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VPN Tests and Checks – How to Tell If Your VPN Is Working

VPN Tests and Checks – How to Tell If Your VPN Is Working

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May I let you in on a little secret?

Many VPNs promising “privacy and security” will actually leak your data online. Not only is this something others have pointed out, but we’ve also noticed it through VPN reviews (and accompanying tests).

An in-depth study of Android VPN apps found that 84% of VPNs tested leaked a user’s IP address. In other words, many VPN services that market themselves as privacy and security solutions are actually leaking your IP address and/or DNS requests when you connect to the Internet.

Also of concern is the fact that many VPNs have broken features. This is often the case with “lock switches” that don’t block traffic effectively or “IPv6 leak protection” that doesn’t secure your real IPv6 address. It only takes one leaked package to expose your identity and activities to third parties.

In this guide we will cover two different levels of VPN testing:

  1. basic exams These are the tests that anyone can take. Simply connect to your VPN and then go to the test sites. Unfortunately, these basic tests You may not locate all leaks (Like a short leak to reconnect).
  2. advanced tests These tests require more technical proficiency to set everything up properly, but they will identify any leaks you might have with your VPN. ExpressVPN has made a test suite available for in-depth leak testing. These test tools are open source and available here on GitHub.

We’ll start with basic VPN testing procedures to identify the obvious issues.

VPN Basic Tests

Here are the basic steps to identify:

  • DNS Leaks
  • IP Address Leaks (IPv4 and IPv6)
  • WebRTC Leaks

With these basic tests, so are you Rely on the test site to identify problems.

For basic tests, I like to use ipleak.net as a comprehensive public test site (created by AirVPN) along with various perfect privacy testing tools.

How to test for VPN leaks

To test for active leaks, simply connect to a VPN server and visit the test site. You are checking to see how the VPN performs when the connection is active and stable.

You can also simulate various outages to see how well the VPN will perform if the network connection drops. For example:

  1. Connect to a VPN server and load ipleak.net in your internet browser.
  2. Manually disconnect your internet connection (disconnect) while the VPN client is running.
  3. Load a few different test websites while the VPN is reconnecting. This may identify brief reconnection leaks.

One of the common issues we find with many VPNs is IPv6 leaks. Since very few VPN services support IPv6, they will instead try to block it on your operating system. However, we found that your real IPv6 address may still be leaking, even if your VPN is connected and stable.

VPN Test Sites

Here are some test sites you can use to check for various leaks:

  • ipleak.net (IPv4, IPv6, WebRTC, DNS) – from AirVPN
  • Perfect Privacy Testing Tools (IPv4, IPv6, DNS, WebRTC) – from Perfect Privacy
  • ExpressVPN Leak Tests (IPv4, DNS, WebRTC) – From ExpressVPN
  • test-ipv6.com (IPv4 and IPv6)
  • dnsleaktest.com (use an extended test to identify DNS leaks)
  • BrowserLeaks Test WebRTC
  • IPX.ac (IPv4, IPv6, WebRTC, DNS, browser fingerprinting, location data, and more) – from VPN.ac
  • ipleak.org (IPv4, IPv6, WebRTC, DNS) – from VPNArea

Now let’s see what a VPN leak looks like.

Fix VPN Leaks

When using the test site ipleak.netLeaks and issues are easy to spot, especially when you are connected to a VPN server outside your country. Note, WebRTC Leak Test will appear Sweetened IP addresses (usually starting with 10.xxx, 192.xxx, or sometimes an alphanumeric IPv6 address that is also local). These are not leaks, but your local IP addresses (described in more detail in the WebRTC Leaks Guide). If I see your truth (general) IPv4 or IPv6 under the WebRTC section, these are indeed WebRTC leaks.

Below, I test a popular VPN service for leaks. You can see that I am connected to a VPN server in the UK, but it is still leaking my private data.

Despite having an active and stable connection, this VPN had IPv6 leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks.

With the above test results, you can see that my IPv4 address matches the IPv4 address of the VPN server (no IPv4 leaks). However, the following leaks remain:

  • The IPv6 address is leaking out of the tunnel (IPv6 leak)
  • Under the DNS addresses, you can see that there is a file DNS leak On the right with the appearance of the German ISP.
  • In the WebRTC section my real IPv6 is exposed again (WebRTC leak)

Now let’s look at an example without leaks.

VPN Test Without Leaks

Here is the result of the leak test from the NordVPN review:

NordVPN passed all the tests and had no leaks.

Above, you can see that there are no leaks with the IPv4 address that matches the VPN location. IPv6 was blocked (no leaks) and there were no WebRTC leaks either. Finally, NordVPN’s encrypted DNS resolvers handle all DNS requests. This is a perfect test result without any leaks detected.

For a list of recommended VPNs that passed all the tests without detecting leaks, see our list of the best VPNs here.

Advanced VPN Tests

The best way to identify VPN leaks is to create a test suite for your operating system and then run a barrage of tests to analyze your traffic for leaked packets.

Creating a test suite to capture and analyze traffic can be somewhat complicated depending on the operating system you are using.

If you want to devote some time to leak testing, there is a file Open source leak test suite Available on Github here. This project was released by ExpressVPN and the tools they use to test their VPN and make sure it is secure and leak-proof.

