If you’re concerned about online privacy, there are a few tools you can use to test whether your VPN is protecting your traffic and data. Check out our top picks for the best VPN tests and check the tools available!
The “VPN leak test” is a tool that can be used to determine whether or not your VPN is leaking your IP address. This tool will also tell you how much data you are using, and the speed of your connection.
A VPN is undoubtedly the finest tool internet users can employ to conceal their online activity if they are worried about their privacy online.
Users may not be aware that some VPNs let them down by disclosing vitally important private information about their connection and online behavior.
The true IP address of the user was exposed by 84 percent of the VPN applications that were evaluated, according to 2016 research. This is a severe issue, as you can easily guess, since your online activities may be made public if your genuine IP address or DNS queries were to leak.
Some VPN applications also don’t completely safeguard your online privacy in the event that your VPN connection is lost. When you lose your VPN connection, these applications’ flawed “kill-switch” protection exposes your online actions.
Finally, some VPN applications fail to sufficiently protect your local IP address. Your online identity and related actions may simply be revealed by a few isolated packet leaks.
In this post, I’ll show you how to connect to your preferred VPN and browse a few websites that will quickly evaluate the security of your “protected” connection. Even while these tests won’t find every single problem with your VPN, they’re still a reliable indicator of how well it’s working.
Additionally, I’ll provide some more sophisticated techniques for checking your VPN for data breaches. Only experienced users, nonetheless, should take such examinations since they call for highly developed technical skills.
Basic VPN Tests & Checks
I’ll demonstrate how to check your VPN for the following in this section:
First, DNS leaks
When your VPN connection divulges details about your DNS queries to a third party, this is known as a DNS leak. Your device is sending an unencrypted DNS query outside of the secure VPN tunnel. This indicates that your VPN isn’t doing its job correctly.
Leaks of IP addresses
Your VPN should “spoof” your real IP address and give your device a new one, masking both your real IP and where it is really located. If it isn’t working correctly, it can reveal a piece of third-party information about your real IP address.
3) Leaks in WebRTC
WebRTC (Online Real-Time Communications) enables real-time data and information requests from mobile applications and web browsers as well as resource demands from external servers.
It makes advantage of the STUN (Session Traversal Utilities for Nat) protocol, which makes your public IP address discoverable to other internet users. If your VPN and web browser aren’t working correctly, your IP address can be made public.
I’ll be utilizing the IPLeak website for the majority of these testing.
If you think your VPN isn’t entirely protecting you, IPLeak performs a great job of swiftly putting your internet connection through a battery of network security tests. This is always a smart place to start your inquiry.
We’ll also look at a website that checks for WebRTC leakage using your VPN connection.
How to Check for Leaks in Your VPN
I strongly advise visiting the IPLeak website and doing the tests on your unsecured connection before running each test with your VPN turned on. Then, while doing the tests with your VPN enabled, save the outcomes as a PDF or print them out as a reference.
It will be simpler to see precisely where your VPN service may be falling short if you use these findings as a point of comparison.
Rerun the tests after loading your VPN client and connecting to a VPN server (your app’s “Smart Location,” “Best Available Server,” or comparable connection option should work for these tests).
The IPLeak website will automatically perform a series of checks on your connection and provide the findings as indicated in the above picture. I’ll explain which findings to pay particular attention to below.
First, DNS leaks
Let’s start by talking about the purpose of the Domain Name System (DNS).
A URL, such as vpncase.com, is transformed into an IP address via the DNS system. (That IP address for vpncase.com is 126.96.36.199).
By eliminating the cumbersome step of having to know the IP address, DNS makes it simple to connect to websites and other services. (Be honest—far it’s simpler to remember “vpncase.com” than “188.8.131.52. Sheldon, please put your hand down; it was rhetorical.)
As your Internet service provider can recall the IP addresses of all the websites and services on the internet, it often takes care of the translation procedure for you.
However, this raises a concern about privacy. Every website you visit is recorded by your ISP, and in many nations, including the United States, they may sell these logs to marketers who then use the data to more precisely target you with advertisements as you browse.
Other nations, like Australia, record and preserve these records for up to two years and allow law enforcement to access them whenever they choose. While I am certain that none of us are engaging in any unlawful activity online, our internet activities are strictly private.
When you use a VPN, the VPN provider’s DNS servers keep track of things and direct you to the appropriate location without letting your ISP (or anybody else) know where you’ve been and where you’re going.
