Is My VPN Working? How to Test for VPN Leaks

Haseeb Awan
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December 7, 2022
Modified On
April 5, 2023

In This Article


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Modified On
April 5, 2023

When a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is working correctly, it prevents your online activities from being monitored. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) cannot see your online activity using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). However, VPNs don't always function perfectly, and a failed VPN may present various security problems.

You might still be vulnerable even if your VPN app says you're connected. Is my VPN working? You can perform several quick checks to determine if your VPN is working correctly and to spot potential security vulnerabilities. In case you're wondering—is my VPN working? You can perform several quick checks to see if your VPN works properly and spot potential security vulnerabilities.

How Can I Tell if My VPN is Working?

When a device connects to a VPN, its IP address should change based on where the VPN server locates. You may leak if your IP address reveals your device's actual IP address when connected to a VPN.

There are several ways to test for potential VPN vulnerabilities if you need clarification on whether or not your VPN is functioning correctly. We'll review the different types of VPN leaks and describe how to examine them.

Common Types of VPN Leaks

VPNs are valued because they promise to safeguard users' online privacy. VPNs are susceptible to leaks, which can be disconcerting when one occurs. There are three types of leaks that users may detect, and being able to do so assists them in fixing any that they uncover.

IP Leak

When using a VPN, you should mask your IP address to prevent someone from accessing your searches, clicks, visits, and geographical location while browsing the internet. When a leak happens, your IP address becomes vulnerable.

DNS Leak

A Domain Name Systems (DNS) server acts as a translator. It translates a website request into a specific internet Protocol (IP) number, permitting users to navigate the internet without trouble. Because you need to memorize only some IP addresses you visit, you can recall the website's title.

When you browse the internet, DNS queries pick up the IP addresses of the domains you want to visit. As these DNS requests pass through the ISP's unsecured tunnel, your ISP (internet service provider) can see a detailed history of every DNS request you transmit. If your VPN connection has a DNS leak, your IP address, browsing history, and ISP location reveal.

WebRTC Leak

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) allows for video, voice, and message sharing between web browsers instantly. In other words, this technology enables web browsers to communicate with each other online instantly.

WebRTC is very beneficial for peer-to-peer, browser-based communication, but users have discovered that it opens up VPN vulnerabilities. When using WebRTC, your IP address and location may expose by your browser without VPN protection. Any website can reveal your IP address and location using only a few lines of code.

Testing for VPN Leaks

You can perform several tests to determine whether your VPN is operating correctly. The steps listed below can help you identify each leakage.

How to Test for an IP Leak

An IP leak test can reveal your IP address is secure by checking whether it hides with a VPN. To perform the test, follow these steps:

Step 1: Type "what is my IP address" into the browser search bar to find your device's IP address. Make sure your VPN is turned off, then disconnect your VPN. Finally, write down the number at the top of the page.

Step 2: Click the VPN button on your account, then connect to a server.

Step 3:  Visit Google and reevaluate your IP address. In the browser search bar, search "what is my IP address" again. A new address will appear at the top of the screen. Compare this IP address to the one you wrote down in the previous step to see if they match.

If the VPN address you use is the same as your IP address from the first step, the VPN is leaking. If the addresses differ, your VPN effectively hides your IP address.

How to Test for a DNS Leak

Checking for DNS leaks is comparable to testing your VPN for a protected IP address. You can find them by visiting geo-restricted websites with your server set in various locations. The manual DNS leak test reveals an unarmed VPN.

Step 1: Choose a server in a different country and sign in to your VPN account.

Step 2: Go to a geo-blocked website from the country you selected. For example, to access Netflix US, go to Netflix US.

Your DNS may be leaking if you are unable to access the website.

Test DNS servers with a tool like DNSLeakTest to find any security susceptibility that might have slipped through the cracks.

Step 3: To determine your IP address and location, go to DNSLeakTest and select the "Standard Test" option.

Step 4: Take a photo or write down the IP addresses of the domains that appear.

Step 5: In the second step, run another test and make sure the IP addresses displayed differ from those in the first step.

You might have a DNS leak if the IP addresses don't change after you turn on the VPN.

How to Test for a WebRTC Leak

To check for WebRTC leaks, perform the three test steps listed. Your IP address might reveal when WebRTC turns on.

Step 1: If you look at your IP address in your browser under Public IP Address, you should see your actual IP address rather than a VPN IP. Then, turn off your VPN and head to BrowserLeaks.

Step 2: Your VPN's IP address should have listed under Public IP Address, and the mask should be different from your original IP address.

Your IP address keeps hidden from WebRTC requests when using a VPN. However, if you still see your IP address after the WebRTC test, it means your VPN is leaking your IP address.

How to Fix a VPN Leak?

When your VPN is leaking, don't worry. There are several approaches to address the problem. If you notice leaks frequently, try switching VPN providers to one better equipped to safeguard your online activity.

