Is there a leak on your VPN? Here’s how to find IP leaks and how to avoid them.
Oh, it reveals your IP.
Made you watch. But if you have a VPN, you would also want to run an IP leak test just to make sure it isn’t.
All Internet-connected computers, machines, and servers have an alphanumeric digital identifier, which is defined as an Internet Protocol (IP) address.
Your internet service provider (ISP) assigns the IP address from which you get the internet, such as Wi-Fi, office internet, home internet, mobile phone internet info, etc.
You can only figure out the geographical location of a computer, the name of the internet service, local time, and also the web surfing habits of the users by knowing an IP address in certain situations. Anyone on the internet can conveniently search the IP address of any device or computer.
People use virtual private networks to mask their IP addresses (VPNs). Yet VPNs often refuse to conceal the original IP addresses and end up exposing them to the outside world. This is referred to as an IP leak, and this is where an IP leak search is helpful.
In this post, we will explore how to do an IP leak test to identify those leaks. We’ll also learn about the different forms of IP leaks and means of stopping them.
How to Conduct an IP Leak Test
Even after downloading a VPN, people conduct an IP leak test to see if the original IP address of your computer (i.e. IP supplied by the ISP) leaks, and if it leaks, what other information it exposes to others about your device. To conduct an IP leak search, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Use an IP Leak Test Tool
To run your IP leak test, turn off your VPN and go to either of the following websites:
As it is your initial ISP IP address, make sure to jot down this IP address.
Step 2: Choose a VPN IP Address Location
First, turn the VPN on and pick the IP address for the geographical location you want.
Step 3: Re-Check Your IP Address
Now, in step one, go back to the website you visited where you did the first IP leak test and reload the tab.
If you see a new IP address for your chosen location on the VPN app, it means that your IP address will be effectively concealed by the VPN. Your computer suffers from an IP leak if you still see your original IP address and location, then the VPN is not running properly.
Please notice that in their IP leak test reports, both of these websites show varying details. The common elements of these studies, however, are yours:
- IP address for the public,
- Internet service provider,
- Geographical location, and
- Local time-zone.
Find out the snapshots before and after from my own IP leak test (below). When my VPN was switched off, the former was taken. After turning on the VPN and choosing an IP address of a VPN server based in India, the latter was taken.
4 Common Types of IP Leaks
In different cases, your IP address can be leaked. So, for instance, when browsing certain websites, it may not leak, but it might leak when uploading a Torrent file or engaged in another operation. So, it’s necessary to decide which kind of leak your system is experiencing. Four of the most famous forms of IP leaks are here:
DNS IP Leak
IP addresses are composed up a long string of numbers and alphabets that are hard to memorize for humans. Web browsing is more comfortable for humans when using a domain name (like SectigoStore.com, google.com, amazon.com, etc.). This is where it comes in handy for a domain name structure (DNS).
A DNS, through its browsers, acts as a mediator between humans and servers. The DNS transforms the domain name to an IP address as a user wants to connect to a website, which requires a browser to require a particular website from a server to connect to it.
But the domain name scheme isn’t flawless, as with other innovations. The downside of the DNS is that all user operations are logged, including:
- Which IP addresses have been accessed by which websites (i.e., the website visitors),
- Their geographical positions, as well as their
- The list of sites that they viewed on the website after they arrived.
Both ISPs allow DNS by default. That ensures your entire browsing history will be known by your internet service provider.
It masks the original ISP DNS under the anonymous VPN DNS when you use a VPN. But often, when people request the DNS to open a page, it bypasses the IP address of the VPN and explicitly accesses the ISP IP address of the user, triggering what’s called a DNS leak.
How to Conduct a DNS IP Leak Test
- Turn the VPN off.
- Please go to dnsleaktest.com or dnsleak.com (or any other DNS leak test tool you trust). Be sure you’re not using the DNS leak monitoring websites of any VPN providers, however.
- Write down the corresponding data seen on the tab. This will be the IP address for the ISP, the name of the ISP, and the geographical location.
- Turn the VPN on now and pick some other geographic place of your choosing.
- Go to the DNS leak checking website once again and run the test. Now, this time, you can see the multiple IP addresses, the name of the internet service, and geographical location. Your VPN is suffering from a DNS leak if you still see your original ISP IP address and other stuff.
How to Prevent a DNS Leak
You should always verify if it has a DNS leak prevention mechanism when buying a VPN. But you can manually change the DNS configuration if your current VPN doesn’t have this option. You can move your ISP’s DNS to Google’s public DNS using this Google DNS tutorial.
Torrent IP Leak
Your file-sharing app will track all your actions using your ISP IP address while using Torrent. But with a VPN, you can hide your real Torrent client identity. Plus, it can encrypt all operations and data, too. Your Torrent app, though, often bypasses the VPN IP address and can see the ISP IP address, known as the Torrent IP leak.
How to Conduct a Torrent IP Leak Test
To search via Torrent for an IP leak:
- Open a Privacy Checker Tool from Torrent. (Torrentprivacy.com has been connected to us, however you can use whatever platform you want to use.)
