At the end of 2017, DNSCrypt.org was taken offline. The creator of the protocol simply stated that he no longer used it and advised people to find another solution. Unfortunately, many internet users depended on it to encrypt their DNS queries, so it’s quite disappointing that this service is no longer available.
You may be wondering what a DNS query is, why you should encrypt it and what can be used to protect yourself, now that DNSCrypt is offline. We have the answers to all of your questions below.
What Are DNS Queries and Why Should You Encrypt Them?
Every time you visit a website, your computer sends a query to a DNS server. The DNS server then sends back the IP address of the website you’re trying to visit, which allows your computer to access the server that the site is hosted on. This is essentially how people are able to access websites on the internet.
So, what’s the problem? Well, unless you’re using some sort of technology to encrypt your DNS queries, they can be easily obtained by governments, hackers and other third parties. This means that virtually anyone can gain access to your browsing history.
Just how easy is it? If you’re not using any DNS encryption, your internet service provider has access to your entire browsing history which they’ll have to turn over to the government should it be requested. They can also sell that information to advertisers where it could be used by companies to deliver targeted ads to you.
If you value your privacy, then DNS encryption is a must-have.
Alternatives to DNSCrypt
DNSCrypt was a protocol that encrypted all of your DNS queries. Unfortunately, as we stated before, the site is no longer online. It’s a shame because it was one of the best and simplest solutions available for keeping your DNS queries private. Luckily there are other options available to you.
Here are two similar services that you can use instead of DNSCrypt:
• Tenta DNS – This is a free open source DNS project that lets people encrypt their DNS queries. It utilizes the DNS-over-TLS protocol, which is what the creator of DNSCrypt has recommended people to use going forward. By using Tenta DNS, you can hide your browser history from your internet service provider. Not even Tenta will have access to it. The service also supports OpenNIC roots, which will allow you to access .bit domains without any plugins or extensions.
• DNSCurve – This is an older project that was widely replaced by DNSCrypt, but it’s still an effective way to encrypt your DNS queries. It utilizes elliptical curve cryptography to protect your queries which is actually more secure than the security measures used by most other services. To use the service, install DNSCurve and use it in conjunction with OpenDNS servers. To ensure it’s working correctly, make sure you perform a DNS leak test (see instructions on this below).
You Can Continue to Use DNSCrypt-Proxy 2
Although DNSCrypt.org is no longer online, Dyne.org has decided to take over the project and will continue to perform maintenance on DNSCrypt-Proxy 2, which is an interface that uses the protocol. They will keep it up and running and will patch any bugs that come up, but it’s important to note that no new versions of the technology will be released.
This is still a good option, but it’s unclear as to how long it will be kept up and running. So, keep that in mind when you’re looking for a DNS encryption solution.
The Best Way to Encrypt Your DNS Queries
While the three options listed above will help you protect your browsing history, they’re not particularly user-friendly. Even DNSCrypt, which was fairly popular, was difficult to use for people who weren’t familiar with this type of technology.
Luckily, there’s a better way to encrypt your DNS Queries.
Virtual private networks, or VPNs, keep you completely anonymous online. Not only can they prevent your internet service provider from accessing your browsing history, but they can also help you protect your name, location, IP address and other important personal information.
VPNs encrypt all of your internet traffic. They also let you log on to servers around the world, which hides your location and can also help you get around annoying censorship laws. They are the best way to protect your online privacy and provide a host of other benefits that will enhance your online experience.
Recommended VPNs for Encrypting Your DNS Queries
VPNs are a great way to stay anonymous while on the internet, but some are better than others. While all providers claim their VPNs are secure, many leak your DNS queries and other important information. So before choosing a VPN, it’s important that you do your research.
To make the process easier for you, we’ve put together a list of trusted VPNs that have been tested and proven not to leak your DNS queries.
By using one of these VPNs, you can rest assured that your DNS queries and browsing history will stay out of the hands of your internet service provider and other third parties.
How to Test for DNS Leaks
Just because you’re using DNS encrypting technology or a VPN doesn’t mean you’re completely safe. Sometimes technology fails, which could leave you unknowingly exposed to DNS leaks. To make sure your encryption is working properly, it’s a good idea to perform a DNS leak test.
There are a number of different places online that you can use to perform one but we recommend ExpressVPN’s leak test. To perform the test, simply visit the website. You’ll be immediately notified if your DNS queries are exposed. If this is the case, consider finding another encryption solution or use one of the recommended VPNs above.