Quick start – Consult our quick start guide for setting up your test hardware to identify leaks in your VPN service.

Check Your VPN for DNS Leaks

Domain Name System (DNS) is a system for converting URLs, such as restoreprivacy.com, into a numeric IP address, such as 205.251.197.66.

Without a VPN, this translation process is handled by your Internet Service Provider (ISP). But this may be a problem because your DNS requests Clear text records of every website you visit. ISPs can easily log these requests to record all browsing history of their customers. In the United States, data may be sold to advertisers and other third parties. In the UK and Australia, the data is logged and stored for up to two years and is available to the authorities for whatever you want to do with it.

A DNS leak occurs when a translation request leaks out of a VPN tunnel, exposing the IP address (and location) of your ISP, as well as your browsing history. Many VPNs do not provide adequate DNS leak protection. This means that your DNS requests may still pass through your ISP and thus expose your online activities via DNS leaks.

DNS Leak Test Sites

Here are some good sites to test your VPN for DNS leaks:

  • Perfect Privacy DNS Leak Test (This site seems to detect DNS leaks when other websites don’t find problems. Below the test results, you can also find a detailed explanation of DNS leaks.)
  • IP/DNS test on ipleak.net (This is another DNS leak test tool that also includes IP address leak results.)

Check to see if your ISP’s IP address is listed. If so, you have a DNS leak and your virtual network is leaking DNS requests.

To easily check your VPN for DNS leaks, first connect to a VPN server outside your country. Then, if you see IP addresses in your country, and they belong to your ISP, then you have a DNS leak. You can see above that there are two DNS requests that are leaking while connecting to a VPN server in the US.

It does not detect DNS leak for you An IP address, but instead the IP address and location of your ISP (which can be linked back to you). Additionally, this shows your browsing history via DNS requests.

DNS Leaks Solution: Find a VPN that uses its own secure and encrypted DNS solutions. Here are four VPNs that only use their own secure DNS resolvers and had no leaks when I tested them for related reviews:

  1. NordVPN (Panama based)
  2. Surfshark (based in the British Virgin Islands)
  3. ExpressVPN (based in the British Virgin Islands)
  4. Total Privacy (based in Switzerland)

You can also manually configure the operating system to use a third-party DNS provider. Here is a list of alternative DNS options from WikiLeaks. However, keep in mind that third-party DNS services can also log requests. So we still believe that this verified no logs VPN is the safest bet.

Check Your VPN for IP Address Leaks (IPv4 and IPv6)

IP address leakage is a problem with many free VPN services – as well as some paid VPN services.

Here are some test sites to check if your VPN IP address is not leaking:

IP Leaks Solution: The best solution is to simply get a VPN that does not leak IPv4 or IPv6 addresses. Another option is to manually create firewall rules that block all non-VPN traffic, but this can be tricky. IPv6 can also be disabled manually on most operating systems, but the gradual transition to IPv6 is still in progress.

Test VPNs for WebRTC Leaks

WebRTC leak testing is important for anyone who uses Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or Chromium based browsers. As explained in the WebRTC Leak Guide, the WebRTC issue is primarily a browser vulnerability – although there are some VPNs that protect against that. WebRTC leak occurs when your IP address leaks through WebRTC APIs.

Here are three different WebRTC leak tests:

WebRTC Leaks Solution: Follow the steps in the WebRTC Leak Guide to disable or block WebRTC in your browser.

VPN Speed ​​Test

If you are looking for a VPN speed test, here are three options:

What affects the speed of a VPN?

There are many factors affecting speed that you should take into consideration when testing. Here are a few:

  • The distance between you and the VPN server – This is usually the biggest factor affecting speed. The greater the distance, the slower the speed.
  • The number of users on the VPN server With many VPNs overselling their services, some VPNs have overloaded servers resulting in slow speeds and disconnections for their users.
  • Regional bandwidth limitations – Many countries have poor bandwidth infrastructure, which will limit your speed, no matter how fast your ISP or VPN server is. Some examples of this are Germany and Australia. Another regional consideration is the number of people who are online at a particular time of the day. Higher usage times can slow down speeds for everyone.
  • Internet service provider – No matter how fast your VPN is, it will never be faster than the speed provided by your ISP. The only (rare) exception to this rule is if your ISP is throttling (limiting) your bandwidth. They sometimes do that if you’re doing something they don’t like (like torrenting). A VPN can help solve this problem by encrypting your connection and hiding your online activity from your ISP.
  • processing power – When you use a VPN, your computer is running in the background to encrypt and decrypt information packets. This requires processing power. The higher your internet speed when using a VPN, the more processing power is required. So even if your ISP and VPN are fast, your CPU may be limiting your full speed potential (but this mainly applies to very high speeds).

This is the record for the fastest VPN speed test result, currently held NordVPN, with download speeds of up to 445 Mbps:

NordVPN offers the fastest speeds with the WireGuard VPN protocol, which they call NordLynx. There are also a few other VPNs that support WireGuard as well, such as Surfshark VPN and VyprVPN as well.

Note: Want a great deal on the fastest VPN?

Check out NordVPN with 72% off coupon >>

VPN Malware Tests

Malware embedded in mobile VPN apps are…


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