Ever encountered a problem with your VPN that says ‘You’re Connected‘ but you still get a feeling that your online activity and privacy are at risk? Well, it is possible.
A VPN leak can expose your original IP address on the internet. IP addresses are a string of numbers that are assigned to computer devices, it is basically your digital address. And if that exposes, your online identity exposes.
Although VPNs are one of the best tools to make sure your online privacy and security are maintained by encrypting your traffic.
But a VPN can choke in many ways if you’re not using a high-quality secure VPN service.
Nonetheless, there are many ways you can check if your VPN is working or not.
How to Check if VPN is Working?
VPN leaks are not that common if you’re using a reputable VPN service like ExpressVPN or NordVPN as they provide built-in tools to avoid exposing your identity in case the VPN drops or leaks.
But still, you can perform tests on any VPN provider you want to measure its quality.
You can check your VPN by testing it with IP Address Leak Test, DNS Leak Test, or WebRTC Leak Test.
As there are many reasons why leaks happen, it is advised that a user should often check if their VPN is working properly or not.
Other than that, you might face the problem with your VPN not working in the first place. There are some basic parameters to check which can solve your problem.
A VPN can be a very useful tool to maintain online privacy and security. So keep on reading to know more about VPN leaks and how you can test for leaks on your VPN app.
What Is A VPN & How Does It Work?
When you’re on the internet, your online traffic and original IP address are exposed.
A VPN can hide your online identity which can keep you away from malicious practices and being a target for hackers.
So that means by using a VPN, you can surf the web with an enhanced layer of security and anonymously access everything on the internet.
What a VPN does, it assigns you one of its IP addresses and creates a secure bridge between the user and the VPN server. Now all the traffic generated from your side passes through that tunnel, eliminating third parties from snooping on your traffic.
Even the internet service provider or government authorities would be unable to watch your traffic flow.
How to Check if VPN is Working by IP Address Leak Test?
An IP leak is when your original IP address is being detected even though your VPN is on.
IP address leaks can be detected by a simple trick, follow the steps below to know if your VPN is working properly or not.
- If you are connected to your VPN, disconnect it.
- Go to your browser, search for ‘whatismyipaddress‘. You will get your original IP Address. Note it down somewhere.
- Now enable your VPN.
- Go and check your IP Address again on ‘whatismyipaddress’.
Now match your original IP Address with the one which appeared on your screen after you enabled your VPN. If the IPs are different then your VPN is perfectly fine. But if the IPs are the same then there is an IP leak and your VPN is not working properly.
You can also check your VPN for IP Leak Test from these websites,
How to Check if VPN is Working by DNS Leak Test?
Even if your VPN passes the IP leak test, it doesn’t mean there are no other ways from which your identity can be exposed on the internet.
DNS (Domain Name System) is a term that means to give some name to an IP Address. It is the technology by which long IP addresses are translated into names.
Suppose if there is an IP Address (184.108.40.206) then its DNS would give it a name (like howdoesavpnwork). In simple words, DNS is the name of the website.
DNS leaks can happen when a VPN fails to encrypt your online activity and the DNS of the websites you visit get vulnerable to your internet service provider or anyone having the intent to monitor you.
This means it is now possible to monitor which websites you are accessing as the VPN is not encrypting your traffic.
You can do a quick VPN test check by following these steps.
- Connect to your VPN by setting VPN server to the US.
- Go to DNSLeakTest.com
- You will see your IP Address and location on your screen with two options of ‘Standard Test’ and ‘Extended Test’, go with Standard Test.
You will see the IP addresses of the domains that show up. If all the results you get are from the US, then your VPN is working fine. But if you get a result with your ISP name on it, then you have a DNS leak.
How to Check if VPN is Working by WebRTC Leak Test?
WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication) is a tool that is used browser-to-browser for high performance with low latency. Being announced in 2011 by Google, it made it possible for the browsers to work video streaming, transfer of files, voice communications in webpages themselves without any plugins.
But WebRTC requires original IP Addresses to work efficiently across browsers. And if you have your VPN enabled but it is not hiding your IP Address, then there is a WebRTC Leak.
By following these steps, you can perform a VPN test for WebRTC.
- Connect to your VPN, and go to ExpressVPN’s WebRTC Leak Test.
- It should be showing you your IP Address.
- If the IP Address shown to you is different from your original IP Address, then your VPN is working fine.
- If your IP Address is your original IP Address, then there is a WebRTC Leak.
How Often Should I Check if VPN is Working?
You should always have to make sure that your online privacy is up to the mark. So with a VPN test, you’ll be certain that your identity is not leaking somehow.
Do a quick VPN test of DNS Leak and WebRTC Leak always before you start with your routinely browsing activities. It will eliminate the risks of your online identity being exposed while you are busy working on torrenting your favorite movie.
2 Reasons Why Leaks Happen.
Wondering why and how you have DNS Leak or a WebRTC Leak? It might be because of these two reasons,
Faulty VPN Service
You might have a VPN that has a fault in its algorithm or encryption method. It is possible to happen if you go for a free VPN service or a poorly managed VPN service. To eliminate the risks of DNS Leaks and WebRTC Leaks, go for a reputed VPN service like Surfshark, which also has a user-friendly interface, being really just a cherry on the top of a cake!
