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What Is A VPN Kill Switch?

What Is A VPN Kill Switch

Staff Writer @ VPN.com

Last Updated:

Do you have a Virtual Private Network that doesn’t have a kill switch? Then you need to have one that does. A kill switch is an essential Virtual Private Network privacy feature that will rapidly disable your internet if your VPN connection for any reason. It will prevent your online activity from being attacked by external people. Now you realize it is very important because this exposure can be dangerous in many situations. 

We all know how a VPN works. A virtual private network will route your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a secure server in your chosen location. During the procedure, your IP address will change to the IP address of a different server you would be connecting through. A VPN with Kill switch, hide your IP address  and your locations will be protected from your Internet Service Provider, Government Entities, Cybercriminals and all those people who want to spy on you online.

So, now imagine what will happen if your VPN connection suddenly drops and you don’t have a VPN kill switch. All your efforts go in vain. So, here is all the information you need about VPN kill switch.

What Is A VPN Kill Switch?

A VPN kill switch is like your internet bodyguard. It automatically cuts off your computer, phone, or tablet from the internet if your VPN connection suddenly drops. This nifty feature ensures that your IP address and other private information stays hidden even if your VPN takes a break. So, your internet connection stays super safe and anonymous.

Most VPNs come with the kill switch turned on by default. You can turn it off if you want to keep browsing as usual, even without the VPN. But if you flip it on, you can’t send any data through the internet if your VPN decides to go on a break.

If you are serious about keeping your online world secure, then a kill switch is a must have for your VPN. Not all VPNs have this fantastic feature and some might be unreliable. An amazing VPN like NordVPN is a great pick. It goes the extra mile by offering not one but two types of kill switches: one for specific apps and another for your whole system. So, whether streaming, shopping, or doing anything online, NordVPN keeps your stuff from prying eyes.

How Does A VPN Kill Switch Works?

How Does A VPN Kill Switch Works

A VPN kill switch is like a vigilant guard for your internet connection. Its job is to keep a constant watch, notice any issues, block your internet access if things seem off and quickly get you back online when it is all clear.

Let’s get a bit deeper insight into how VPN kill switches do their thing:

Monitoring: 

The VPN kill switch will always stay on high alert and always check your connection to the VPN server. It is like a detective looking out for any changes in status or IP address.

Detecting:

If there is a hint of trouble that might mess up your VPN, the kill switch acts like a savior with super speed. It will instantly spot any changes that could throw your VPN off balance and fix it.

Blocking:

Depending on the type of VPN you use (more on that in a bit), the kill switch blocks certain apps or your whole device from reaching the internet. It is like putting up a protective shield to protect your data.

Restoring:

Once the issue is fixed, the VPN kill switch doesn’t need you to lift a finger. It smoothly brings back your internet connection, so you can return to doing your online thing without a hitch.

Remember that not all VPNs with a kill switch are created equal. Some might not do the job as well as they should. That is why it is wise to pick a VPN with a reliable kill switch feature that gets the job done and keeps you secure online.

How Does A Kill Switch Activate?

How Does A Kill Switch Activate

A VPN kill switch jumps into action the moment it senses that your VPN connection has taken a break.Here are a few situations when the kill switch might step in:

  • Connectivity Struggles with VPN Server: If your internet connection faces challenges while connecting to the VPN server.
  • Switching VPN Servers: When you decide to change gears and switch to a different VPN server.
  • Unreliable Network Connections; Public Wi-Fi: If you are looking for the unpredictable waters of public Wi-Fi or dealing with shaky network connections.
  • Overnight Updates and Reconnecting Without VPN: After your computer does its late night update and reconnects to the internet without firing up your VPN.
  • New Firewall Blocking VPN: If you introduce a new firewall and forget to give your VPN a pass. The firewall ends up putting a barrier between your VPN and the internet.
  • Device Borrowed and Restarted Without VPN: When someone borrows your device, restarts it, and then forgets to switch your VPN back on.

In all these scenarios, the VPN kill switch acts like a quick thinking guardian. It makes sure your online activities stay hidden even when unexpected situations arise.

What Are Types Of Kill Switch?

