Is my VPN passing DNS traffic?

DNS stands for Domain Naming System. It translates your web address, such as, into numbers, so the internet can understand it. Whenever you type in a website, your browser sends a query to the DNS server. The DNS server detects your IP address, translates your request into numbers, and allows you to see the corresponding website. However, if you’re connected to a VPN, you can prevent the DNS server from revealing your true IP address.

Does DNS traffic go through VPN?

When you’re connected to a VPN server, all of your DNS traffic requests go to the provider’s encrypted server instead of yours. That will ensure that your IP address stays private. However, sometimes VPN providers have issues with their DNS leaking. That means you may still run into the types of issues you’re trying to solve with a VPN in the first place.

Why does it matter?

If you’re using a VPN with leaky DNS, it will reveal where you are instead of the server you’re using. For those that are trying to protect their privacy, 3rd parties can find out where you are, based on your IP address. If you are trying to stream content and connect to a different region, a leaky DNS may prevent you from seeing content there. Neither option is great, and if you connect to a VPN provider that has DNS leaks, you might as well not be using one at all. That’s because it defeats the purpose of a VPN.

How to test if your VPN is leaking

Luckily, testing your VPN for DNS leaks is easy to do. Follow these steps.

  1. Connect to a server for your VPN service and go to your favorite server.
  2. Check to see if your VPN has DNS leak protection. If it does, make sure this feature is on. Not all services will have the option, but they may still protect you.
  3. Now, go to a website like or others and run the test.
  4. Once you complete it, look for the locations and ISPs of the DNS requests. If they are not from the server you’re using or the test shows your real IP address, your DNS is leaking.

No matter which VPN or testing site you use, you should be able to find the answers to this question easily. Keep in mind that just because one server leaks, it doesn’t mean they all will. If you are having this issue, we suggest you try several things to help you find out if this is an isolated incident or not.

Ways to fix DNS Traffic leaks on VPN

If you try these techniques and still have issues, you may need to change services.

  • Change VPN servers – While a leak can show an issue, it may be isolated to one or two servers. You can change the VPN server at the same location and see if you still have the issue.
  • Change locations – Changing the location of the server you’re connecting to may change things. If the company configures the servers wrong in one place, it doesn’t mean you’ll have the same issue at all locations.
  • Change security protocols – Although this shouldn’t matter, sometimes different protocols react differently. Changing the protocol may help to resolve the issue.
  • Flush the DNS cache – For this one, you’ll need to go to the command prompt option inside Windows. You’ll want to be careful with this step if you aren’t computer savvy. You can find these steps in many places on the internet.

Again, if you’re still having issues after following these steps, we suggest changing providers to one like ExpressVPN. We like them because they have consistent performance across multiple platforms, and we have never had an issue with DNS leaks. With a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 24/7 customer support team, they’ll take care of any issues you may have.

A VPN service will help protect your online privacy and unblock sites from around the world. We support a free and open Internet.