In this post, we are going to tell you what a VPN kill switch is, how it works, and why you should always make it a part of your arsenal if your VPN supports it.
First, the problem: nothing is 100% reliable
As you probably know by now, VPNs work by masking your Internet activity and hiding your IP address from prying eyes by acting as a sort of man-in-the-middle, preventing anyone from knowing what your actual IP is.
However, a VPN might lose its connectivity. No network or software can be reliable all the time, after all. When that happens, users will be left out in the cold with their public IPs exposed which is the reason why many people get a VPN anyway.
If that was not enough, the user will not always be alerted properly when this happens. Which means that they might continue torrenting, for instance, without the proper protection afforded to them by a VPN.
Why would a VPN be disconnected?
Well, there are plenty of reasons why that might happen and it’s often not the fault of the VPN provider but rather an external issue. For instance, many of the VPNs that you may see us recommend here have a 99.99% uptime.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues that might lead to your VPN being disconnected.
- Software and firewall: Your antivirus or antispyware software, your firewall settings, and any other software that might have something to do with your network could potentially disrupt your VPN connection.
- Bad WiFi: If you are at home, then make sure your WiFi signal is good. If you are on public WiFi, then other factors might affect your connection quality, such as how many people are on the network at the same time.
- VPN Protocol: The VPN protocol you are currently connected with might also affect your connectivity.
- Connecting to distant servers: Though this is rare, you may find that servers which are located far away from your actual geographical location are slower and less stable than the ones nearby.
What you can do, of course, is to test all of these things out in case you find your VPN connection dropping frequently. For instance, you can temporarily disable your antivirus software or switch between the different protocols and servers.
VPN Kill Switch is the solution which ensures your privacy and security
As the name suggests, a VPN kill switch is a feature that will simply cut off the user’s network whenever their connection to their VPN drops.
There are quite a few VPNs which support this feature including ExpressVPN, NordVPN, TorGuard, and more.
To set up a kill switch, you will usually have to go through a VPN app’s settings. There, you will find the option to turn the kill switch on.
Once you do that, it will work completely automatically. After all, that is the whole point of a internet kill switch; to protect the user immediately once a VPN connection drops, even if the user doesn’t know about it.
Is every VPN kill switch the same?
No, every VPN’s kill switch works differently. In fact, this is a very important thing you should think about when considering your VPN options. Some kill switches work better than others as every company uses its own methods when implementing this kind of feature.
At this point, it would be worth mentioning that many VPNs have their own names for “kill switch”. For instance, ExpressVPN calls it Network Lock. Others might have a more obvious name. PureVPN just calls it Internet Kill Switch, for example.
Do kill switches work for every device?
As you might know, the best VPNs are available in a huge number of devices such as Windows, Linux, macOS Computers, Android phones and tablets, iPhone, iPad. However, kill switch is not available in all of them.
In fact, most VPNs only have that feature in the Windows and macOS apps. Some of them also have it in the mobile apps but that is less common. So if you want a kill switch for your Android phone or your iPhone, make sure to check if your VPN provider offers that option.
If your VPN’s Kill Switch is not enough, get a dedicated app instead
Some people may find that the kill switch feature provided by their VPN providers is unreliable or it doesn’t work well. In those cases, or if you just want to be extra vigilant, you may want to consider a standalone app.
For instance, you may want to check out VPN Lifeguard, VPNetMon, and VPN Watcher. All three of them work in the same way as the kill switch you will find in the VPNs so if your internet connection drops, they will automatically block your network access until you reconnect to the VPN.
VPN Kill Switch Conclusion:
A VPN kill switch is a very important feature to have. You are using a VPN for a reason, after all, so you should never be without it.
Do you have any questions or remarks about this feature? If so, leave a comment down below!