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What are IP leaks and how can you prevent them?

What are IP leaks and how can you prevent them?

ip adress leak

Your IP address can reveal much about you, including your location and internet activity. In this article, we'll explain IP addresses, how websites can use them to track you, and the potential risks associated with IP leaks.

What is an IP address?

An IP address, short for Internet Protocol address, is a numerical label assigned to every device connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication.

IP addresses serve two main functions:

  • They identify the host or network interface.

  • They provide the host's location or network interface in the network.

There are two types of IP addresses: IPv4 and IPv6.

IPv4 addresses are composed of four numbers separated by dots, and each number ranges from 0 to 255. This allows for a total of approximately 4.3 billion unique IP addresses. However, due to the explosive growth of the internet, IPv4 addresses are becoming scarce.

IPv6 addresses, on the other hand, are composed of eight groups of four hexadecimal digits separated by colons. This allows for a total of approximately 340 undecillion unique IP addresses, which should be enough to accommodate the growth of the internet for many years to come. 

IP addresses are used by devices to communicate with each other over the internet. They are used by protocols such as TCP/IP and HTTP to route data packets between devices. For a device to access the internet, it must have a unique IP address.

Your IP and websites

Websites can identify your IP address in several ways. When you connect to the Internet, your internet service provider (ISP) assigns you an IP address. This IP address is used to identify your device and location on the internet.

When you go to a website, your device sends a message to the website's computer, which includes your IP address. This address can be used to figure out where you are and other details about your device and the internet.

Websites can also use tools like cookies, which are small files that track what you do on the site, or browser fingerprinting, which gathers information about your device and makes a unique identifier to track you. Web beacons, tiny images on pages, can also be used to follow your activity.

Your IP address can reveal your identity, like your name and address, to your internet provider. However, websites usually can't see this info unless you give it to them.

IP address leaks

There are several ways that your web browser can leak your IP address.

  • DNS leaks: When you type a URL into your web browser, it requests a DNS server to resolve the domain name into an IP address. If your web browser leaks your DNS requests, your IP address can be exposed.

  • WebRTC leaks: WebRTC is a protocol allowing real-time web browsers to communicate. It can be used for video conferencing, voice calling, and file sharing. However, WebRTC can also leak your IP address, even if you are using a VPN or a proxy server.

  • HTTP referer header: When you click on a link to go to another website, your web browser sends a "referer" header to the new website, which contains the URL of the previous website. If the previous website is an untrusted site or a site that tracks your activity, your IP address can be exposed.

  • Cookies: Some websites use cookies to track your activity and personalize your experience. However, if a website sets a tracking cookie on your device, it can be used to identify your IP address.

 It's important to note that these leaks can be prevented or mitigated by using privacy-enhancing tools such as VPNs, proxies, ad-blockers, and anti-tracking extensions.

Hiding an IP address

There are several ways to hide your IP address.

  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN): A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your device and the VPN server, hiding your IP address and encrypting your internet traffic. This prevents your ISP, websites, and other third parties from tracking your online activity.

  • Use a proxy server: A proxy server acts as an intermediary between your device and the internet. When you connect to a website through a proxy server, the website sees the IP address of the proxy server, not your own IP address.

  • Use the Tor network: The Tor network is a decentralized network of volunteer-run servers that anonymizes your internet traffic by bouncing it through several nodes before reaching its destination. This makes it difficult for websites and other third parties to track your online activity.

  • Use a mobile data connection: If you use a mobile data connection instead of a Wi-Fi network, your IP address may be hidden, as mobile data networks typically use dynamic IP addresses that change frequently.

It's important to note that while these methods can help to hide your IP address, they may not be foolproof. It's also important to use reputable privacy-enhancing tools and know each method's limitations and potential risks.

How to avoid IP leaks?

  • Use HTTPS: Implementing HTTPS on your website can help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks and ensure your user's data is encrypted in transit.

  • Use a VPN: Encourage your users to use a reputable VPN service that does not leak IP addresses.

  • Implement DNS leak protection: Make sure that your DNS requests are not being leaked by implementing DNS leak protection.

  • Disable WebRTC: WebRTC can leak IP addresses, so make sure that it is disabled by default on your website.

  • Use Tor: Encourage your users to use the Tor network to anonymize their internet traffic.

  • Use a reputable ad-blocker and anti-tracking extension: Ad-blockers and anti-tracking extensions can help prevent websites from tracking your users' activity and identifying their IP addresses.

  • Use antidetect browsers: Antidetect browsers can prevent IP leaks by creating a virtual machine environment and using proxies, VPNs, and other privacy-enhancing tools. Some antidetect browsers may even include features such as automatic IP rotation and user agent switching, which can help to prevent IP leaks and make it more difficult for websites to track your activity.

IP addresses in Multilogin products

IP leaks can be divided into 2 groups below.

  • Initial leaks: Actual IP address field in your HTTP request, DNS leak, and WebRTC leak.

  • Continuous knowledge: HTTP referer header and cookies

So, our concern is to protect all the possible ways in the first group.

An IP address value is needed to get a response from the web server and load any website or data. So, it’s impossible to change them manually and not break the connection. The only way to hide it is to use a good proxy server or a VPN service.

  • If you use a proxy service, DNS servers might be replaced by the better one or leaked by, the worse one.

  • If you use a VPN service, DNS servers are usually replaced. It depends on the settings of your connection.

  • It’s also possible to use DNS providers like Cloudflare or Google Public DNS and use their DNS servers, which will make it impossible to find out your location just by DNS you’re using.