Why should I test my VPN?
Clicking the connect button on your VPN app does not mean that you are now good to go, especially if it’s your first time using the service. Testing a VPN app enables you to determine whether it is showing the correct connection status. Some VPNs might show that you are connected, but the connection is actually broken or the web request has not even been sent to the internet.
Conducting some tests is vital as it helps you ensure you stay safe when using the internet. Using a VPN that doesn’t implement proper VPN protocols can lead to your crucial company information being leaked to hackers. Any data leak can be risky as it might reveal your location and IP address. With such details, hackers can already access your entire computer. If this happens, you may lose a lot of money and important documents.
There are different types of VPN tests that you can conduct. These are:
Basic tests – Basic tests are not complicated and can be done by anyone without much hassle. All you have to do is switch on the VPN, then look for a testing website. There are many sites where you can test whether your VPN is working correctly, but they’re not always effective.
Advanced tests – These tests are more complicated, and usually need some experience and skills to perform correctly. Although tricky, advanced tests are great as they check and identify every broken feature on your VPN.
Basic VPN Tests
Let us look at the basic steps to follow to help identify any IP address (IPV4 and IPv6), DNS, and WebRTC leaks. Remember that you’ll be mostly relying on a website to give you the results. One site that most people use today is ipleak.net. Combining such a site with any professional privacy test tool you have might help you determine whether your VPN service has some faults.
Testing for VPN Leaks
To test for any active leaks, you have to make sure your VPN is connected before visiting the testing site. When running the test, check your VPN’s performance when the connection is stable.
You can also try causing some interruptions during the VPN leak test and see how your VPN acts when the connectivity drops. For instance:
1. Connect to your VPN, then open a testing site on your browser.
2. Switch off the internet while your VPN service is still running in the background.
3. Reconnect your internet and conduct more tests with other sites. Repeat the same thing with every site and see if your VPN leaks anything during reconnection. If your VPN is leaking, then you should be able to spot that using the next testing site in your list. Doing this will help you identify some leaks, but not all.
VPN Test Sites
The following are some of the most popular testing websites that you can use today:
- Ipleak.net (Ipv4, IPv6, DNS, and WebRTC)
- Perfect privacy test tools (IPv6, WebRTC and IPv4)
As you can see, these sites test for different things. Therefore, you can try and use all of them to test your VPN and see if you get the same results.
Identifying Vpn Leaks
Using a testing site is always great as it allows you to quickly identify possible leaks, especially if you are using a VPN service that’s headquartered outside your country. For instance, you’ll see something like 192.xxx, or 10.xxx, which signifies your IP address. If you see this address on the site’s WebRTC section, then that means your VPN is leaking. On the site’s dashboard, you should see the:
- DNS addresses from the VPN servers
- Your local IP address
- The IPv4 and IPv6 addresses of your VPN
When it comes to locations, VPNs mostly use international IP address databases to provide you with many options to choose from. These locations are not always updated. So, it is possible that you might get connected to a location that you didn’t want. However, you can ping the VPN’s server from different locations to help you determine the exact location, which might be a lengthy process.
Kill Switch Test
Some VPNs usually have the kill switch feature which main purpose is to terminate your internet connection immediately once your VPN disconnects. This feature is excellent as it ensures your computer does not access the internet without any protection, hence keeping you safe from hackers.
This feature might work differently depending on the specific VPN that you are using. Some VPNs usually close certain applications such as browsers and torrent clients instead of your internet connection. It is usually hard to determine which VPN has the best kill switch feature. However, if your VPN disconnects unexpectedly, consider these things:
1. Does it close your internet connection immediately?
2. Does it reconnect to a different server?
3. Can you see your IP address? You can use an IP locator site to help you see if the VPN leaks your DNS or IP when it’s off.
If you notice that the VPN has difficulties terminating your internet immediately, or hiding the IP address, then it’s probably not the best service for you.
Advanced VPN Tests
Creating an excellent testing suite for an operating system, then running many tests to help analyze traffic for any leaks is one of the best methods that you can use. However, creating a testing suite that can capture and analyze lots of traffic excellently can be tricky, depending on your operating system. Luckily, you can use a service like ExpressVPN. This service offers you a testing suite that you can use to seamlessly spot any leaks.
The best thing about conducting an advanced test is that it gives you a detailed report of any existing leaks.
DNS Leaks Test
DNS (Domain Name System) is what allows you to browse the internet fast and seamlessly. Its primary purpose is usually turning a domain name like vpn.com into an actual IP address. In other words, DNS helps translate complicated numeric web server names into human language and vice versa.
When you visit a particular site, your device sends a unique query to the DNS server. And then, your device contacts the server and requests for the site’s IP address. It is by getting this IP address that you can finally access the website. All this happens very fast, which is what makes a DNS a powerful feature to have a close look at.
What’s a DNS leak?
After switching your VPN on, your entire traffic should be routed via the VPN’s network. So, even the DNS queries should pass through an encrypted channel straight to your VPN provider’s servers. However, that might not always happen as a DNS leak might occur. During this leak, your queries head to your internet service provider’s servers. That might happen if:
- You are using Windows 8 or later and the “Smart Multi-Homed Name Resolution feature” is switched on
- You recently set up a VPN
- You recently reset the system preferences
- Your VPN service does not own any DNS servers
- You’re using a poor-quality VPN
How will a DNS leak affect me?
If your traffic passes through the unencrypted route, then any hacker on the internet might intercept it. This means that even your DNS or ISP provider can see your online activity, from the services you regularly use to the websites you visit. If you don’t perform a VPN security test soon, your system will be more vulnerable to attacks.
