The Domain Name System (DNS) is the reason why browsing the internet is so quick and simple. Its job is resolving domain names such as “nordvpn.com” into actual IP addresses. In other words, it translates the long, complex numeric names of web servers into human language, and the other way around.
This is how it works: Whenever you want to visit our website, you type “nordvpn.com” into your browser. Your computer or smartphone sends a query to a DNS server: it contacts the server and asks for the unique IP address of our site. Only after the DNS server provides the IP address, your device can finally connect to the website you want.
When you connect to a VPN, all your online traffic is supposed to be routed through the VPN network. That includes the DNS queries we mentioned before. They should go through the encrypted tunnel straight to your VPN provider’s DNS servers.
But that’s not always the case. A DNS leak is a security flaw that allows your queries to travel to the default DNS servers, which belong to your internet service provider (ISP). That may happen if you:
are running Windows 8 or later with the “Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution” feature enabled;
have recently reset your system preferences;
have set up a VPN manually;
are using a VPN service that doesn’t own its DNS servers nor offer adequate protection from leaks.
If any of your online traffic goes out through the regular, unencrypted route, third parties may intercept it. That includes your ISP or DNS provider, who would be able to see the websites you visit, the services you use, and more.
On top of that, you won’t even know about it, unless you take a special DNS test for leaks, like the one provided here. You could call it a VPN security test because if a service won’t fully reroute all your traffic, it’s not as secure as it should be. That’s why it’s imperative to choose a VPN with DNS leak protection.
When you connect to NordVPN, your device only uses DNS servers operated by NordVPN. All your DNS queries travel over the encrypted tunnel and are resolved on the same VPN server you are connected to.
This way, you never have to worry about your confidential information leaking and third parties spying on it.
You can check for DNS leaks in just a few easy steps:
Go to the DNS leak test website. It not only allows you to check your VPN connection for leaks, but also provides advice on how to fix any leaks you find.
For VPN check, see if the displayed IP address and location match your real ones. If so, either you’re not connected to a VPN, or your VPN service is not working.
To check your DNS status, select Standard or Extended Test. If you are connected to a VPN server and the VPN leak test displays DNS servers that don’t belong to your actual ISP, your traffic is secure.
What if you are connected to NordVPN, and still see a DNS leak during the test? Please contact our support team our support team over live chat or email. We’ll help you sort out any issues as soon as possible.