Use VPN To Prevent DNS Leak In These Easy Steps
Firstly, what is DNS? Dynamic Name System (DNS) is a translation of your domain name into a numerical IP address. For example the domain name of LimeVPN (www.limevpn.com) is translated into its IP address which is 220.127.116.11. This translation procedure is performed by the Internet Service Provider, using its DNS servers.
A VPN failure occurs when the IP address is leaked and visible to the ISP. This is in direct violation of the objective of a VPN which is to ensure anonymity. However when a DNS leak happens, the ISP is able to see and monitor the activity of the browser just as it would in absence of VPN. Traditionally, while using a VPN, the DNS request should be routed to the DNS server of the VPN provider. When a DNS leak occurs, the browser instead sends the request to the ISP’s DNS server. This is quite common in Windows.
Question is how to detect a DNS leak? A DNS leak is suspected when you go to a DNS leak tester site and find your own ISP’s IP address in the results. A simpler way of doing it is by going to https://www.dnsleaktest.com/. o test it, you should click on the link once without the VPN activated, and once with the VPN activated.
Once the DNS leak is detected, the next step is to figure out ways to prevent this from happening in the future. DNS leaks make the user vulnerable and should be stopped whenever detected.
The first most obvious way of making sure that you don’t fall a victim of DNS leak is to get a VPN client who offers built in DNS leak protection. Some VPN providers provide automatic VPN protection, or option to ‘Stop DNS leak’
The other way to avoid DNS leak is to change the DNS server address manually. This ensures that the ISP is not preying on your information. Alternatively DNS server information is also offered by open sources like Google Public DNS and Open DNS.
This method of preventing a DNS leak is more useful as it not only provides a full-proof plan to make your connection secure, but also increase the speed considerably. It makes the DNS translations service simpler and more trusted. DNS Benchmark is a free utility service that can be used to verify and validate the accuracy and speed of a DNS server.
A Windows guide to changing the DNS server is here:
- In the Windows OS, open the Control Panel, from which select Network and Settings. Next, clixk on ‘Change Adapter Settings’.
- Find your main connections and right click on it. Select ‘Properties’.
- Find a tab that says ‘Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)’. Click on it and then click on ‘Properties’.
- Click on the ‘Use the following DNS server addresses’ button, enter the relevant addresses. Click ‘OK’ and restart the connection. It is wise to make note of the original DNS server, in case you want to revert later.
VPN providers like LimeVPN already provide users with a DNS server’s address. If you are not using a VPN at this point, you can use the open source DNS addresses provided from various sources. Some of them are:
Google Public DNS
Preferred DNS server: 18.104.22.168
Alternate DNS server: 22.214.171.124
Preferred DNS server: 126.96.36.199
Alternate DNS server: 188.8.131.52
Via address reservation all DNS requests are routed to the VPN server which provides its own DNS address. Error in the address reservation process is what causes the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) to revert back to the original DNS server that is specified by Windows or other OSs. This is wrong because the VPN, even with DHCP enabled, should be routing through the VPN tunnel..
So, we can conclude that for those who use and enjoy the anonymity provided by LimeVPN, they should take the extra step to ensure that they plug in any holes that might let leak their identity or information. DNS leak is one such loophole through which this information can slide by. So using a VPN connection that provides this security is the best step in preventing a DNS leak. Alternatively, the DNS server address can be changed in the OS itself. Windows is highly prone to this leak as most case studies suggest. However, Linux and OSX are not completely immune and should not be treated such. In case of all OSs, a VPN with secure DNS servers is important.