How to Check if your VPN Connection is Secure

The first goal you usually wish to achieve when using a VPN, is data security, DNS and IP address privacy, but how do you know you are actually being protected? There are multiple ways to setup your VPN, with various programs, protocols, operating systems and portable devices, which leaves the possibility for errors or incorrect configuration that can lead to data leaks and outright leave your data and IP address unprotected while still logged by your ISP.

Most VPN users never even think to check if their VPN connection is setup and working correctly, even though they highly value their privacy and data encryption. In this article, we will show you different tools that are used to verify VPN connections on different types of applications. There’s a few things that can go wrong, such as DNS leaks, where a query from your ISP will end up providing them your actual DNS, allowing them to see the websites you visited. These DNS leaks have been found to happen across paid services, so it’s always good to check it out. It is also worth noting that almost all our top rated VPN service providers have a layer protection of some sort against DNS leaks.

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Before even starting to test, we highly advise to use OpenVPN protocol for your connection unless not possible, due to the fact that it provides the best and most reliable security of all options. L2TP & IPSec remain respectable choices if nothing else is available, but PPTP is generally considered dated and not secure. We do not expect these services to be leak free and always opt for OpenVPN or software developed by the provider that runs on OpenVPN open source code, including but not limited to Viscosity VPN.

Video Overview

The following video overview showcases how you can check your VPN is secure through some simple website tests. All of which you’ll need to be connected to your VPN provider of choice to ensure your security. In this case we tested the Tunnel Bear VPN service.

DNS Leak Test

dnsleaktest.com allows you to quickly verify if you have a DNS leak issue with your VPN service. Make sure you are connected to the VPN and you can head to the site and start the test. The results will show you IP addresses, DNS hostnames, ISP service and location. If it all looks like it matches to your internet service provider and country while connected elsewhere on the VPN, your DNS is being leaked.

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IP Address Tests

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whatismyipaddress.com – The first thing you should actually check is simply your IP address. By visiting whatismyipaddress.com, you can quickly get your IP dummy proof and get a map location estimate of where you are situated. Once again, if that matches your internet IP and location, you’re certainly not protected.

whoer.net/extended – Next, run an extended IP address test. This will verify if both Java and Flash are also protected behind the VPN or leaking your real DNS information. The list also provides an extensive report of your connection information being tracked.

P2P Torrent IP Address Test

ipleak.net – As the usage of VPN has become popular among the P2P user base, it is a very important application to take look at and ensure security is activated and working. Ipleak.net offers the same services as an IP test but just below you have the torrent IP check test. Download the test .torrent file on your P2P client. Once downloaded, open and verify the IP information it contains. If it shows your real address and DNS, you’re not secure, it should only be able to track the VPN provided information.

What if you have a leak?

If any of the tests failed and showed leaks, follow a quick simple troubleshooting process to eliminate any simple or obvious mishaps and mistakes. DNS leaks are common and many services do not offer adequate protection. If you start by picking a reputable and dependable service provider, you will almost certainly avoid these issues.

When you have an IP address leak, check and ensure that your VPN service is open and connected, once confirmed, test again. If the same result appears, close the application and re-connect, testing once more. If you still have a leak, cease usage of this VPN service and report the issue to their support team. You would also be due for a refund or compensation of some form.

When doing an extended IP test and you find that your Flash and/or Java are leaking, follow same process and check your connection, re-launch it and test again. If the results persist, you may have a bad VPN service. Stop using it, as you will have poor protection when browsing websites.

If you have a different IP on your P2P torrent test, yet everything else is fine, the first thing to check are ports being used for the P2P connection and ensuring they are aligned with your VPN service. Go over your VPN connection setup and ensure everything was done correctly. If you continually test and get leaked results, you may have a very bad VPN service that is losing connection with no kill switch. Contact support, demand a refund.

DNS and IP leaks defeat the purpose of using a VPN, additionally, it means all of your data is not being encrypted, at least not all the time, allowing any third party to intercept the information in transit or at different connection points. Testing only takes a few minutes.

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13 Comments

  1. manuel February 14, 2015
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