VPN kill switch: What is it and how does it work? | Norton
If you’re looking for greater online anonymity and privacy, you can use a virtual private network to mask your internet protocol address and encrypt the data you send and receive. A VPN creates a private network from a public internet connection by acting like a secure, encrypted tunnel for your data. But what happens if the connection with your VPN provider suddenly drops?
If you suddenly lose your VPN connection, your IP address and online activity will likely become visible to others. You don’t want this to happen, because having access to sensitive data like your personal information could help cybercriminals commit crimes like identity theft and other online frauds.
This creates a dilemma, because VPNs are supposed to give you greater security, not less. A VPN feature known as a kill switch, offered by some VPN providers, can help. If you lose your VPN connection, a kill switch can automatically disconnect your device from your internet connection to ensure your privacy remains intact until your VPN connection is restored. A kill switch prevents your IP address, location, or identity from accidentally being exposed.
Here’s a look at what a VPN kill switch is, how it works, types of VPN kill switches, causes of VPN disconnections, and how a VPN kill switch can help protect you.
How does a VPN kill switch work?
To understand how a kill switch works, it helps to understand how VPNs work. VPNs create a data tunnel between your local network and a remote server at another location. When your device is connected to a VPN, your web activity will be associated with your VPN server’s IP address instead of your real IP address. This makes it appear to others as if you’re in another location — and hides your real location.
A VPN hides not only hides your IP address and location, but also your browsing history and web activity — which can include sensitive data like your passcodes and bank account information. VPNs make this information unreadable by using encryption to scramble the data you send and receive over a Wi-Fi network.
Here’s the problem. If you lose your connection to the internet — and therefore your VPN server — then your laptop, smartphone or other device is likely to default back to the public IP address provided by your home Internet Service Provider. This means that your online activity and browsing history, along with your IP address and location, can suddenly be visible to and tracked by others.
A VPN kill switch feature adds security by making sure this sudden and unexpected visibility doesn’t happen. How? By immediately disconnecting you from the internet if there’s any change in your IP address or when you lose VPN service.
Keep in mind that not all VPN providers offer this kill switch feature, so this is something to consider when choosing the VPN provider that’s right for you.
Also keep in mind that some VPN providers might offer preactivated kill switches, but many kill switches are not automatically activated. If that’s the case, you’ll need to manually turn on the kill switch by activating it in your VPN client.
Types of VPN kill switches
Not all VPNs have kill switches, and there are also different types of VPN kill switches, such as system-level kill switches and application-level kill switches.
What’s the difference? A system-level kill switch renders a complete shutdown of all network activity. An application-level kill switch, however, is more customized. It allows you to select which apps or web applications you want to kill before you reconnect to your VPN.
6 causes of VPN disconnections
VPN disconnections don’t only happen when you drive into a tunnel and lose your Wi-Fi signal. Here are six common causes of VPN disconnections that you should be aware of.
Firewall or router settings. If you find yourself losing your connection frequently, it could be due to the settings for your firewall, antivirus or spyware program. If you find this happening, try disabling them. If that helps, then you’ll need to add your VPN to your firewall’s list of exceptions.
Type of VPN protocol. A VPN protocol known as the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) may be more reliable and stable than the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). If using UDP, try switching the protocol on your network.
Blocked or weak Wi-Fi signal. A weak Wi-Fi signal may cause your connection to drop.
If you’ve lost your internet connection, you won’t be connected to your VPN
Network congestion. Heavy internet traffic could lead to congestion, causing your connection
to be lost.
ISP interference. Interference with your internet service provider could result in
disconnections with your VPN server.
VPN client server issues. While VPN providers are often very secure with
numerous servers all over the world, something could happen to damage a server.
If your VPN provider has server issues, then you’ll lose your connection.
Why Is a VPN kill switch
VPN kill switches are important because they protect your privacy when
the unexpected happens, and at some point it usually does.
If your VPN connection drops, your computer or device will likely
default back to the IP address of your ISP. You may not even realize it. You
don’t want this to happen, because you’ll no longer have the privacy and
anonymity provided by a VPN.
Whether you’re managing sensitive data from your bank account or your
employer, your online privacy is important.
The VPN kill switch gives you peace of mind because it ensures your
internet connection will automatically drop if you lose your VPN connection. Consider
the alternative – taking the risk that others can see your sensitive data.
