How to Disable WebRTC in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Others

Rob Githinji Last updated: May 17, 2023 Read time: 14 minutes Disclosure

This article provides steps on how to disable WebRTC from your browser. Learn all about this feature and why you may want to turn it off.

WebRTC constitutes a critical communication component for most web browsers, empowering users with audio/video communication functionalities. However, despite all its usefulness, it can threaten your online privacy by leaking your IP address, which can be big trouble for VPN users. Therefore, you should know how to disable WebRTC whenever you wish to go anonymous online. This guide elaborates on how to disable WebRTC on Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and other popular browsers.

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a valuable tool for maintaining your online security and privacy. However, even the most robust VPN can fail at ensuring complete privacy due to WebRTC leaks. That’s where you need to disable WebRTC to maintain your online anonymity.

The primary function that a VPN performs to achieve online privacy is hiding your actual IP address. However, websites can take advantage of WebRTC technology to make a direct connection between your browser and its servers. These connections can potentially leak your IP address, thus rendering your VPN useless. Consequently, third parties such as hackers and advertisers can access your location, ISP, and device if they get your IP address.

WebRTC is intended to work on all browsers, so it doesn’t matter what you are using. Fortunately, it is effortless to disable it.

Wondering how to do that? Don’t worry. This article explains the different ways to deactivate WebRTC to stay private online. You’ll also discover how a trustworthy VPN such as NordVPN will keep you safe.

What is WebRTC?

If your browser has a blatant vulnerability, it may be because of WebRTC. The best way to solve the issue is to deactivate it. However, there are times you would want to undo the process and activate it again, especially if you need to distribute real-time video/audio through the internet.

WebRTC stands for real-time web communication. It is an HTML5 specification that allows you to add real-time media communications between devices and browsers.

This technology has established itself as Skype’s primary competitor. WebRTC’s main advantage is that it is compatible with a browser that uses JavaScript programming language. Therefore, you won’t need to download or install Skype or other third-party applications for communication.

However, there is a downside you need to know about WebRTC. It can easily expose your IP address even with a direct video/audio connection.

WebRTC will put you at risk, provided that it is active on your browser. However, you can minimize the risk by using a reliable VPN like NordVPN. Nonetheless, there might remain some possibilities of IP leaks. So, you should ideally disable WebRTC entirely.

WebRTC vulnerability

WebRTC is a valuable technology that enhances browser communication but also risks users’ online privacy. Even when using a VPN, WebRTC can still reveal a user’s true IP address. WebRTC is often enabled by default in popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, which can compromise your privacy. So, you should be aware of these vulnerabilities and take steps to protect yourself.

Why knowing about webRTC is essential

When using a VPN, the intention is often to obscure your true IP address for security or privacy reasons or to access geographically restricted websites. 

However, WebRTC can potentially undermine the effectiveness of a VPN by bypassing its encryption and revealing your true IP address. This vulnerability is a concern because it allows others to see your IP address outside of the VPN connection, potentially compromising your privacy and security.

WebRTC could potentially leak your IP address to;

  • Cybercriminals
  • Your Internet Service Provider
  • Streaming platforms
  • Users in peer-to-peer sharing platforms 
  • Government agencies
  • Websites that you visit

This can have serious consequences, such as exposing your identity and location. However, you can test for a WebRTC leak and disable it to prevent your IP address from being discovered by others and protect your privacy and security.

These are the reasons why you should keep your IP address hidden;