A VPN test can help ensure your VPN is working correctly.
But how would you test a VPN?
It is possible that even if your VPN app says, ‘You are connected,’ there is no guarantee that your personal information and online activity are safe.
Although VPNs are the key privacy tools to maintain the security of your data, there are many ways a VPN can choke.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for ‘Virtual Private Network.’ It offers a secure connection to the internet by creating a private network.
Users get online privacy and anonymity without any third-party snooping on their traffic.
How Does a VPN Work?
If you are to log onto the internet from any spot that gives you access to free public WiFi, VPN secures your internet protocol (IP) address so that nobody can trace you.
Everyone wants to keep themselves undetected while browsing.
No matter what documents or links you download, none of the cybercriminals or even government authorities can find them because VPN hides your files.
How to Check If Your VPN Is Working with a VPN Test
First of all, check the status of your VPN by going to Settings. You can see the icons on your toolbar, menu bar, dock, etc.
A grey icon shows that your VPN is off, while the green or blue one is a sign that your VPN is on.
There exists a large variety of VPN networks. Even the best VPNs are prone to potential problems, revealing your I.P. address to the sites you visit.
However, you can run some quick tests and see if your VPN is working as it should be.
NordVPN is a renowned VPN service featuring built-in tools that avoid the exposure of your identity and browsing history even in case of VPN drops or leaks.
But it’s always safe to measure the quality of any provider beforehand by performing the VPN tests.
- NordVPN is the industry leader (by a long way)
- 30-day risk-free trial
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- 5,442+ servers in 60+ countries
- Strict no-logs policy
- Next-generation military-grade encryption
- DoubleVPN, double privacy
- 6 simultaneous device connections
- Great for: Safety, security, anonymity & peace of mind
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VPN Testing Methods to Check if Your VPN is Working
There are a number of VPN tests available on the web that can be performed to get the required information about your VPN and the vulnerabilities it is facing.
All of them are equally important. It’s up to you to perform just one of them or all of them.
- I.P. leak test
- WebRTC leak test
- DNS leak test
- Streaming test
- Censorship test
I.P. Leak Test
An I.P. address is like your digital address that has the potential information like your location or the websites you are browsing.
VPN has the job to mask the data getting transferred from website to website. Your outgoing information source also gets protection from VPN.
This is why you see the notification that recommends you to hide your I.P. with a VPN.
There are two types of I.P. addresses, one is the original one, and the other one is provided by your VPN provider.
You can see the second one on your screen after you have enabled your VPN. For the smooth running of VPN, both these I.P.s should be different. If not, there is an I.P. leak.
Any device with a VPN installed is perfect for running this test. You just have to follow these steps.
- Turn off the VPN connection.
- Open your browser and search ‘whatismyipaddress.’ This will give you the original I.P. address. Take a note of it somewhere.
- Turn on your VPN.
- Check your I.P. address again on ‘whatismyipaddress.’
If there is a difference between both of these addresses, you are protected, and there is no I.P. leak.
Another important thing to check on is the country server you connect to. For no leaking, there must be matching with the country that is displayed in the I.P. address check.
Websites like ipleak.net and IPX.ac also let you check the VPN for any I.P. leak test.
WebRTC Leak Test
WebRTC stands for Web Real-Time Communication. This technology allows and promotes communication between web browsers, be it video streaming, voice communication, or just the transfer of files.
There is no requirement for external plugins for the smooth running of mobiles and web browsers.
However, communication is not possible unless the private IP addresses of the devices are visible to each other.
There is a high chance that some third-party websites might get involved and use WebRTC to access a device’s I.P. address.
If your I.P. address is not hidden even when the VPN is enabled, then it’s a WebRTC leak.
You have to take the following steps for a VPN test for WebRTC:
- Turn on the VPN.
- Open WebRTC Leak Test on ExpressVPN.
- Get your I.P. address from there.
- If it’s different from your original I.P. address, there are no WebRTC leaks, and your VPN is working alright.
DNS Leak TestDNS Leak
If the I.P. leak test and WebRTC leak test show you that VPN is working fine, it doesn’t mean there are no other ways for your identity and privacy leak.
DNS, Domain Name System, has the role of a translator.
DNS gives a name to a long I.P. address whenever a user requests a website. Navigation of the internet is easy with DNS.
Sometimes, VPN fails to encrypt the user’s online activity, which puts the DNS of the websites in jeopardy.
