Does your VPN leaks DNS data? Does the DNS testing tool you’re using shows real results or shows sponsored results for affiliate marketing?
Virtual private network (VPN) users are increasing at a great pace due to growing privacy concerns and numerous VPN options, including both, the paid and free options. But many of us make the wrong choice and choose VPN with data leaks. Unfortunately, VPN data leaks are hidden, and you cannot spot them without testing them through VPN tools.
In the testing phase, some tools also provide unauthentic and misleading information. In this article, we will show how some tools could misguide you and how you can spot any unauthentic information.
What is DNS and DNS Leak?
DNS functioning is complex, and there could be a detailed explanation for its working. But the basic purpose of the DNS system is simple.
DNS works like a phonebook for the internet and intermediary between the user’s device and browsers. When a user searches information through domain names – such as Hackread.com or Privacysniffs.com – the browser interacts to the DNS server which translates the domain names into IP addresses. The DNS server is a necessary element because browsers can only process IP addresses to load internet resources.
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Now, with the VPN connection, the ISP DNS server (which is the default server in most devices) is switched with the anonymous VPN DNS. Through this process, it is ensured that a user’s browsing activity and identity remain hidden from the ISP and other internet entities. Unfortunately, due to VPN vulnerability and because of other issues, your DNS could be leaking while you are using a VPN or any other privacy tool.
DNS leak occurs when VPN is connected to conceal DNS requests but due to certain reasons, these requests reach ISP DNS instead of going to the anonymous DNS server. You can spot DNS leak issue with some testing tools, but unfortunately, DNS testing is also being used to promote VPN providers.
Analyzing Results to Spot Deceiving Tool
There is no doubt that the DNS test tool is the best way to catch data leaks way before any serious data theft or exploit. However, you can get confusing results while using some of the testing tools. Here are the two probable reasons for misleading DNS results;
- The tool you are using owns a VPN service which they might promote through DNS leak results.
- Any tool that is sponsored or paid by a VPN provider could manipulate results for gaining higher commission through more conversions.
But, it is not necessary that a tool with any of the character mentioned above is always involved in providing deceptive results. To keep everything easy and simple for you, here is the information on how to analyze the DNS test results and figure out the dubious data.
Step 1: Check your real DNS IP without connecting VPN. You can do this with any DNS leak tool.
Step 2: Connect your VPN and perform the DNS test with any tool.
Step 3: Wait for a few seconds until the testing process completes.
Now look at the results and see your VPN DNS information. If the results contain DNS IP and location according to your connected VPN server then your DNS is not leaking. But, if you find any information matching your real IP, location or ISP then your VPN might be leaking DNS.
But the question is, where do people get confused?
People get confused when the results are fine, but there is a danger sign (usually indicated by red) stating that your VPN is leaking the DNS or something like that. Many people just look at this notification without analyzing the information.
See: Don’t ever use a VPN without paying attention to these five things
Keep in mind that your real data could not be accessed if your VPN is working fine; therefore, any tool could only show a wrong notification of danger but the displayed IP will be of your VPN server.
Examples of Some DNS Results – Legitimate and Confusing
We have performed DNS tests using some tools which are popular and appear in top results when you search for DNS leak test tools. In this section, we will highlight some confusing results. But, before that, we will compare these results with some authentic tools which display clear information.
Before getting to the result analysis, let us tell you that;
- We will use two VPNs – ExpressVPN and PIA VPN – and test both the VPNs with all the available tools. Also, we will use the same server, ie. the US server to test DNS leak with every tool.
- There are test results of five tools including both the authentic tools and misleading DNS tools.
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1 – DNSleaktest.com [Authentic Source]
We have performed a DNS test with dnsleaktest.com and find clear results. Although they advertise IVPN, they don’t display confusing results for promotions.
Here is the result.
You can see that the results are showing the US server and the IP for that location. This means the DNS is not leaking. But, the important thing to notice is that this tool doesn’t misguide or create an impact by displaying a result statement.
2 – VPNInsights.com DNS Leak Tool [Authentic]
With ExpressVPN, the DNS leak tool by VPNInsights shows a similar IP address as other tools. Also, we found nothing confusing or promotional.
Here is the result.
With ExpressVPN (US server)
Here you can see the same VPN server IP which was displayed by dnsleaktest.com. Also, the VPNinsights tool does not display a result statement so that users can judge the results on their own.
3- IPleak.net [Authentic]
This tool is also a legitimate one without any misleading data or statement.
Here is the result.
With ExpressVPN (US Server)
IPleak.net also displays authentic results without any misguiding information.
4- DNSleak.com [Misleading]
After going through the DNS leak tool by DNSleak.com, it was prominent that they are advertising PIA VPN and also promoting it through misleading results.
|With ExpressVPN (US Server)||With PIA VPN (US Server)|
|Here you can see that despite ExpressVPN IP (as displayed by other legitimate tools), DNSleak.com is showing a danger sign by stating “Looks like your DNS might be leaking.|| When connected to PIA VPN, the same PIA IP (as displayed by other legitimate tools) is displayed with a secure sign.|
5- DNS Leak Tool by ExpressVPN [Misleading]
With the ExpressVPN tool, it was obvious that they have their own VPN service which is popular as well. Despite this fact, there were chances that the tool displays clear results without any misguidance.
| With ExpressVPN (US Server)|
| With PIA VPN (US Server)|
When connected to Express VPN, the same IP (as displayed by other legitimate tools) is displayed with a secure sign.
Here you can see that despite PIA VPN IP (as displayed by other legitimate tools), DNSleak.com is showing a danger sign by stating “Looks like your DNS might be leaking.
In this article, we have tried our best to provide well research information with some clear examples. However, it is possible that the tools which we found misleading will work on their efficiency and remove any error in the future.
See: What If Your VPN Keeps Logs and Why You Should Care
Also, there could be other affiliate or promotional tools which are not discussed here as we have only focused the top results for testing DNS leak. Therefore, you should always analyze the DNS test results carefully while you go for a DNS leak test.
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