That’s why it’s smart to have a VPN kill switch to help protect your privacy
The VPN Kill Switch Is Special Feature that Protects Your …
Without a reliable VPN Kill Switch, you could be caught with your digital pants down.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is essential for anyone who uses the Internet because it addresses the top three online concerns: security, privacy and anonymity. Along those lines, a VPN kill switch is a feature you want you on your Virtual Private Network. It helps ensure you’re IP addressed isn’t accidentally and unexpectedly exposed!
But not all VPNs are created equal.
For instance, what happens if, for some reason, your VPN connection were to get disconnected while you were online?
Here’s why that’s important to think about that:
Some VPN companies have established certain safety features that help guarantee your information will remain safe, secure and anonymous. But what happens if your VPN connection suddenly drops? That’s where A VPN “kill switch” comes into play.
What is a VPN Kill Switch and why do you need one?
In general, the reasons why you need a VPN are the same reasons why you would want the VPN you’re using to have a kill switch.
VPN Kill Switch, Internet Kill Switch, or Network Lock—however you want to call it, means the same thing.
It is a special VPN feature that automatically disconnects your computer, phone or tablet) from the Internet until the VPN connection is restored. With a kill switch, there’s no possibility that your IP address accidentally gets exposed. Also, you’re assured that the security and anonymity of your internet connection won’t be compromised.
Sometimes the VPN’s kill switch is under your control, with the thinking that the kill switch can be enabled or disabled as needed.
If the switch is activated, no data can be sent over your internet connection unless the VPN is enabled.
If the switch is turned off, your internet connection can be used normally even if the VPN is not connected.
There are two types of VPN kill switches.
An Active Kill Switch Protocol is designed to know when you are disconnected from the VPN service, send that information to your device, and prevent it from connecting to unsafe networks.
A Passive Kill Switch Protocol, although it sounds tame, is more secure. The VPN application doesn’t wait to receive any information from the VPN server; but, the moment it stops receiving a signal from the server, it automatically prevents that device from sending your traffic.
5 Well-Known Providers with a VPN Kill Switch
A good VPN provider will have a kill switch as a line of defense to prevent your IP address and other sensitive data from unintentionally being sent from an unsecured connection.
Here’s a look at how some VPNs design their kill switch:
1. ExpressVPN: Their kill switch feature, called Network Lock, is enabled by default. It is available using the desktop software for the more current versions of Windows or Mac: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8, Windows 8. 1, Windows 10, Mac OS X 10. 10 (Yosemite), Mac OS X 10. 11 (El Capitan), macOS 10. 12 (Sierra), and macOS 10. 13 (High Sierra).
2. NordVPN: They provide a kill switch option for mobile and desktop devices. The desktop version for Windows and Mac shuts down specified applications, whereas the mobile version for Android and iOS disables internet access across the system if the VPN connection goes down.
3. VyprVPN: They not only have a kill switch for Mac and Windows but also detailed settings for two options: App and System. App means the kill switch will operate only when VyprVPN is running, denying internet use until you connect to a VPN server. System means that the kill switch will operate all the time, even when the VyprVPN software is not running.
4. TorGuard: This is an “anonymous VPN” provider designed for torrent users. It offers what’s called an IP-bind kill switch, as well as DNS Leak Protection and a no-logs policy.
5. HideMyAss: With their premium plan, the kill switch feature is known as Secure IP-Bind Technology. Although it offers on-demand and randomized server switching, it’s not suitable for Bit Torrent users.
Are you subscribed to a service without a VPN kill switch?
If you are not, you may not need to switch providers.
Here are 5 easy ways you can “rig” kill switch protection for your VPN:
1. VPN Watcher is a lightweight application that acts as an automated kill switch to prevent your running programs from directly connecting to the Internet when your VPN connection is down. It takes up less than 2MB of memory usage and nothing for CPU usage.
2. VPN Lifeguard is a free and open-source portable program to prevent you from running applications and being unprotected if your VPN connection drops.
3. VPNCheck comes in 2 versions: the feature-limited free version and the more robust PRO version. The free version is available for Windows and Linux (beta) operating systems, while the PRO version is for Windows only.
