What is a VPN Kill Switch

Last updated: April 2, 2021

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A VPN kill switch feature has become a need of the hour since we live in a dangerous online world. Cybercriminals like hackers, scammers, and others always keep an eye on our web surfing activities. Additionally, they make full use of the situation as soon as they realize our original identity is exposed online.

In this situation, you should use a VPN service that provides a kill switch feature. This is one of the most effective ways to secure your privacy from the prying eyes of hackers and other cyber goons.

Continue reading this guide to know what is a kill switch and why do you need it to enhance your online privacy all the time.

What is a VPN Kill Switch?

A VPN kill switch helps you protect your digital footprints when your VPN connection does not work properly. It disconnects your device, be it Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS, from the internet as long as your VPN connection stops working.

Thus, your original IP address will not fall into the wrong hands of cybercriminals. Furthermore, you can protect your internet connections against prying actors to a certain degree.

Why should I use a Kill switch feature?

There can be many reasons that compel us to enable a kill switch feature on our preferred devices. In short, you need it the most when you do not want to find yourself in hot waters because of hacking, privacy invasion, phishing attacks, malware, and other cyber threats.

To understand the importance of the internet kill switch, let us discuss this example. When a kill switch feature is enabled on your device, you cannot browse the internet as soon as the VPN connection is disconnected.

In case you turn off the kill switch feature, you can surf the web normally from anywhere. However, your actual whereabouts can be exposed online if a VPN service stops working unexpectedly.

Types of VPN Kill Switch

There are two major VPN kill switch types, these are active kill switch and passive kill switch. An active kill switch plays its role when your VPN connection is interrupted. In reality, it does not allow you to connect to an insecure network.

In simple words, it completely blocks your internet connection to your devices immediately if a VPN connection stops working. As a result, you can secure yourself from different security risks like IP leaks, DNS leaks, and WebRTC leaks too.

If we talk about a passive kill switch feature, it is more useful than an active kill switch. When activated, a passive kill switch feature lets you select the specific apps you want to stop from connecting to the internet in case your VPN stops working.

If a VPN app disconnects, your chosen apps like Firefox or Chrome browsers, Skype, WhatsApp, etc., will no longer work. Hence, you can protect your crucial data comprehensively.

Are VPN connections reliable?

In general, VPN connections are reliable as they let you surf the web without compromising your privacy. Apart from this, VPN providers that do not share their server networks with other VPN services and enable you to connect to your desired server locations from anywhere are considered reliable.

On the contrary, if VPN services have a limited server count and do not allow you to connect to your preferred server locations as and when needed, they are not trustworthy, and you should not use them to secure your privacy.

Why do VPNs disconnect (major causes)?

VPNs’ importance has grown to another level since they help you browse the internet from anywhere securely. As the number of VPN users increases worldwide, they also face disconnection issues at times.

There are three primary reasons behind the VPN disconnection hassles, including:

  • Firewall settings
  • Selection of VPN protocol
  • Unreliable internet connections

Firewall/antivirus/anti-spyware 

Different privacy tools like firewalls, antivirus, and anti-spyware software can affect the performance of a VPN connection a great deal. Therefore, you should disable them before activating a VPN service on your devices.  

Selection of VPN protocol

At times, your VPN protocol selection does not allow VPN connections to work appropriately. Hence, you should switch to another tunneling protocol to see if your VPN connection is working smoothly or not. 

For example, you can change your default UDP protocol to TCP if your VPN connection is not stable on the former protocol. By doing so, you can overcome the VPN disconnection problems instantly.  

Unreliable internet connections

When you select a VPN server location, you often forget one crucial thing: your Wi-Fi connection. You have to use a reliable Wi-Fi network when using a VPN service. Otherwise, you will keep facing VPN disconnection issues because low Wi-Fi signals weaken your VPN connections significantly.  

Best services that offer a VPN kill switch feature

A reliable VPN service does provide a kill switch feature to its subscribers. The role of kill switch comes in handy when you do not want to expose your actual whereabouts if your chosen VPN provider suddenly stops working for any reason.

Here are some prominent VPN providers that offer a kill switch feature, including:

1. ExpressVPN

Expressvpn-with-network-lock

  • Provides 3000+ servers in 90+ countries
  • Offers a dedicated kill switch feature by the name of the network lock
  • Users can try other security and privacy features

ExpressVPN is another VPN service that provides an effective kill switch feature. Compared to the other VPN services, this VPN provider offers the kill switch feature by the name of network lock, which is activated in the app automatically.

Luckily, you can use the said features on different platforms like Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. On the pricing front, ExpressVPN offers its yearly pricing plan at $6.67/month at a reasonable 49% discount and a 30-day refund policy.

2. Surfshark

surfshark-top-vpn-with-internet-kill-switch-feature

  • Offers 3200+ servers in 60+ countries
  • Provides an efficient VPN kill switch feature
  • Users can opt for different security and privacy features

Surfshark is a BVI (British Virgin Islands) based VPN service like ExpressVPN that provides a commendable internet kill switch feature. Fortunately, you can use this amazing feature on multiple devices such as Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS.

