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How to do a VPN test: Check if your VPN is working in 2024

VPN test: check if your VPN is working

If you’re one of the VPN users asking, “How to check if my VPN is working?” or “How can I perform a VPN test?” we’re here for you. It is reasonable to be concerned whether it’s working or not. Even with the best VPN providers, there is always a potential for an IP leak to develop while on a VPN connection. And if you’re using a free VPN, there might be a chance of catching a nasty virus.

You can do several things to help you check and see that your Virtual Private Network is actually running right and protecting your data. This article will show you how to test your VPN for leaks and malware. Plus, we’ll look at how to perform a speed test. We’ll also let you know what to do if you have an IP, DNS, or WebRTC leak.

How to check if your VPN is working?

The best way to see if your virtual private network is working properly is to perform a VPN test.

VPN test methods

Here are the most reliable methods to see if your VPN works well and doesn’t leak your data all over the place:

Don’t worry, these tests are not as daunting and complicated as they seem. Not to mention, we’ll guide you through the process of understanding and performing these assessments. And if you want to avoid VPN tests altogether, we suggest getting the best VPN that offers IP & DNS leak protection and top-notch security & privacy features.

Avoid leaks & poor performance with NordVPN

NordVPN is the #1 VPN that will ensure utmost safety and anonymity. To avoid pesky leaks, the provider offers rock-solid AES-256 encryption as well as trustworthy IP & DNS leak protection. Furthermore, Threat Protection will shield you against malware and ads. And if that’s not enough, you’ll get phenomenal speeds anywhere with the proprietary NordLynx tunneling protocol.

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VPN DNS leak test

What’s a DNS leak: It happens when your virtual private network fails to route Domain Name System (DNS) queries through an encrypted tunnel. That means your ISP can still see what you are doing, and your activities aren’t hidden.

NordVPN DNS leak test

Why are DNS leaks dangerous: Essentially, the leaks undermine anonymity and link your online activities back to your identity. For instance, they can expose your browsing history and reveal your real IP address. Furthermore, you’ll get more targeted ads and won’t be able to bypass geo-blocks on various streaming services. Worst of all, malicious entities can launch cyberattacks or phishing attempts against you.

Testing tools: The most reliable tools to see whether your VPN has DNS leaks are dnsleaktest.com and browserleaks.com. They are completely free, easy to use, and highly reputable.

How to do the DNS leak test

The DNS leak test is the most common and important of all unless you’re using a leak-free VPN like NordVPN. It takes some time since it tests a VPN server, and sometimes your computer may freeze.

  1. Go to dnsleaktest.com and start testing
  2. If you see the VPN IP address and corresponding location, it means there’s no DNS leak
  3. Additionally, you may select Extended Test for a more thorough check
  4. After the test, check your DNS hostname and IP
  5. Finally, ensure that DNS is not related to your ISP. If it is, you are not properly protected by your VPN

VPN IP address leak test

What’s an IP address leak: It means that your real IP address is exposed even when using a VPN. That means your activities aren’t hidden. Such leaks can happen due to technical issues, misconfigurations, or vulnerabilities in the VPN software.

Surfshark IP leak Test

Why are IP address leaks dangerous: IP address leaks are dangerous because they compromise the privacy and security promised by a VPN. They expose your actual location and web activities. Plus, a leaked IP address could lead to massive cyberattacks, tracking, and other safety risks. Not to mention, if your IP is exposed, bypassing geo-block on streaming platforms will be impossible. However, that can be easily fixed with the best streaming VPN.

Testing tools: If you’re suspecting that your VPN isn’t working properly, you can check out one of many free IP address leak tests. According to our research team and cybersecurity communities, the most reliable test tools are ipleak.net or ipleak.com.

How to do the VPN IP leak test

If you’re having problems bypassing geo-blocks or suspect an IP leak, you can do a simple routine IP address and location test.

  1. Check your actual IP address without a VPN connection
  2. Connect to a VPN server in any location and check the new IP address that you got
  3. Head to ipleak.net and check the information
  4. If you see an IP address provided by your VPN provider – you should be good. However, if you see your public IP address, you have a leak.

Thankfully, you don’t have to run these tests every time you connect. All you have to do is to choose a reputable VPN with solid IP leak protection features.

