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4 ways to check if your VPN works

test vpn is working
A VPN has become a necessity now after an anti-virus. It bounces of your traffic through their own servers across various locations to safeguard you against hackers, and prevent them on snooping on your personal activities on the internet on both public and private networks. There are numerous free and paid VPN services available, however, simply installing a VPN service is not enough. We need to check if it is working. Here are 4 ways to check if your VPN service is actually protecting your online.

Before you begin these tests, you need to first note down the IP address of your computer or mobile device. This is like your physical address in the real world, this is how the internet knows where to send the information that you had requested. Here's how you can note down the IP address of PC or mobile device:

1. Turn off your VPN service in case it is running already

2. Click on the below link, this would go to the "What is My IP Address" website where it would show you your original IP address provided by your ISP

https://whatismyipaddress.com/

Now that you have noted your actual IP address, it's time to check your VPN is leaking, which is another way of saying if it is not working. The term "leaking" is used since the VPN acts like a tunnel, blocking all your internet traffic and routing it through their own servers. If it is leaking, it means that it is dissemination information that it is not supposed to. Here are the 4 ways to check if your VPN works (we will be discussing how to fix your VPN in case it doesn't work properly as shown by the results from the below tests towards the end of this post):

Step 1: Check for IP leaks

This is the first thing that you need to check, whether turning on your VPN changes your public IP to a different one. Every VPN worth it's salt let's you connect to a server from a different country, or on their server on the same country that you belong to. But the end result would be the same, your public IP would change from the one that you had noted down earlier to a different one.

1. Turn on your VPN service

2. Go to the "What is My IP Address" website once again and note down the IP address it is showing now using the link given below (it is the same link we shared earlier, giving it here once again for convenience):

https://whatismyipaddress.com/

3. Check the IP and location that it is showing now. If the IP and location has changed to that of your VPN service provider, then your VPN does not have an IP leak, otherwise, it does have an IP leak. Now that we have established that, let's move to the second step

Step 2: Check for DNS leaks

Since every device on the internet has an IP address, it is only obvious that there would be a "phone book" of the internet where you can look up the address and locate the device. A DNS, or Domain Name System, is such a phone book which converts the address "google.com" to its respective IP whenever you type that address on your browser.

Without going into the technical details, let's just say that this phone book resides on the servers of that entity through whom you are accessing the internet. With the VPN turned off that would be your ISP, with the VPN turned on that you be your VPN service provider. We need to check if you are actually using your VPN's DNS servers, or is your VPN leaking information to other servers (which can be a 3rd party server if you have a bad VPN service, or it can be the original DNS server provided by your ISP). This is called a DNS leak, and here's how you can check if your VPN has a DNS leak:

1. Turn on your VPN service

2. Head over to the DNS Leak Test website using the below link

https://www.dnsleaktest.com/

3. Now, click on the Extended Test button given there. This would start the extended DNS leak test, remember, this will take some time

4. Once the test is completed, check if any of the servers listed in the test results do not belong to your VPN service provider. For example, if you have NordVPN and one of the servers listed belongs to Google, then your VPN have a DNS leak

Step 3: Check for WebRTC leaks

WebRTC, non-technically speaking, is a set of programs created for your browser to be able to access the voice and audio devices on your computer/mobile device for voice and video communication over the internet in real time. It is available by default in all modern browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. Although, WebRTC is not made only for browsers, it can be used through an application or an embedded device without the need of browser at all.

We will be performing the WebRTC check to see if your VPN is leaking information while you are having a video conference on the internet. Here's how to perform this test:

1. Turn on your VPN service

2. Head over to the "WebRTC Leak Test" website using the below URL

https://browserleaks.com/webrtc

3. Once on that website, it would show you a whole gamut of information. You need to look in the "WebRTC IP Address Detection" section, check the IP address that is showing there and see if it is showing the same IP as that of your VPN service provider or a different one. If it's a different IP, then your VPN surely has a WebRTC leak

Step 4: Check for VPN log policies

Most of the robust VPN services has a no-log policy. What this means is that whatever sites you are surfing on the internet, your VPN service provider does not maintain a list of them. This policy can be found on the terms and conditions page of your VPN service provider. You must check this because if they do maintain a log, you still have a record somewhere (wherever that is, it doesn't matter) using which your internet activities can be tracked. This defeats the whole purpose of having a VPN, doesn't it?

Solutions to a VPN leak:

Now that we have determined whether your VPN has a leak or not, we will discuss how to solve these issues. Here are a few remedial steps to solve a leaking VPN, recheck after performing each step whether the issue has been resolved. And remember, the steps remain the same irrespective of what type of leak your VPN has:

1. Restart your VPN

2. Connect to a different country

3. Uninstall/reinstall your VPN software

4. Speak to the VPN tech support, most VPN service providers take these issues seriously

If nothing works, and you still have a leaky VPN, it's time to change your VPN service provider. I personally use NordVPN, however, you are free to choose any provider you like. But don't forget to do a bit of research before you subscribe to their service, and check their log policies. If you found this article helpful, don't forget to Like us on Facebook.
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