What Are Types Of Kill Switch

There are two kinds of VPN kill switches: the system-level VPN kill switch and the application-level VPN kill switch. Here are them in detail;

System Level VPN Kill Switch:

This type keeps a close eye on your connection to the VPN service. When it notices a disconnection, it quickly signals your device to slam the brakes on connecting to the internet through your Wi-Fi or mobile data.

With the system-level VPN kill switch activated, your computer’s internet access takes a timeout until the VPN connection is back or you reset the network adapter. This method effectively prevents any sneaky leaks of your IP address. Setting it up is very easy. It is usually just ticking a checkbox on your VPN settings.

Application Level VPN Kill Switch:

While it might not sound as strong as the system-level counterpart, the application-level kill switch offers a different kind of safety and some might argue that it is the better choice.

Here it works: pick specific apps that should go on a timeout if the kill switch kicks in. So, if your VPN pauses, the chosen apps stop connecting to the internet, protecting your data. This is especially handy if you want to hide your IP address when using certain apps.

Unlike the system-level kill switch, this one gives you more say. You have control over which apps hit pause when the VPN connection falters.

Common apps people put on the application-level VPN kill switch list include browsers like Chrome or Firefox, email apps like Gmail and Outlook, video calling apps like Skype and WhatsApp, and torrent clients like uTorrent and Vuze. It is like having a personalized bodyguard for your favorite apps.

What Are Risks Of Using VPN Without A Kill Switch?

What Are Risks Of Using VPN Without A Kill Switch

Using a VPN is a smart move to keep your online actions private and secure. But it is essential to know that VPNs aren’t foolproof. As we have discussed earlier, there are moments when your VPN connection might take a break, putting your IP address and sensitive data out in the open.

Let’s look at some of the significant risks when using a VPN without a kill switch:

Vulnerability When The Connection Drops

If your VPN connection takes a break then it opens the door for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and in some cases, even the government to look at your online activities or snag your IP address. This lasts until your VPN gets back on track.

Dangers Of Free Wi-Fi

Connecting to free Wi-Fi can be risky because it is often not secure. Hackers love to target Wi-Fi hotspots at cafes, hotels, and train stations. If your VPN decides to take a nap while you are on an unsecured network then your data becomes an easy target.

Location Exposure

Your public IP address spills the beans on your location. For activists, journalists, or bloggers, this is a big concern. Without a VPN kill switch, your whereabouts could be traced if the VPN connection decides to take a break.

Traceable Online Activity

Without a kill switch, your online moves become traceable. Advertisers and businesses can use your IP address to create a profile on you. If your VPN takes a break without a kill switch then then third parties can start gathering information about you.

So, while a VPN is a solid ally for privacy, having a kill switch is like having an expert to protect you. They ensure your online world stays protected even when there are issues in the connection.

Conclusion

Imagine a VPN kill switch like your online expert. It jumps into action if your VPN suddenly takes a break while ensuring your stuff stays safe. It is like an extra guard that keeps your secrets and hides your identity, even if the VPN goes on a short break.

Once you switch it on, think of it as your online watchdog. It watches your VPN all the time. If something seems fishy, it quickly stops certain apps or your internet use. And when your VPN is back, it brings everything back to normal.

If you really care about keeping your online stuff private, having a VPN with a good kill switch is super important. It is the last defense line, ensuring nobody sees your details. NordVPN is an excellent choice for this kind of protection. We hope that we have cleared up all your confusion. However, if you still have any questions, please ask us.

Customer Reviews for NordVPN: In-Depth Review, Tests, and Stats

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What Is A VPN Kill Switch?
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Connection issues with MLB.TV
So I had some connection issues on my iOS device (iPad) with MLB.TV streaming, and representative named Garfield SOLVED my unique problem that I had spent hours researching and tackling with no luck before today! Garfield was extremely patient, personable, and very knowledgeable. Through multiple approaches and problem-solving steps, he created a solutuon that worked. Way to go, and definitely a returning NordVPN customer here. Thank you, Garfield.
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May, 2 2023
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Prompt customer service
My subscription automatically renewed and a payment was taken, which I didn’t want as I haven’t been using the service. I contacted the company and received a prompt and efficient response where my subscription was reversed and the payment was returned. If only every company was so easy to contact and communicate with!
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May, 6 2023
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I would highly recommend
Excellent service and easy to use to protect your privacy. I have NVPN on my laptop, iPhone and fire stick, great value for money.
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