Did you know that billions of people use 126.96.36.199 to get answers to their questions? Don’t be confused. It is the IP address of google.com. What saves you from the hassle of remembering this string of numbers is called a DNS or Domain Name Server.
The job of a DNS is to translate website names into IP addresses. The information is then sent back to your browser, after which your browser takes you to the website. Your internet service provider has its own DNS, which is how it knows the websites you visit, since it keeps a record of the DNS requests sent by you.
If you are using any anonymity tool, such as a VPN, then ideally your DNS requests should not go to your ISP but the DNS hosted by your VPN. A DNS leak happens when a security flaw compels your device to forward the DNS request to your ISP’s DNS server instead of the DNS used by the VPN.
As stated above, your DNS requests give away your browsing activities, which can be used against you. Plus, if someone has access to your DNS requests, besides your ISP or the VPN server, then it means that your security has been compromised and you are exposed. You have to protect your DNS requests from your ISP to stop it from tracking your movements, regardless of whether you're using a VPN or not!
You need DNS leak protection to make sure that nobody knows what you browse online. Protecting your DNS requests is the first step toward protecting your privacy online. Your browsing habits give away much more than the websites you visit. The collected data can be used to serve you targeted ads, blackmail you, profiling you, and to further compromise the security of the device you are using and the integrity of data on that device.
The easiest and most effective method to fix DNS leaks is to use a VPN service with built-in DNS Leak Protection. With the feature enabled, your DNS queries are handled by the VPN’s DNS servers rather than your ISP’s. As a result, your real identity doesn’t get compromised even if DNS requests are sent outside the encrypted tunnel.
If your VPN doesn’t provide DNS servers, you also have the option of routing your DNS queries through independent DNS servers such as OpenDNS (188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206) or Google Public DNS (220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168). In this way, you can rest assured that all DNS requests will go through your VPN instead of your ISP.
Transparent DNS proxy is a technology used by your ISP to ensure that your DNS queries are forwarded to their DNS servers alone. So, another way to fix DNS leak issues is to circumvent these transparent DNS proxies, but it can be a tedious process if you aren’t a tech-savvy individual.