A DNS leak is a security vulnerability that enables DNS requests to be visible to an ISP’s DNS servers despite the use of a VPN. However, ExpressVPN has adequate protection put in place to prevent DNS leaks.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are used to safeguard a user’s privacy when they are surfing the web. It prevents internet service providers and others eavesdroppers from viewing and monitoring a person’s activity when they are online.
However, a DNS leak sometimes occurs, allowing the ISP and other snoopers to see the websites a user is visiting. ExpressVPN, on its part, has implemented robust security against DNS leaks.
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DNS leak reveals data to your ISP and third-parties
A DNS leak is a security flaw in a VPN connection, leading to the data regarding your DNS requests being revealed to your internet service provider and other third-party service providers. The DNS leak occurs primarily because of two reasons.
In the first instance, your DNS request could be sent to a server that is not hosted by your VPN service provider. The second reason is that DNS requests are sent in an unencrypted form, which means they weren’t sent via the VPN Tunnel.
When a DNS leak occurs, you will continue to browse thinking you are still anonymous. However, your ISP can view your data and know every website you visit.
Reasons why DNS leaks occur
While we have explained the two primary reasons why DNS leaks takes place, other factors come into play. If a VPN provider doesn’t have DNS protection, then a user’s DNS requests would be sent to the ISP and other third parties. Also, the absence of robust DNS protection could lead to a DNS leak. Thirdly, when a VPN disconnects, your DNS requests would be exposed, and your ISP can see precisely the websites you are visiting.
ExpressVPN takes DNS leaks seriously
ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive VPNs currently available in the world. For that reason, the company should not fail to provide top-notch security and protection to its users.
To ensure that users do not suffer from DNS leaks, ExpressVPN doesn’t use third-party DNS. Many VPN providers use third-party DNS, which in most cases are not protected by the same encryption and tunneling protocol as the VPN. Thus, leaving a user’s DNS request open to manipulation.
It is for this reason that ExpressVPN doesn’t use a third-party DNS server. The company operates its own DNS on each of its VPN servers. Thus, ensuring that users’ DNS requests are protected even in less secure environments such as cafes, airports, and public WIFI hotspots. To further safeguard a user’s DNS requests, ExpressVPN utilizes 256-bit Encrypted DNS which protects data from attacks and manipulation.
Unlike third-party DNS servers, ExpressVPN’s inbuilt DNS is zero knowledge. Which implies that a user’s personally identifiable information is not stored on any server. In the case of third party DNS servers. They log your personally identifiable information from your traffic, which means anyone with access to those servers can view the DNS logs that link to your internet activities.
The DNS requests from ExpressVPN are usually encrypted and signed. Thus, keeping user information safe from DNS filtering, phishing, censorship, and other forms of attack and data manipulation. Using ExpressVPN, a user’s DNS requests doesn’t leave the VPN tunnel. Which means they get a quicker reply compared to those that use third-party DNS servers.
ExpressVPN’s DNS Leak test tool
While ExpressVPN protects its users from DNS leaks. They periodically check your connection to ensure that you don’t have a DNS leak. ExpressVPN has a leak test tool that requests your browser to make DNS requests to a site owned by ExpressVPN. Once the DNS requests are made, the requests should come to ExpressVPN’s DNS.
However, if the requests come from a user’s ISP, then ExpressVPN will immediately alert you that there is a DNS leak. The results of the leak test are not logged as the tool is offered as a service.
ExpressVPN has a robust and reliable system in place that ensures that its users don’t suffer from DNS leaks. The VPN provider also has a test leak tool which checks to see if there is a leak and reports it to the user.