- What Are The Common Types of VPN Leaks?
- How Can I Check If My VPN Is Working?
- How Can I Test VPN Leaks?
- How Can I Fix VPN Leaks?
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) masks your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic by routing your traffic through a secure VPN tunnel. It prevents ISPs, advertisers, governments, and malicious actors from intercepting and deciphering your data. The encryption prevents any third party from gaining unauthorized access to your data. However, something sometimes prevents the VPN from working correctly, from external circumstances outside your control. If a VPN is not working properly, it can cause many security issues.
Even if your VPN is connected, there can be leaks that can compromise your security. The first step is to determine whether your VPN is working or not. The good news is that there are several quick tests that you can perform to determine whether your VPN is working correctly. We’ll go over all the major tests to test VPN leaks. So, with that out of the way, let’s get into it.
What Are The Common Types of VPN Leaks?
Here are the most common types of VPN leaks:
IPv4 and IPv6 Leaks
An IPv4 leak occurs when someone’s IPv4 IP address is revealed unintentionally when trying to remain anonymous and private online. It can happen for various reasons; for example, when you’re using a VPN to hide your IP address, but the VPN connection drops unexpectedly, your device might go back to using your IPv4 address, which could expose your location and identity.
Most internet users still use IPv4 addresses, and many VPN providers don’t support IPv6 addresses, so that it can be the case that your IPv6 address leaks and compromises your masked IPv4 address. IPv6 leaks can occur if the VPN provider cannot fully support IPv6 and tunnel all IPv6 traffic through the VPN. It also fails to disable IPv6 traffic altogether.
A DNS (Domain Name System) leak happens when your DNS queries are exposed to an unintended DNS server that compromises your online privacy and security. DNS leaks occur when you use a VPN or a different privacy tool. If your VPN isn’t set up correctly, your device might continue using the default DNS server provided by your ISP. In other cases, your operating system may be unable to handle DNS requests, leading to leaks. If your VPN cannot drive IPv6 traffic, your device can do DNS queries over IPv6 and bypass the VPN’s DNS servers.
DNS leaks compromise your privacy by revealing the websites you visit and risk your privacy even if the rest of your traffic is routed through the VPN. Your DNS queries can reveal your online activities and your actual IP address.
WebRTC Leaks (Web Real-Time Communication) is a situation where your real IP address or other confidential information is revealed through WebRTC connections. It’s an issue because it can expose your actual IP address to the websites and services that you’re accessing. Revealing your IP address can compromise your privacy, mainly when staying anonymous online. If your browser is not configured correctly, the WebRTC leaks can even bypass privacy tools like Proxy servers and VPNs to expose your real IP address.
How Can I Check If My VPN Is Working?
A quick and easy way to check whether your VPN works is to go to WhatIsMyIPAddress.com and run an IP Leak Test. To check if your VPN is working correctly, here are a couple of steps you can take:
- Turn off your VPN connection.
- Visit WhatIsMyIPAddress.com and check your public IP address, the one assigned to you by your ISP (Internet Service Provider).
- Choose a VPN server location and turn your VPN connection back on.
- Now, go back and do the same method again. You should now be able to see the IP address of that location and one that the VPN provider provides. If you’re still seeing your public IP address, that means your IP address has gotten leaked.
How Can I Test VPN Leaks?
There are different ways you can test for IP Leaks, DNS Leaks, and WebRTC Leaks. We’ll go over each of the tests individually.
1) How To Test DNS Leaks
DNS leaks can seriously impact your privacy and security, allowing others to track your online activities. It is crucial to address DNS leaks to enhance your cybersecurity. A DNS Leak Test will enable you to conceal your IP address and maintain anonymity effectively.
2) How To Test IPv6 Leaks
Because there is limited availability of IPv6 across the globe, most VPN providers fail to direct IPv6 traffic through a VPN tunnel. You should do an IPv6 Leak Test to determine if your IPv6 address has leaked and then take action accordingly to prevent this from happening.