Now, your internet service provider can easily access and monitor those websites. That’s a DNS leak.
You can run a DNS leak test by following some simple steps.
- Disconnect the VPN.
- Search DNSLeakTest.com.
- Your screen will reveal you the I.P. address, your location, and two options, ‘Standard Test’ and ‘Extended Test.’
- Go for the Standard Test.
This will give you the I.P. addresses of the domains that are on the screen. There are no leaks if all the results are from the U.S. However, the opposite is true for the DNS leaks.
If you are not satisfied with the results, you can redo this test by making the connection with different VPN servers.
One server on the VPN’s network being secure doesn’t mean that others are secure too. It is always safe to double-check.
Also, check up on the servers you don’t use because even a single leak on them can produce troubling results.
An important use of VPN is to help people stream content in libraries of other countries. Let’s take an example of people who are fond of British humor.
To get access to shows on BBC, they’ll need to use a U.K. I.P. address.
The same is the case for anyone who’s using a VPN for streaming on Netflix, ESPN, Hulu, or any other service.
They need to run a test and see if their I.P. addresses or servers are blocked or not.
It is necessary to perform a quick test because there is a high chance of the replacement getting blocked on the grounds of licensing agreements.
It is possible that you might receive a message that tells you that you are using a proxy or VPN. In that case, change your I.P. address and go for another try.
If that doesn’t work out for you, select another VPN that shows compatibility with your streaming service.
Let’s take the example of the best VPNs for Netflix that allow the users to change the Netflix region in no time.
But that can’t be said about all VPNs because not all of them are streaming giants.
Most people buy VPNs to get around government censorship. Others are trying to access local firewalls put up by their schools.
They need to check how their VPN is working. Is VPN accessible to that content?
To test the working of the VPN, connect to a VPN server and enter the address of the previously unreachable website.
The Cause of VPN Leaks
The most common VPN leaks are DNS leaks and WebRTC leaks. There could be two major reasons why they occur. One of them is a faulty VPN service.
People who face this issue are the ones who go for a free VPN service.
A fault in the encryption method of the VPN is also possible if the VPN service is poorly managed. In order to keep yourself safe from such risks, choose a reputed VPN service.
The second reason for the leaks is the VPN connection dropping without any warnings to the users.
Sometimes, users are busy streaming online websites, and there is a VPN drop without anything coming to their notice. It will result in shutting down your activities all of a sudden.
How Often Should I Check If My VPN is Working?
It is always a good idea to keep a check on your online privacy. Make sure it’s up to the mark.
A VPN test is the best way to clear your doubts about the leakage of your identity.
Run a quick test of DNS leaks, WebRTC leaks, and I.P. leaks before you start your routine browsing. It will eliminate any possible risks of your data being leaked.
Why Don’t VPNs Work Sometimes?
Making your VPN work can be a difficult task because there can be a lot of reasons to stop it from working.
- One of the simplest mistakes is entering the wrong credentials to your VPN. Sometimes it’s unintentional, while other times, you don’t remember your password. You can always recover your password through email I.D.
- A weak internet connection can also cause a problem with your VPN connection. If you are facing a problem even with fast internet speed, contact your ISP.
- The server connected through your VPN may be dead or offline. You can connect to a different server and see if it works or not.
- Sometimes, Firewall or Antivirus software are the major hindrances to the proper VPN working system. Disable the virus and check the VPN.
Why Should One Use a VPN?
VPN makes sure you stay private even after joining public WiFi networks. Nobody can know what you are doing online. Internet service providers cannot get access to your data.
If some content is not available in your country, VPN can stream that for you. There are no bypass restrictions with VPN, and users can surf freely.
How Can I Use VPN without Being Detected?
If you choose a VPN that doesn’t log your web activity or I.P. addresses of the device, you can keep on using it without being detected.
In Five Eyes nonmember countries like Panama, the company is not forced to share the private information of browsers with the government.
Therefore, choosing a VPN based in one of these countries is recommended.
Are Free VPNs Good to Use?
You can find a lot of free VPNs online. They are more of a risk because there is always a limit to their services.
You cannot trust them because they can also share the user’s data with third-party companies.
Other Reasons Your VPN Still Isn’t Working.
If you have tried all of the VPN tests but still you are facing a problem with the VPN not working correctly, it could be one of these reasons:
- You got hacked.
- Your country doesn’t allow VPNs.
- The website you are streaming has blocked your VPN connection.