Virtual Provider Networks (VPNs) are used for a variety of purposes. Common reasons include protecting one’s privacy on the Internet, improving the security of the Internet connection, bypassing censorships and blocks, and using it for business purposes.
If you use a VPN for privacy, regardless of whether that is your main reason for using it or just a nice addition, you may want to make sure that your “real” IP address is not leaked when you are connected to the VPN.
The reason for this is simple: there is no privacy if the device IP leaks.
The IP address links back to you directly. While a court order is usually required to link the IP to a name, it alone can reveal information such as the country and region you are connecting to directly.
Find out if your VPN leaks your IP address
It is suggested to verify that a VPN connection does not leak IP address information. I suggest you do so on every connect, but at least the first time you connect to it and maybe occasionally afterwards as well.
There are plenty of sites out there that you can use for the purpose. Good news is that you only need to load one of them to find out whether your VPN leaks information.
The site that I use frequently is IP Leak. You find other sites for that purpose listed on our privacy test resource listing.
Note: It is recommended that you disable any script blocker (including ad-blockers) when you run the test as they may block scripts from running on the site that are required to give you an accurate reading.
All you need to do is connect to the site, and wait for it to display the results of its analysis. This should not take longer than a couple of seconds.
IP Leak tests the following:
- The IPv4 IP address.
- The IPv6 IP address.
- Whether WebRTC leaks the IP address.
- Whether DNS leaks the IP address.
- Whether a proxy is used (if not transparent).
- Torrent address detection.
- Geolocation detection.
- Look up of the IP address that reveals Tor and AirVPN use, ISP, organization, country, and more using public databases.
- User agent and system information.
If you see different IP addresses or locations, say the correct one for the IPv4 IP address, and another for the IPv6 IP address, then there is a chance that third-parties that you connect to see both IP addresses as well.
You may want to make sure that the IP address and the country that IP Leaks displays after the test matches the VPN Provider’s network.
It is highly recommended to run tests regularly to find out if your VPN connection leaks your IP address. While you may not want to do so on each connect, I recommend you do so at least on first connect, on every software update, and every now and then in between.
If you notice a leak, you may want to plug it before you start using the VPN. How that is done depends largely on the leak and the client you use to connect to the VPN.
Some VPN providers provide leak protection options in the VPN clients that they provide their customers with.
Now You: Talking about VPNs: which do you use and why?