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How to do a Thorough VPN Test

VPN usage has grown substantially in the past years. In fact, 25% of Internet users use a VPN at least once a month, and this is seen to grow more in the coming years. This is a pretty overwhelming number since half the world’s population are Internet users! Most of these VPN users find that […]

VPN usage has grown substantially in the past years. In fact, 25% of Internet users use a VPN at least once a month, and this is seen to grow more in the coming years. This is a pretty overwhelming number since half the world’s population are Internet users!

Most of these VPN users find that VPNs are great solutions for privacy and security, but there have been issues associated with it. These issues include logging, and WebRTC and DNS leaks which lead to the exposure of your real IP address and your real identity. While most of these issues can be traced back to unreliable VPN providers, it should be every user’s goal to test their VPNs regularly. You don’t even have to be super tech-savvy to be able to use a VPN, and not much more to test it.

Here are tests you can do to make sure that your VPN is safe, and some tips on how to avoid leaks. Keep in mind that we have already done these tests for the top providers we have tested, such as these two right here:

Rank #1
$6.49 / mo
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo
Fastest VPN provider! Large network!
  • Unlimited Bandwidth & Speed
  • 1300+ servers in 60+ countries
  • 10 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging
  • 7-Day Money Back Guarantee
Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin / American Express
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

Apart from the obvious reasons like high-speed performance and impressive customer protection, there are several other elements that have made IPVanish a one-of-a-kind VPN provider:

  • Reliability of connections
  • Speed of connections
  • Dedication to privacy and anonymity
  • Commendable customer support
  • Exceptional Tier 1 network
  • Thorough support categories
  • Competitive prices
Put together, all these factors make IPVanish one hell of a VPN provider. To summarize IPVanish in one sentence: It does everything a VPN provider should, and it does many things better than anyone else. Once you’ve tried out its services, you will understand why we rank IPVanish as the number 1 VPN service provider in our overall review, and in several sub-categories.

Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin / American Express
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo

Average rating:  
 34 reviews
by Craig on IPVanish

Having had nasty experiences with similar VPN providers i was keen on getting a provider who has a money back guarantee in case something went wrong. ipvanish have a 7 days money back guarantee and that... View More

by Salome on IPVanish

I acquired their services primarily for downloading stuff using torrents. Their connection has proven to be very reliable over the period of time i have used ipvanish. The speed of their connection is... View More

by Rachel on IPVanish

IPvanish has been a very reliable VPN service provider for the last three years. I use it both on PC and on my mobile phone. The speeds are great and the few occasions i have had a reason t contact customer... View More

Read More Reviews
Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin /
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo
Excellent Anonymous & High Performance VPN
  • Unlimited bandwidth and speed
  • 3,670+ servers in 60+ countries
  • 7 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging & Accepts CryptoCurrency
  • 45 Day Refund Policy
Credit Card / PayPal Cheque
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

CyberGhost VPN are definitely a top 5 VPN provider. Reading their privacy policy, and the fact that they do allow p2p and torrenting traffic on nearly all servers, you may rank them as your top choice for a VPN if you do a lot of downloading. Their software has features, like their killswitch, that put them on par with the top of the line VPN clients available. For fun, they also have a cute the animation that makes the experience that much more pleasant. They also benefit from being located in Romania as this country is well known for online privacy rights. What’s holding them back from the top spot is their connections do drop slightly more often than we'd like, otherwise they might be #1. Their VPN Kill Switch does save you from being exposed, but no problems would be better than a solution to a problem. For the price you pay for their VPN service, one of the lowest in the industry, and all the features of their software, you can’t go wrong when you choose CyberGhost as your VPN provider.

Credit Card / PayPal Cheque
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo

Average rating:  
 12 reviews
by Paul on CyberGhost

I have been using it primarily to download stuff online and it works great. It has great speeds and very minimal loss of connection which is usually handled fast enough by their very reliable customer... View More

by Eric on CyberGhost

I love the fact that users data is protected and deleted every 24 hours so my privacy is guaranteed. Their speeds are also remarkably fast and am able to stream my favourite shows without any glitches... View More

by Benjamin on CyberGhost

I do a lot of P2P downloading and have tried quite a number of different VPN services. So far this ranks as the best if your main interest is p2p and torrenting. You will get great speeds as well.

