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What Is a VPN Kill Switch and How it Protects Your Privacy?

The VPN Internet Kill Switch explained

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 4 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. 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.

Compare VPN Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What free VPNs have a kill switch?

Free VPNs that offer a kill switch feature, which helps protect your privacy by immediately disconnecting your internet if the VPN connection drops, are relatively rare. One notable option is ProtonVPN’s free plan, which includes a kill switch as part of its security features. This ensures that your internet connection is promptly cut off if the VPN connection unexpectedly fails, preventing your data from being exposed.

What is a kill switch in a VPN?

A kill switch in a VPN is a security feature that automatically cuts off your internet connection if the VPN connection drops unexpectedly. This prevents your data from being transmitted over an unsecured network, ensuring your online activities remain private and protected.

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