Get a VPN with its own private, encrypted DNS

ExpressVPN protects your internet traffic and your DNS queries by running its own encrypted DNS on every VPN server.

  • No activity logs and no connection logs
  • No DNS blocking, filtering, or hijacking
  • Faster DNS queries
  • 256-bit encryption
Globe showing America with DNS and website URLs in the background.

Video: DNS explained

This video explains how exposed DNS requests threaten your privacy and how ExpressVPN’s private, encrypted DNS is both safer and faster.

What is DNS?

Can’t see the video? Download the transcript (PDF, 75kb)

What is DNS?

A server connected to different IP addresses.

IP addresses and URLs

Every machine on the internet is identified by a string of numbers called an IP address. Your computer has an IP address, and so do all other computers, phones, servers, and networked devices. Some IP addresses are fixed, and some change periodically, and they are difficult for humans to remember.

That’s why IP addresses of websites need to be translated into words and phrases better suited for humans. We call these words URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).

Circular DNS logo showing a URL translated into an IP address

DNS = Domain Name System

DNS (Domain Name System) is a directory of all websites and services. If you have a URL, you can use DNS to look up its corresponding IP address.

Anyone can take part in the Domain Name System by running a server, but most people use a free DNS service. These services are usually run by internet service providers, content delivery networks, advertising networks, or, occasionally, volunteers.

Free DNS vs. VPN with private DNS

Free DNS

Globe next to IP addresses and URLs.

Because free DNS services know which sites you are trying to visit and which services you subscribe to, the operators of these services can learn a lot about you.

Some free DNS services make money by building and selling profiles of their users. This information is mainly used for advertising. For example, it can be used to assess the marketing value of a website by determining how popular it is and where its visitors come from.

Innovations like DoH (DNS over HTTPS) and DoT (DNS over TLS) can protect DNS requests. Most free DNS services, however, still do not use DoH, DoT, or any other means of encryption. Not only can these services see your activity, but so can anyone listening in on your connection.

VPN with private DNS

Globe next to a checkmark.

Many VPN services protect only your internet traffic and leave your DNS requests exposed and vulnerable. ExpressVPN solves this problem by running its own private, encrypted DNS on every VPN server. 

When you use ExpressVPN, your DNS requests are handled directly by ExpressVPN, with no exposure to third parties. You don’t need to opt in to use ExpressVPN’s private DNS. The ExpressVPN app protects all DNS requests automatically, with the same encryption and tunneling protocols as all your other online activity.

Benefits of a VPN with private DNS

No third parties

Globe with encrypted tunnel with arrows bouncing off it.

Connecting through ExpressVPN means your DNS requests won’t fall into the hands of public Wi-Fi operators, marketers, hackers, or other third parties.

No activity logs

Globe next to a checkmark.

ExpressVPN does not keep activity or connection logs. This data can never be seen or exploited by third parties, because it was never stored in the first place.

Faster DNS requests

Globe on green background illustrating high speeds.

Your DNS requests use ExpressVPN’s constantly optimized network and never leave the VPN tunnel, meaning you’re likely to get even quicker response times.

256-bit encryption

Globe in-between encrypted password.

ExpressVPN protects both your DNS requests and the rest of your internet traffic from attacks and manipulations with the same best-in-class encryption.

No DNS hijacking

Globe in encrypted tunnel with an external party trying to get in.

The connection between you and the ExpressVPN server is automatically encrypted and authenticated, so DNS queries cannot be observed or altered.

No DNS blocking

Globe with encrypted tunnel and external parties trying to get in.

Blocking DNS records is a common way for censors to filter your internet activity. ExpressVPN never blocks or limits your freedom to access websites and services.

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