Enhancing digital privacy has become the need of the hour, and thus, people significantly rely on using a VPN. A VPN is an excellent anonymity tool used to protect your online security and privacy, but at times it can also weaken your digital privacy.
Although many VPNs claim to provide maximum security and privacy to the user, they still leak your data over the internet. A VPN leak means that the service provider fails in protecting your online identity or your browsing activities are exposed to the prying eyes.
VPN leaks have now become quite common. From free to business VPNs, all have been subject to leaks. Thus, it would be best to use VPN leak testing tools to ensure that the service provider you’re using is not involved in any data leaks. By testing your VPNs for various leaks, you can learn if the VPN is offering the desired level of privacy or not.
This article will start with the VPN testing procedure and how to check for VPN leaks. So, let’s begin.
How to Check for VPN Leak?- Best VPN Leak Testing Tools
Testing your VPN for various VPN leaks is an essential step to ensure data security. Here’s how to check for VPN leaks:
1. IP Leak Test
Follow this link and choose an IP leak test tool for testing your VPN. Here are the steps that you need to follow:
- Disconnect your VPN and look for your actual IP address.
- Turn on your VPN.
- Perform an IP leak test by choosing any IP leak test tool.
- Analyze the results.
The obtained IP address should differ from your actual IP address, and if it doesn’t, your VPN is leaking your IP address.
2. DNS Leak Test
To conduct a DNS leak test, make sure that you use a reliable DNS test tool. Using an unaffiliated tool is more recommended to use as it won’t give any misleading results. Once you’ve decided which tool to use, follow the steps as below:
- Connect to your VPN and visit the DNS test tool site.
- Run a DNS leak test.
- Analyze the test results.
If the IP address displayed in the results doesn’t match your actual IP address, your VPN is not leaking the DNS.
3. WebRTC Leak Test
To perform a WebRTC leak test, follow the steps as mentioned below:
- Open any WebRTC test tool site
- Tap on Run or Execute test
- Wait for a few seconds and then analyze the results.
If the displayed IP address is the same as your actual IP address, it means that your VPN is involved in the WebRTC leak.
4. Torrent IP Leak Test
- Open any torrent testing tool.
- Upload the torrent file.
- Wait for the download and once it begins, analyze the IP address.
If the IP addresses are not the same, your VPN is working perfectly well and is not leaking the Torrent IP address.
Why Should You Care About VPN Leaks?
VPNs are created to provide enhanced online protection and a private browsing experience to the users. Unfortunately, not all VPN providers are equal when it comes to features and offering excellent service. Some are misconfigured VPNs, while others are free, which can leak your IP address and other sensitive data. Once your IP address is leaked, it is easy for snoopers to learn about your online activities. Similarly, if your VPN is leaking your Torrent IP address, your ISP and the copyright trolls can track your torrent-related activities, and it might be possible that you can get DMCA notices and penalize.
Besides this, a VPN leak also exposes your DNS requests, resulting in DNS hijacking and other related cyber-attacks. Thus, it is crucial that you don’t take VPN leaks lightly and must undergo VPN leak tests for all these reasons.
What Can Cause a VPN Leak?
A VPN leak occurs when your VPN isn’t working in the way it should. As a result, your data is exposed to all privacy abusers, and they can link your online identity with your online activities. It is a catastrophic situation where anyone monitoring your network can discover your browsing history and activities.
Different VPN leaks are caused because of other reasons. Below is an insight into the all possible reasons that can cause a VPN leak:
Reasons For IP Leak
Your IP is the address that allows you to connect with the internet world. The ISP is the main body that assigns users with an IP address and thus knows about your every online movie. Your ISP and anyone else who knows your IP address can monitor and track your online behavior, including the websites visited and the stuff you watched online. Hiding your IP address has become essential for various reasons. There are numerous ways by which you can hide your IP address, and one such is using a VPN.
When you connect to a VPN, your VPN replaces your actual IP address with the one assigned by the VPN server. In this way, it ensures anonymity over the web. However, despite claiming to protect your IP address, a VPN can involve in IP leaks because of the following reasons:
- Your DNS is leaking your IP address.
