VPNs, or virtual private networks, and VPN service are an excellent option if you’re looking for a way to private network to securely browse the Internet, keep all your activity private and your data safe. That being said, nothing is perfect and sometimes VPN connections don’t do the job that they’re supposed to.
If you’re worried that your free VPN connection or VPN service provider may be leaking your private data or IP address to prying eyes, it might be time to test it.
What Does a Faulty VPN Mean?
Most people use VPNs for Internet connection security, whether it be to keep their IP address private, you prefer remote access to keep hackers from stealing their personal information, or hide their location, as well a VPN for torrents.
While this all sounds great in theory, a recently discovered security flaw in the design of VPN servers allows certain sites to reveal your IP address and location. This can be problematic if you’re working on sensitive business or with secured files. You don’t want just anybody to be able to see your information.
Faulty VPNs are also affecting people who use VPNs to take advantage of streaming sites like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify. A lot of these sites have content that is only available in certain locations and countries around the world. If you’re out of the country traveling or want to watch a show that’s only available in a different country a VPN can really come in handy. The only problem is that with faulty VPNs, these streaming services are beginning to crack down on VPN users and developing software to detect them.
Really, all it takes to figure out where you are and what your IP address is while using a VPN is a couple lines of code. With this information, it’s not farfetched to say that hackers can trace your VPN back to your Internet provider and figure out your address and other personal information about you. The faultiness of VPNs is generally affecting browsing, but that’s not to say that it couldn’t soon be affecting other things as well.
How Can I Know if My VPN is Doing Its Job?
Luckily, there are many ways to find out if your VPN is doing the job that you pay it to do. It’s as easy as logging into a website. Below we’ve outlined the steps so you can easily check out your VPNs ability to keep you and your information secure.
- There are many sites you can go to that can tell you what your IP address is. While these sites are traditionally used for people who actually need to know what their IP address is, they are just as helpful for those who need to test their VPN. An easy site to use is What Is My IP Adress.
- You’re going to need to make sure that you’re not connected to your VPN when you go to the IP address website. This is because, in order to see if your VPN is leaking your real IP address, you need to know what it is. So, once you’re off of your VPN you can use one of these sites to test your IP address. Make sure you write it down once you find out, so you can compare it with the VPN IP address.
- After you’ve figured out your actual IP address, you’re going to need to connect to your VPN. You should login to a server that’s in a different country and make sure that you’re actually connected. Once you’ve verified your connection, move on to the next step.
- Return to the IP address finder website that you choose and do another test. As the result of this new test, the IP address that is shown should not be the one that showed up after the first test. The result should be an IP address that matches your VPN and the country of the server you choose.
If the IP address tool shows an address that isn’t yours and one that corresponds with your VPN then you’re in the clear. If not and the IP address shows your actual IP address, then you have a problem. This means that your browser is leaking the IP address that was provided to you by your internet service provider and everyone who wants access to can have access.
What’s the Solution?
When VPN providers addressed the problem of their services leaking people’s IP address to the world, they responded with the statement that they knew about the issue and what was causing it, but weren’t sure how to stop it. Without the help of the VPN providers, what are VPN users supposed to do? Don’t fret, there are some solutions that you use to fix the problem of a faulty VPN.
One easy way to solve this problem is by disabling the WebRTC in your browser that often has them enabled by default. The WebRTC is the thing that allows your IP address to be leaked. If you’re using Chrome, Firefox or Opera browsers, you’ll need to do the following:
- Chrome and Opera: For these browsers, you’re going to have to install a ScriptSafe extension from the Chrome web store. This extension will disable the WebRTC from your browser and will stop your IP address from being public.
- Firefox: For this browser, you’re going to need to either install the Disable WebRTC add on or disable the WebRTC directly by going to “about:config” in a new tab and disabling it there. This will ensure that your IP address remains private and your faulty VPN will stop leaking your personal information all over the place.
Another solution to fixing your faulty VPN is to buy a VPN router. This is a wireless router that adds extra protection beyond the protection that an add-on on your browser can provide. Rather than setting up your VPN from each individual device, a VPN router applies protection and encryption on your data from the source of the Internet.
This way if one of your devices is at fault for leaking your VPN, the router will bypass the device and go straight to the Internet connection. The only downfall to having the VPN on your router is that it’s not as easy to switch VPN locations as it is when you have the VPN on your individual device. Keep in mind that it’s not impossible and the protection that a VPN router solution will give you outweighs a lot of the inconveniences.