Most of these
Here are tests you can do to make sure that your
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VPN test: IP address leak test
VPNs are popular mainly because they hide your real IP address and mask it with their own. This process ensures that your identity and activities remain private – you are virtually anonymous. However, a study by CSIRO in 2017 revealed that 84% of
Oftentimes, IP leaks are not intended by the
This is why it is important to choose a
Yeah, your VPN connection might just drop and your computer keeps sending traffic.
A simple software firewall mostly prevents this as well. Many VPN providers actually offer some sort of "kill switch" feature.
— jomo ? (@0xjomo) March 23, 2018
VPN test: DNS leak test
A DNS, or Domain Name System, is a naming system that translates a website name (which is easy for people to remember) into a set of numbers called an IP address which is more readable for your computer. Here’s a quick video that will tell you what a DNS is and how it has helped with the dynamics of people using the Internet.
A DNS leak happens when the DNS requests still goes to the default DNS server instead of the
- It gives your ISP a snapshot of what you’re doing online. Although your ISP won’t know everything you did such as what items you bought online or what web pages you spent a lot of time on, the information they can get is enough to create an online profile of you which they can sell to data brokers or use for their ad targeting.
- It leaks your ISP’s IP address and location to the websites you’re visiting. Although it’s not your IP address that’s directly leaked, this information is still enough to trace your IP address.
So how do you do a
— Freedom Hacker (@FreedomHackerr) September 6, 2016
The method described above is quite risky since you are connected to the Internet, and the presence of a DNS leak makes you vulnerable. Thankfully, there is another way to do a DNS leak test without needing to connect to the Internet. Follow the steps below:
- Open the command prompt and type: ping [server name] -n 1.
- Choose any of these server names:
- Wait for the results to finish loading.
- If you see your real IP address in any of the addresses that are shown in the results, then there is a DNS leak.
Like the IP leak issue discussed in the previous section,
- Choose a
VPNprovider that has DNS leak protection which is a feature that ensures all your DNS requests are within the encrypted tunnel. We’ve tested several VPNproviders with this feature, and compared test results with those that don’t, and the difference is significant. There is almost always a possibility of a DNS leak.
- Choose a
VPNthat has its own DNS server. Some providers we reviewed even have this “zero knowledge DNS” where nothing about you is stored on their servers.
- If you are using a
VPNwith the latest OpenVPN protocol, you can add this line to the .conf or .ovpn file: block-outside-dns.
- Make sure that your
VPNprovider is IPv6-capable.
- Disable Teredo if you’re using Windows.
- Change your device or router’s DNS settings.
As you can see, these methods to protect yourself from DNS leak all boil down to one thing: choosing the right VPN provider. The best
VPN test: WebRTC leak test
WebRTC is a useful innovation that allows real-time voice, video chat, and P2P file sharing within the browser without the need for browser extensions. However, it poses a privacy and security threat to VPN users since it reveals the user’s real IP address. Even the best
To avoid a WebRTC leak, you need to disable WebRTC in your browser. It’s easy to do with some browsers such as Chrome for Android, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, while for some browsers, you need to install addons. The section below will guide you in disabling WebRTC in different browsers:
How to disable WebRTC in Chrome for Android
- Type chrome://flags/#disable-webrtc in the browser’s address bar and tap Enter.
- Under the WebRTC STUN header, tap Enable.
- Restart your phone.
How to disable WebRTC in Chrome and Opera
Unlike its Android version, Chrome for desktop doesn’t have a built-in way to disable WebRTC. The same is true for Opera. However, there are extensions that you can add to help prevent WebRTC leaks, and here are some examples:
These extensions can block websites from collecting your IP address, but they do not fix the IP leak. Your IP address can still be stored in some websites.
There are extensions in Mozilla Firefox that can help prevent WebRTC leak, but you can do it directly in the browser which is better. Here’s how you do it:
- Type about:config in the address bar and press Enter.
- Click on the “I accept the risk!” option.
- In the Search box under the address bar, type in media.peerconnection.enabled.
- Double-click on the search result and change the Value column to false.
For Safari on macOS, follow these steps to disable WebRTC:
- Go to Safari > Preferences.
- Go to the Advanced tab.
- Mark the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” checkbox. The Develop menu will now be accessible.
- Click on Develop > Experiment Features and mark the “Remove Legacy WebRTC API” option.
For Safari for iOS, follow these instructions:
- Go to Settings > Safari.
- Scroll down and tap on Advanced.
- Tap on Experimental Features.
- Toggle off the “Remove Legacy WebRTC API” option.
Follow these steps to disable WebRTC in Microsoft Edge:
- Enter about:flags in the address bar.
- Check the box that says “Hide my local IP address over WebRTC connections.”
- Restart the browser.
Internet Explorer does not support WebRTC, so you shouldn’t have any WebRTC leak problem with it. We included WebRTC leak tests when we ranked the top VPN providers.
How to do a
VPN speed test
Aside from the IP, DNS, and WebRTC leak tests discussed above, you also want to regularly test the speed of your
- Location of the
VPNserver: The farther you are from the VPNserver you’re connected to, the more it takes for all data to travel. If possible, choose the nearest VPNserver.
- The speed from your ISP: If your Internet connection is slow to begin with, your
VPNconnection will naturally suffer too. Take note also that most ISPs throttle the speed of your connection when you visit certain entertainment and gaming sites. Using a VPNcan actually speed up your connection in this case.
- Level of encryption: There is a trade-off between speed and security because the encryption process takes time. The heavier the encryption, the more time it takes to complete.
— Pirate Parties International (PPI) (@ppinternational) May 23, 2016
- Number of users on the
VPNserver: If there are a lot of cars on a lane, traffic will be heavier. This is also true with VPNs. The more users there are on a VPNserver, the slower the connection will be. With a good VPNprovider, you can always switch to a server with fewer people. A few will even do this for your automatically.
With these factors in mind, you can do a
What if these
VPN tests prove there’s a leak?
Finding out that there’s a leak in your system can be quite unnerving since you are using a
If worse comes to worst, save yourself from the hassle and change your
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