Providers that Pass the VPN Leak Test in 2020

While VPNs are a great way to surf more privately and get around geo-restricted content, you would be forgiven for wrongly thinking that your IP address and any online activity you have performed will always be concealed. Unfortunately, no matter whether you are using a top-of-the-line VPN or just a free online VPN, you are still susceptible to IP leaks that can occur in your browser or operating system. So all the while you might think that your IP address is being kept anonymous, it might suffer from these leaks which are making you completely detectable online.

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Understanding DNS and IP Leaks

Each device that can be found on a network will have an IP address which is essentially its identifier on that network. This could be your laptop, a printer, your mobile phone or anything else that can connect to a network such as the internet.

DNS (domain name service) is what the internet uses to allow servers to host more than one website and it works by translating the web address such as www.reddit.com into the given IP address for each website or page that you want to visit.

So when you type in a web address, your browser will send a request to the DNS server which will, in turn, translate that address into the IP address needed to reach that web address. This is called DNS resolution.

Now, when you use a VPN, any DNS resolution request is meant to be done using the custom DNS servers that the VPN requests but this does not always happen. In some cases, the DNS request can still be performed by your computer – a DNS leak that will leave your IP address compromised and no longer anonymous.

DNSCrypt is one way you can keep your activities private as it will encrypt any traffic going from your system to the chosen DNS server but this will still not be able to keep your Ip address anonymous.

DNS Leak Test to Detect a Leak

There is something you can do to determine if your VPN is leaking your IP address and that is through performing a VPN leak test on the VPN that you use. This VPN check will show you what IP address is being seen when using your VPN.

To perform a DNS leak check, you can make use of one of many IP leak test tools that are available. Many websites and services will have this simple type of tool and they will be able to determine your IP address through a VPN check.

Before you test your VPN however, it is important to run a test when you are not connected to the VPN first and foremost. Here you will be able to determine your actual public IP address and the DNS server. Take note of these before then connecting to your VPN.

Now that you are connected to the VPN, run the DNS leak test again to see what comes up. If the VPN leak test reveals the same IP address and DNS server as before, it means you are suffering a leak.

There are three reasons why your DNS leak check has revealed that you are suffering a leak and these are:

Leaks Caused by a Browser

IP leaks through the browser are the most common reason for seeing your public IP address when running a DNS leak test. There is always a chance for a leak to occur due to a browser vulnerability by browsers that use the WebRTC API. WebRTC allows certain web applications to run without the need to install any additional extension or plugins.

Because browsers such as Chrome and Firefox which use WebRTC make use of a STUN server when they want to establish external network addresses, this makes it very easy for a website to discover your actual IP address. This is done via a simple piece of code written in Javascript.

Stopping this from happening can be done, however, as you can either adjust your firewall settings to block any requests made that are not from within your VPN connection or you can just disable WebRTC in your browser.

Leaks Caused by the VPN

Another cause for your IP address showing up after a VPN check is that of the VPN itself. This is why you should always use the very best VPNs out there as some might not use their dedicated DNS servers.

Even if they do provide secure DNS resolution, the VPN can still be a reason for a failed VPN leak test. This can be caused when the VPN is outdated and does not support the IPv6 protocol. This new protocol was created to provide longer addresses due to the old IPv4 protocol starting to run out of addresses to use due to the growth of the internet.

When the VPN tries to connect to an IPv6 enabled website, it will fail the request and will instead turn to send an unencrypted request from outside of your VPN to connect. This will result in your actual IP address is visible and will, therefore, result in the DNS leak check failing.

To address this, you should make sure your VPN not only uses its own dedicated DNS server but also supports IPv6. If it does not do the latter, the only other option you have is to disable IPv6 in your operating system. This can be achieved via various guides online.

Leaks Caused by the Operating System

The final reason why your DNS leak check is turning up failed results could be down to Windows 10. This could be Windows 10 not using DNS server prioritizing with it instead of sending out requests to all DNS servers and going with the first one to respond. This means it could be using your ISPs DNS server instead of your VPNs DNS server on occasions.

