Many people use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to hide their identities, encrypt their conversations, and access the internet from a different location. VPN is a service that allows you to connect to the internet through their servers, change your IP address, and avoid being tracked online. To put it another way, if you want to remain anonymous while accessing the internet, you'll need a VPN.
But the problem is that many VPN services are stepping up and claiming to be the ‘best.' But how do you check their service efficiency guarantee? Where exactly do you start? Don’t worry, as we’re here with a complete guide to help you know exactly what VPN tests you need to run and how to do it to find out which VPN is the best.
However, if you’re asking, “Why do I even need to test my VPN connection anyway?” The answer is pretty simple and practical. You do it as a responsible consumer, and you want to make sure that you’re getting your money’s worth. You also want to make sure that your connections are safe when you go online. And finally, you want to know if your VPN app is leaking your user data, which, if you’re not aware yet, can be a very serious thing. Isn’t it?
Well, something as simple as your IP address can give hints for hackers about your city and ZIP code. If hackers are skilled enough to ping your IP, they can try to map any open port available to them and use this to track and access your device.
That’s why you must know how to check your VPN connection for any loopholes. Stay glued to know the complete process.
Why do we test our VPN connection?
A VPN is undoubtedly the best tool internet users can use to hide their online activities if they are concerned about online privacy.
You may be unaware that sometimes VPNs leak sensitive information about your connections and online habits. As you can expect, this is a severe issue, and leaks of your IP address or DNS queries can significantly impact your online activities.
However, an IP leak can happen when you’re using a VPN, but a website can still identify your real IP address. When this happens, you will know that your VPN is not doing what it’s supposed to do. Your VPN does not secure your user information. This means that hackers or cyber-criminals could detect your real IP address and that your private data will become easy pickings for them.
Here are just some of the information an IP leak would expose to hackers:
- Your real IP address
- The country or location you’re from
- The internet service provider (ISP) you’re using.
To find out if your VPN is leaking data, the best way to start is to use an IP leak test tool such as WhatIsMyIPAddress. This is a quick way to find out if the VPN you’re using is doing its job or not.
Other tools you may want to use are IPLeak.net and the BrowserLeaks tool. Typically these tools offer information more than just IP addresses. And other tools you may want to look into are those which perform IPv6 leak tests.
Different Types of VPN Leaks
As mentioned, numerous resources are available to assist you with connecting to your current VPN and performing some fast tests on some of the websites you frequently visit. While these tests do not identify all VPN leak concerns, they do provide a good idea of whether or not your VPN is entirely operating.
The test results will also uncover some more advanced strategies for detecting leaks in your VPN. Those tests, however, should only be attempted by advanced users since they will require sound technical skills to run. Now take a look at the different types of VPN leaks.
When you use a VPN, the VPN provider's DNS servers keep track of your activity and send you where you need to go without revealing your location to your ISP (or anybody else). Check for DNS leaks, as a VPN will occasionally encrypt your traffic but not your device's DNS requests. This is a major issue because it implies your ISP will be able to see your surfing history, defeating the purpose of using a VPN.
Fortunately, most VPNs have improved their DNS leak protection over time, but it's still a good idea to double-check that you're not experiencing any DNS leaks. A DNS leak occurs when your VPN connection divulges information about your DNS requests to a third party. This is an unencrypted DNS query sent outside of your VPN's encrypted tunnel from your device. This indicates that your VPN isn't working properly.
IP address leak
An IP address is assigned to your connected device when it connects to the Internet. An IP address is a numerical identifier that works in the same way as a street address does. The IP address can be used to determine where data is transmitted from where and to whom it should be sent. Each country in the world is given a set of IP addresses that connected devices inside its borders can use.
However, your geographic location will not be known if a website or other online organization can trace your IP address. Your IP address can be used to track your online activities, display advertisements based on your physical location, or (worst of all) expose you to denial-of-service attacks that cause your computer to slow down or shut down. Your VPN should "spoof" your IP address and assign a new IP address to your device, masking your true IP address and its associated location. It may betray your genuine IP address to a third party if it isn't working properly.