Read More Reviews
Credit Card / PayPal

VPN test: IP address leak test

VPNs are popular mainly because they hide your real IP address and mask it with their own. This process ensures that your identity and activities remain private – you are virtually anonymous. However, a study by CSIRO in 2017 revealed that 84% of VPN providers leak user data. While the study involved 283 free Android VPN apps (which are universally terrible and not what we recommend on our site), which skews the data quite a bit in a bad way, it’s still important to check for leaks even when you are on a paid subscription plan.

To check if you have an IP address leak, test your VPN by going to https://ipleak.net/ or https://ipleak.org/. If your real IP address is reflected in any of these sites, then there’s an IP leak.

IP leak vpn test

Oftentimes, IP leaks are not intended by the VPN provider. Leakage can happen when the VPN connection drops for a moment while you are connected to the network and visiting some sites. During the few seconds that the VPN connection drops, your real IP address is exposed to the website or application you’re visiting.

This is why it is important to choose a VPN provider that has a high uptime. We’ve tested several providers with impressive uptime rate, and even one with zero drops in connection for weeks. Zero drops is rare even for top-tier VPN providers because of external factors – ISP latency, misconfigured firewall, and weak signal strengths, among many others.

The best VPN providers –  those who are truly out there to hide your IP address and identity – have come up with a Kill Switch feature that will prevent accidental IP leakage. Users have the option to turn this feature on or off, but the ideal is to turn the Kill Switch feature on all the time. When the VPN connection drops, the Kill Switch feature automatically shuts down the network connection too so you won’t be exposed.

VPN test: DNS leak test

A DNS, or Domain Name System, is a naming system that translates a website name (which is easy for people to remember) into a set of numbers called an IP address which is more readable for your computer. Here’s a quick video that will tell you what a DNS is and how it has helped with the dynamics of people using the Internet.

A DNS leak happens when the DNS requests still goes to the default DNS server instead of the VPN’s own DNS server. The default DNS servers are usually the ones maintained by your ISP. This may not be your VPN provider’s fault though. Your operating system (especially Windows) can actually ignore the fact that you are using a VPN and routes DNS requests to the default server. The effect of a DNS leak is two-fold:

  • It gives your ISP a snapshot of what you’re doing online. Although your ISP won’t know everything you did such as what items you bought online or what web pages you spent a lot of time on, the information they can get is enough to create an online profile of you which they can sell to data brokers or use for their ad targeting.
  • It leaks your ISP’s IP address and location to the websites you’re visiting. Although it’s not your IP address that’s directly leaked, this information is still enough to trace your IP address.

So how do you do a VPN DNS leak test? First, connect to a VPN server located outside your country. Go to https://www.dnsleaktest.com/ or http://dnsleak.com/. If you see your ISP’s IP address and location, then there is definitely a DNS leak.

The method described above is quite risky since you are connected to the Internet, and the presence of a DNS leak makes you vulnerable. Thankfully, there is another way to do a DNS leak test without needing to connect to the Internet. Follow the steps below:

  • Open the command prompt and type: ping [server name] -n 1.
  • Choose any of these server names:

whoami.akamai.net

whoami.fluffcomputing.com

resolver.dnscrypt.org

whoami.ultradns.net

  • Wait for the results to finish loading.

DNS leak test cmd

  • If you see your real IP address in any of the addresses that are shown in the results, then there is a DNS leak.

Like the IP leak issue discussed in the previous section, VPN providers have also developed ways to prevent DNS leaks. Here are ways to prevent DNS leaks while using a VPN:

  • Choose a VPN provider that has DNS leak protection which is a feature that ensures all your DNS requests are within the encrypted tunnel. We’ve tested several VPN providers with this feature, and compared test results with those that don’t, and the difference is significant. There is almost always a possibility of a DNS leak.
  • Choose a VPN that has its own DNS server. Some providers we reviewed even have this “zero knowledge DNS” where nothing about you is stored on their servers.
  • If you are using a VPN with the latest OpenVPN protocol, you can add this line to the .conf or .ovpn file: block-outside-dns.
  • Make sure that your VPN provider is IPv6-capable.
  • Disable Teredo if you’re using Windows.
  • Change your device or router’s DNS settings.

As you can see, these methods to protect yourself from DNS leak all boil down to one thing: choosing the right VPN provider. The best VPN providers have anti-DNS leak measures that will ensure they’ll pass when you do a DNS leak test.

VPN test: WebRTC leak test

WebRTC is a useful innovation that allows real-time voice, video chat, and P2P file sharing within the browser without the need for browser extensions. However, it poses a privacy and security threat to VPN users since it reveals the user’s real IP address. Even the best VPN providers are vulnerable, especially since WebRTC is enabled by default in most browsers.

