What is a VPN Kill Switch? – Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve been looking for the best VPN for a while, it’s highly likely you already know about basic spoofing and encryption features – but you shouldn’t ignore advanced functions such as VPN kill switch. Here, we’ve explained what a VPN kill switch is, how it works and why it’s important. Moreover, we’ve reviewed the top 5 VPNs with a kill switch.

A VPN kill switch is one very useful but often ignored VPN feature. It ensures your real IP address will never be exposed in case your VPN connection drops. If you’re concerned about security, especially when downloading, then a kill switch should be your priority.

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Kill Switch Works Well

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What Is A VPN?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the most effective and easiest way to protect your web traffic and keep your identity private when surfing the Internet. As you connect to a more secure VPN server, the web traffic goes through encrypted tunnels that no one can see into, including cybercriminals, Internet service providers, and governments.

People use a VPN to keep their web activity private and accessing services and sites that may otherwise be blocked. Agencies use the best VPN to connect offshore employees as though they were utilizing the same network from the central office, but fewer benefits for some individuals than the personal VPN.

Short of Time? See Our Top 5 for May, 2022

1. ExpressVPN – #1 Trusted Leader in VPN
2. NordVPN – Kill Switch Works Well
3. CyberGhost – Rock Solid Connection
4. Private Internet Access – Large server network
5. Surfshark – 30-day trial period

What is a VPN Kill Switch?

A kill switch is a fundamental feature that disconnects your tablet, phone, or computer from the web if your VPN connection fails. This means you don’t stand a chance that your IP address and other personal data might be exposed when your VPN stops working. Therefore, the anonymity and security of your web connection will not be in any way compromised.

The best VPN services have the kill switch feature enabled by default, but users can also choose to deactivate the kill switch whenever they want. If you deactivate the kill switch, you can continue using the Internet as you normally do.

Top 5 VPNs With A Kill Switch

As mentioned earlier, A VPN kill switch automatically stops users from connecting to the web after their connection from the VPN drops. Check the following list of kill switch VPN comprising NordVPN, CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, PIA, and Surfshark in 2021.

🥇 1. ExpressVPN

Also known as a network lock feature, a kill switch blocks Internet traffic when the VPN connection gets restored. The feature helps prevent the IP address from data leaks if the VPN stops working.

The kill switch becomes active if you’re connected to the best VPN for iPhone and remains active until the VPN is disconnected. This feature ensures your connection remains secure even after switching your Wi-Fi network if your PC is idle when there is an Internet outage and power.

Besides security features, ExpressVPN is reputable for offering reliable VPN connections and fast connection speeds. ExpressVPN gives you access to more than 3000 servers around the world. ExpressVPN works with iOS, routers, windows, blackberry, iOS, Android, Linux, and mac.

Key Features

  • Stream sports online
  • VPN split tunneling
  • Zero-knowledge DNS
  • Kill switch
  • 160 server locations

→ Try ExpressVPN! ← 

🥈2. NordVPN

This is one of the best VPN Amazon Prime services out there; NordVPN has a network lock feature that ensures your web traffic successfully goes through the VPN and prevents unprotected access, thus ensuring the IP address doesn’t leak.

The network lock feature is available for both mobile phones and desktops. You can easily specify the app you want the kill switch to close when the connection fails on the program for mac and windows. To activate the network lock feature, you need to visit the settings section and switch on the kill switch.

Key Features

  • Strict zero-logs policy
  • Double VPN feature
  • Next-generation encryption
  • Use a maximum of 6 devices
  • Over 5400 servers in 62+ countries

→ Try NordVPN! ← 

🥉3. CyberGhost VPN

CyberGhost is a VPN that offers the network lock feature that benefits VPN users. This comes with an automated kill switch, which blocks all web connections if the VPN identifies VPN connection loss. This VPN ensures your IP address isn’t exposed. The kill switch is enabled on the server’s side within the CyberGhost network, and it isn’t deactivated. This is because there is no manual setting.