Check out NordVPN

Test a VPN for WebRTC leak

What’s a WebRTC leak: Basically, it occurs when your browser reveals your real IP address, even when connected to a VPN. WebRTC is a browser feature that enables real-time communication for video, voice, and file sharing directly between browsers. Nevertheless, you can easily disable it in your browser or get an extension to block WebRTC-related vulnerabilities.

NordVPN WebRTC leak test

Why are WebRTC leaks dangerous: They pose a massive threat to your online anonymity. When WebRTC leaks occur, some browser-based communication can bypass the VPN’s encrypted tunnel and allow your ISP or malicious actors to monitor your online activities.

Testing tools: Many providers offer their WebRTC leak tests. However, they usually show false information, to scare you and make you buy their products. Therefore, we recommend using an independent testing tool, such as browserleaks.com.

How to do the WebRTC leak test

The VPN test process is quite straightforward, and basically all you have to do is head to the right testing website:

  1. Connect to any VPN server in a different location
  2. Go to browserleaks.com WebRTC testing section
  3. Run a quick test. If it shows “No Leak” you’re good
  4. Otherwise, if there is a WebRTC leak head to your browser and disable WebRTC

VPN speed test

What’s a speed test: There are a few fastest VPNs that won’t take a massive toll. However, most services lack the infrastructure and might completely slow you down. So, a speed test helps you understand how a VPN affects your performance.

NordVPN speed test

What are the downsides of a slow VPN: Obviously, browsing will be a massive pain, as everything will load slowly. Furthermore, streaming and gaming will be nearly impossible due to constant lagging and buffering. Furthermore, you can forget about swiftly downloading and sending files.

Testing tools: To see how fast your VPN is, the VPNpro research team recommends using speedtest.net. Alternatively, you can simply put a speed test into a Google search, and it will run a speed test for you.

How to do the VPN speed test

We suggest running a test with and without VPN. It will make it a lot easier to compare whether your VPN is slowing you down.

  1. Head to speedtest.net and see the speeds without a VPN
  2. Now, connect to a VPN server in any location
  3. Run the test again and compare the results
  4. Try a different server or tunneling protocol, if the result is significantly different

If your VPN is slowing you down, even when connected to a nearby server – you have a problem. It means that your VPN lacks the infrastructure to provide excellent speeds. If you want to enjoy fast connection without any hiccups, we recommend picking a VPN with the WireGuard or NordLynx tunneling protocol. They ensure the best speeds globally.

Check out the fastest VPN on the market

VPN malware test

What’s a malware test: In most cases, you should run a malware test if you’re using a free VPN, as they are more prone to viruses and other malicious shenanigans.

VPN malware test

Why is malware dangerous: You’re putting yourself in grave danger if you’re using a malicious VPN. For starters, your data could be stolen, which could lead to massive financial losses. Furthermore, you can say goodbye to your privacy, as malicious VPNs collect sensitive data about you. Not to mention, these VPNs could simply destroy your devices from the inside, making them unusable.

Testing tools: The most reliable way to avoid malware is to use top-tier antivirus software and do regular check-ups. Otherwise, you can use virustotal.com. It will check files, links, and apps to make sure they are malware-free. Plus, you won’t have to pay anything to use it.

How to do the malware test

If you already have a VPN and antivirus, all you have to do is scan the apps. If they are malicious, quarantine the VPN and eliminate the malware. Otherwise, if you’re still looking for a VPN, you can do a scan before downloading an application:

  1. Go to virustotal.com
  2. Put in the link of a VPN you want to get
  3. If you don’t get any errors, the VPN should be okay
  4. If any of the security vendors flagged the VPN, we would recommend avoiding it

VPNs that performed the best during the tests

Hundreds of VPNs claim to work without any hiccups. However, during the assessments, the VPNpro research team noticed that a lot of VPNs leak IP addresses, while others are more prone to DNS leaks. Nevertheless, there are a few truly reliable VPNs that performed splendidly without any leaks:

  1. NordVPN: The best VPN that will help you avoid any data leaks. It offers next-gen encryption, IP & DNS leak protection, and Threat Protection to fend off malware and ads. And if that doesn’t convince you, NordVPN is considered to be the most secure VPN on the market.
  2. Surfshark VPN: Another excellent option for leak-free web browsing adventures. It’s equipped with AES-256 encryption, a robust kill switch, and IP & DNS leak protections. On top of that, CleanWeb will help you avoid malicious sites. Moreover, it’s one of the fastest VPNs on the market, with speeds reaching up to 1 Gbps.
  3. Proton VPN: Thanks to its great reputation, open-source nature, and overall excellent performance, Proton VPN is considered to be one of the best VPNs. Like any other great VPN, it offers IP & DNS leak protection, as well as a built-in anti-malware tool called NetShield. Plus, it has its own DNS servers that will resolve your DNS requests.

We highly recommend picking NordVPN. During the tests, it had a 100% success rate of avoiding DNS, IP, and other leaks. Moreover, it’s extremely fast, even if the servers are on a different continent. Not to mention, thanks to Threat Protection, it will fend off malware and obnoxious ads.

Try NordVPN

What to do if your VPN isn’t working?

Is your VPN not connecting or leaking your DNS or IP address? There are a few potential reasons why that might happen. On your end, it could be incorrect VPN configurations, sudden network changes (from WiFi to mobile data), or third-party software interference (firewalls/antivirus). On the other hand, a VPN could have server issues, software bugs, or wrong DNS configurations.

Nevertheless, here are a few simple things you can try if your VPN isn’t working:

  • Change the VPN server, as some might be under maintenance.
  • Adjust VPN settings or check if there are specific options related to DNS leak protection or WebRTC protection and enable them.
  • Disable IPv6 on your device, as it might be the cause of leaking IPv6 addresses.
  • Turn off WebRTC on your browser if it’s leaking and exposing you.
  • Enable DNS leak protection in VPN settings, as many services offer an option for these leaks.

If none of these help and your VPN isn’t working or leaking your IP address, chances are you might need to switch to a different provider. To avoid any troubles and enjoy the smoothest web adventures, you can pick a reliable VPN that performed well during our tests.

VPN testing: wrapping up

Performing a VPN test is crucial if you’re suspicious about your virtual private network’s effectiveness. By checking for IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks and evaluating overall performance, you can have confidence that your VPN provides the level of protection you expect.

And if you want to skip endless assessments, we recommend getting a tried and tested service, such as NordVPN. Our research team notes that NordVPN performed flawlessly and avoided DNS, IP address, or WebRTC leaks. Not to mention, with excellent security features and phenomenal speeds, you’ll enjoy the smoothest web browsing experience.

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You may also like to read:
What is split tunneling
What is a VPN kill switch
What is port forwarding
What is malware and how to protect yourself


How do I know if a VPN is safe?

If you want to know if your VPN is safe, you can perform DNS, IP, and WebRTC, as well as malware and speed tests. Moreover, you can choose a trustworthy VPN with reliable safety features and a great reputation among users and industry experts. If you want to get the most secure VPN, we highly recommend checking out NordVPN.

How to test if VPN is working?

The best way to check if a VPN is working is to do an IP address test. Tools like ipleak.net will show you whether a VPN changes your IP address. Alternatively, you can connect to a server and head to Netflix to check whether the streaming library has changed.

How can I test my VPN speed?

The best way to test your VPN speed is to use an independent tool like speedtest.net. That way, you can compare the speeds with & without VPN. If you want to skip the tests and get the fastest VPN on the market, we recommend NordVPN. It offers the swiftest servers globally, with speeds reaching 1 Gbps.

How do I check for VPN data leaks?

You have to use testing tools to see whether your VPN is leaking data. You can try dnsleaktest.com and browserleaks.com, as they will show you if a VPN has DNS, IP, or WebRTC leaks. If you find anything concerning, you can try the steps in our troubleshooting section or try a different VPN provider.

Can a VPN be detected?

Yes, some VPNs can be detected due to IP or DNS leaks, shabby security & privacy measures, or Deep Packet Inspections (DPI). If you want to avoid detection, we highly recommend getting a robust VPN with obfuscated servers, DNS & IP leak protection, and secure tunneling protocols. At the moment, the best VPN on the market is NordVPN.

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