To check if you are experiencing a WebRTC leak, go to https://browserleaks.com/webrtc or https://ipleak.net/.

WebRTC detection vpn test

To avoid a WebRTC leak, you need to disable WebRTC in your browser. It’s easy to do with some browsers such as Chrome for Android, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, while for some browsers, you need to install addons. The section below will guide you in disabling WebRTC in different browsers:

How to disable WebRTC in Chrome for Android

  1. Type chrome://flags/#disable-webrtc in the browser’s address bar and tap Enter.
  2. Under the WebRTC STUN header, tap Enable.
  3. Restart your phone.

How to disable WebRTC in Chrome and Opera

Unlike its Android version, Chrome for desktop doesn’t have a built-in way to disable WebRTC. The same is true for Opera. However, there are extensions that you can add to help prevent WebRTC leaks, and here are some examples:

Webrtc extensions

These extensions can block websites from collecting your IP address, but they do not fix the IP leak. Your IP address can still be stored in some websites.

How to disable WebRTC in FirefoxFirefox_Logo,_2017

There are extensions in Mozilla Firefox that can help prevent WebRTC leak, but you can do it directly in the browser which is better. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Type about:config in the address bar and press Enter.
  2. Click on the “I accept the risk!” option.
  3. In the Search box under the address bar, type in media.peerconnection.enabled.
  4. Double-click on the search result and change the Value column to false.

How to disable WebRTC in SafariSafari_browser_logo

For Safari on macOS, follow these steps to disable WebRTC:

  1. Go to Safari > Preferences.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab.
  3. Mark the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” checkbox. The Develop menu will now be accessible.
  4. Click on Develop > Experiment Features and mark the “Remove Legacy WebRTC API” option.

For Safari for iOS, follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Settings > Safari.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Advanced.
  3. Tap on Experimental Features.
  4. Toggle off the “Remove Legacy WebRTC API” option.

microsoft edge logoHow to disable WebRTC in Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge

Follow these steps to disable WebRTC in Microsoft Edge:

  • Enter about:flags in the address bar.
  • Check the box that says “Hide my local IP address over WebRTC connections.”

how to do a vpn test webrtc

  • Restart the browser.

Internet Explorer does not support WebRTC, so you shouldn’t have any WebRTC leak problem with it. We included WebRTC leak tests when we ranked the top VPN providers.

How to do a VPN speed test

Aside from the IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests discussed above, you also want to regularly test the speed of your VPN. We also test the speed of the VPNs we review because we understand that latency is one of the most common issues encountered by VPN users. This is especially true when you use a VPN for streaming or gaming.

VPN speed is actually affected by several factors such as the following:

  • Location of the VPN server: The farther you are from the VPN server you’re connected to, the more it takes for all data to travel. If possible, choose the nearest VPN server.
  • The speed from your ISP: If your Internet connection is slow to begin with, your VPN connection will naturally suffer too. Take note also that most ISPs throttle the speed of your connection when you visit certain entertainment and gaming sites. Using a VPN can 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 VPN server: If there are a lot of cars on a lane, traffic will be heavier. This is also true with VPNs. The more users there are on a VPN server, the slower the connection will be. With a good VPN provider, you can always switch to a server with fewer people. A few will even do this for your automatically.

With these factors in mind, you can do a VPN speed test by going to https://www.speedtest.net/, http://speedof.me/, or https://fast.com/. When we compared the speed of our connection without a VPN and with the VPNs we reviewed, the difference is only within 85% to 95%.

What if these VPN tests prove there’s a leak?

Finding out that there’s a leak in your system can be quite unnerving since you are using a VPN for anonymity, privacy, and security. You don’t want anyone to get hold of your personal data! If you’re still experiencing IP, DNS or WebRTC leaks even after putting up measures to avoid it, contact your VPN provider’s support team. There might be an issue on their end that is causing the leakage while using a VPN.

If worse comes to worst, save yourself from the hassle and change your VPN provider to one of these high-quality providers we have tested.

