More than 50% of people who use privacy tools such as VPNs and proxy servers on their laptops or personal computers do so in order to access better entertainment, while 35% of them are motivated by the need for online anonymity and privacy. Aside from these top two reasons, the study also cited the following motivations for VPN and proxy usage:
- To access social networks or news services (34%);
- To access sites/files/service at work (30%), and;
- To communicate with friends and family abroad (25%).
The first motivation — to access better entertainment content — entails hiding one’s IP address and replacing it with an IP from the country you want to have entertainment access to. If you are visiting Singapore, for instance, but you want to watch shows or sports events that are only accessible in the United States, you need to get an IP address that is from the US.
The second reason — the need for online anonymity — would also require users to hide their IP addresses since this string of numbers separated by dots contains personally identifiable information that can expose individuals and businesses to risks associated to the cyber world.
Some of the information that an IP address can reveal are:
- Your Internet Service Provider or ISP
- The continent you’re in
- Your country
- Your state or region
- Your city
- Your postal code
- Your exact location by longitude and latitude
Sure, your phone number or real name isn’t on the list above, but with the right tools, anyone can extract more personal data out of a single IP address.
Businesses and marketers use proxy servers to keep themselves safe while doing big data research and also to protect themselves against cybercriminals.
Also Read: Everything you need to know about DNS
Simply put, the only way for individuals, businesses, and marketers to do all of the cited reasons above is to hide their IP addresses, which is why security threats such as IP leaks and DNS leaks are taken very seriously.
What is an IP Leak?
There is an IP leak when a user’s real IP addresses are revealed despite being connected to a VPN or proxy server. This could happen when the person’s device is using default servers instead of the anonymous servers provided for by the VPN service.
how to check IP leak:
- Go to WhatIsMyIP or WhatIsMyIPAddress
- Write down the IP address that you see there. That is your real IP address.
- Now, connect to a proxy server or a VPN server from another country.
- Go to the links provided in step 1 again.
- If the IP address you wrote down is still reflected there, it means that your system is leaking your IP address.
- If the IP address you see is different, then you are safe from IP leaks.
There are different reasons why an IP leak may occur. There is the DNS or Domain Name System leak, the WebRTC leak, and the latest is the IPv6 leak. Most people often confuse these as one and the same. True, all of them leak the same data, which is the precious IP address of users, but they happen in different ways. For this article, we will learn about DNS leak and if a DNS test leak your IP address.
What is a DNS Test leak?
Think of DNS or Domain Name System as the phonebook of the Internet. It connects the user’s computer to the website by translating the domain name to a series of numbers that can be understood by the computer. For example, if you want to access Limeproxies, your computer will send a DNS request to your ISP’s DNS server, requesting the IP address of the website. This is because computers can only understand numbers. So instead of Limeproxies, which is understandable for human beings, computers need to get the corresponding IP of that particular website.
A DNS leak happens when, despite being connected to a VPN or proxy, your DNS requests still go to your ISP’s DNS servers. This is a serious security flaw that allows your ISP, or any person or entity looking at your activities, to see the websites you are visiting and also your IP address.
What is even scarier is that there are some ISPs that make use of a technology that forces the user’s computer to use their default DNS server even when the user changes the DNS setting to another DNS server. This technology is called Transparent DNS proxy.
DNS leak test
There are several websites where you can test if your system has a DNS leak. Some of them are:
Will these sites know your real IP address?
This is the main issue in this article. If you use, for instance, LimeVPN to check for a DNS leak, will LimeVPN’s server know your real IP address? The short answer is no. The website that runs the DNS leak test will only see your DNS provider, but it won’t know your real IP address or any of your custom DNS settings.
Take for example the DNS leak test result below:
It shows these data which are nowhere near our real IP address, DNS provider, and location:
- DNS IP address: 126.96.36.199
- Provider: AS205016 HERN Labs AB
- City: Kievpetrovsky Port
- Country: UA
When we used DNSTest.com the results are pretty much the same too. The website only knows that the DNS server used is Cloudflare, which is actually not the real DNS server we are using. Our real IP address is also not on the list of IPs that the website found.
DNS Test Does Not Leak Your Real IP Address
No matter the reason for using privacy tools such as proxies and VPNs, the most important thing is that you find a solution that keeps you safe from IP leaks. Regular checking and IP leak testing are also advised to avoid compromising your personal data.
Take note that DNS leak tests do not reveal your IP address to the website running them. If there is no DNS leak, then your data is safe. These websites, your ISP, and any eavesdropper will not be able to see your real IP address and your online activities.