A DNS—Domain Name Service—is a sort-of naming system or ‘Internet phonebook’ that enables people to access information through domain names such as google.com. Web browsers interact with the Internet through IP addresses and it is DNS’ that translate domain names—google.com—into an IP address so browsers can load websites and other internet resources.
NordVPN’s DNS is no different to this. When you are connected to NordVPN, your traffic will use NordVPN’s DNS instead of your ISP’s to spoof your location and secure your traffic.
Sometimes, though, this can fail and what is known as a “DNS leak” can take place.
When this happens, DNS requests are revealed to your ISP’s DNS servers despite using a VPN that is meant to conceal them.
It goes without saying then that a DNS leak can put you at serious risk by exposing who you are and what you are doing while connected to a VPN.
This issue defeats the purpose of using one.
NordVPN DNS Leak—Does it Happen?
One of the reasons we recommend NordVPN is because it is one of the most secure VPNs available on the market.
They use strong encryption, industry-leading tunnelling protocols, and there is a kill switch available for all platforms. IP and DNS information simply does not leak outside their secure encryption tunnel.
It is always a good idea to test it out every now and then, though, because things can (and sometimes do) change. Perhaps the change is on your device’s end.
We connected to multiple servers and performed multiple tests.
IP Leak Test 1
First up, we connected to France. You can see the results of our test when not connected to a VPN (U.S.) vs connected to a VPN (France).
NordVPN passed the first IP leak test.
IP Leak Test 2 (using ipleak.net)
We then connected to an Australian NordVPN server and did the test with another provider. It passed the IP leak test.
The Australian server wasn’t leaking any DNS requests either.
DNS Leak Test 1 (using ipleak.net)
We then connected to a server in the U.S. and performed a DNS leak test.
Again, no DNS (or IP) leaks were found.
DNS Leak Test 2 (using dnsleaktest.com)
Finally, we connected to a NordVPN server in Chile, probably one of the least popular location choices, and performed a second DNS test.
No leaks were found.
NordVPN passed across the board and doesn’t leak, period.
How Leaks Can Affect You
If any of your traffic “leaks” out of the secure encryption tunnel (figuratively speaking), it can be intercepted by unauthorized third-parties such as ISPs, DNS providers, malicious hackers, or anybody spying on your internet traffic.
When this happens, they can see information such as:
- any websites you are visiting;
- files you are downloading;
- services you use; and
What’s more, you won’t have any idea whether your DNS or IP is leaking unless you perform a test yourself. This is why it is important that you choose a VPN service that is reliable and can ensure that it does not leak anything.
Performing Your Own Leak Test
The best VPN services simply don’t leak your information but it’s always a good idea to check this yourself for peace of mind. Here’s how.
1. Connect to a VPN
Launch and connect to your VPN on a server of your choice. We recommend a server outside your home country.
2. Head to a DNS leak test site
We recommend both dnsleaktest.com and ipleak.net. Both of these services are easy to use. On the first site simply click ‘Standard test’ or ‘Extended test’. On the second site, the test executes automatically when the page loads.
3. Analyze the information
If the IP address and displayed location match your personal ones, you are either not connected to the VPN or it is leaking your information. If you do not see your own IP address or your home country’s flag (if connected to a VPN server in another country) you are safe!
If your ISP information isn’t showing, that’s another sign that you are protected. If your ISP information is showing, then there’s a leak.
What if NordVPN Leaks?
Sometimes leaks can be caused by the settings on your device, especially if you are using a Windows machine.
If you notice a DNS leak, simply contact NordVPN’s customer support team either through live chat or by opening a ticket and they will work with you to sort out your problem.
We highly recommend that you carry out leak testing when you start using a new VPN service.
Try NordVPN Risk-Free Today
When you are connected to NordVPN, your device only uses the DNS servers that are owned and operated by NordVPN. This means that you will never need to worry about your information leaking and being seen by other parties.
You can try out NordVPN today totally risk-free for 30 days thanks to their 30-day money-back guarantee. This applies to all their plans and although you do need to purchase a plan to use NordVPN, if you are not 100 percent satisfied you can simply ask for a refund within 30 days.
There are no strings attached and you get all your money back within a few days of lodging a request with customer support.