How To: Check That Your VPN is Working

by Tracy Knauer •

How do you make sure your VPN is actually running — and not leaking data — after you log in? Here are quick and simple steps for checking.

Most people probably assume that their VPN “just works” once they launch it. But in certain cases, it may not be. Just because the client program that your VPN provider gives you says the VPN is up doesn’t mean that’s necessarily true. Or, your VPN may be protecting certain types of traffic, but still leaking your location or DNS queries.

Follow these steps to make sure your VPN is running properly and not leaking any data.

  1. Before starting your VPN, go to a site like myIPaddress.com to check your current IP address.
  2. Start your VPN according to the provider’s instructions.
  3. Go back to the site that you used to check your IP address and make sure it has changed. Ideally, you should do this in a different browser than the one that you first used to check the address, or you should clear the browser cache before checking the second time. Otherwise, browser caching could cause the old address to display even if your VPN is working correctly.
  4. To check that your VPN is not leaking data via WebRTC, visit this WebRTC test page. The page should give the IP address that matches your VPN server, not the one from before you logged into the VPN. If it doesn’t, your VPN is leaking information about your true IP address.
  5. You also check for DNS leaks using DNSleaktest.com. DNS leaks let people monitor some parts of your Web traffic.

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