How To Minimize Your Digital Footprint with DNS Watch

Andrew Orr Informative Internet Guides

When you are not connected to LiquidVPN but still want a measure of privacy online there are a couple of things you can do. The most well-known ways to enhance your privacy is incognito mode (which isn’t as private as you might think), installing browser plugins like Ghostery or using a specialized tool like Tor. However, changing your DNS server(s) is another way to cover your tracks. The only publically available zero log option for DNS was OpenNIC, but now DNS Watch aims to change that.

Further Reading

How to Enhance Your Security on Chrome OS

InfoSec 101: How To Boost Your Privacy On iOS

What is DNS?

Designed by Paul Mockapetris in 1983, the domain name system (DNS) is a naming system for any resource connected to a public or private network. It is hierarchical and decentralized in nature, and provides a way to translate human-friendly website names, such as www.liquidvpn.com, into their actual Internet address, called an IP (Internet Protocol) address. In this case, our website’s IP address is 104.25.191.31. This translation is called DNS name resolution.

When you are trying to reach a website, other computers and servers connected to the internet are responsible for routing your request throughout the network. A domain name server manages the database that maps domain names to IP addresses, similar to a phone book.

You can use the IP address to reach LiquidVPN, but it is hard to remember IP addresses, which is why domain names are so useful. Additionally, a web site’s IP address can change over time. Some websites have multiple IP addresses that all route to their domain name but the domain name itself never changes.

DNS Watch

Many companies like Google and OpenDNS provide ways for people to use their DNS servers. Depending on how you feel about Google, you may or may not be comfortable with using Google’s public DNS since they already know so much about you. By using their DNS servers, Google can potentially know exactly which websites you visit on the web.

Google’s privacy page for their public DNS says that they delete temporary DNS logs after 24 hours, and have a specific policy for permanent records. For more information click here.

DNS Watch is different in that it does not keep any logs of what you do on the web, and offers a fast, censorship-free service by providing their DNS resolvers free of charge.

Features
  • DNS Neutrality: No matter which website you want to visit, DNS Watch does not censor the internet or slow your speeds. DNS Watch provides the same browsing speed for every person and every website.
  • Fast & Reliable: They promise 24x7x365 DNS Service monitoring. If problems occur, they are there to resolve them immediately.
  • No ISP DNS Hijacking: Have you ever visited a page that doesn’t exist, and you get automatically get redirected to a “search” page filled with ads? Your ISP does this on purpose, and it is called DNS hijacking. Using DNS Watch means that instead of getting redirected, you will simply see a “page not found” error.
  • Privacy Protection: All of the company’s resolvers are set never to log queries. Also, they do not sell your data or show you ads.
  • Small is Better: Security through obscurity – since DNS Watch is a smaller company, they are less of a target for malicious hackers or governments.

How To Set It Up

It does not matter what operating system you have – everyone can use DNS Watch.

Windows Users

Step 1: Open network config settings by pressing the Window key + R to open Run. Type in ncpa.cpl and click OK.

windows_dns01Step 2: In the Network Connections window, right-click on your active network connection and select Properties.

windows_dns02Step 2a: In the Connection Properties window, select IPv4, then click Properties.

windows_dns03In IPv4 Properties, select “Use the following DNS server” and enter the Preferred and Alternate IPv4 DNS server:

  • Preferred: 84.200.69.80
  • Alternate: 84.200.70.40

windows_dns04Click OK to confirm.

Step 2b: Go back to Connection Properties, and repeat the previous step, but this time you will be changing the servers for IPv6.

windows_dns05In IPv6 Properties, select “Use the following DNS server” and enter the Preferred and Alternate IPv6 DNS server:

  • Preferred: 2001:1608:10:25::1c04:b12f
  • Alternate: 2001:1608:10:25::9249:d69b

windows_dns06Click OK to confirm, then close the Connection Properties window.

Step Three: Verify that it worked by going to the Network Connections window once again. Right click on the active network connection and select Status.

windows_dns07In the Connection Status window, click Details. You should see that the DNS servers are used.

windows_dns08

macOS Users

DNS resolvers on macOS are set per network, which means that if your MacBook uses both ethernet and Wi-Fi, you’ll need to perform this twice.

Step One: Open System Preferences and click on Network.

macOS_dns01

Step 2: Go to the DNS server settings by clicking on Wi-Fi (WLAN) in the sidebar, then click Advanced.

macOS_dns02

Step 3: Click on the DNS tab and remove any previous DNS server entries by clicking on each number and hitting the minus button on the bottom. Now enter each of these DNS server addresses in order:

  • First entry: 84.200.69.80
  • Second entry: 84.200.70.40
  • Third entry: 2001:1608:10:25::1c04:b12f
  • Fourth entry: 2001:1608:10:25::9249:d69b

macOS_dns03

Confirm that it works by opening Safari and typing in any website. After it loads, click on a bookmark that you may have, or create a new bookmark.