How to check if sites use WebRTC

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 29, 2018
Updated • Mar 29, 2018

WebRTC is one of these new technologies that is on the one hand pretty useful and on the other a privacy nightmare as it can be abused.

WebRTC, the RTC stands for Real-Time Communications, is a set of APIs that all major web browsers support. Its primary use is to integrate better communications capabilities in the browser that websites and services may utilize for voice and video chat, and other communication forms.

WebRTC is enabled by default in Firefox, Chrome and other browsers, and websites and services may use it without user interaction.

One of the issues with WebRTC from a privacy point of view is that browsers may leak the "real" IP address of the device to websites. Since there are no WebRTC permission prompts, sites may do so without users even knowing about it.

Users who connect to a VPN, Socks proxy or Tor, may have the IP of their device leaked automatically because of this which is a huge privacy issue that is ignored for the most part by browser makers.

Only a few browsers include options to block WebRTC IP leaks. Vivaldi has an option under Settings > Privacy to disable the broadcasting of the device's IP address, and Firefox users may disable WebRTC entirely even by setting media.peerconnection.enabled to false on about:config.

Add-ons like uBlock Origin, WebRTC Leak PRevent for Chrome, or Opera.

Privacy conscious Internet users know that WebRTC may leak the IP address of the device, but the bulk of users don't.

Check if sites use WebRTC

If you use Google Chrome, or most Chromium-based browsers such as Opera or Vivaldi: load chrome://webrtc-internals/ in the browser's address bar to list all WebRTC connections.

webrtc connections

The site that tried to establish the WebRTC connection is listed at the top (in this case

Mozilla Firefox users need to load about:webrtc in the browser's address bar to display WebRTC connections.


firefox webrtc internals

Firefox lists the site address under Session Statistics.

The fact that a WebRTC connection is listed by the browser does not necessarily mean that the IP address of the device was leaked.

If you have configured the browser to block WebRTC leaks, or if the software that your VPN provider uses blocks WebRTC IP leaks automatically, then it won't have been leaked.

You may use the internal pages to find out if sites use or abuse WebRTC. While you'd expect WebRTC use on sites that offer communication services and apps, you may be hard pressed finding a reason why a news site might want to do the same.

Closing words

If you ask me, I'd argue that browsers should never implement features that may leak data such as the IP address without asking users for permission first.

I hold some browser makers, Mozilla for instance, to a higher standard than others when it comes to privacy, and I find it puzzling that Firefox does not display permission prompts before WebRTC connections are established (or at least include an option to enable this).

Now You: Have you disabled WebRTC or blocked it from accessing local IP addresses?

How to check if sites use WebRTC
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How to check if sites use WebRTC
WebRTC is one of these new technologies that is on the one hand pretty useful and on the other a privacy nightmare as it can be abused.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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