- Your device fails to connect to the remote VPN servers and is accessing some unknown servers.
- Your VPN lacks a kill switch, or it is not appropriately misconfigured.
Other than this, your VPN can also leak your IP address because of IPv4 and IPv6 leaks.
- IPv4 Leaks: It happens when there are some technical errors between your device and the VPN server, and as a result, your VPN can not function properly.
- IPv6 Leaks: When the VPN traffic doesn’t support the IPv6 traffic, IPv6 leaks occur. Also, most VPN providers have IPv6 protection features, so; your IP address might leak the traffic outside the encrypted VPN tunnel.
If you’re experiencing an IP leak, you can shift to a VPN that comes with an IP leak protection feature or can even manually disable the IPv6 on your device.
Reasons For DNS Leak
When you’re connected to a VPN, your DNS requests are supposed to go to the VPN provider servers instead of the public servers that ISP uses. When your VPN is leaking your DNS, all your DNS requests go to your ISP, which ends up revealing the websites you want to visit. A DNS leak can be perilous if you’re accessing any blocked website or service within your region. Other possible reasons for DNS leaks are as follows:
- Cyber-criminal have hijacked your router.
- Your VPN is leaking IPv6 addresses.
- Your service provider uses transparent DNS proxies.
- Your VPN doesn’t have DNS servers.
- Enabled Teredo feature.
- Your network uses the wrong DNS addresses.
If you experience DNS leaks because of any of the aforementioned reasons, you can either disable the IPv6 address or search for the transparent DNS proxies and bypass them. If you’re a desktop user, you can disable the Teredo feature by configuring your settings.
Reasons For WebRTC Leak
A web-real-time communication or WebRTC leak is a unique browser feature that allows real-time communication between your browser and the device without requiring third-party software.
The main issue with WebRTC is that even if you’re using a VPN, whenever you visit any WebRTC-enabled site, it can communicate with your device and transmit the data outside the VPN tunnel. This can reveal your IP address to the websites visited and give snoopers a chance to invade your privacy.
Fortunately, like VPNs, some browsers do come with WebRTC leak protection. You can manually disable the WebRTC and can protect yourself from this vulnerability.
Reason For Torrent IP Leak
Such leaks occur while you’re downloading torrents, and the torrent clients expose your actual IP address and put your online privacy and security at significant risks. Misconfigured settings like enabling the PEX or DHT feature can also result in a Torrent IP leak.
Make sure that during torrenting, you always check your settings and turn on the split tunneling feature. It is a unique feature that enhances your torrenting experience and protects your IP address from getting exposed.
How Can I Prevent a VPN Leak?
Some VPNs are either poorly configured or come with shady data logging policies and thus are more prone to data leaks. To avoid a VPN from leaking your data, it’s better that you use a VPN that comes with VPN leak protection. Usually, a premium VPN like the best cheap VPNs offers this impressive feature to users to maintain users’ online security. Moreover, these VPN providers are secure to use because they abide by a strict no-log policy and have undergone a third-party log audit process. It means that these VPNs don’t log your IP address, DNS request, or any other browsing data that can be compromised later. Hence, use a reliable VPN provider.
Apart from this, you can even test your VPN for data leaks. There are various tests such as the IP leak, DNS leak, WebRTC, and Torrent IP leak test that you can perform and learn if your VPN is working correctly or not. If the test results reveal that your VPN is leaking your data, you should contact the support team of your VPN or switch to another VPN.
You need maximum online protection while you browse over the internet. The best way to attain great online anonymity is to use a VPN but make sure that the VPN you use doesn’t leak your data or IP address by any means. If your VPN is involved in leaking your IP address, DNS, or WebRTC, it obliterates the purpose of using a VPN.
Thus, you should use different VPN testing tools to check your VPN’s credibility. Also, whenever you decide to use a VPN, ensure that you choose a reputable one. Avoid using a free VPN that logs data and lacks essential security boosting features like a kill switch. Follow this link and lessen the hassle of searching for a VPN provider with built-in VPN leak protection.