How to Fix an IP Leak

Follow these steps to reset your VPN connection if it fails the IP leak test.

Step 1: Using a VPN, you can access a different remote server and connect to it. You can make this connection in any country.

Step 2: Re-run the VPN leak test and see if it fixes the problem. If so, there is no further action required.

Step 3: If the leak persists, try switching to a new VPN service or connecting to another server that provides greater security.

How to Fix a DNS Leak

To secure your connection, perform the following steps:

Step 1: Turn off your Wi-Fi and ditch your VPN.

Step 2: Switch off your Wi-Fi and VPN, then delete them.

Step 3: To ensure your connection is secure, please perform a DNS leak test after fixing your leak.

If switching to a more secure VPN provider doesn't work, your VPN provider's support team may be able to troubleshoot the problem. VPN providers with their DNS servers are typically more secure. It prevents your VPN from sharing your DNS information with third parties.

How to Fix a WebRTC Leak

To stop a WebRTC leak from happening, switch to a VPN or install a browser plug-in to block it. The WebRTC Leak Prevent extension for Chrome is the most effective way to prevent leaks. To avoid WebRTC leaks, you may either change the settings on your browser or install a plug-in. You can discover a list of compatible browsers here.

Check Out The Top Ten Best VPN Services

Test Your VPN Speed

No matter how protected your VPN is, you shouldn't use it if it slows down your internet connection. Even if you avoid leaking your IP address, there are other issues you should address.

Several factors may affect VPN speed, and not all are due to the VPN.

  • Your VPN can't be faster than your existing internet connection. All it can do is be as fast.
  • The lower the distance to your VPN server, the faster the connection will usually be. However, this is sometimes true since VPN speed can also be dependent.
  • The number of individuals utilizing the same server: If the closest server to you handles lots of simultaneous connections, connecting to one a bit farther away might provide faster service.
  • Your computer's processing power: Your VPN encrypts and decrypts data as it flows through your computer. A struggling computer can't support super-fast VPN speeds.
  • It may slow down your internet speed if you live in a region where bandwidth restrictions or limitations are in place. The same thing can happen if you share an internet connection with others.

To gauge the quality of your VPN, do a quick speed test. You can discover one at the top of the browser search results for "internet speed test." Click Run Speed Test to begin.

How to Fix VPN Speed Issues

How can you make sure your VPN is operating at peak speed? Here are some things you can do. However, keep in mind that the speed you receive from your ISP is all that your VPN can handle.

  • Disconnect and reconnect. Sometimes a reset can make a difference.
  • Change servers. Try switching servers to see if you get faster speeds. Some VPNs can automate connecting you to the fastest available server anytime.
  • Close down other apps. Try connecting your router to your computer via an Ethernet cable to get faster speeds using a Wi-Fi connection.
  • Try a wired connection. Connect your router to your computer through an Ethernet cable. Using a Wi-Fi connection will likely result in slower speeds.
  • Do a malware scan. Ensure your computer is free of malware. Infected computers can slow down as viruses steal resources. Use an antivirus program to speed things up.

My VPN Is Still Not Working—What Now?

To rule out the VPN as a possible culprit, perform the testing procedures outlined above and see if the issue persists. Then below are a few recommendations:

  • Switch to a different VPN server
  • Reset your mobile VPN app
  • Ensure your internet connection is stable
  • Call your VPN or ISP customer support
  • Switch VPN providers
  • Research location-specific VPN restrictions

Tips to Protect Your VPN Software

Most VPN applications work automatically. If you'd like, you can check the status of your program periodically to detect potential vulnerabilities before they occur. Follow the recommendations to ensure your VPN is operating at its peak capacity.

  • Check your VPN now and then by performing the manual tests described above.
  • Ensure your VPN service provider offers IPv6 addresses so that IP leaks will not occur.
  • Make sure your VPN provider blocks DNS leaks automatically. Some do, and some do not—if yours doesn't, you might want to switch to a VPN provider that offers this service for more security.
  • To prevent WebRTC leaks, disable WebRTC in your Google browser or add an extension.

A simple and free VPN service is a beautiful way to protect your location and online activity if you seek greater control over your privacy or want to view video content from other countries. Make sure your VPN works by asking yourself, "Is my VPN working?" and checking your connections frequently.

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Haseeb Awan
CEO, Efani Secure Mobile

I founded Efani after being Sim Swapped 4 times. I am an experienced CEO with a demonstrated history of working in the crypto and cybersecurity industry. I provide Secure Mobile Service for influential people to protect them against SIM Swaps, eavesdropping, location tracking, and other mobile security threats. I've been covered in New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Hulu, Nasdaq, Netflix, Techcrunch, Coindesk, etc. Contact me at 855-55-EFANI or for a confidential assessment to see if we're the right fit!

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