VPN is a security tool that can spoof your location, give you access to geo-restricted websites, or even unlock multiple libraries of streaming platforms. But primarily, it keeps you anonymous and secure on the web.
With a global pandemic hitting every sector, businesses started to adopt new ways of working remotely, but along with it, came a sharp rise in cyberattacks for which VPN usage has increased in countries where the impact of coronavirus was at its peak.
Unless you’re using a reliable VPN service, you may still be exposed on the internet with your original identity, even when your VPN says ‘Connected’. That’s because of VPN leaks.
Keep on reading to know more about VPN leaks and how you can perform different tests to detect them.
VPN & How It Works?
When you browse the internet using your original IP address, you’re giving hackers and third parties access to your personal information.
Your original IP address is hidden when you connect to a VPN, with a bogus one assigned to you by the VPN server. You surf the web anonymously using that fake IP address that protects against exploiters, and you perform all of your internet activities without leaving a trace of your traffic.
To give you an understanding of how all VPNs work, it simply encrypts your online traffic when you connect to one. It creates a virtual bridge between the user and the VPN server, from which you can perform all your online activities while being off the radar of hackers or even your ISP.
How to Check If Your VPN Is Working?
To begin, if you subscribe to a trustworthy VPN service from the industry, such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN, there are very few possibilities of VPN leaks.
Furthermore, you may simply test any VPN tool in three ways.
- IP Address Leak Test.
- DNS Leak Test.
- WebRTC Leak Test.
You can perform all these tests easily on your favorite web browser in a matter of seconds. Follow the guidelines below to perform the tests to check if your VPN is working or not.
How to Perform An IP Address Leak Test?
When you connect to a VPN, it masks your IP address with a bogus one. If your IP address is leaking, your original IP address will be exposed on the internet even if your VPN status says ‘ON’.
Here’s how you can perform an IP address leak test.
- If you’re connected to any VPN service, disconnect it.
- Launch your favorite browser and head to whatismyipaddress.com, the website will display the original IP address, note it down somewhere and close the browser.
- Now connect to your VPN and check your IP address again.
- If the IP address being displayed is the VPN server’s IP, then your VPN is working fine. But if your IP is the one that you noted down in step 2, then there is an IP address leak.
How to Perform A DNS Leak Test?
DNS (Domain Name System) in short is how some numbers convert into a sense-making website name. It is a naming system.
Suppose if a website address is 188.8.131.52, the DNS for this would be ‘cnn.com’ or ‘nytimes.com’.
A DNS leak would expose your internet traffic to the ones monitoring. Even with a VPN turned on on your device, your ISP can see what domains you’re visiting.
Here’s how you can perform a DNS leak test.
- Connect to your VPN.
- Open your favorite browser and head to DNSLeakTest.com.
- You will see your IP address displayed on the screen.
- Choose Standard Test.
- If the results display the VPN server’s information, then there is no DNS leak. But if you see your original ISP, then your VPN is leaking DNS traffic.
How to Perform A WebRTC Leak Test?
WebRTC is a browser tool for optimized audio and video communications, transfer of files, and streaming.
If you visit a website that uses WebRTC technology and your VPN has a WebRTC leak, then it can expose your original IP address to that website.
Here’s how you can perform a WebRTC leak test.
- Disconnect your VPN if you’re connected to one.
- Open your web browser and use an online WebRTC leak checker (We recommend ExpressVPN’s leak checker).
- If you see any public IP addresses, note them down.
- Close the browser tab and connect to your VPN now.
- Open your web browser and visit the WebRTC leak checker again.
- On testing, if you still see any of the public IP addresses you noted before then there is a WebRTC leak.
You don’t have to worry about VPN leaks if you’re subscribed to one of the best VPN providers in the industry. Although you must know how you can perform simple tests to check if your VPN is working or not to avoid leaking your original IP address accidentally on the web.