. Or if you decide to go the public DNS server route, only choose the DNS server provider that you completely trust. Check out this resource: How to use Google’s DNS server.
5. Use Secure DNS Service
There are some solutions, like Comodo’s Secure Internet Gateway, that provide a secured DNS connection on an enterprise level. It encrypts all the DNS traffic to prevent leaks. Apart from preventing DNS leaks, this tool also provides a DNS filtering service. It monitors all the DNS requests and blocks malicious websites. You can also manually change the settings and block the non-work-related websites to improve employees’ productivity.
Why Is a DNS Leak Dangerous?
For many people, it may not seem like that big of a deal. But for people who have concerns about their privacy or live in regions of the world where certain internet-related activities are prohibited, a DNS leak can be a big deal. DNS records can be used for anything from censorship to tracking or limiting internet use or even legal punishments. So, if you’re using a VPN to try to access content that’s prohibited or banned by your government, DNS records could be used against you.
For people who don’t have those same types of concerns, there are other privacy-related issues that can stem from DNS leaks. For example, your ISP can sell your browsing data to marketers and advertisers. They closely monitor all the webpages you visit, understand your interest areas and buying behaviors, and show the advertisements accordingly to manipulate your purchase habits.
And there’s also the cybercrime angle of concern. For example, if a hacker intercepts your data from DNS leaks, they can target you via sophisticated email phishing attacks that are based on this information. And if they know you or any of your coworkers frequently visit specific sites (such as a vendor’s website), they could create watering hole phishing websites to target you all as well.
That’s a scary thought, am I right? Let’s take a few moments to understand how hackers use your browsing history for phishing attacks with a hypothetical example.
Your DNS Request Data Could Be Used as Phishing Email Fodder
Let’s say an intruder uses your leaky DNS to their advantage and intercepts your DNS request data. They notice that you visit Chase bank’s website a lot. Although they can’t see your credentials and any confidential details due to the bank’s TLS/SSL certificates, but they notice that you frequently visit Chase bank’s website and web pages relating to student loans.
Bingo! The hacker knows that you’re at least interested in finding more about loans or are maybe even considering applying for one. So, the attacker sends you a sophisticated phishing email using Chase bank’s logo and writing style that’s designed to appear to be part of the bank’s loan approval process. In the email, they ask you for your social security number, bank account number, and other confidential details!
You, having been on the site and applied for the loan, might not think twice about such a request. This is why it’s not uncommon for people to fall for such traps.
Your Data Could Be Used for Malvertisement-Based Cyber Attacks
Malvertising means malware-laden advertisements, which attackers use to distribute viruses, trojan horses, worms, etc. onto victims’ devices. Data from DNS leak can be used to target people who visit specific websites via malvertising attacks.
Let’s consider another example. Say, a hacker intercepts your DNS cache and notices that your frequently visiting websites that provide tips to accelerate mobile phone’s speed. The hacker could create an advertisement on that website to lure you in: “Is your phone getting slow? It might be infected with a virus. Scan your phone now with this free antivirus software to detect and remove the viruses! ”
If you click on that malvertisement, it could automatically download malware onto your device.
DNS Data Is a Great Social Engineering Resource for Cybercriminals
In social engineering attacks, the scam artists use social media and other tools to gather information about you to plot a cyber attack. With DNS leak, the hacker can track the pages, groups, and profiles you visited on social media and learn about your interests and the type of people you interact with. Then they use this info to:
Guess your login credentials. Make fake profiles/ groups to interact with you and persuade you to share your personal info. Send you malware-loaded files or attachments in the inbox. Send you links that take you to spammy or malicious sites.
In the same way, advertisers can also track your social media activities and show the advertisements accordingly. In short, your browsing behavior is way more valuable to advertisers and hackers than you imagine!
Final Words on DNS Leaks & How to Prevent Them
Just like any other technology, DNS has its weak points. A DNS leak makes it easy for intruders (both hackers and advertisers) to gain valuable information about you from the web pages you visit. They can know a wide variety of information, including your:
Bank, School, Workplace, Favorite ecommerce sites, Insurance company, Likes, dislikes, and areas of interest, Concerns you are facing (or may be seeking solutions for), and People you communicate with on social media.
While advertisers craft their ads to manipulate your buying behavior, hackers can use this info to execute sophisticated phishing attacks, distribute malware, and plot ransomware attacks. That’s why you should always use robust VPN software and other prevention methods to stop DNS leaks from happening in the first place.
