Two primary benefits of a VPN are to mask your Domain Name System (DNS) queries, and to mask your Internet Protocol (IP) address while you’re online. Effectively, VPNs can hide who you are, where you are, and what you do online from outside observers like your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Like other VPNs, Brave Firewall + VPN can enforce these protections on all platforms.
Some Windows desktop computers have a feature called Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution that can reduce the protections of a VPN. With this feature enabled, your DNS queries can be exposed to outside observers—even with a VPN. This is a problem that potentially affects all VPNs used on a Windows device.
Thankfully, even with this Windows feature in place Brave Firewall + VPN will protect you while you’re using the Brave browser. Additionally, this exposure can only happen if you have another interface that has a DNS server on the local network. But for full protection, we recommend disabling this Windows feature where possible.
- This is not a problem with Brave VPN, but rather a feature of the Windows operating system itself. It can affect any VPN used on Windows.
- The problem only affects apps outside of Brave; as long as you use Brave VPN, your activity within the Brave browser is protected even with Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution in place.
- For the best protection, we recommend disabling this Windows feature (where possible).
If I have multiple devices on my Brave VPN subscription, will a Windows device expose my other devices?
One Brave VPN subscription covers up to 5 desktop and mobile devices, across Windows and macOS, Android and iOS. If you have a Windows device protected under your subscription, and you have Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution enabled, it could expose your DNS queries on that device. However, it will not expose your DNS queries on any other devices in your subscription.
Does Brave VPN still protect me on a Windows desktop device?
Yes. If Brave VPN is enabled on your Windows desktop device, the Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution feature will only affect apps outside of Brave. As long as you use Brave VPN, your activity within the Brave browser is protected even with Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution in place. Note that if you use a Windows desktop device that does not have Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution, there is no problem. Likewise, if you use Brave Firewall + VPN on other operating systems (Android, macOS, or iOS), your DNS will remain masked even outside the Brave browser.
Does this problem appear with other VPNs?
Yes, this same problem (of exposing a DNS) will appear no matter which VPN you use on your Microsoft Windows device. If you have Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution enabled, your DNS could be exposed regardless of which VPN you use. To avoid this exposure, you should consider disabling the feature on your Windows device.
Does this issue affect Windows mobile devices?
No. Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution is only a feature of the Windows desktop operating system; the Windows mobile operating system (Windows Phone) does not have this feature. However, note that Brave Firewall + VPN is not available for Windows mobile.
What’s a “Parameter is incorrect” error?
In some limited instances, Windows users may see a "parameter is incorrect" error, which is caused by the Windows network itself. If you purchase Brave VPN and you see this error, you won’t be able to connect to VPN even if the purchase was successful and authorization for use of the VPN appears to exist on your device. Note that this error is not exclusive to Brave VPN, but rather a problem with using VPNs in certain Windows configurations. The solution to this issue requires advanced knowledge of the Windows operating system, but if you have that knowledge you can try the steps outlined by others in the past, such as this solution posted on GitHub in 2017 which worked in some of our testing: https://github.com/trailofbits/algo/discussions/14504