- Download the test file, which is also known as the magnet file, from the connection given on the website.
- Upload the evaluation file to the client on Torrent.
- Check which IP address is being presented by the Torrent privacy checker app. If the IP address and geographical location you put on your VPN are seen, it means that the VPN maintains your anonymity when torrenting. Your device is suffering from the Torrent IP leak because it reveals your ISP IP address.
How to Prevent a Torrent IP Leak
Go to your VPN settings section. Disable the DHT and PEX functions, as well as the split tunneling function.
Often enable the VPN’s kill switch capability. Use a third-party VPN link monitoring service like VPN Watcher if your VPN doesn’t have it, which includes the kill switch feature which avoids an IP leak while the VPN is down.
WebRTC IP Leak
How to Prevent a WebRTC IP Leak
An add-on or plugin that disables the WebRTC vulnerability may be installed. Let’s investigate how Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox work like this:
Install a WebRTC Leak Prevention Tool in Chrome
- Go to the Online Shop for Chrome.
- WebRTC Scan.
- Pick an extension like the WebRTC Leak Prevent or WebRTC Prevent Shield extension. Then press and trigger Add to Chrome.
Install a WebRTC IP Leak Prevention Tool in Firefox
- In the Firefox address bar, enter about:addons.
- In the search bar, look for WebRTC.
- There will be a new pop-up window. Choose one of the required add-ons and add it to Firefox.
- Enable the add-on until it is activated successfully.
Email IP Leak
Any email clients give your IP address to your email recipients as a part of the header information when you send an email to someone. It means you’ve got an account IP leak when this happens. The policies for viewing IP addresses are different for all email clients. Here, we have shown how you can search Gmail header information manually:
- For investigative purposes, go to Gmail and open a current account.
- Now, press the menu (three dots) on the right-hand side and go to Show Original.
- On your keyboard, click Ctrl+F and check for “Received: from.” You could see the IP address of the sender in the spot.
By following these measures, you can also perform the email IP leak test with the email IP leak app.
- Write your initial IP address down and turn the VPN on.
- Go to the website for the Email IP Leak Test.
- On Start, click.
- Send an email to the email address given.
- Only wait for the outcome. For some time, the website will refresh the outcome automatically. You can delay the results, but don’t refresh the tab.
As a result, either the message “Your email has been received, and your IP is not leaking,” will be shown to you, or it will indicate which IP address it is leaking. You are still in the secure zone if the IP address is the same as the IP address of your VPN server.
If it reveals your original ISP IP address, though, your VPN doesn’t function properly.
How to Prevent an Email IP Leak
Unfortunately, you can’t avoid your IP address being exposed by email clients. However, it is a problem if they display the ISP IP address in the header detail, even after you are using the VPN. With the support team of your VPN provider, you should address this issue. To stop such a leak, they might recommend some security setting tricks. You could change VPN providers if your VPN provider can’t block the email client from exposing your original IP address.
Why Is an IP Leak Test Necessary?
This segment will address the question if you are curious whether an IP leak test matters. You need to consider why, in the first place, people chose to cover their IP addresses.
Your computer will be allocated a temporary VPN server IP address to hide your original IP address when the VPN is installed and switched on (the one issued by your ISP). It is likely that this VPN server is based in numerous cities and countries. To get the IP address from that area, you can also manually select the geographical location. As your internet still comes from your regular ISP provider, the original IP address would work in the background, but then the new VPN IP adds another layer of IP security to it, like a mask, to hide the original one.
To understand the browsing behaviors of users, some online marketers track IP addresses. This knowledge lets them tailor suitable advertising based on the individual interests of each customer. Any individuals consider this promotional strategy misleading or intrusive and tend to use a VPN to conceal their initial IP addresses.
Some websites and apps allow viewers from specific countries to access their content while prohibiting viewership from other regions. VPN program allows you the opportunity to pick an IP address from a number of different countries, helping you to circumvent certain geographical limitations. (Note: In some circumstances, this may be illegal.) You will have access to international entertainment such as sporting games, tv shows, songs, etc. with an international IP address, and without ever altering your physical location.
Websites blacklist the IP address of a user and prohibit them from accessing the website if they suspect that the user has breached rules or attempts to carry out cyber attacks such as DDoS attacks, SQL injections, brute force attacks, etc. But with VPN, users get new IP addresses and can avoid such bans. (From a cybersecurity point of view, though, it’s definitely a red flag.)
So, when your VPN leaks your original IP address, it means that you can’t hide your browsing behavior online, access websites and apps that are geographically restricted, or visit sites where your IP address is blacklisted. To show the users whether their VPN is leaking their original IP address, an IP leak test is performed.
A Final Word
A double-edged sword is VPN. Although hiding the real IP address will give internet users a sense of privacy and access to international entertainment, cybercriminals can also misuse it. It becomes difficult to trace the origins of cyberattacks when the original IP is hidden. Often, for particular purposes, such as complying with legal restrictions or security procedures, when websites or applications impose regional restrictions on certain content, they do so. So, the consequences can be dire if you manipulate your IP address and get caught.