Dropping of VPN Connection
Similarly, the second reason for the leaks to happen is because of the VPN connection dropping without any warning to the user while the user is busy performing his/her online activities. It is advised to the users to get a VPN with a kill-switch feature in it. That way the VPN will always stop your activities by shutting them down and notifying you that the VPN connection has dropped.
Why VPNs Don’t Work Sometimes?
It can be a pain in the neck when you encounter a problem in which you find yourself helpless to JUST make your VPN work. Well, it can happen because of some basic checklists which you have to cover by looking into them whenever your VPN is not working. Those are,
Invalid Username and Password
Maybe you’re entering the wrong credentials to your VPN, which is making it hard for you to connect to your VPN. If you don’t remember your password, go for the option of recovering your password by setting a new one through your email ID.
Limited Internet Connection
It is possible that your internet connection is causing a problem for you to connect to your VPN. Make sure your internet speed is fast enough for you to connect to a VPN. Or try connecting to a different WiFi connection and check if you can connect to your VPN. If that is the case, try contacting your ISP to solve the problem.
Dead VPN Server
The server which you have connected through your VPN might be offline or dead. Try connecting to a different server and check if your VPN is now working or not.
Firewall or Antivirus
Maybe your Firewall or Antivirus software is not letting your VPN app work properly on your system. Try disabling your antivirus and then connect to your VPN to check if that’s really the problem.
If even after checking all these problems, still, your VPN doesn’t work then it is time to realize to change your VPN and go for a reputed VPN provider.
Best VPNs to Avoid VPN Leaks
These are by far the best VPN providers you can go for if you want multi-layered security while browsing the internet.
ExpressVPN is the top choice for a VPN provider to avoid leaks. It has a built-in kill switch that makes sure that you don’t leak your real IP address on the internet accidentally if your VPN drops.
It has a total of 3000+ servers spread across 94 countries including countries like the US, UK, Canada, Netherlands, France, Germany, and Japan.
ExpressVPN provides Smart DNS (MediaStreamer) to access streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and unlock libraries of different countries to enjoy unlimited movies and TV shows.
It can easily work on all popular TV sets including Samsung TV, Apple TV, LGTV, Sony, or Panasonic. Moreover, it is compatible with all the widely used operating systems, which are Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux. Also, it provides browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.
ExpressVPN also has its own tools for checking IP address leaks and WebRTC leaks.
You can get a monthly plan of ExpressVPN for $12.95, a six-month plan for $59.95, and a twelve-month plan for $99.95 with three free months. All the payments are to be done upfront.
ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee offer, so you can also try it for one month and get a refund by contacting customer support if you’re not satisfied with the service.
NordVPN with its military-grade encryption provides enhanced security to the users. It has AES (256-bits) which is almost impossible for hackers to crack.
NordVPN has all the latest protocols available including IKEv2/IPsec, OpenVPN, and the most enhanced VPN protocol introduced by them, NordLynx which works on the WireGuard tunneling protocol.
You can surf the internet without the worry of your traffic getting leaked or your VPN dropping because NordVPN offers a built-in kill switch that terminates your internet access if your VPN drops somehow and prevents your internet traffic from getting exposed on the web.
With NordVPN’s CyberSec, you can avoid annoying ads popping up on your screen and disturbing your flow of work. It also prevents you from getting attacked by malware and phishing scams.
NordVPN works on all platforms including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Linux. It also has browser extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and is compatible with popular devices like Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, PS4.
You can get NordVPN’s monthly plan for $11.95, the one-year plan for $59, and the two-year plan for $99 with three extra months free.
Surfshark is the featured-pack VPN of the industry. It has a simple layout and is considered to be the most user-friendly app for a VPN.
One of the demanding traits of Surfshark is that it doesn’t have any limits on the number of users simultaneously using the VPN app. You can use Surfshark on as many devices as you want without experiencing any decrease in the bandwidth.
With Surfshark’s CleanWeb feature, you can avoid phishing attempts, malware, and trackers on the web. Also, you can get rid of annoying ads and pop-ups that eat up extra internet data.
It also provides a Bypasser feature from which you can select which apps are allowed to bypass your VPN. For instance, some apps don’t allow you access on a VPN (like banking apps). So with this feature, you don’t have to switch off your VPN just for using an app on your mobile.
Other features of Surfshark include a built-in kill switch to protect your identity from getting leaked and a DNS proxy for accessing different libraries of streaming platforms.
Moreover, it has a strict no-logs policy to ensure its users that they don’t collect any information including browsing sessions, credentials, online traffic, or network details.
Surfshark works on all the widely used platforms like Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, and Linux. And also, it works on popular devices like Roku, Chromecast, TV sets, Xbox, and Playstation.
You can get Surfshark’s monthly plan for $12.95, the one-year plan for $39.99, and the two-year plan for $59.76 from the Surfshark website.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Can you track a VPN?
How can I know if my VPN is protecting me?
Are free VPNs good to use?
Where can I see my IP Address?