Rank #1
$6.49 / mo
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo
Fastest VPN provider! Large network!
  • Unlimited Bandwidth & Speed
  • 1300+ servers in 60+ countries
  • 10 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging
  • 7-Day Money Back Guarantee
Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin / American Express
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

Apart from the obvious reasons like high-speed performance and impressive customer protection, there are several other elements that have made IPVanish a one-of-a-kind VPN provider:

  • Reliability of connections
  • Speed of connections
  • Dedication to privacy and anonymity
  • Commendable customer support
  • Exceptional Tier 1 network
  • Thorough support categories
  • Competitive prices
Put together, all these factors make IPVanish one hell of a VPN provider. To summarize IPVanish in one sentence: It does everything a VPN provider should, and it does many things better than anyone else. Once you’ve tried out its services, you will understand why we rank IPVanish as the number 1 VPN service provider in our overall review, and in several sub-categories.

Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin / American Express
Rank #1
$6.49 / mo

Average rating:  
 34 reviews
by Craig on IPVanish

Having had nasty experiences with similar VPN providers i was keen on getting a provider who has a money back guarantee in case something went wrong. ipvanish have a 7 days money back guarantee and that... View More

by Salome on IPVanish

I acquired their services primarily for downloading stuff using torrents. Their connection has proven to be very reliable over the period of time i have used ipvanish. The speed of their connection is... View More

by Rachel on IPVanish

IPvanish has been a very reliable VPN service provider for the last three years. I use it both on PC and on my mobile phone. The speeds are great and the few occasions i have had a reason t contact customer... View More

Read More Reviews
Credit Card / GiroPay / cashU / WorldPay / Bitcoin /
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo
Excellent Anonymous & High Performance VPN
  • Unlimited bandwidth and speed
  • 3,670+ servers in 60+ countries
  • 7 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging & Accepts CryptoCurrency
  • 45 Day Refund Policy
Credit Card / PayPal Cheque
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

CyberGhost VPN are definitely a top 5 VPN provider. Reading their privacy policy, and the fact that they do allow p2p and torrenting traffic on nearly all servers, you may rank them as your top choice for a VPN if you do a lot of downloading. Their software has features, like their killswitch, that put them on par with the top of the line VPN clients available. For fun, they also have a cute the animation that makes the experience that much more pleasant. They also benefit from being located in Romania as this country is well known for online privacy rights. What’s holding them back from the top spot is their connections do drop slightly more often than we'd like, otherwise they might be #1. Their VPN Kill Switch does save you from being exposed, but no problems would be better than a solution to a problem. For the price you pay for their VPN service, one of the lowest in the industry, and all the features of their software, you can’t go wrong when you choose CyberGhost as your VPN provider.

Credit Card / PayPal Cheque
Rank #2
$2.50 / mo

Average rating:  
 12 reviews
by Paul on CyberGhost

I have been using it primarily to download stuff online and it works great. It has great speeds and very minimal loss of connection which is usually handled fast enough by their very reliable customer... View More

by Eric on CyberGhost

I love the fact that users data is protected and deleted every 24 hours so my privacy is guaranteed. Their speeds are also remarkably fast and am able to stream my favourite shows without any glitches... View More

by Benjamin on CyberGhost

I do a lot of P2P downloading and have tried quite a number of different VPN services. So far this ranks as the best if your main interest is p2p and torrenting. You will get great speeds as well.

Read More Reviews
Credit Card / PayPal
Rank #3
$5.83 / mo
Rank #3
$5.83 / mo
Great VPN
  • Unlimited Bandwidth & No Speed Limits
  • 650+ Servers in 26 countries
  • Up to 12 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging & Accepts CryptoCurrency
  • 30-day Money-back Guarantee
Credit Card / Bitcoin / PayPal Alipay
Rank #3
$5.83 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

While the company may not have the broadest and most impressive VPN network in the world, it has over 660 servers in some of the most popular countries in the world. StrongVPN’s software is more or less adequate, but at times, switching between servers can be clunky. The pricing can be considered at the industry average, and you receive a reliable VPN service in return. If you’re searching for a long-term VPN plan, the yearly package is affordable and recommended. StrongVPN’s customer support service is above-average and really impressed us. Its on-page content sections feature a lot of useful information, including guides, FAQs, and how-to articles. The support team can be reached via email, phone, or live chat. Our experience with the support team was surprisingly positive; during our live chat, the agents responded promptly and with a friendly, informative attitude. The company has solid customer protection policies, with its “Zero-Logging” policy particularly standing out. All in all, we recommend StrongVPN for anyone who wants to do browsing, torrenting and P2P, video and music streaming (including Netflix), or geo-unblocking.