VPN test: Check if your VPN is working | NordVPN
ContentsThe most common VPN leaksHow to do a VPN test check for IP and/or DNS leaksHow do I stop a DNS leak in a VPN? How to check for WebRTC leaksWhat to do if your WebRTC is leakingWhy is my VPN connected but not working? How to fix your VPN connectionThe most common VPN leaksThere are many reasons why your VPN software might not be providing 100% security and exposing your private information. Here are the most common ways that your VPN could be leaking:IP leakYour IP address says a lot about you, like your location or the websites you visit. A VPN protects you from snoopers trying to access this information, so if your original IP leaks it defeats the purpose of using a VPN. This usually happens due to two internet protocols, IPv4 and IPv6 and their leakSometimes your IP might stay hidden while your DNS address secretly reveals your location. The DNS server changes plain text URLs into numerical IP addresses. If you’re not using a VPN, this process is handled by your ISP and their servers, which can see who visited what websites. If your DNS leaks, then anyone snooping on your traffic will be able to access this information too. It could even lead to a DNS hijacking leakWeb Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is built into most popular browsers (i. e., Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Brave). It enables real-time communications such as voice and video chat, but it also presents another vulnerability for VPN websites can take advantage of WebRTC by inserting a few lines of code to see past your VPN and discover your original IP. This is very useful for websites that provide or block content based on your geo-location. It’s possible to prevent these leaks, but first, you have to identify them. You can do so by running some basic VPN tests that anyone can to do a VPN test: check for IP or DNS leaksTo check if your VPN is working, you’ll need to know your IP address; you can find it need to find out your original IP address given by your ISP. If you are currently using a VPN, turn it off and head to this page. Make a note of your real IP on your VPN and go back to the test website. It should now show a different IP address and the country you connected your VPN to. If the results show your original IP address, then, unfortunately, your VPN is leaking. Sometimes IPLeak tests fail to detect DNS leaks, which can also reveal your identity. So it’s advisable to check it on your VPN is on, DNSLeakTest should show the location you’ve chosen and your new Extended Test to dig even deeper. This test might take a few minutes. If the results now show your new IP address and your chosen country, you are safe. Your VPN isn’t leaking. If it’s the opposite, you have a VPN leak. NordVPN prevents DNS leaks by sending all your DNS queries through a secure VPN tunnel to keep them private at all times. When you’re connected to NordVPN, your device will only use DNS servers operated by us. Online security starts with a NordVPN, you won’t have to worry about DNS or IP do I stop a DNS leak in a VPN? The easiest way is to change your VPN provider to one that has dedicated DNS servers or offers DNS leak protection, like NordVPN. Or you could manually turn IPv6 off on your device. However, this might require some technical know-how. How to check for WebRTC leaksIf you haven’t already, find out your original IP address on the IPLeak website. Make a note of nnect to your VPN and refresh the webpage (or go to its alternative dedicated to WebRTC Testing). It should now show your new IP address and new location based on the country you’ve ‘Your IP addresses – WebRTC detection’ you should see a private IP that should be different from your original public IP address. Note that the website showing your private IP (usually begins with or or sometimes an alpha-numeric IPv6) doesn’t mean that your WebRTC is leaking. What to do if your WebRTC is leakingThis time, changing your VPN or tinkering with your settings won’t help. However, you can:Use a browser that doesn’t have WebRTC. You can find the full list of browsers that exclude it on Wikipedia. Disable WebRTC by following these stall browser extensions:Chrome: Install WebRTC Network is my VPN connected but not working? If you’ve performed all of these VPN tests and there’s still an issue, there may be other reasons why it might seem that your VPN isn’t working:Your browsing speed has dropped. This might happen for several reasons. For example, you’ve chosen a server which is on the other side of the world, the server is overloaded, or your ISP is throttling bandwidth. However, you can check your VPN speed and increase it with a few simple ISP or your country is blocking VPN usage. In some countries, especially with online censorship, VPN usage can be blocked or considered illegal. In China, for example, only government-approved VPNs are legal. Your VPN connection has dropped. Most VPNs offer an automatic kill switch (including NordVPN), which means that if your VPN connection drops, it will terminate your internet connection ( application-level kill switches will only terminate individual programs). The kill switch makes sure that you don’t access the internet outside of the encrypted VPN tunnel and that your personal information isn’t exposed if the connection your VPN connection dropped and activated your system-level kill switch, you will not be able to access the internet until you connect back to a VPN malware. Technology experts would never recommend using a free VPN. Not only do most contain annoying ads, some actually contain malware. If you are using a free VPN, you might already be exposing more personal information than you wanted to. You’ve been hacked. You might think that your VPN isn’t working because someone has broken into it. In reality, it’s pretty difficult to do so. It’s more likely that you’ve visited a malicious website or fell for a phishing attack and someone has taken control of your device. Unfortunately, if someone hacks you, a VPN can’t do much to protect you. Check the video below for a brief overview of the to fix your VPN connectionSometimes your VPN connection might drop for no discernable reason, or your VPN speed might be slow. Here’s a few tips for solving your VPN issues:Reset your VPN app. This is probably the most obvious advice, but resetting your VPN can do miracles. Switch off the app, using the Force Stop function on your phone if necessary, and a VPN protocol. If you’re experiencing connectivity issues, try changing from UDP to TCP protocol in your VPN between servers. A slow VPN connection might suggest that something’s wrong with the server you’ve connected to. Change to another server and see if your VPN works your internet connection. Unstable Wi-Fi might also be the reason that your VPN service is not working. You can try to connect your device directly to a router to get more speed or contact your internet service your VPN software. This can not only help you to fix VPN issues, but also provides you with the latest security and privacy features. We recommend that you always update your software whenever your firewall settings. Your firewall might be blocking your VPN traffic, preventing you from connecting to the server. Try disabling your firewall temporarily to see if this is the to technical support. If you’re still struggling to understand what’s wrong with your VPN, contact NordVPN technical support, available 24/7, and they will help you to solve any otect yourself from IP and DNS safe with the world’s leading VPN
Emily Green is a content writer who loves to investigate the latest internet privacy and security news. She thrives on looking for solutions to problems and sharing her knowledge with NordVPN readers and customers.
Frequently Asked Questions about check for dns leak
How do I check for a DNS leak?
You can check for DNS leaks in just a few easy steps:Go to the DNS leak test website. … For VPN check, see if the displayed IP address and location match your real ones. … To check your DNS status, select Standard or Extended Test.
How do I stop DNS leaks?
How to Prevent DNS LeaksUse a Robust VPN. Using a secure and reliable VPN is the best way to hide your original IP address and encrypt the tunnel between your browser and DNS servers. … Clear DNS Caches. … Disable Microsoft Teredo. … Change Your Settings to Default to Use Your VPN’s DNS Servers. … Use Secure DNS Service.Oct 28, 2020
Does my VPN leak?
The most common VPN leaks Your IP address says a lot about you, like your location or the websites you visit. A VPN protects you from snoopers trying to access this information, so if your original IP leaks it defeats the purpose of using a VPN.Apr 15, 2019