CyberGhost VPN offers extraordinary VPN services via their vast server network of more than 6000 servers in more than 60 countries. Also, it is capable of unblocking streaming services that might not be available to you, including HBO GO, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more.

Key Features

  • Very fast speeds
  • Unlimited traffic and bandwidth
  • IP and DNS leak projection
  • Protects a maximum of 7 devices
  • Over 6100 servers across the globe

→ Try CyberGhost! ← 

4. Private Internet Access (PIA)

4.2 / 5

PIA is a very secure VPN service, which also comes with an in-built kill switch. With regards to the network coverage, Private Internet Access offers more than 35,000 servers in more than 77 countries around the world. Furthermore, PIA offers additional security features like top-notch protocols and powerful encryption to ensure you are 100% secure and safe. With regards to compatibility, you can use PIA with routers, android, mac, Linux, and windows.

Key Features

  • Up to 10 devices
  • Kill switch
  • Over 35,000 servers
  • 24/7 customer support

→ Try Private Internet Access! ← 

5. Surfshark

4.2 / 5

Surfshark is our top choice with regards to VPNs having a kill switch. It’s an undisputed fact that this network lock feature will superbly protect your privacy as you surf the Internet. Furthermore, if the VPN connection accidentally drops, when utilizing Surfshark, the kill switch immediately comes in handy and disconnects your web connection temporarily, thus protecting your privacy.

To activate the network lock feature, you need to log in and visit the settings area. Here you can activate the kill switch button to ensure your data remains safe.

Key Features

  • Strict zero-logs policy
  • Free browser extensions
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • DNS & IP leak protection
  • AES-256 bit encryption
  • Connect unlimited devices

→ Try Surfshark! ← 

How does a VPN Kill switch work?

The VPN kill switch usually works by regularly checking your connection, identifying possible issues and restricting your Internet access, and restoring your web connection when it’s safe. Below is an exclusive breakdown of how the VPN kill switch works:

  • Monitoring: The VPN kill switch regularly monitors your Internet connection to the VPN server through scanning for changes in IP address or status.
  • Detecting: A kill switch then immediately identifies changes that might prevent the VPN from functioning properly.
  • Blocking: Based on the exact type of VPN you use, the VPN kill switch either blocks specific apps or your device from accessing the web.
  • Restoration: After this issue has been entirely resolved, the VPN kill switch restores your web connection without you doing anything.

Following are examples of when this could happen:

  • If the Internet connection fails from the VPN server since it struggles with connectivity.
  • When you decide to change from one server to another
  • In case you experience unreliable network connections like public Wi-Fi

Is A VPN Kill Switch Important To Have?

Even the best VPN for Netflix experiences infrequent connectivity issues. And if you rely on the VPN to ensure your sensitive information is secure, you will need an additional safety measure for protecting your data in case the VPN fails. This will ensure you get the privacy and security level you want.

The VPN kill switch is your last defense line to ensure your IP address isn’t exposed. Also, it ensures no individual or agency can access your unencrypted sensitive data in case the VPN goes down.

Although occasional drop-in Internet connectivity might not be dangerous for some individuals, there are some people who need this privacy level. Some people who should use the VPN kill switch include torrent users, any person holding confidential documents, peer-to-peer transfer software, and journalists and activists.

Does Every VPN Have A Kill Switch?

Not every VPN you find out there has a kill switch; some don’t. Fortunately, there are many VPN s out there that offer the kill switch feature. Keep in mind that using a VPN is a superb way of keeping our web activity secure and private.

However, VPNs are not foolproof. As mentioned earlier, there are some cases where your VPN connection may drop, which might leave your IP address exposed and the sensitive data exposed. Following are some of the big risks of utilizing a VPN with no kill switch.

  • It leaves you weak in case your connection fails
  • Utilizing the free Wi-Fi might be very dangerous
  • Your web activity might be traceable
  • Your IP address might reveal your location

Is It Safe To Use A VPN Without A Kill Switch?

