VPN Test: Check if your VPN is working
Most Popular VPN Leaks
There are many reasons why your VPN software may not provide 100% security and expose your private information. Here are the most common ways your VPN can leak:
Your IP address says a lot about you, like your location or the websites you visit. A VPN protects you from snoopers trying to access this information, so if your original IP address leaks, it goes against the purpose of using a VPN. This is usually caused by the two Internet protocols, IPv4 and IPv6 and their incompatibility.
Sometimes your IP address may remain hidden while your DNS address secretly reveals your location. The DNS server changes the plain text URLs to numeric IP addresses. If you are not using a VPN, this process is handled by your ISP and its servers, which can find out who visited which websites. If your DNS leaks, anyone snooping on your traffic will be able to access that information as well. This could lead to a DNS hijacking attack.
Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is integrated into the most popular browsers (eg Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Brave). It enables real-time communications such as voice and video chatting, but it is also another weakness of VPN users.
Some websites can take advantage of WebRTC by entering a few lines of code to find out what’s behind your VPN and discover your original IP address. This is very useful for websites that provide or block content based on your geographical location.
It is possible to prevent these leaks, but first you need to identify them. You can do this by running some basic VPN tests that anyone can run.
How to Run a VPN Test: Check for IP or DNS Leaks
To check if your VPN is working, follow these three simple steps:
- Check your original IP address. Make sure your VPN is turned off and head over to “What is my IP address?” The page that will show your actual IP address.
- Turn on your VPN and connect to the server. Now, your IP address should change to one of the VPN service providers.
- Compare your virtual IP against your actual IP. Head over to the test page again and see if your IP address is different now. If the results show your original IP address with the VPN enabled, unfortunately, your VPN is leaking.
Sometimes IPLeak tests fail to detect DNS leaks, which can also reveal your identity. So it is recommended to check it on DNSLeakTest.
- If your VPN is on, DNSLeakTest should show your chosen location and your new IP address.
- Choose Extended test to dig deeper. This test may take a few minutes.
- If the results now show your new IP address and your chosen country, you’re safe. Your VPN does not leak. If it’s the other way around, you have a VPN leak.
NordVPN prevents DNS leaks by sending all of your DNS queries through a secure VPN tunnel to keep them private at all times. When you are connected to NordVPN, your device will only use the DNS servers that we manage.
Online security starts with one click.
With NordVPN, you won’t have to worry about DNS or IP leaks.
How can I stop DNS leaks in a VPN?
The easiest way is to change your VPN provider to one with dedicated DNS servers or offers DNS leak protection, such as NordVPN. Or you can manually turn off IPv6 on your device. However, this may require some technical knowledge.
How to Check for WebRTC Leaks
- If you haven’t done so already, find your original IP address on the IPLeak website. Write it down.
- Connect to your VPN and refresh the webpage (or go to the WebRTC test alternative). It should now show your new IP address and new location based on the country you chose.
- Under “Your IP Addresses – WebRTC Discovery” you should see a private IP address which should be different from your original public IP address. Note that a website showing your IP address (usually starting with 10.xxx, 192.xxx, or sometimes IPv6 alphanumeric) does not mean that your WebRTC is leaking.
What to do if your WebRTC is leaking
This time, changing the VPN or modifying your settings will not help. However, you can:
- Use a browser that does not have WebRTC. You can find the full list of excluding browsers on Wikipedia.
- Disable WebRTC by following these tips.
- Install browser extensions:
- Chrome: Install WebRTC Network Limiter.
Why is my VPN connected but not working?
If you have done all of these VPN tests and there is still a problem, there may be other reasons why your VPN is not working:
- Your browsing speed has decreased. This may happen for several reasons. For example, you have chosen a server located on the other side of the world, the server is overloaded, or your ISP is throttling the bandwidth. However, you can check and increase your VPN speed with some simple tricks.
- Your ISP or your country prohibits VPN use. In some countries, especially with internet censorship, VPN use can be banned or considered illegal. In China, for example, only government-approved VPNs are legal.
- Your VPN connection has been disconnected. Most VPNs offer an automatic kill switch (including NordVPN), which means that if your VPN connection drops, it will terminate your Internet connection (application-level kill switches will only terminate individual programs). A kill switch makes sure that you do not access the Internet outside of the encrypted VPN tunnel and that your personal information will not be exposed in the event of a disconnection.
If your VPN connection drops and the kill switch activates system-wide, you will not be able to access the Internet until you connect again to the VPN server.
- VPN Malware. Tech experts would never recommend a free VPN. Not only do most of them contain annoying ads, some actually contain malware. If you are using a free VPN, you may already have revealed more personal information than you wanted.
- You have been hacked. You may think that your VPN is not working because someone hacked it. In fact, it is very difficult to do so. It is likely that you have visited a malicious website or experienced a phishing attack and someone has taken control of your device. Unfortunately, if someone hacks you, a VPN can do little to protect you.
Check out the video below for a brief overview of the topic.
How to fix your VPN connection
Sometimes your VPN connection may drop without apparent reason, or your VPN speed may be slow. Here are some tips to solve your VPN problems:
- Reset your VPN app. This is perhaps the most obvious tip, but resetting your VPN can do wonders. Turn the app off, using the Force Stop function on your phone if necessary, and restart.
- Change the VPN protocol. If you are having connection issues, try changing from UDP to TCP in your VPN app.
- Hop between servers. A slow VPN connection may indicate that something is wrong with the server you connected to. Change to another server and see if your VPN works better.
- Check your internet connection. Unstable Wi-Fi could be the reason why your VPN service is not working. You can try to connect your device directly to a router to get more speed or contact your internet service provider.
- Update your VPN software. This can not only help you solve VPN problems but also provide you with the latest security and privacy features. We recommend that you always update your software whenever possible.
- Check your firewall settings. Your firewall may block your VPN traffic, preventing you from connecting to the server. Try disabling the firewall temporarily to see if this is the problem.
- Talk to technical support. If you’re still struggling to understand what’s wrong with your VPN, contact NordVPN tech support, which is available 24/7, and they will help you fix any issue.
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