The primary purpose of using a VPN is to have online privacy, anonymity, and security. How will you know if your VPN is up to the task? You can simply trust your VPN’s claims, but it will be much better if you can test your VPN yourself. Leak testing tools will help you do that.
If you’re looking for a leak tester for checking your VPN, you can try ExpressVPN’s suite of leak testing tools. While ExpressVPN made these tools open-source and publicly available in late 2017, they are still effective today.
Features of ExpressVPN’s leak testing tools
Here are a few things to know about ExpressVPN’s leak testing tools:
- The tools are mostly written in Python.
- The tools are designed to run like a unit testing suite. A single script will launch the whole suite, which in turn will run the leak tests. Each test is designed for specific leak types, including DNS, IP, and WebRTC leaks.
- The tools can run under different VPN conditions or network configurations.
- The tools can run on different devices. They can run directly on Linux, MacOS, and Windows devices. They can be installed on mobile devices, but they can’t be run directly in there. ExpressVPN also recommends the use of Virtual Machines.
- The tools are designed for automated leak testing, though they also support manual tests.
- The leak results are marked as pass, fail, or error.
- The tools can be downloaded from GitHub.
ExpressVPN’s tools have the essential qualities required of a VPN leak tester. ExpressVPN had hoped that these tools would help create a higher benchmark for leak protection, bring together security experts, and provide users and testers an independent way to assess VPNs.
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What are leaks?
A leak is defined as any situation where a user’s personal data has been exposed. Capable VPNs should be able to prevent leaks from happening in the first place. They do this by encrypting the user’s connection in order to secure their users’ data against hackers, eavesdroppers, or any third parties.
Three common types of leaks are:
- DNS leaks: DNS (Domain Name System) is a naming system which translates a URL into numbers that make up an IP address. Your VPN is not secure if a DNS leak occurs. If there’s a DNS leak, third parties will be able to see the sites you visited, files you downloaded, or services you used.
- IP address leaks: This happens when your real IP address has been leaked, even though you’re connected to a VPN. IP leaks usually happen when there’s a sudden drop in the VPN connection.
- WebRTC leaks: WebRTC is a technology which enables browsers to do audio and video communication without the need to install extensions. A few years ago, it was revealed that there’s a WebRTC bug that exposes the user’s IP address, and many VPNs were found to be incapable of stopping WebRTC leaks.
These leaks can potentially expose your personal data to malicious users and third parties who are monitoring your online activities. While VPNs should theoretically prevent such leaks, unfortunately, some VPNs are low in quality and not fully capable. That’s why performing the leak tests yourself is crucial for you to check if your VPN is performing as expected.
What to do if your VPN has leaks
If you discovered that your VPN is not secure enough, your immediate course of action is to get a better, more reliable VPN provider. The best VPN providers should be fully capable of masking your IP address, securing your personal data, have excellent privacy and no-logging policies, and possess a kill switch feature to prevent accidental leaks whenever the VPN connection suddenly fails.
If you haven’t already, be sure to read our ExpressVPN Review right now to see that this quality suite of tools come from a quality VPN provider!