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Infosec Images/Flickr (CC-BY)
If your VPN isn’t secure, it’s not worth your money.
A VPN is a virtual private network—a way to protect and encrypt your web traffic from prying eyes. There are dozens of VPN services available, but not all VPNs are created equally. Some secretly track user behavior. Some may sell your data. Others may not completely hide your IP address—this is what’s known as leaking VPNs.
With a leaking VPN, your ISP, government agencies, or other parties are able to see your true location. They’re also potentially able to see your online activities—no bueno.
Luckily, The Best VPN conducted a leak test, testing 74 of the top VPNs against six different privacy and leak-checking websites. The most common types of leaks are DNS leaks (when a problem happens and the VPN server is bypassed and the DNS server can then see your location and web traffic); Chrome extension leaks; and WebRTC and IP leaks.
- The best free VPN to maintain your privacy online
- How to protect yourself against ransomware
- 10 reasons you need to ditch Chrome for the Opera browser
The Best VPN found 17 leaking VPNs in its tests:
- Ace VPN (paid version)
- AzireVPN (paid version)
- Betternet (free version)
- BTGuard (paid version)
- DotVPN (free version)
- Hoxx VPN (both the free and paid versions)
- Hola (free version)
- Ivacy (free version)
- Ra4w VPN (paid version)
- SecureVPN (paid version)
- Speedify (free version)
- Touch VPN (paid version)
- VPN Area (paid version)
- VPN.ht (paid version)
- VPN Gate (free version)
- Zenmate (free version)
On the opposite end, the best leak-free VPNS Best VPN tested were ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Perfect Privacy.
For more details about these leaking VPNs, the types of leaks they exhibited, and the best alternatives, head on over to The Best VPN’s website.
Update 11:22am CT, July 12: While VPN Unlimited originally appeared on this list as the 17th leaking VPN, it has been removed. VPN Unlimited fixed the leak in question, as reported by the Best VPN in April; its original inclusion on the Best VPN’s list was an editing error.
H/T The Best VPN
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.