4. VPNetMon is a free, 3rd-party program that simply closes pre-selected programs that could reveal your true IP address over an unprotected connection (instead of shutting off your internet connection) when VPN connection is lost.
5. Windows Task Scheduler uses the built-in event-checking feature in Windows, which is more stable and barely uses any noticeable CPU or memory usage. All you need to do is create a new task that will automatically close the BitTorrent software you’re using when the operating system detects a termination on your VPN connection.
Staying safe with a VPN.
Hacking a VPN server is practically impossible, so hackers may try spyware, cookies, and other malicious software and wait (and hope) for a VPN’s connection to drop. Then, they may try to mount an attack on your computer, phone, or network.
That’s why a reliable kill switch for your VPN is rather important.
An effective kill switch built into your VPN software is a strong line of defense, protecting your VPN…and, therefore, protecting you.
Time for a VPN review.
The point of using a VPN is to prevent even the smallest possibility of exposing your IP address, internet traffic, and personal information online.
That’s the job of a VPN. If you don’t have one, you need to get one. We can help you choose one, easily.
If you have a VPN, do you know if it has a kill switch and how it works?
It’s time to check.
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Best VPN with Kill Switch in 2021 for Secure VPN Connection – VPN Store
What is a VPN Kill Switch?
Kill switch is one of the top security features you will need to look for in a VPN. This VPN kill switch is an essential feature as it makes sure your real IP address and location never get exposed online if there happens to be a glitch in your VPN connection and if it disconnects. This kill switch will temporarily disconnect your internet connection in such circumstances by continuously monitoring your connection to the servers.
A VPN shields your personal data from snoopers online by hiding your IP address and routing the traffic through a secured VPN tunnel. The kill switch makes your connection more secure by preventing your personal data from getting exposed accidentally. So if the kill switch blocks your internet connection, it will remain blocked until the VPN connection is back. If you would like to use the internet without the VPN connection, you can disable the kill switch temporarily.
This feature is extremely important to people looking for complete anonymity and those who use VPNs to unblock blocked streaming services and torrent files. If anonymity is what you are looking for, then you will need to make sure a small glitch in the VPN does not leave you vulnerable.
If the VPN service you use does not have an internet kill switch or if the kill switch is not enabled, the device you use will automatically connect to the internet without the VPN and leave your IP exposed to the websites you visit. To overcome such problems, you will need a VPN service with a kill switch that can immediately kill your internet connection so that your data will never be sent over an unsecured connection.
However, this kill switch feature is often overlooked. VPN kill switch and internet kill switch are both the same. Some VPN services like ExpressVPN use the term Network Lock to refer to the kill switch. If there is no kill switch, you could end up using an unsecured connection accidentally. For example, you may be connected to a VPN server to access a blocked streaming service or a website. In between, if you try to switch to a different server, your data will be sent over your normal internet connection for a few seconds when you switch between servers. The same could happen when you turn off your computer and open the tabs you were earlier browsing without realizing that you are not connected to the VPN. In this case, the tabs that you open will be downloaded over your regular VPN connection. You can prevent all this from happening if the kill switch is enabled.
We would recommend using a VPN that comes with a kill switch and a good VPN according to us is the one that prioritizes its users’ security and offers all security features including a kill switch. Read on to know about the top VPN services with a kill switch we Best VPNs With a Kill Switch
It is not an easy task to compare the different VPNs available in the market as there are thousands of free and premium VPNs available. We tested a few VPNs and based on our tests and research, the following are the best VPNs with a kill switch.
Surfshark VPN our top recommendation when it comes to VPNs with a kill switch. We are sure this kill switch will protect your privacy while you browse the web. If your VPN connection drops accidentally while using Surfshark VPN, the kill switch will immediately come in handy and disconnect your internet connection temporarily thereby safeguarding your privacy.
To enable the kill switch, you will need to log in and visit the settings. There you can enable the kill switch button to keep your data safe with Surfshark VPN’s strong military-grade encryption. Surfshark VPN’s kill switch will make sure your IP address does not leak at any cost.
In addition to that, Surfshark VPN has a lot of other impressive features and it has servers in over 60 countries across the globe. It is one of the fastest VPNs that is ideal for streaming videos or playing games online.
Check out our detailed review of Surfshark VPN to know more.
