Basic VPN Tests and Checks to Run

Edward G. | June 02, 2020

While VPN tests deliver meaningful and insightful results, most users might be reluctant to perform them. Truth be told, a VPN is not always the well-oiled machine it claims to be. Some of these networks fail to safeguard users from outside sources by accidentally leaking data. You would not dare to drive a car with defective brakes, right? The same applies here. You should not designate a VPN service as your defender before double-checking its wiring with VPN tests.

What information can a VPN leak?

Performing VPN tests to check whether a VPN guarantees anonymity and conceals your IP address uninterrupted is not a trivial task. You need to be sure that VPN protection is strong enough to withstand and resolve internet connection irregularities. In some cases, faulty or incomplete features can contribute to the poor performance of a VPN. For instance, an integrated killswitch might malfunction and leak data to external sources anyway. Hence, you need to perform VPN tests to collect convincing evidence that a VPN fulfills its obligations.

  1. IP leaks

Your IP is similar to your home address: it reveals your geo-location, usually the country and city you reside in. The main purpose of a VPN is to conceal your IP address and prevent external forces from misusing it. However, a frightening amount of evidence suggests that many VPNs fail to perform this task efficiently.

Instead, accidental leaks reveal users’ IP addresses and make them vulnerable to tracking they tried to circumvent. If you do not run VPN tests, websites, government entities, and online-streaming services will learn your IP address and, in turn, your actual location. Depending on the situation, you might face suspensions or bans for attempting to mask your IP address.

  1. DNS leaks

Even though your IP remains hidden, your DNS address can still leak your location. In short, a DNS server converts typical URLs into computer-readable IP addresses, associated with specific websites. Without a VPN, your ISP is responsible for managing all of your requests and swiftly delivering content. After connecting to a VPN server, it reroutes all details related to users’ geo-location to the selected server. Hence, if a VPN test determines that your ISP still handles your requests, you are back to square one.

  1. WebRTC leaks

Most of the popular browsers use Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) to deliver real-time communications like voice and video chats. Without it, you would not be able to initiate calls from one browser to another. While useful and seemingly minor, WebRTC has a flaw that might disrupt the around-the-clock protection of VPNs. Some services can run additional code to check for WebRTC leaks beyond your VPN. As a result, they can obtain your actual location even though your IP address remains concealed.

A basic VPN test: find out whether IP leaks occur

You do not need to perform extensive VPN tests to determine if a service masks your IP address. Here are the guidelines to follow when you want to learn whether everything works as expected:

  1. Find out your actual IP address by visiting a reputable IP test website.
  2. Note this sequence of numbers. You will need it for the VPN test to determine whether it pops up later.
  3. Connect to a VPN server.
  4. Revisit the IP test website. Does the displayed IP address match the one presented before? If the VPN works as intended, you should no longer see the IP address that you noted before connecting to the VPN.
  5. Try connecting to other VPN servers. The results might vary depending on the server you choose for the VPN test. Hence, connect to multiple ones and ensure that all of them offer the same security level.
  6. Perform this VPN test regularly. Double-checking whether everything works as intended once is not enough.

VPN test: do DNS leaks compromise your security?

During the VPN test, do not forget to check the DNS location associated with you. Here are the steps to follow to make sure that a VPN handles your DNS requests properly.

  1. Visit a DNS test page. Note the details about your connection: DNS provider, country of origin, and the IP address associated with you. These are the details you want to conceal.
  2. Turn on the VPN and connect to a server.
  3. Return to the DNS test page. The initial details should no longer be available. Instead, the information presented should insist that you are accessing the internet from the country (server) you chose.
  4. Repeat the VPN test for other servers. As mentioned before, you need to make sure that the results are consistent and accurate.

Check whether the VPN is immune to WebRTC leaks

Typically, WebRTC leaks occur due to flaws in the browsers, not the VPN services. For the WebRTC leak to occur, external sources need to run additional lines of code. Only then can they uncover your actual IP address. So, here is the quick VPN test to check whether your VPN is vulnerable to these breaches:

  1. Connect to a VPN.
  2. Load a website that runs a VPN test to detect WebRTC leaks.
  3. If the results contain references to your actual IP address and location, it means that WebRTC leaks compromise your browsing. There are several routes you can take. For one, you can disable WebRTC for your browser. In other cases, contact your VPN service provider for support and possible solutions.

What are my options if VPN tests indicate leaks?

If you discover that your VPN leaks data, there are several routes you can take to solve this issue.

  • Consider changing your VPN provider. After thoroughly running the servers through the VPN tests, you might learn that your VPN leaks data. It compromises your online presence drop by drop. Hence, it is best to make the switch and find a more reliable VPN service. An excellent option is to apply for a free VPN trial that will allow you to run the VPN tests free-of-charge.
  • In case of a WebRTC leak, you can attempt to change your browsers’ settings or use a browser without the integrated WebRTC. However, a lack of technical skills might prevent you from disabling WebRTC. Luckily, you can install browser extensions that would help you dodge the accidental breaches of data.
  • Contact your VPN provider. In some cases, VPN tests reveal leakages that are not the VPN’s fault. They might occur due to your browser, operating system, or other external factors. Hence, contact the support team and explain the situation. They might direct you towards a solution. Your feedback is vital to VPN providers as they can learn about problems or bugs.

Atlas VPN has faced extensive VPN testing, and we can proudly say that our product is immune to data leaks. Of course, do not believe us: install Atlas VPN and run these quick tests manually. If you experience difficulties or VPN tests show inconsistent results, do not hesitate to contact us.

Edward G.

Edward G.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. My mission is to scan the ever-evolving cybercrime landscape to inform the public about the latest threats.



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