WebRTC stands for Web Real-Time Communication. When your public IP address gets exposed via your browsers WebRTC, it can be considered as a functionality failure of your VPN. However, WebRTC Leaks are the vulnerabilities associated with the web browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Brave, or Chromium based browsers.
If you haven’t taken any preventive measures yet against WebRTC leaks, it can make your VPN’s purpose go in vain as your real IP address will be completely exposed to the websites you visit using these browsers through WebRTC STUN requests. But you can always run a WebRTC leak check to ensure whether or not your VPN is leaking your personal data.
How to Test for a VPN Leak?
Performing the below tests will help you to find the weak points in your VPN connection. Have a look.
Websites for VPN leak
There are certain websites used for hunting this type of VPN leaking. They do an excellent job of quickly running a battery of checks on your internet connection, and it's a good place to start if your VPN isn't properly protecting you.
Before you run each test with your VPN turned on, make sure you run it on the website with an unprotected connection first. Then save or print the findings as a reference for when you conduct the test with your VPN enabled. It will be easier to see where your VPN service allows you to go if you use these results as a guide.
Some of the websites which offer VPN leak tests:
- Perfect Privacy Test tools
- ExpressVPN leak tests
- BrowserLeaks WebRTC Test
For those who are not familiar with it, IPv6 stands for internet protocol version 6. It is the successor of the IPv4, which is considered the standard IP address format. Both IP versions assign internet-connected devices an identifier.
If your IPv6 is leaked, then your IP address is made visible to the public, and this puts your privacy greatly at risk. The above-mentioned tools also check for IPv6 leaks, but if you would like to narrow down your check on your IPv6, then you can try out the IPv6 Leak Tool.
So if you’re using a VPN with IPv6 support, and then the tool tells you that your IPv6 is leaking, you could either switch to a different VPN provider or simply disable IPv6 instead.
Run a VPN test when reconnecting
The tools we’ve already mentioned above are used to check when a VPN service is already running or is active. However, it is also advisable to simulate connectivity interruptions to check if your VPN can handle connectivity issues effectively.
- By temporarily disconnecting your VPN, you can discover your true IP address. You can also take a device connected to the same network that isn't using a VPN.
- Then go to a website that you're familiar with to view your public IP address. Keep this address in mind.
- Perform a Leak Test. Then disconnect your VPN and run the leak test on your computer. That's correct; we don't just want the VPN to work; we need some basic information first.
- Restart the Leak Test after connecting to your VPN. Now is the moment to set up a VPN connection.
- Next, go through whatever routine your VPN requires to create a connection - run the VPN application, enable the VPN in your system settings, or whatever you normally do to connect.
- It's time to re-run the leak test now that it's plugged in. You should (hopefully) observe completely different outcomes this time.
- You'll have a new IP address, no Web leaks, and a new DNS entry if all goes smoothly. You need to run the IP leak check once more. You may notice that VPN is active in the resulting print (since your IP address indicates your location).
As you may be aware, due to the increased demand for VPN services on the internet in recent years, various types of Fake VPN and Work VPN systems have emerged, causing a slew of issues for users. If you want to secure your device and connection, you should use a good VPN system. Many people use it to conceal their identities, encrypt their conversations, and access the internet from a different location. All of those objectives might be lost if genuine information is leaked through a security flaw, which is more common than you might believe.
Although no security vulnerability can be predicted, we can easily prevent them along with DNS leaks, and other difficulties. You must always be alert about your VPN connection and test it to ensure that it is not leaking information. Leak detection is a relatively simple procedure. There are a lot of security-conscious people on the Internet, and there are plenty of services to assist you in checking for connection weaknesses.
Do you value your privacy online?
Use VPN Surf and surf safely and securely in the open waters of the internet.