VPNs provide anonymity, privacy, security, data protection, and access to restricted websites. This is why the number of users who are using a
To make sure that your
How do I test my
VPN? IP address leak test
VPNs are known for their ability to hide your IP address effectively. This allows you to protect your identity while being active online. A study by CSIRO in 2017 showed that 84% of
When you’re trying to access geo-restricted content with a
Let me explain this:
- How a
VPNhides your real IP address: VPNs hide your real IP address from the moment you’re connected to the VPNclient. The way it does that is by acting as an intermediary between you and the online destination. When your data reaches the VPN, the VPNprovides you with its own IP address. The websites you’re searching for will only be able to see the IP address granted to you by the VPN.
- Why IP leaks happen: An IP address leak is the leaking of a user’s real IP address while connected to a
VPNclient. IP leaks can happen when the VPNconnection suddenly drops for a few moments (while you’re on the web) and reveals your true IP address. They can also happen through IPv6 leaks through your browser, which is more common, which has nothing to do with your VPN.
- How to test your
VPNfor IP leaks: To check whether your VPNclient is doing its job properly, you can test your VPNby going to ipleak.net or ipleak.org. If these sites show your real IP address while you’re using the VPNclient, then there is an IP address leak.
As I mentioned, in most cases, IP leaks happen as a result of sudden drops of the
[affilioProvider max=”2″ top=”n” cat=’home’]
Yeah, your VPN connection might just drop and your computer keeps sending traffic.
A simple software firewall mostly prevents this as well. Many VPN providers actually offer some sort of "kill switch" feature.
— jomo ? (@0xjomo) March 23, 2018
While users have the option to turn this feature on or off, the idea here is to turn the kill switch feature on at all times to prevent IP address leaks from happening. The kill switch will automatically shut down your entire network connection so that your real IP address doesn’t get exposed.
How do I test my
VPN? DNS leak test
A DNS or Domain Name System is a naming system that translates website names into a set of numbers called an IP address. The system basically translates the complex and hard-to-remember numeric addresses of web servers into easily understandable names. Each time you’re on the Internet browsing web pages, and you enter a specific domain name, let’s say “www.bestvpnprovider.co,” your computer first contacts a DNS server and requests the unique IP address for this website. This video below shows all you need to know about DNS, what it is, and how it works.
By using a
However, this may not be your
- Exposes your online activity: It gives your ISP a clear snapshot of what you’re doing online. Even though your ISP won’t know everything that you did (such as what items you bought online or what are your web preferences), the information it can get is enough to create an online profile of you, which in turn can be sold to data brokers, used by the ISP for its ad targeting campaign, or stolen by hackers to use for attacks.
- IP address leaks: It may leak your ISP’s IP address and location to the website you’re visiting. Even though it’s not your IP address that is directly leaked, this information is enough to trace your IP address.
Basically, a DNS leak exposes the websites that you visited, the files you downloaded, and the services you used while the leak occured. The thing about DNS leaks is that unless you test DNS leaks yourself, you won’t even know that a DNS leak happened.
So, how can I test my
- Go to dnsleaktest.com
- See if the displayed IP address and location match your actual ones
- For a DNS leak test click on either Standard or Extended test.
If you’re connected to the
How do I test my
VPN for DNS leaks while offline
I know what you’re thinking; there is an obvious catch about the method we mentioned above. Testing your
Here’s what you need to do to test your
- Open the command prompt and type: ping [server name] -n 1.
- Choose any of the following server names.
Now just wait for the results to finish loading.
The image above is a screenshot from my own testing. While I covered the parts where my IP address was shown, this test showed my real IP address. I placed the following command: ping whoami.akamai.net -n 1. (Remember: you can type either one of the server names listed above.) After you do the test yourself, if you see your real IP address in any of the places that I covered with “IP address,” it means that there is a DNS leak.
Given that a DNS leak is a serious issue that contradicts the role of a
- DNS leak protection: Some of the top
VPNservice providers have a DNS leak protection feature. This is usually listed as one of the strengths of the VPNservice provider, and it ensures that the DNS requests remain within the encrypted VPNtunnel. VPNwith its own DNS server: Some VPNs have their own DNS server and have a “Zero Knowledge” policy. This practically means that even if a DNS leak were to happen, all your personal information would be safely stored on their DNS server.
Other than these things, you should also look for a
Note that free or low-quality
How do I test my
VPN? WebRTC leak test
WebRTC allows video chat, real-time voice, and P2P sharing within browsers without you having to install browser extensions. However, since WebRTC reveals your IP address, it poses a privacy and security threat to
- What is WebRTC: WebRTC stands for Web Real-Time Communication. It is a collection of technologies which allow web browsers to establish communication with each other directly without the need for an intermediate server.
- Benefits of WebRTC: With WebRTC, you’ll have faster speeds and fewer lags for online activities such as video chatting, live streaming, and file transfer.
- How WebRTC detects IP addresses: WebRTC uses a special protocol, called the Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE), to detect IP addresses.
The thing about WebRTC is that the techniques that it uses to establish communication also reveal your IP address. To make sure you avoid WebRTC leaks, you can go to ipleak.net.
When you’re using a
- Chrome for Android: In Android, there is a built-in capacity to disable WebRTC for Chrome.
- Chrome for desktop: Unlike in Android’s Chrome, desktop Chrome has no built-in capacity to disable WebRTC. You can only do the disabling through extensions.
- Opera browser: Like in desktop Chrome, you can only disable WebRTC in Opera through extensions.
- Firefox: There are two ways to disable WebRTC in Firefox: with extensions or through the browser’s setting.
The links above will show you how you can disable WebRTC in different browsers.
How do I test my
- Location of the
VPNserver: The further away your virtual VPNserver is, the bigger the chances that you experience slower connection speeds. Given that it takes time for the data to travel, it is recommended to choose a server that is nearby.
- Speed of your ISP: If your Internet connection is slow to begin with, adding a
VPNwill make things slower. Keep in mind that ISPs throttle the speed of your connection when you visit certain entertainment and gaming sites. Using a VPNcan actually speed up your connection in this case.
- Level of encryption: There is a trade-off between speed and security because the encryption process takes time. The heavier the encryption, the more time it takes to complete.
- Number of users on the
VPNserver: If there are a lot of cars in the lane, traffic will naturally be slower. The same applies to VPNs. The more users there are on the VPNserver, the slower the connection will be. With a good VPNprovider, you can always choose a server with fewer people. Some VPNproviders will even do this for you automatically.
All these factors have an impact on the speed of your
What if these
VPN tests prove there’s a leak?
The first and primary role of a
If the customer support service doesn’t resolve the issue, save yourself the hassle, and choose a high-quality