VPN is a buzzword among the netizens of the present era. But is the hype worth it? Do VPN work? Hopefully, you will get answers to all your questions in this article.
Some important factors let us decide the worth of a VPN. Most aspects are not an issue with VPN technology, but they make specific VPNs less preferable.
Let's make it easy.
We will judge the efficiency of VPNs by segregating the analysis perspective. There are three areas through which we will get to a decision.
- Why are you using VPN?
- VPN vulnerabilities
- VPN performance
- The country you are living in.
So, let's start!
Why Are You Using VPN?
VPN usage greatly defines the efficiency of a VPN. In some aspects, VPN could be more competent than at other operations. For instance, you can get strong protection when;
- You are using public Wi-Fi, and you want to remove the threat of data loss. VPN makes sure that your data is encrypted and no one can snoop into it.
- You want to hide your browsing history and data from your ISP.
- You need to unblock geo-restricted content by changing your real IP address and location, for instance, unblocking the US Netflix library from a country other than the US.
For many, it is necessary to understand the working of VPN to interlink these tasks with the VPN functioning better. But, a VPN service you are selecting has a great impact, and the efficiency level of these certain tasks could considerably vary.
Vulnerabilities could affect the VPN working as they could do in other technologies. Here are some vulnerabilities which can compromise the VPN performance. These vulnerabilities initiate due to the lack of services by the VPN or because of a cyber attack.
Many VPN providers keep going with the same version for years, which could be a dangerous signal for you. Like most people, you might get annoyed by the update notifications, but if you are not getting one, you must be wary.
VPN data breaches indicate the data logging due to which user data gets exposed.
You as an individual may not find malware in any VPN software, but numerous surveys and reports indicate the malware into unreputable VPN providers.
Encryption is an important yet obvious thing that you can easily find out in a VPN you are selecting. Although the preferred encryption level is AES-256 bit, there should be at least 128 bit.
This is the crucial part of a VPN service that has the most to do with your question, “Do VPN work or not?”
Fortunately, the answer does not remain the same for those who get a disappointing result.
Curious to know how?
Following are the tests which provide you a complete report about your VPN performance and efficiency.
- DNS Leak Test
- IP leak Test
- Torrent IP test
- Encryption Test
There are many tools available for all these tests, but when everybody is into a business, you need to find a legitimate one. Here is a video showing how some tools are misleading users to sell their services or the ones they are affiliated with.
However, let us move to the details of the VPN as mentioned above lacks.
DNS leak and DNS Leak Test
Due to DNS resolving process, your ISP is aware of all your activities through the DNS resolver/server. Therefore, many people use VPN, which delivers all the DNS requests to an anonymous VPN DNS server instead of an ISP DNS server.
When there is a VPN connection, only the DNS leak phenomenon occurs. When a VPN is connected, but due to certain lacks, the DNS request gets towards ISP DNS instead of VPN DNS; it is called DNS leak.
Usually, you cannot judge DNS leaks without any tool. So, here I am referring to the DNS leak tool from VPNInsights, which isn't affiliated with any VPN.
To test DNS leak;
- Connect your VPN and Open the DNS leak test page.
- Click the “Execute Test” button and wait for a few
- The site will display results to you.
If the displayed list contains any real information such as hostname, IP address, or location, your VPN is leaking DNS.
IP leak Test
You must be aware of IP leaks; if not, you can see detailed information here.
IP leak is also associated with a VPN connection, and the VPN with IP leak is of no use. Also, such VPNs could be a real threat to your privacy.
To test IP leak, follow these steps;
- Go to the IP leak Test page and check your real-time IP address without a VPN
- Now, connect your VPN and click the “Run” button.
- At the center, your VPN IP will be displayed.
If the VPN IP is different from your real IP address, then your VPN is not leaking. However, a VPN with an IP leak cannot protect you and your privacy.
Torrent IP Test
A torrent IP leak occurs when you are torrenting and your torrent client IP address is leaking. Due to this, your actual IP address gets exposed.
Checking torrent IP leaks is simple. All you need to do is;
- Go to the Torrent IP Test page. (make sure your VPN is connected)
- Now click “Load torrent file” and wait for a few seconds.
- Click “Magnet link.”
- Open the link into your torrent clients such as uTorrent or BitTorrent and wait for the downloading process.
- As soon as the downloading starts, you can come back and check the right side for the Torrent IP address.
If both the VPN IP and Torrent IP are the same, your VPN is working great. But if your real IP is displayed, your VPN is not protecting you.
The encryption test is a similar legitimacy test for your VPN, and it is pretty lengthy and complicated. But, this is the test that could complete the answer to your question of VPN credibility.
Instead of discussing the whole process again, I am providing you a link to the article “How To Check If Your VPN Is Encrypted.” Here you can find the simplest way to check VPN encryption.
If you have inspected your VPN from all these perspectives and don't find any lack, your VPN is protecting you. VPN itself is a great technology, but due to numerous services in the market, the legitimacy has been affected.