What is VPN Kill Switch? How does it work? In this article, we will describe to you everything about VPN Kill Switch.
A kill switch is a useful feature which automatically disconnects the tablet, computer, or phone from the internet in case the connection of your VPN drops out.
What this means is that there is no chance of your IP address as well as other sensitive information exposing even when your VPN ceases to working. Therefore, the anonymity and security of your internet connection will not be compromised.
VPNs very often have kill switches activated by default, however you have the option of deactivating it if you wish to. If it is switched off, you could continue to use your internet as normal, even in case the VPN is not connected.
However, if it is switched on, you will not be able to send any data using the internet connection in case your VPN is not connected.
For anyone who would like to make complete use of their VPN service, it is crucial to have kill switch for ensuring all-round security.
But, not all of the VPNs available in the market provide you with this feature or they may not include the ones which are reliable.
NordVPN is considered to be the best in terms of providing kill switch feature. In fact, you are offered two kinds of kill switches – for the entire system or specific apps. So everything you do online, using NordVPN, no external eye could peek in.
Table of Contents
How does a Kill Switch work?
VPN kill switch functions by monitoring the connection constantly, detecting any issues, blocking the access to internet, as well as restoring the connection as soon as it is safe.
Given below is how a VPN functions:
- Monitoring: A VPN kill switch constantly monitors the connection to VPN server through the process in which it scans for any changes in IP address or status.
- Detecting: VPN kill switch instantly detects any change which could prevent the VPN from proper working.
- Blocking: the VPN kill switch either blocks the entire device from accessing internet or blocks certain apps. It depending the kind kind of VPN you use.
- Restoring: Just as the issues are resolved, the VPN kill switch would restore the internet connection without the requirement of doing anything.
How is Kill Switch activated?
VPN kill switch kicks in right when it detects any disconnection in your VPN.
This might happen in cases such as:
- If the internet is disconnected from the VPN server.
- In case you choose to switch between VPN servers.
- If the network connection seems to be unreliable.
- When your computer is updated overnight and then it reconnects back to the internet without the VPN.
- If a new firewall is taken into use and you forget about adding an exception for the VPN, this means that your VPN is blocked by the new firewall.
- If your device is borrowed by somebody and they restart the device without switching on the VPN again.
Types of Kill Switch
System level VPN kill switch:
It makes note whenever you are disconnected from the VPN service. Then, it sends the noted information to the device in order to avoid connecting to internet through your mobile data or wifi.
When enabled, it totally blocks the internet connection to the computer until your VPN connection is again restored or reset the network adapter. It is highly effective at avoiding leaks of IP.
Application level VPN kill switch:
Application-level kill switch may not seem as safe as system level kill switch, however, it is arguably the better among the two options because it is restricted to the applications chosen by you.
It functions by enabling you to choose the apps you would like not connecting to the internet kill switch is activated.
The apps selected by you will then cease to work in the event where the VPN connection is failed. It is quite uncomplicated if you wish to encrypt the IP address when you are using specific apps.
Moreover, it is more flexible in comparison to active kill switch as you get more control over the operation of the switch.
Why should Kill Switch be used?
It is true that even the top rated VPNs could experience connection drops sometimes. Therefore, you cannot completely reply on just your VPN for the safeguard of your sensitive information.
You would need a safety net as a backup in case your VPN fails to work, this is where a kill switch comes into its role. This way you are guaranteed about the best possible level of privacy and security you wish for.
Who should use Kill Switch?
Kill Switches must be used by anyone wishing to ensure full security and privacy. Some groups which are most recommended for the use of Kill Switch with
- Activists and journalists
- Those who use peer-to-peer transfer software
- Anyone holding confidential documents such as lawyers or social workers.
- Torrent users
Risks involved in using a VPN without a Kill Switch
Some of the risk include
- Leaves you vulnerable if your VPN connection drops
- Using free Wi-Fi can be dangerous
- Your public IP address would give your location away
- Your online activity could become traceable
List of VPNs with a Kill Switch
NordVPN Kill Switch
NordVPN’s kill switch function is, by default, switched on. Your device or the specifically selected apps are automatically prevented from accessing the internet connections available out of the secure VPN tunnel. There are two versions of NordVPN which offers kill switch:
- NordVPN desktop
- NordVPN mobile
ExpressVPN Kill Switch
ExpressVPN kill switch is found under the label of “Network Lock” in the “General’ option on your app.
Using ExpressVPN kill switch, your traffic is secured even in case the VPN apps fail to work sometimes or sudden unexpected interruption.
It is the fastest kill switch VPN which has lightning-fast 3000+ servers across 94 countries. It has unmatched unblocking performance and capabilities. You can connect 5 devices at the same time. You also get 30-day money-return guarantee.