Connect unlimited Devices
IP & DNS leak protection
Free Browser Extensions
Strict no-logs policy
CyberGhost VPN that offers kill switch benefits to its users is our second choice. It comes with an automatic kill switch that will block all internet connections when the VPN detects a VPN connection loss. This way CyberGhost VPN will make sure your IP address never leaks. The kill switch function is activated on the server side within CyberGhost’s network and it will not be deactivated. So there is no manual setting.
CyberGhost VPN delivers an exceptional VPN service through its huge server network of over 6000 servers in over 60 countries. It has the ability to unblock streaming services that may not be available in your location including Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, HBO GO, and more. As it has servers in different countries, you can access content available in only certain locations though you live in a different country. For example, if you live in Australia, using CyberGhost VPN, you can unblock Netflix or Amazon Prime Video content available in the US, Germany, Canada, etc.
You can torrent anonymously with CyberGhost VPN and its advanced features like 256-bit encryption, IP leak protection in addition to the kill switch will protect your privacy online.
Check out our CyberGhost VPN review to know about its salient attributes.
6100+ Servers Worldwide
Protect up to 7 devices/li>
DNS and IP leak protection
Unlimited bandwidth and traffic
Highest possible VPN speeds
45-day money back guarantee
ExpressVPN’s kill switch is its Network Lock. This Network Lock feature will block all internet traffic until the VPN connection is restored. This feature will prevent your IP address from accidentally leaking when your VPN stops working for a few seconds.
The Network Lock feature will be active when you are connected to the VPN and it will remain active until you disconnect the VPN.
This feature will make sure that your connection is secure when you change your WiFi network, when your computer is idle, when there are issues with the power, and when there is an internet outage.
You need not manually turn on the Network Lock as it will be enabled by default. Though it is not recommended to turn off the Network Lock, you can turn it off if you wish to in just a few clicks. In addition to the Network Lock, ExpressVPN offers other security features like DNS/IP leak protection and uses 256-bit encryption. With its strict no-logs policy, ExpressVPN assures it will never hand its users data to any third-party.
160 server locations
Network Lock kill switch
VPN split tunneling
Stream Sports online
Besides security features, ExpressVPN has a strong reputation for offering fast connection speeds and reliable VPN connections. ExpressVPN will give you access to all its 3000+ servers worldwide using which you can bypass internet restrictions in almost all countries. It works with Mac, Linux, Android, iOS, Blackberry, Windows, routers, and iOS.
Read our exclusive ExpressVPN review to know more.
The best all-rounder VPN, NordVPN features a kill switch that will make sure that your internet traffic always goes through the VPN and prevents unprotected access thereby making sure your IP address does not leak.
Kill switch feature is available on NordVPN’s software for both desktop and mobile phones. You can specify the application you would like the VPN kill switch to shut down when the VPN connection drops on the software for Windows and Mac. To enable the kill switch, you have to visit the settings and enable the kill switch.
NordVPN prioritizes security and it offers double VPN for extra-strong encryption, in addition to the kill switch. You can install NordVPN on a number of platforms and devices including Android, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7, 8, and 10, Windows Phone, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Chrome OS. But you may not be able to connect the VPN on all these devices at a time and only six concurrent connections are allowed.
5200+ servers in 62 countries
Use up to 6 devices
Double VPN Feature
With its huge server network, you can connect to servers in any country and access services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO GO, and more.
To know more about how NordVPN works, check out our extensive reviews on NordVPN.
VyprVPN’s kill switch is available for Mac and Windows. It can be customized based on your preferences. At the application level, the kill switch will start functioning as soon as you log in to VyprVPN and continue to function until the app is running. Your internet connection will be blocked as soon as the VPN gets disconnected.
At the system level, the kill switch will start functioning as soon as you log in to VyprVPN and it will continue to function even if the app is not running. You will have to manually log out of VyprVPN to browse the web using your normal internet connection. If you are logged out of the VPN, the VPN will not function at both system and application levels. You have the option to choose between the system and the app levels.
VyprVPN values its users’ privacy and it offers all security features like 256-bit encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and the Chameleon protocol to fight censorships, in addition to the kill switch. Its Chameleon protocol double encrypts the data its users send and receive and also helps them to securely bypass regional blocks.
Network Lock Kill switch
You can install VyprVPN on iOS, macOS, Android, routers, and Windows and use the VPN to protect five devices at a time.