Using a VPN without a kill switch isn’t safe. However, although using the best VPN is a great way to keep your web activity secure and private, it isn’t foolproof. As discussed earlier, your VPN connection could occasionally drop. Following are the risks of using a VPN with no kill switch.

  • Your web activity might become tractable – This means businesses and advertisers can use the IP address to create a profile on you. If the VPN cuts back and you do not have the kill switch activated, 3rd parties can start building up information on you.
  • Using public Wi-Fi could be dangerous since it’s, in most cases, not secure. The public connections and Wi-Fi hotspots at train stations, hotels, and cafes are easy targets for cybercriminals. And in case the VPN connection drops when you are connected to a network that isn’t secure, your data might be specifically weak.
  • It leaves you susceptible in case your connection to the VPN drops, which means your Internet Service Provider or government agencies can see precisely what you’re up to.
  • You risk exposing your original IP address – exposing your actual IP address is risky because it can be used to locate you. This can be a huge problem if you’re a blogger, journalist, or activist.

Types Of A VPN Kill Switch

Today, there are two common types of VPN kill switch, including the application-level kill switch and the system-level kill switch.

System-level kill switch

A system-level kill switch usually notes when an individual is disconnected from a VPN service. It sends the information to your PC to prevent you from connecting to the web through your mobile data or Wi-Fi.

Once enabled, the system level kill switch blocks your Internet connection to your PC up to when the connection is restored. This makes it more effective when you want to avoid IP leaks.

Activating a kill switch is pretty straightforward. If the kill switch is not already activated by default, you have to choose the checkbox on the VPN.

Application-Level Kill Switch

The application-level kill switch module might not sound as safe as the system-level network lock, but it’s pretty good as it allows you to choose the apps to be included in this feature.

The application-level kill switch work by allowing you to pick the specific apps you should stop from connecting to the web after activating the kill switch. Whichever apps you have chosen will automatically stop working in case your connection to the VPN drops. This is vital if you want to mask your original IP address when using specific apps.

Furthermore, it’s more flexible than the activate VPN kill switch mainly because it offers you extra control regarding how the network lock feature works. Most apps for this kill switch include:

  • Torrent clients such as Vuze and uTorrent
  • Video calling apps such as WhatsApp and Skype
  • Email apps such as Outlook and Gmail
  • Browsers such as Firefox and chrome

Protecting Your Privacy with a VPN

The best VPN scrambles or encrypts data so that cybercriminals can’t tell what you’re doing online. Technically, the VPN makes the type of tunnel that prevents Internet service providers, snoopers, and hackers from seeing your instant messages, downloads, credit card information, browsing history, or any data sent through the network. However, the tunnel is impenetrable, and your transmissions can’t be seen.

Connecting using a VPN is private and can make any public Wi-Fi network private for people using them. Furthermore, the VPN might be used on a mobile device or desktop, including tablets, phones, and laptops.

VPN Kill Switch FAQs

What is a VPN kill switch?

The kill switch is an important security feature that protects your actual IP address if your connection to the VPN drops. If your connection is disrupted, the kill switch restricts external web traffic from and to your IP address until the connection is restored.

Should you use a kill switch?

Generally, the main reason you require a VPN is the key reasons you’ll want the VPN service you chose to feature a kill switch. With the best VPN with a kill switch, there is no way your IP address can get exposed.

Can I leave the VPN ON all the time?

Yes, leaving the VPN switched ON all the time is the best way to operate. However, if you value speed more than safety, you might feel otherwise.

What happens if your VPN disconnects?

Therefore, if you’re disconnected using a VPN connection, your PC won't automatically reconnect to the web unless the VPN can first connect to a server. This might eventually prevent your devices from successfully connecting to the web.

What is the best VPN?

Some of the best VPNs you can use today include Express, PureVPN, NordVPN, IPVanish, and Surfshark.
Author: Daniel Jovanovic
Daniel Jovanovic is an avid website creator who started exploring the World Wide Web as a young kid. Being still a newbie got his first project hacked, which inspired him to learn more about network protection. Now he understands internet security by heart, and this is why he is our VPN expert.