As far as its pricing strategy goes, you can avail its 2-year plan by paying $2.49/month at a humongous 81% discount and 30-day refund policy.

3. NordVPN

nordvpn-overall-great-vpn-service-with-kill-switch-feature

  • Exists in 55+ countries through 5300+ servers
  • Offers a dedicated kill switch feature
  • Provides a blend of security and privacy features

NordVPN, a Panama based VPN provider, also offers an attractive kill switch feature. This way, you can protect your privacy while using different devices like Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS hassle-free.

If you want to use NordVPN, you will need to pay $3.71/month to get its 2-year plan subscription at a decent 68% discount and 30-day refund policy.

4. PureVPN

purevpn-best-vpn-for-kill-switch

  • Offers 6500+ servers in 140+ countries
  • Provides an excellent kill switch feature
  • Subscribers can use other security and privacy features to boost their anonymity

PureVPN is a Hong Kong-based VPN service that offers a useful internet kill switch feature to its users. Subscribers can avail kill switch feature on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices to protect their online security comprehensively.

If we discuss its pricing plans, you can subscribe to its 5-year plan by paying $3.33/month at a massive 70% discount and 31-day money-back guarantee.

5. CyberGhost

cyberghost-best-vpn-for-kill-switch

  • Offers 6000+ servers in 80+ countries
  • Provides a dedicated internet kill switch feature
  • Offers a variety of privacy and security features

CyberGhost is another VPN service that allows you to safeguard your security on your desired devices with its excellent internet kill switch feature. The service provides the said feature for different devices, including Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS.

In terms of pricing, you will have to pay $2.25/month to obtain its 3-year plan (3 months free) at an eye-catching 83% discount and a generous 45-day refund policy.

6. Private Internet Access

pia-vpn-with-internet-kill-switch-feature

  • Provides 24518+ servers in 77 countries
  • Offers an exclusive kill switch feature
  • Does have a list of impressive privacy and security features in its armory

Private Internet Access also provides a kill switch feature to its users. The said feature is available for different operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS. Consequently, you can keep all the notorious elements at bay even if your internet connection is not protected with PIA VPN. 

You will pay $2.19/month to get its 3-year package at an incredible 82% discount and a 30-day refund policy. 

Are the kill switches activated automatically?

Mostly, you have to activate the kill switch feature yourself. For example, NordVPN provides a kill switch feature, which you can activate using the settings menu provided on the Windows app.

nordvpn-kill-switch-on-windows-app

 

Likewise, PureVPN offers a dedicated internet kill switch feature that you can enable using the app settings menu.

purevpn-kill-switch

 

In case you are using ExpressVPN or CyberGhost app, you do not have to activate network lock or kill switch benefit yourself.

What are the impacts of VPN network reliability issues?

The impacts of VPN network reliability issues are dangerous security-wise. If you are a torrent user, you need to have a VPN with a kill switch feature in your armory all the time. Otherwise, your actual IP address can be exposed to different surveillance actors like ISPs, copyright holders, etc.

When you use a VPN to secure your torrents downloading activity, it becomes a lengthy process. Therefore, you should try different workarounds to speed up your torrenting tasks. Here is what you should do:

Perform torrenting via Vuze BitTorrent client

The Vuze BitTorrent client is a lightweight and end-to-end software app that does not hamper your computers’ speed. Moreover, it helps you download torrents quickly on your preferred devices.

Interestingly, it can efficiently work in tandem with a VPN. Vuze will not route data packets through the public IP network if your VPN service becomes unreliable. It will keep trying to route the data network through a VPN.

However, the torrents will not be downloaded successfully. But, it will not reveal your actual IP address online.

Configure firewall settings manually

Luckily, you can secure your torrents downloading activities by configuring the OS firewall settings on your devices manually. Thus, it can quickly block the downloading task as soon as your VPN service stops working or disconnects.

Other ways to secure yourself against VPN disconnections

VPN disconnections are common these days because millions of people are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, you can still use different tools that allow you to protect yourself against VPN disconnections. 

These tools are VPN Watcher and VPNetMon. You may use a VPN Watcher to monitor the performance of your VPN connections. It does not allow control apps to send your data to the network if a VPN connection fails out of the blue.

Like VPN Watcher, you can also opt for VPNetMon that does not entirely shut down the internet connection. It just closes specific apps on your device that can expose your actual IP address on an unprotected network.  

Wrapping Up

We hope you would like our guide that discusses what is a kill switch feature in detail. This guide helps you remain anonymous and secure over the web even if your VPN connection goes down. An internet kill switch is undoubtedly a blessing in disguise for users who do not want to become victims of cyber terrorists such as hackers, identity thieves, etc.

When you perform sensitive online tasks like banking transactions and online shopping, you must enable a kill switch feature on your device.

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