Recognizing DNS Leaks
If your VPN is inadequate to keep your DNS translations within its encrypted channel, your browser history, ISP’s genuine IP address, and location might all be made public.
You may see a few of the outcomes from the IPLeak website in the image below. My unsecured, ISP-only connection is what produced these findings.
You can see a highlight from the area of the screenshot that lists the DNS addresses the test found. I didn’t list them all since it discovered 50 DNS servers that my ISP is using in this particular circumstance.
Although my IP address isn’t directly disclosed, my ISP’s default DNS servers’ IP addresses and locations are, and they may be used to connect back to me and track the history of my online actions.
We’ll now examine the outcomes of the IPLeak test I conduct while using NordVPN as my preferred virtual private network to secure my connection.
As you can see, just one DNS address—the DNS server that NordVPN uses to direct my requests—was found. The DNS servers used by NordVPN are safe and don’t keep any records of my internet activities.
There would have been a leak if even one of the 50 servers from my unprotected testing had shown on the list. If your existing VPN isn’t functioning properly if there is a leak, thus you need to choose another service.
Leaks of IP addresses
Every time your connected device connects to the internet, an IP address is allocated to it.
An IP address is a numerical identification that functions much like the postal address for your house. The IP address provides a means of determining the origin and destination of the information. Once again, this is identical to your postal address.
For usage by connected devices within each nation’s boundaries, a set of IP addresses are issued to every country around the globe. A website or other online organization will be able to determine your location if they are able to identify your local IP address.
Your IP address may be used to follow your online activities, show you adverts depending on where you are physically, or, worst of all, target you with DoS attacks that may degrade or even shut down your internet connection.
How to Spot IP Address Leaks
You can see my real public IP address, which was given to me by my ISP, in the snapshot from the IP Leak program shown below. (Or at least a portion of it. Three things to keep in mind: privacy, privacy, and privacy.
As you can (nearly) see, it displays my whole IP address as well as the state where I (and it) am located. This information may be utilized for a variety of nefarious activities, as I have indicated.
Now that I’m using NordVPN to access the internet, the situation is different as you can see in the image below. (I don’t care whether you see this location or IP address; neither will allow anybody to find me.)
The screenshot’s IP address and location are those of a NordVPN VPN server, which is a dead end in terms of privacy. Obviously, your VPN is not adequately protecting you if you can still see your personal IP address, and you should look for another service.
3) Leaks in WebRTC
I should warn you upfront that WebRTC leaks are an issue with your web browser, not your VPN.
Users of Safari and Internet Explorer should be secure since both browsers prohibit the leaks by default, unlike Firefox, Opera, and Chrome, which are susceptible to these breaches.
It’s crucial to understand how to disable WebRTC in your browser or locate a VPN that provides complete WebRTC leak prevention.
How to Spot WebRTC Leaks
Although IPLeaks does include a WebRTC leak test, I prefer the one on the BrowserLeaks website since it offers more information and is more effective at finding breaches.
A snapshot of the WebRTC leak test without a VPN is shown below (I ran the test using the Chrome browser). My public IP address is visible to everyone, as you can see. Although my local IP address is also shown, it is not a huge concern since my PC was given that IP by the router on my private internal network.
Now that I’m connected to NordVPN, you can see the test results in the accompanying image. As you can see, one of the VPN provider’s servers’ IP address is presented as the public IP address, and it even spoofs a local IP address for me.
If your browser fails the WebRTC leak test, you should take action to address the problem. You may do this by adjusting your browser’s settings or by using a VPN like NordVPN, which offers WebRTC leak protection.
Advanced Free VPN Checks & Tests
Any information leakage problems you may be experiencing will be easier to find using the simple tests I discussed in the last section.
However, developing a specific testing suite for your system is the best method to look for problems. You’ll be able to use this to do a series of tests that examine all of your internet traffic for data breaches.
A bespoke testing suite shouldn’t be developed by beginners or the weak of heart. Only technically skilled users should undertake the procedure since it may be complicated.
Fortunately, NordVPN has simplified the work by offering the leak-testing tools they use to test their applications freely downloadable on GitHub. The resources are open-source, free, and accessible to everyone. You may find instructions for using the tools here.
Keep in mind that only those with a technical aptitude should try to utilize these tools. You should be able to manage it if you read the directions for utilizing the tools without becoming baffled or perplexed.
