This method of programatic detection works as of January 24, 2017 with the latest versions of Express VPN and PIA (Private Internet Access)
On Mac OSX/
This works for Mac OSX 10.2.2.
The trick is to request your ip routing table and examine through which network interface your default traffic is going through.
(To do this programmatically you will have to parse the output with your favorite programming language)
This is how it looks for both ExpressVPN and PIA when the VPN is active:
To request your routing table you can do this on the command line:
Notice the line starting with “0/1”, it’s going through that tunnel interface. (In Linux it would show
0.0.0.0 instead of
VPN ON output in Mac
Internet: Destination Gateway Flags Refs Use Netif Expire 0/1 10.81.10.5 UGSc 5 0 utun1 ...
VPN ON output in Linux
Kernel IP routing table Destination Gateway Genmask Flags MSS Window irtt Iface 0.0.0.0 10.31.10.5 126.96.36.199 UG 0 0 0 tun0 ...
When you turn VPN off this is how it looks:
VPN OFF in Mac
Destination Gateway Flags Refs Use Netif Expire default 192.168.1.1 UGSc 66 0 en0 127 127.0.0.1 UCS 2 4 lo0
VPN OFF in Linux
Kernel IP routing table Destination Gateway Genmask Flags MSS Window irtt Iface 0.0.0.0 172.16.245.2 0.0.0.0 UG 0 0 0 eth0
So a quick way to determine if the VPN is on or off in Mac or Linux, is to filter-out what you care for using
If you have any output it’s on, if not it’s off
netstat -nr | egrep "^0" | grep "tun"
(we filter for “tun” and not utun1, as in linux vpn network interfaces start with “tun”)
Parse the output of that command and you will have your VPN status. No output means VPN is disconnected. Some output means the VPN is connected.
nestat -nr and look for
188.8.131.52, if you find it, VPN is on.