In places like Australia and the UK, a VPNuser’s data is usually stored for about two years or more and can even be accessed by authorities. In the United States, that data is usually sold to advertisers or other interested parties, thus leaving your vital information at tremendous risk.
Which DNS Leak Test Sites can I use?
The two most effective sites that you can use to check for any DNS leaks are Perfect Privacy and ipleak.net. According to experts, Perfect Privacy can detect the most DNS leaks even when other tools say that there aren’t any. Ipleak.net, on the other hand, tests for both DNS and IP leaks, which is what makes it unique and useful. When using any of these sites, you will see a list of IP addresses. If your ISP’s IP address is on the list, then you have a possible DNS leak.
Connecting your device to a VPN server that’s outside your country helps you detect DNS leaks easily. Why? When using such a server, you can easily differentiate your IP address and addresses from the chosen location.
The best way to avoid endless DNS leaks on your computer is by looking for a high-quality VPN. Consider paying for a VPN that has secure and encrypted DNS resolvers. To get such VPNs, you must take some time to research so you can be sure that the provider owns reliable servers.
How do I Test Vpn IP Address leaks?
An address leak refers to the disclosure of your IP address while you are connected to a certain VPN service. IP address leaks mostly happen when your PC is unknowingly accessing the default servers instead of the VPN’s.
This issue is very common in both free and premium VPN applications. Most VPN services don’t have IPv6 support, which explains why there are many IPv6 leaks complaints recorded daily. Therefore, it’s advisable that you look for a professional VPN that does not leak your IPv4 or IPv6 addresses. Although tricky, you can also instruct your firewall to block any non-VPN traffic, so you only browse when you’re connected to the VPN servers.
Here are a few steps to follow to help you see whether your VPN is leaking the IP address:
Step 1: Check your IP address.
Turn off your VPN and check your IP by Googling “What is my IP address?’’ Doing this gives you the real IP address.
Step 2: Sign in your VPN.
Log in to your VPN account and connect to the location you want. Remember to check if you are connected to your chosen location.
Step 3: Repeat step 1.
Recheck your IP address on Google. You should see a new address this time that corresponds with the location you chose.
Step 4: Conduct an IP leak test.
There are many free sites that you can use to test for IP leaks. Most even include an API that allow you to perform the test even from your smartphone. It is crucial that you repeat the test using different sites. That way, you can see if you’ll get the same results and if the VPN is working effectively.
VPN Speed Test
Speed is one factor that you must consider when looking for a great VPN. A VPN with a reliable speed will allow you to browse easily and allow you to complete your projects on time. The exact speed that the VPN offers is determined by factors such as:
- The number of users on the server – Most popular VPN providers have many customers. So, this huge number overloads the servers, causing dropped connections and slow speeds.
- Distance – If you’re very far from the server’s location, then you will most probably experience poor speeds.
- Regional bandwidth restrictions – Even if the VPN or ISP server is fast, you might experience poor speeds if your country has poor bandwidth infrastructure.
- Processing power – Your PC is always busy encrypting and decrypting data when you are using VPNs. Therefore, even if your VPN and ISP servers are fast, your computer’s processing power might limit the overall speeds.
- ISP (Internet Service Provider) – Mostly, your ISP is usually faster compared to the VPN. Why? Your VPN might limit your bandwidth if you are doing something like torrenting as it makes your connectivity slow. However, you can use a VPN to encrypt your network and allow you to stay anonymous and enjoy high speeds.
When trying your best to stay away from malware, your VPN should not be exposing you to these threats. Some free VPN services usually embed malware in their applications, making them risky to use.
Recently, there has been a massive increase in the number of free VPN applications that you can easily download. But it is worth noting tha running and maintaining a free VPN app can be quite costly. To generate revenue, such apps collect your data and sell it to third parties. As a result, your crucial information is put at huge risk.
Many studies show that about 38% of free VPNs contain viruses. So, you must test any free app before using it, especially if you can’t purchase a premium one. VirusTotal is among the best databases that you can use to test for malware. All you have to do is upload the free VPN here, and you will see if it’s embedded with malware entities that can infect your smartphone.
VPN protocols are usually responsible for maintaining proper connection between various computers while encrypting and decrypting critical data. The different VPN protocols that you might come across are:
When it comes to choosing a great VPN protocol, you should mostly look for one that offers excellent security and anonymity. OpenVPN has been observed to offer the best security, but you can also explore other options. aTo help you pick one that is more suitable, it’s crucial that you research on these protocols ahead.
One major reason why people love VPNs is that they help significantly when it comes to unblocking locked content. Sites like ESPN and Netflix usually offer the best content to audiences based in North America and Europe. By using a VPN, you can make Netflix think you are in those locations, hence allow you access to the best content.
If you have added your VPN as an extension on your browser, then make sure you check if it’s logged out. Also, check if you are following all the required set up instructions to ensure you are not missing a step.
If doing this does not solve your VPN issues, then you have to contact your VPN provider. Most commercial VPNs usually have a dedicated support team that can help you solve the problem fast. Also, having a paid VPN will enable you to get some help with your IP and DNS leaks since some might be caused by missed settings.
There is so much to learn about VPNs, their security features, and how to use them. This article contains all vital things that you should know about VPNs, especially when it comes to testing them. It’s up to you now to ensure you understand these tricks so you can apply them accurately. By following the tricks in this guide, you can test your VPN effectively. You can alsofind the best and most secure one to use in your device.