Additional Factors to Consider for VPN Security
While it’s crucial to make sure the VPN service you’re considering will shield you from DNS, IP address, and WebRTC leaks, there are additional things to take into account. I’ll quickly discuss these elements and explain why they’re crucial in this part.
First, VPN malware
Avoid allowing malware to be installed on your device while thinking about VPN safety. Particularly with “free” VPN companies’ VPN applications, this has been a problem.
If a VPN provider, or any other online business for that matter, offers you access to its services without charge, it is probable that it earns its revenue by selling the data it has collected about you to other parties, just as Google, Bing, and Facebook do.
Recent research revealed that 38% of all Android VPN applications include malware, proving that Android VPN apps might be a source of infection. Avoid the “free” services and stick with trusted VPN providers.
One of the numerous malware scanning programs available is MalwareBytes, and you may use it if you think a VPN software or any of your other applications may be infected.
The file may also be uploaded by users to the VirusTotal website, where it will undergo more than 60 different checks.
2) Testing the Connection Speed
The most significant component that will likely have a direct impact on how satisfied you are with your VPN experience is connection speed. Users who appreciate streaming video and audio material or who enjoy online gaming will be frustrated by a poor connection.
When testing, keep in mind that a variety of variables may have an impact on your internet speed.
These consist of:
Poor internet infrastructure is present in many nations, and much like a freeway during rush hour, it may get overloaded during periods of high demand, lowering your connection speeds.
The Processing Power of Your Device and the Cost of the VPN App
Your VPN app’s secured connection uses more processing resources since it continuously encrypts and decrypts data packets on the fly. This causes your device to lag. Your device’s CPU power may be a limiting factor for your internet speeds, regardless of how fast your ISP or VPN connection is.
Your separation from the VPN server you’re using
Generally speaking, the distance between you and your VPN server might impact the speed of your VPN connection. The info travels more slowly the more distant something is. Unless you’re wanting to unblock material in a particular area, use a neighboring server. Server Overload on VPN
You’ve visited your neighborhood sandwich shop around lunchtime, right? Everyone wants their lunch immediately, but the restaurant needs some time to fill all of the orders. If there are too many users on a single server, that is how it is.
Choose a supplier with a lot of servers so that the load is more evenly distributed. Find out whether your service provider has an app that has a real-time server status page or anything similar.
The majority of VPN companies provide a variety of VPN services and evaluate their connection speeds throughout their free trial periods or money-back guarantees.
Test your connection speeds with and without VPN protection by going to a speed-testing website or speed test app, such as those provided by Speedtest.net.
To compare a VPN’s performance to your ISP-only connections, try carrying out your normal activities. Make careful to test your preferred streaming services to see how they perform when a VPN is used.
Exists a VPN that is “leak-proof”?
One VPN service provider, in my experience, regularly prevents DNS leaks, WebRTC leaks, and IP address leaks from drowning your online privacy boat. The company is NordVPN.
In every leak test, I’ve covered with you in this essay, NordVPN succeeds well. It performs a great job of hiding my true IP address, keeping my DNS information and WebRTC information secure from prying eyes, and providing an automated kill switch and IPv6 protection. Visit the NordVPN website for additional details.
No matter whatever VPN service you use, be careful to perform the tests I’ve provided here often to make sure your provider is maintaining your security.
FAQ about VPN testing
How can I tell whether my VPN is secure?
Using a service like IPLeaks, which can spot privacy risks like IP address and DNS breaches, you may test your VPN to be sure it is safeguarding your privacy effectively.
Where Can I Test My VPN’s Anonymity?
There are several places where you may check the anonymity of your VPN. These include the IPLeaks website and a group of NordVPN’s open-source testing tools that are accessible on GitHub.
How Can I Test My VPN Before I Visit China?
There isn’t much testing you can do to determine if a VPN will function from inside of China, short of hiring a server and testing it there. As mentioned in our article on the “Best VPN for China,” you should get in touch with the VPN provider’s customer care team and inquire about the status of their service within China.
Additionally, download, install, and test your VPN software before crossing Chinese borders since China censors numerous websites for VPN providers. Furthermore, it should be highlighted that China has lately stepped up its banning of VPN services as the country’s government tightens its control over how the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak is reported internationally.
Which VPN tests are offered?
Different VPN tests are available. Testing options include checking for IP and DNS leaks, WebRTC leaks, malware, connection speeds, and more.