3) How To Test WebRTC Leaks
There are three easy ways you can test WebRTC leaks. First, turn off your VPN connection and go to BrowserLeaks. You will see your IP address under the public IP address. Connect to your VPN again and refresh the page. Under Public IP address, you should see the new IP address assigned by your VPN. If you still see your IP address, it is a clear indicator that your VPN is leaking your IP address when your browser makes WebRTC requests.
How Can I Fix VPN Leaks?
Here’s how you can fix IP, DNS, and WebRTC leaks:
1) How To Fix IPv6 Leaks
The most effective and easiest way to fix IPv6 leaks is to disable IPv6 on your operating system (Windows, macOS). iOS might be immune to IPv6 leaks. You can turn off IPv6 on your router as well. Opting for a VPN provider with built-in IPV6 Leak Protection would be best. Here’s how to disable IPv6 on Windowsand macOS:
- Go to the Control Panel.
- Click “Network & Sharing Center.”
- Click on your active network connection.
- After that, click “Properties.”
- Uncheck the “Internet Protocol Version 6 (TCP/IPv6)”.
- Click “OK” to save your settings.
- Go to “Systems Preferences.”
- Then head over to “Network”.
- Select your active network connection.
- Click “Advanced.”
- Head to the “TCP/IP” tab.
- Set the “Configure IPv6” option to off.
2) How To Fix DNS Leaks
You can fix DNS leaks using a reputable VPN service with built-in DNS leak protection. Some VPNs don’t configure DNS settings automatically, so you may need to set it manually. Ensure that you’re using a VPN software that’s up to date. VPN providers offer regular updates, including bug fixes and improvements for DNS leak prevention. Browser extensions, like WebRTC Blockers and DNS leak prevention tools, can also prevent and fix DNS leaks. Many reliable VPN providers have settings to enable DNS leak protection.
3) How To Fix WebRTC Leaks
- WebRTC Leak Prevention Browser extensions are used to prevent WebRTC leaks. Some popular extensions include “WebRTC Control” or “uBlock Origin” to disable WebRTC.
- You can also configure your browser settings to turn off WebRTC settings. Browsers like Firefox enable you to disable WebRTC directly through its settings. Here’s how to do it:
- Enter “about:config” in the address bar.
- Accept the warning.
- Search for “media.peerconnection.enabled.”
- Double-click on it and set it to “false.”
- Regularly test for WebRTC leaks. There are websites like “ipleak.net” and “browserleaks.com” to check if WebRTC is leaking your local IP address.
- Opt for a VPN that offers built-in WebRTC leak protection. This ensures that your IP address isn’t leaked or exposed.
IP, DNS, and WebRTC Leaks can compromise your security and privacy. Anyone can use your IP address to gather confidential data about you that can be used against you. This guide provides you with the ways that you can protect yourself against VPN leaks and the ways through which you can test and see if these leaks have occurred. It’s up to us to be aware of these issues and take action promptly to protect our sensitive data from getting into the wrong hands and away from prying eyes.
Hey, I’m Jeremy Clifford. I hold a bachelor’s degree in information systems, and I’m a certified network specialist. I worked for several internet providers in LA, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Seattle over the past 21 years.
I worked as a customer service operator, field technician, network engineer, and network specialist. During my career in networking, I’ve come across numerous modems, gateways, routers, and other networking hardware. I’ve installed network equipment, fixed it, designed and administrated networks, etc.
Networking is my passion, and I’m eager to share everything I know with you. On this website, you can read my modem and router reviews, as well as various how-to guides designed to help you solve your network problems. I want to liberate you from the fear that most users feel when they have to deal with modem and router settings.
My favorite free-time activities are gaming, movie-watching, and cooking. I also enjoy fishing, although I’m not good at it. What I’m good at is annoying David when we are fishing together. Apparently, you’re not supposed to talk or laugh while fishing – it scares the fishes.