How to Check if a VPN is Working

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

Written By:

Updated September 22, 2022

Remote work is here to stay. And given that employees are more spread out than they’ve even been, securing multiple connections is a top priority for many businesses. For security, companies often turn to the best VPNs to help protect sensitive company data and files. But for VPN usage to be effective, employees must check to ensure they work properly. So, continue reading as we explain how to check if a VPN is working.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Sometimes VPN connections are unstable, leading to IP address leaks.
  • Users can check for IP leaks by disconnecting their VPN and recording their IP address. Then, reconnect, record, and compare the two IP addresses to ensure they are different.
  • To increase online privacy, VPN users should occasionally perform leak tests.

Those looking for a virtual network service should hop into our guide, which lists the best VPNs for multiple devices.

Insider Tip

NordVPN offers a free IP address check tool that anyone can access to check their public IP address.

How Can You Tell if the VPN is Working

The unfortunate thing about VPNs is that sometimes they cut out, leaking your real IP address. Thankfully, there are ways to identify that your connection has stopped, and the process is a breeze.

Knowing what information a VPN hides is necessary to understand the importance of a secure VPN connection. VPN providers take all user online activity data and send it to a VPN server. The data is encrypted so that not even internet service providers know what’s being searched, sent, and accessed. Additionally, with a VPN connection, the IP address changes to the server’s location rather than the public network’s location.

Did you know you can switch your IP address without using a VPN to change location? Knowing how to do this is essential because different server locations allow internet users to bypass online censorship and geo-restricted content. If this interests you, we have an article explaining how to change an IP address without a VPN.

STEP 1 Disconnect from the VPN

Open your VPN app and confirm your connection. There should be a button that says “Turn Off VPN.” Press it.

STEP 2 Confirm Your IP Address

Many private network apps come with an option to check your IP address. Additionally, you can search in your web browser, “What’s my IP address,” and it’ll tell you the real IP address of your public Wi-Fi network. Then, write down or screenshot the IP address.

STEP 3 Connect Back to the VPN

Enter your VPN service and turn the connection back on.

STEP 4 Check the IP Address Again

Go back to your VPN services IP checker or conduct an online search. Write down the new IP address.

STEP 5 Compare IP Addresses

If the two IP addresses are different, then your connection is working. If they are the same, then you are experiencing an IP leak and must fix the issue ASAP.

Warning

Always research any VPN before you connect to it. Many free VPN services are used to install malware on exposed devices.

STAT: Cyber attacks disproportionately affect small businesses. One study found that 43% of all cyber attacks were aimed at small businesses. (source)

How to Check if a VPN is Working FAQs

When is a VPN necessary?

VPNs are most necessary when dealing with sensitive data or confidential content, like financial information.

How often should I test to make sure my VPN works?

It's good to perform checks periodically, such as once every two weeks. However, you should check your VPN whenever you experience connection issues.

Should I ever turn off my VPN?

If you face serious internet connection issues, switching off your VPN is good to see if it's causing slow speeds.
Nathan Rizzuti Profile image