Read our extensive review of VyprVPN to know what other features it offers and how it will keep your data secure while letting you access blocked content.
PureVPN that has apps for all major platforms comes with an internet kill switch in addition to other security features. PureVPN offers to kill switch for Windows, Linux, and Mac users, offering them an additional layer of security when they are connected to the VPN. Likewise, it is one of the few VPN services to offer an Android kill switch.
You can visit the settings and enable the kill switch in the “Internet Kill Switch” section. You can choose the first option from the three available options, “Activate Internet Kill Switch, Auto-redial if VPN connection drops, and Stop the internet even if I disconnect the VPN manually. ”
Apart from the kill switch, PureVPN offers other security features like top-of-the-line encryption strength, port-forwarding, DNS leak protection, and DDoS protection. Its port forwarding add-on offers an additional layer of security that will leave no loopholes through which hackers can snoop into its users’ online activity. In addition, it offers an adblocker and anti-virus software. All of PureVPN’s security features are sure to keep you completely anonymous and secure online.
2000+ Secure Servers
3 Million+ Satisfied Users
31-Day Refund Policy
24/7 Customer Support
You can access all of its 2000+ servers in over 180+ locations worldwide. It works well with Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android devices and it offers around 10 parallel connections.
Read our full PureVPN review to know more.
IPVanish VPN’s macOS, Android, and Windows clients support the kill switch feature. You can find the kill switch under settings and that’s where you can enable or disable the kill switch. IPVanish offers other security features like 256-bit AES encryption and IP leak protection, in addition to the kill switch.
IPVanish offers fast speeds and is well-known for its device/platform compatibility. It can be installed on Windows Phone, Android, Windows 7, 8, and 10, Linux, macOS, iOS, Chromebook, and Fire TV. It allows multiple connections so that you can connect 10 different devices at a time.
It is an ideal choice for getting around geo-restrictions and accessing blocked streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, and more anonymously. With over 1, 400+ servers in 75+ locations, IPVanish has a strong track record of bypassing censorships in almost all countries across the globe.
Check out our in-depth review of IPVanish VPN to know more about its features.
1, 500+ VPN servers
40, 000+ shared IPs
256-bit AES encryption
Let’s Compare Some of the Best Kill Switch VPNs
No. of Servers
Whitelister™ – Split tunneling mode
Ad and Malware blocker
Inverse Split Tunneling
Double VPN – VPN cascading
British Virgin Islands
Windows 8, Windows 7, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Ubuntu, Linux Fedora
Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Ubuntu
Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux Ubuntu, Linux Fedora
Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Apple TV
1 Month Plan
3 Months Plan
6 Months Plan
1 Year Plan
$5. 99/mo ($71. 88)
$5. 25/mo ($63. 00)
$8. 32/mo ($99. 95)
$4. 92/mo ($59. 00)
Visa, PayPal, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Bitcoins
Visa, PayPal, Mastercard, American Express, Bitcoins
24/7 Live Chat, Email, Twitter, Facebook
24/7 Live Chat, Email, Twitter, Facebook, Community
Email, Twitter, Facebook, Community, On Call, Remote Desktop
Get Free Trial
A kill switch is an important VPN feature that will protect your privacy online. Not all VPNs come with a kill switch but the ones mentioned above offer strong security in addition to the kill switch feature. We hope this article will help you choose the best VPN with a kill switch that will help you stay secure and anonymous online.
Frequently Asked Questions about what is kill switch vpn
What is a Killswitch on VPN?
It is a special VPN feature that automatically disconnects your computer, phone or tablet) from the Internet until the VPN connection is restored. With a kill switch, there’s no possibility that your IP address accidentally gets exposed.
Which VPN has kill switch?
PureVPN offers to kill switch for Windows, Linux, and Mac users, offering them an additional layer of security when they are connected to the VPN. Likewise, it is one of the few VPN services to offer an Android kill switch. You can visit the settings and enable the kill switch in the “Internet Kill Switch” section.
How do you use a VPN kill switch?
How do you test a VPN kill switch?Run your VPN and connect to a server.Use the internet by going on websites, sending emails or torrenting.Block the VPN app using your firewall but don’t stop your online activity.If your internet no longer works, you’ll know that the kill switch is working as it should.Sep 2, 2021