Geo-blocking can make accessing the content you want difficult. Streaming services often restrict users to the content available in their own countries, vastly limiting their choices when it comes to watching the TV shows and movies. Streaming services perform this geo-blocking by looking at your IP address, which gives away your location. Anyone trying to access entertainment from the wrong location is simply blocked from access. If you use virtual private networks or VPNs, they would allow you to change your IP address and appear to be located in another country entirely. However, there is a risk that data leaks could give away your real location even when browsing through a VPN. If you have bought a VPN subscription specifically to access international streaming content, don’t give up just yet – as fixing data leaks is easy.
What Are Data Leaks?
While VPNs are supposed to disguise your identity and real location, sometimes information can get through their protections and reveal your real IP address. These data leaks can happen for a variety of reasons, but the two most common are dropped connections and DNS leaks.
VPNs connect you to the internet through their servers, allowing you to take on the IP address of whichever VPN server you are connecting from. However, sometimes the connection between your computer and the private server can drop momentarily – which can reveal your real IP address. Even a short network malfunction of less than a second between your computer and your VPN can be enough for a data leak. This temporary drop in connection exposes your real IP address, because instead of being routed through a VPN server, you’re connected directly to the streaming site – unprotected.
DNS leaks are another type of data leak. When you type in a website address like Google.com, your web browser requests the IP address of that website from a DNS (Domain Name Server). The DNS sends back the appropriate address, allowing your browser to request the website you want to visit and then display it to you. When you use a VPN, all of your web traffic is supposed to go through an encrypted tunnel from your computer to the VPN provider’s servers, but sometimes DNS requests can ignore the tunnel and go to a DNS directly. As your computer will most likely have your internet provider’s DNS set as the default, any streaming service you visit will be able to see your real location and know that you must be using a VPN. In order to find out if you are suffering from DNS leaks, you can use a free online DNS leak test. No matter which type of data leak you are experiencing, read on to find out how to stop them from revealing your identity and real location.
How to Fix Data Leaks
If you are being blocked from using international streaming services, even from behind a VPN, it is essential that you ensure you are not suffering from any types of data leak. Luckily, fixing both dropped connections and DNS leaks is relatively easy.
1. Fix Dropped Connections
Most reliable VPNs have an option in their client called a “kill switch”. This feature cuts off your entire internet connection when the tunnel between your computer and the VPN is disrupted. This ensures that you won’t ever accidentally connect to a website using your real IP – and prevents streaming services from being able to see your actual location.
2. Fix DNS Leaks
Method 1: Enable “Force DNS” Settings on VPN Client In order to fix DNS leaks, you will want to force your VPN client to use its own DNS at all times. There is usually an option called something like “force DNS” in the VPN client settings that will allow you to do so. Method 2: Change the Settings Manually Not all VPNs offer a “force DNS” option, however. In this case, you will have to change the DNS settings on your own computer. On Windows:
- Open Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change adapter settings.
- Then choose the network interface connected to the internet.
- Right click it to choose “Properties” option.
- Select the Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) option.
- Click the “Properties” button.Choose “Use the following DNS server addresses” and type your “preferred” and “alternate” DNS addresses.
Getting Online Streaming to Work
While fixing any data leaks is important to keep your real identity and location privacy, there are also other factors that can stop you from streaming online content. The streaming service you want to access may simply have discovered all your VPN provider’s IP addresses and blocked them – or they may be blocking all IPs from which many people are connecting at once. In addition to fixing data leaks, the best way to ensure that you are able to stream international content online is to switch to a VPN provider that is committed to ensuring that their servers allow access to streaming services. They do this mostly by changing their IP addresses often enough that streaming services can’t catch up. So do your research – and enjoy streaming the content you want!