check VPN works

Have you ever wondered if your VPN is accurately giving you an IP address in the desired location? Or perhaps you’re concerned about whether your VPN provides robust online privacy? This guide will walk you through various tests to verify that your VPN is working properly.

Not all VPNs are created equal. Many users unknowingly subscribe to inferior services that compromise performance and security. In this article, we will explain how to carry out speed tests to check if your VPN slows down your internet connection.

We’ll also guide you through performing leak tests, so you can check that your VPN is effectively spoofing your IP location and shielding you from being tracked by local networks, ISPs, government agencies, and other unwanted third-party eavesdroppers.

Keep scrolling to learn how to check if your VPN works as it should.

How to perform a basic IP address/location check

If all you want to do is check your IP address is changing while connected to your VPN, you can head over to Ensure you’re connected to the VPN, and then follow the link provided.

Now look at the top field of the results. You should see an IP address in the location you selected within the VPN app, you should also see a flag and a location in the desired country.

If for any reason, your IP address does not show up in the VPN location requested within the VPN app, your VPN may be either:

  1. Leaking your home IP address
  2. Providing an IP address in an erroneous location.

We will provide additional information on how to check if your home IP address is leaking later in this guide.

How to perform a VPN speed test

Many VPNs have sluggish servers and protocols that are not good for users who want to play games, stream HD videos, and download torrents. If you are in the market for a fast VPN, we recommend that you check our recommendations. They have all been tested and provide the best VPN speeds currently available on the market.

If you already have a VPN subscription but are concerned that it is negatively affecting your internet speed, then you can use the test below to check how it is performing. If the VPN slows down your internet more than 20%, consider switching to a better service.

  1. Head over to the Ookla Speed Test website and download the Ookla app. If you don’t want to download the application (which gives you more precise results) you can use the online speed tests instead.
  2. Ensure that your VPN is not connected to any server.
  3. Launch the Ookla Speed Test application or website and press the big GO button
  4. Make a note of the ping, download, and upload speeds.
  5. Now that you have your baseline speeds (without the VPN) connect to a VPN server inside of your VPN application. Pick one of the server locations you usually need (for example the US).
  6. Once the VPN connection has been established, relaunch the speed test application or website. Be sure to close the app and relaunch it with the VPN connected to ensure the speed test server updates in the app. Alternatively, refresh the speed test website with the VPN connection. If you do everything correctly, the speed test server will show up in the same country as the VPN server you selected:
  7. Now press the big GO button to test your speed while connected to the VPN.

As you can see, the VPN I tested for the purpose of this example (IPVanish) increased my ping from 16 milliseconds to 106 milliseconds. My download speed reduced from 41.63 Mbps without the VPN to 36.64 Mbps with the VPN. This is a drop of just 5 Mbps, which is great.

When you test your VPN, you will get an idea of how it is affecting your speed. If it drops substantially, this means that the VPN may be causing problems such as buffering when you watch videos or lag when you play games. In this case, you may want to cancel your subscription and switch to one of our recommended VPNs instead.

How to perform a VPN leak test

Now that you know how to check the speed performance of your VPN, it is a good idea to check its effectiveness in ensuring your privacy and accurately spoofing your location.

Selecting a VPN server in the application should theoretically assign you an IP address from that specific location. However, many inferior VPN services on the market are plagued by leaks that inadvertently reveal your actual location.

Other VPNs may indicate a connection to your chosen location within the app but assign an IP address in a completely different place. This causes the VPN not to work as expected – meaning you can’t access local services in the intended location.

The good news is that you can easily perform a leak test at home. We will explain how to check for IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks. A robust VPN connection should not suffer from any of these leaks.

If you detect a leak, then your VPN is failing to work correctly and cannot be trusted to give you online privacy. Local networks, ISPs, and government agencies could be tracking your web habits even while connected to the VPN.

A VPN that is working properly should completely conceal your home IP address in all of the tests.

Note that you will need to know your home IP address (IPv4 and IPv6) before running the leak tests. You can check these by heading to and making a note of them. The IPv4 address is the result at the top of the page, and the IPv6 address (if you have one) will show next to IPv6:

How to perform VPN leak tests:

  1. Connect to your VPN. Choose one of the servers that you use regularly. For this example, I chose Canada:
  2. As soon as the VPN connects, head over to the leak test website. We recommend
  3. The IP leak test will run automatically. However, you must start the DNS leak test manually by clicking the following button:
  4. Wait for the DNS leak test to complete.
  5. Now check the following results:

As you can see I did not detect my home IP address (in the UK) in any of the tests. Instead, I detected an IP address in Canada. This means that the VPN is working correctly.

The WebRTC leak test came back empty – which means it was negative. Yours should also show up empty if the VPN is working correctly. However, as long as the result does not show your home IP address, you have nothing to worry about.

My IPv6 leak test also came back empty because, like most people, I do not have IPv6 connectivity. If you have an IPv6 connection you must check this result carefully. Remember that it should show an IP address in the desired VPN server location – not your home IP address.

If you detect your home IP address in any of the results highlighted in the image above, this means the VPN is leaking. Under such circumstances, the VPN is not working properly and we recommend switching to a more reliable provider.