Credit Card / Bitcoin / PayPal Alipay
Rank #3
$5.83 / mo

Average rating:  
 11 reviews
by Bruce on Best VPN Providers

I got strongvpn during my first ever trip to Africa where was going to work for an year. I had read about geoblocking in most parts of Africa and couldn't think of missing out on netflix and other stuff... View More

by Sarah on Best VPN Providers

Their 7 day money back guarantee is what caught my attention and from then on i have been their customer for the last 8 months. The speeds are very good and i have had very few instances where i have ... View More

by Gilbert on Best VPN Providers

I paid for the service after learning that they offer a 7 day money back guarantee. I didnt want to risk my money in a service that would fail me. Luckily it turned out to be exactly what i had wished... View More

Read More Reviews
Credit Card / Bitcoin / PayPal
Rank #4
$5 / mo
Rank #4
$5 / mo
Most reliable VPN, with lots of extras!
  • Unlimited bandwidth and speed
  • 3 day free trial
  • Support on all major devices
  • Write 100% of their own code
  • Not torrenting friendly
Credit Card / PayPal Alipay
Rank #4
$5 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

VyprVPN does many things very well, and their partnership with SpiderOak for encrypted storage is a real bonus. Use it if you need encrypted storage that is also transported with top-notch encryption. With 15+ years of experience in the Internet industry, and a strong dedication to privacy from spying, VyprVPN offers you an exceptional Tier-1 network. Everything you do with them, including billing, their server network, and support, is handled by VyprVPN and the Golden Frog Network parent company. VyprVPN can't be recommended to those who wish to do torrenting or P2P file sharing. This against their Terms of Service. With their logging policy also clearly established, it is not hacker or spammer friendly at all. They will use their logs to work with law enforcement when a subpoena is presented to them. VyprVPN is recommended for those who want to do general browsing, video streaming, and to unlock geo-blocked content. It is also great on public Wi-Fi for anti-hacker defense. They have above-average pricing, but their extra features and Tier-1 network do make them a good deal if you are looking for exactly what they offer.

Credit Card / PayPal Alipay
Rank #4
$5 / mo

Average rating:  
 10 reviews
by Kelvin on VyprVPN

I came across a feature about Vyprvpn Chameleon encryption. With this technology am able to bypass restrictive networks put in place by governments, corporations and ISPs to achieve an open internet experience... View More

by Mark on VyprVPN

This is my third month using vyprvpn and so far everything has been as i had anticipated. The speeds are great and i am able to stream stuff that i previously couldn't from this region due to geo blocking... View More

by Moreen on VyprVPN

VyprVPN has been my VPN service provider for the last 2 years working in the horn of Africa. I am able to access most sites that some of the states in this region have blocked. These guys offer a reliable... View More

Read More Reviews
Credit Card / PayPal
Rank #5
$3.49 / mo
Rank #5
$3.49 / mo
The Best Cheapest No-Logging VPN
  • Unlimited Bandwidth and Speed
  • 3320 servers in 32 countries
  • 5 Simultaneous Connections
  • No Logging & Accepts CryptoCurrency
  • 7-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Credit Card / cashU / Bitcoin / PayPal OK Pay Z Cash Interact Mint Amazon Cards Gift Cards
Rank #5
$3.49 / mo

Positives

Negatives

Conclusion

Private Internet Access chose to do one thing very well, and it has succeeded. It is perhaps the most anonymous, private, and confidential of all the VPN providers out there, and this has built great trust amongst those in the VPN community and industry. Their simplistic software lends itself well to beginners, while more advanced users will be turned off by the lack of error notifications. Setting everything up is a breeze no matter your experience level, and anyone could connect to a VPN server in minutes. If you want complete anonymity on the Internet, you don’t need to look any further than Private Internet Access. The slower P2P traffic, lack of advanced features, and low diversity of countries with servers (just 33) are the only things holding the company back from the top of every VPN provider list.

Credit Card / cashU / Bitcoin / PayPal OK Pay Z Cash Interact Mint Amazon Cards Gift Cards
Rank #5
$3.49 / mo

Average rating:  
 12 reviews

PIA has amazing customer support who are keen to ensure their customers get their issues sorted out in the shortest time possible. With this service i am assured of my privacy and anonymity. I got them... View More

I use a restricted line and i have discovered that using private internet access i am able to enjoy faster speeds. Their customer support is awesome, they are very prompt and clearly knowledgeable in ... View More

I have used PIA for the last 6 months and so far it has lived up to its name. My privacy is well taken care of. I have to mention their fast speeds as well.

Read More Reviews
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