Disabling smart-multi homed name resolution in the group policy editor will return Windows 10 to how previous versions of Windows resolved DNS requests. This is to have a priority list of DNS servers to use.

Best VPN Providers that Aced the DNS Leak Test

All Round 1 ExpressVPN
9.8
More details + 70% of our followers choose ExpressVPN
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ExpressVPN review: Excellent!
ExpressVPN is a complete VPN solution that meets diverse needs. It is suitable for all those who need an easy-to-use VPN to watch streaming TV and download torrents on all their devices without limits. You'll get what you pay for!
Privacy and security
10
Features
10
Speed and Performance
10
Value for money
9
Ease of use
10
PROS:
  • High-speed connection
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Wide selection of countries
  • Military grade encryption
  • Zero logs
  • User-friendly setup and use
  • Unlimited streaming and torrenting
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Exclusive deal: 3 months free!
CONS:
  • Few settings
  • No NAT firewall
  • No IP binding
Best Value 2 NordVPN
9.6
Check latest pricing Go to NordVPN
Read full review
More details + Money-back guarantee available, but with conditions
NordVPN Review: Excellent
NordVPN is a young VPN with a lot of potential. It is suitable for all those who need an easy-to-use and secure VPN: To fight censorship, to watch streaming TV and to download torrents and Peer to Peer. Subscribe for 1 or 2 years to get the best price.
Privacy and security
9
Features
8
Speed and Performance
8
Value for money
10
Ease of use
10
PROS:
  • High speed connection
  • NAT Firewall
  • Native app for iPhone and Android
  • 6 simultaneous devices
  • User friendly
  • No log policy and torrent friendly
CONS:
  • Monthly subscription is too expensive
  • Manual setup only for PPTP/L2TP
User-friendly 3 Private Internet Access Review
9.4
Check latest pricing Go to PIA
Read full review
Private Internet Access review: Good
PIA is a reliable and affordable VPN solution. It is suitable for all those who need an easy-to-use VPN to surf anonymously, watch streaming TV and download torrents on all their devices without limits. And the
Value for money
9
Ease of use
8
Accessibility
9
Supported devices
8
Covered countries
7
VPN for IOS
9
VPN for Android
9
PROS:
  • High speed connection
  • Native app for iPhone and Android
  • P2P and BitTorrent allowed, with no logs
  • SOCKS 5 proxy included
CONS:
  • Few covered countries
  • Interface could be better
4 CyberGhost VPN
9.2
More details + Money-back guarantee available, but with conditions
CyberGhost Review: Good
CyberGhost is a reliable VPN solution, focused on your privacy. It is suitable for all those who need an easy-to-use VPN to surf and torrent anonymously and watch streaming TV without limits. Multi login package is a bit expensive.
Privacy and security
10
Features
9
Speed and Performance
10
Value for money
9
Ease of use
10
PROS:
  • High speed
  • Native apps for iPhone and Android
  • P2P and BitTorrent allowed, with no logs
  • User friendly
CONS:
  • No IPv6 leak protection
  • No built-in firewall (NAT firewall)
  • No IP binding
5 Surfshark VPN
9
More details + Money-back guarantee available, but with conditions
Value for money
9
Ease of use
10
Accessibility
8
Supported devices
10
Covered countries
9
PROS:
  • High-speed
  • User-friendly
  • No logs
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Compatible with US Netflix
  • Affordable
CONS:
  • Newcomer
  • No IP leak protection settings

Summary

You should always perform a DNS leak test as often as possible to determine whether you are suffering any leaks. Even if your VPN has shown to pass a VPN leak test on several occasions, you should still be performing a VPN check as often as you can just to be on the safe side.

Daniel

If you can call someone an internet lover, it's me! I’ve always been passionate about the online world. And I’ve developed a special love about the topics of security and privacy. Privacy is the ultimate asset to protect. As a seasoned security expert, I make every effort to stay up-to-date about security. And I’m happy to share my knowledge with our readers.

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