6 September, 2018
When you rely on a VPN, you certainly don’t want your private information slipping out, revealing details about who you are, where you are, and which sites you’re visiting. That’s exactly what VPN leaks are. They either come from your browser or your DNS connection. In either case, bad configuration can completely subvert your VPN connection.
You should always test your VPN to make sure that nothing is leaking. It doesn’t take long, and there are several places online to check to be sure that you’re not revealing anything about yourself.
1. DNS Leak Test
The first and most obvious place to test your VPN is DNSLeakTest. It’s a site that’s designed to ensure that your DNS connection isn’t connecting to any servers outside your VPN.
DNS leaks are some of the most common VPN leaks. In a DNS leak your primary connection goes through your VPN like it should, but your DNS still goes to your ISP’s servers. Because your DNS reveals where you’re going and where you’re located, DNS leaks effectively render your VPN useless.
Open your browser and go to dnsleaktest.com. When you first arrive, you’ll see a message telling you where you’re located and showing you a map. If that location isn’t where your VPN server is located, something is definitely wrong. Hopefully, it is your server location, and you can keep going.
There are two buttons on that main screen, too: one for the standard test and another for the extended version. Run the extended test.
As the test runs through, it will try to find DNS servers that you’re using. When it completes, you’ll see the servers listed. In a successful test, you’ll only see your VPN’s DNS server.
Next, you can try Do I Leak. This one is an automated script that tests for both DNS leaks and browser leaks. Browser leaks are settings configured in your web browser that reveal information about you and your computer. They’re usually related to multimedia features, and most can be disabled without causing many issues.
When you arrive on the site, there’s only a single button there to begin the test. Click on it when you’re ready.
The test will run through and probe multiple potential leak sources. After it’s done, it’ll print out the results of your tests in a convenient table. Each row will show you the results of a different test. Some things are more important than others.
Not having your timezone match doesn’t necessarily show anything about you other than the fact that you’re using a VPN, which someone could tell from the IP address anyway. Things like WebRTC, on the other hand, can reveal a great deal about you. You can click on the arrows at the end of each entry to find out more.
Browserleaks.com is another tool for analyzing multiple aspects of your connection. It tests many of the same things that DoILeak does but does them separately. When you arrive you’ll find each of the different available tests listed. They’ll all be on the side, too.
Take a look at the basic IP address test first. It’ll give you location and DNS information. From there, you can take a look around. Java, Flash, WebRTC, WebGL, and Canvas Fingerprinting are probably the most important ones for you to look at.
BrowserLeaks takes things a step further by providing information on how to remedy the leaks that it finds at the bottom of each test page. Be sure to check them out if something turns up.
Finally, if you use your VPN for torrents, you want to make sure that you’re constantly protected. None of these tests specifically target torrenting. There is a great tool for torrents that actually interacts with your torrent client using a magnet link.
The tool is called ipMagnet, and it provides you with a magnet link that you can paste into your torrent client. Allow it to run for a while. It’ll update automatically in your browser to reflect what’s happening in your client. You should only see your VPN IP listed in the ipMagnet results table.
By using these valuable tools and tests, you can ensure that your VPN is working as intended, and your information is secure. It’s not a great situation that you need to run tests to verify security of your VPN connection, but that is the case. Fortunately, once you have everything configured and secured, you won’t need to test or check things as often. They usually stay secure.