VPNs are a lifesaver when it comes to accessing websites you can’t otherwise access or to unlock new content libraries on streaming platforms. However, the primary use case of VPNs is protecting your data from third parties.
While there are plenty of free and paid VPNs out there, not all of them are created equal. Free VPNs, for example, are notoriously known for stealing data through software backdoors and selling it to big corporations. To say the least, it defeats the purpose of a VPN.
But are paid VPNs safe? You won’t know the answer unless you test it for yourself. And that’s where this post comes in. We’ll explore different ways you can test how secure is VPN.
How Does a VPN Work to Protect Online Privacy?
VPNs employ different encryption protocols to shield your personal data from peeing eyes during transit. When data travels from your browser to the requested website and vice versa, a VPN creates a secure tunnel for it. As a result, no third parties, not even if your internet service provider (ISP) can peek into your online activities.
In a business context, a VPN can plug the network vulnerabilities by creating an extra layer of security around the network. The “network” in a virtual private network refers to a private network that your data travels through.
At the same time, VPN providers deploy their own servers to mask your IP address and DNS information. As a result, your data is not compromised even in the case of a severe data breach.
How to Test How Safe is a VPN?
As promised, we’re going to explore how you can test a VPN’s privacy and security. No matter how much you spend on a VPN and how reputable it is, testing how secure is VPN should be a standard practice for both individuals and cybersecurity professionals.
It’s important for all kinds of business scenarios, from custom web application development to retail e-commerce business, to protect confidential company data as well as customer information.
Here’s how to test a VPN.
DNS Leak Test
DNS or Domain Name System is used to connect websites to browsers without the need for IP addresses. In case you didn’t know, the actual website address is denoted with an IP address. We use names in the URL so that we don’t have to memorize unique IP addresses for all the websites we want to visit. The whole process is managed with DNS servers.
Among others, a VPN secures your DNS from third parties and bad actors. The purpose of a DNS leak test is to ensure that none of the masked data is leaking. There are plenty of free tools available that you can use to perform the test.
If the results include your location, IP address, or any other info that relates to your ISP, your DNS may be leaking.
Paid VPNs typically deploy their own encrypted DNS network to protect the users. In our experience, free VPNs are more prone to DNS leaks.
IP Address Leak Test
Your IP address contains all the information hackers or other bad actors need to know to identify you. It contains your location and network details. While it may not sound alarming, hackers can use this data to track you down and extract critical information such as your name, address, or financial details!
While most VPNs promise to mask or hide your IP address online, an IP address leak test may reveal surprising details. Your IP address may be leaking online even though you’re getting access to restricted websites.
Similar to DNS leak tools, you’ll find IP address leak tools online. Before you do it, check what’s your IP without a VPN. If the same address shows up with a VPN, it may not be the best option for you.
To add an extra layer of protection against IP address leaks, some VPNs offer a kill switch. As the name suggests, it “kills” all traffic with a single click in case the VPN connection fails.
WebRTC Leak Test
This test is somewhat complex compared to what we’ve seen so far. In case you’re not aware, WebRTC is an open framework for Real-Time Communication (RTC) in browsers. Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera are common examples of browsers that support this API definition.
This feature comes in handy for sharing files, sending voice messages, or engaging in video chats.
A WebRTC leak occurs when your IP address leaks through the APIs. Perfect Privacy WebRTC Test is perhaps the best test on the internet to check if it’s happening to your browser or not.
Additional Features that Help Make a VPN Safe
Taking precautions before you purchase a VPN might save you the time to test for all of these leaks. It all comes down to how you determine which VPN to get. We recommend looking into the features below:
- Encryption Protocol: Encryption is perhaps the most important aspect of a VPN. The OpenVPN protocol has long been the pinnacle of encryption protocols. WireGuard is an upcoming protocol promising better safety but it’s still in the beta phase.
- Location of the VPN: Where your VPN provider is located plays a critical role in safety. Jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands and Panama are preferred by reputable providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN.
- Specialty Servers: High-end VPN providers offer specialty servers to add an extra layer of security to your browsing experience. NordVPN’s onion servers and ExpressVPN’s TrustedServer technologies are great additions to the paradigm.
- Data Logging Policy: Ideally, VPNs should not log anything you do once a connection has been established. Paid VPNs market their no-logging policy pretty aggressively Free VPNs, on the other hand, collect user data left and right.
A VPN is an essential tool for both individuals and businesses that worry about their online privacy. This piece of software can protect you from data thieves and even malware attacks if you choose the right encryption protocol. But whatever you do, don’t forget to run the simple tests to check if your VPN is safe or not.