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VPN Kill Switch

A VPN kill switch bolsters your VPN with an extra measure of protection. By choosing a VPN with a kill switch, you ensure that your data will remain guarded from bad actors in the event that your VPN disconnects. With a kill switch VPN, you can rest assured that you’ve taken every possible measure to safeguard your private information.

What is a VPN Kill Switch?

A VPN kill switch is a security feature that protects your private information in the event that your VPN loses connection. When the connection drops for any reason, the kill switch cuts off internet access until the connection can be restored. 

Even the highest-quality VPN will occasionally disconnect. The disruption may occur due to a weak Wi-Fi signal, abnormally heavy internet traffic, VPN client server problems, or interference from your internet service provider, router, or firewall settings. It can also result from switching from one VPN to another or one ISP to another.

Without a kill switch, your computer will most likely automatically reconnect to your local IP address, exposing your location and other sensitive information to a variety of threats. The kill switch blocks all internet access at the point of disconnection, so the data you protected with the VPN remains safe.

You can choose a kill switch that will shut down internet access to your entire system, or one that will protect only certain applications that you select. Some kill switches automatically restart the VPN once your connection is reestablished, whereas others require you to manually reconnect.

Why Do You Need a VPN With a Kill Switch?

VPNs are an invaluable security solution, but they can also be unpredictable. If your work requires you to leave your computer from time to time, a kill switch gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your data will remain protected from threats while you’re away from your desk. If your computer goes to sleep or if you log off or shut down while you’re away, you will likely also lose connection to your VPN. 

If you loan your computer to a person who does not understand the importance of VPN encryption, the kill switch ensures that the computer will not connect to the internet while they are using it. Likewise, if you are viewing sensitive work data on your computer while away from your worksite, the kill switch will ensure that you do not inadvertently divulge classified data from your company. A kill switch is also essential for certain professionals – such as journalists or activists – who are working in or writing about countries with authoritarian governments that forbid certain types of internet activity. Users who share files through peer-to-peer systems and wish to remain anonymous will also benefit from using a VPN with a kill switch.

These days, many people access a large amount of sensitive data online on a regular basis. Banking and tax information, passwords, health records, and private personal correspondence are examples of data that you may choose to protect through VPN encryption. Identity theft and the hacking of credit card numbers are becoming all too common, so software providers must develop failsafe methods to prevent such acts. With a kill switch, a VPN becomes 100 percent reliable as a privacy and security measure. 

Not all VPNs have Kill Switches

All VPNs are not created equal, especially when it comes to kill switches. Some VPNs lack them altogether, and others have kill switches that are unreliable. Unless you literally never share or view sensitive information of any kind on a website or in the cloud, you should invest in a VPN with a strong kill switch. 

Before installing a VPN, you should research the software company’s track record for security breaches. Make sure that any VPN you select has the option for a full-system VPN kill switch, meaning that you have the ability to protect all programs. This way you don’t have to ever worry about forgetting to protect an app or program that contains sensitive information. 

When Does PrivateVPN’s Kill Switch Activate?

The PrivateVPN kill switch snaps into action whenever a connection drop is detected. We’ve all been there–happily downloading, uploading, and viewing files via our VPN connection when suddenly the warning message appears: “Connection Failed.” By the time you’ve seen this notification, the kill switch has already protected your data by disabling the internet connection. PrivateVPN has one of the fastest VPN kill switches on the market, so you’ll always know that your data is safe. 

Leading Causes of VPN Disconnections
Although VPNs are an excellent tool for keeping your web activity protected and your personal information private, other factors in your online environment may cause the VPN to disconnect. Your VPN may be impacted by many factors at any given time, causing you to have an interruption in service. Luckily, these factors are well known and easy to troubleshoot. When any of the following problems occur, a strong kill switch like PrivateVPN’s can really save the day. 

  • A conflict with your router, firewall, or software. If your VPN fails to connect or drops its connection and you can’t figure out why, the answer may lie in a conflict with your firewall, antivirus, or other software. It’s often necessary to add your VPN to a list of exceptions in your firewall or software settings so that the VPN will be recognized as safe. If your VPN has an auto-connect option, enable it so that you don’t have to manually reset it each time.
  • An unstable internet connection. Your VPN relies on a strong and speedy WiFi network to perform consistently. A high level of web traffic that slows down your WiFi speed or a network failure can cause your VPN to drop its connection. You may find that there are some locations in your home or work environment where the WiFi is weak or spotty–this can also cause your VPN to disconnect. 
  • A conflict with VPN protocol. There are two different types of VPN protocol: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP). TCPs are sometimes more consistent than UDPs. If you’re currently using a UDP, switching to TCP may solve your connection problem.
  • ISP interference. Your VPN can only work if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is running smoothly. If there seems to be an issue with your ISP, contact them directly to find out if there is an outage in your area. 
  • Switching between WiFi networks. When you disconnect from a WiFi network, your VPN also disconnects. You will most likely need to log in to your VPN to reconnect it when you switch to the other network.  
  • Turning off your device. When your computer is shut down or goes into sleep mode, the VPN disconnects. Depending on your VPN’s settings, it may reconnect automatically once the computer is turned back on, but you may have to reconnect it manually.

In all likelihood, you will encounter one or several of these issues at some point when using your VPN. PrivateVPN alerts you to disconnections right away with its robust kill switch, making it possible for you to troubleshoot and resume your protected internet activity right away.

How does a VPN Kill Switch Work?

When you use the internet without a VPN, everything you view and every bit of data is potentially discoverable to anyone else on your same network. This fact has in large part accounted for the high rate of security breaches that have plagued companies and their customers in recent years. A virtual private network (VPN) solves this problem by creating a private data tunnel for your internet use. When you connect to your VPN, your ISP is hidden, which keeps bad actors from knowing your location and viewing private data you might enter or view on a website. It also prevents anyone without permission from accessing your files and folders. 

Because the VPN is such an effective shield for your private web activity, it can be easy to become complacent about security once you have it enabled. But if you don’t have a kill switch set up, you are still vulnerable to hackers any time your VPN happens to disconnect. Your system will revert to your home ISP, revealing your location, and your private data will become discoverable. A kill switch, however, is the ultimate protection because it shuts down your ISP’s WiFi connection any time the VPN disconnects. Without the kill switch jumping into action, you would likely not realize you were no longer connected to the VPN and thus be unaware that you are using the web without protection.

Monitors Connection
A VPN kill switch stays vigilant, constantly scanning to find changes in your IP address or security status. Like a lighthouse keeper, it keeps a constant watch for unusual activity and acts automatically to protect you if it finds a disconnection.

Detects Drops
By scanning, the VPN kill switch instantly finds any instance of dropped connection. By the time you’ve noticed that the VPN has disconnected, the kill switch will have already shut down your internet connection to protect you. 

Halts Internet Access
Your kill switch will immediately cut off internet access once a dropped connection is detected. If not for this feature, you would likely continue browsing the internet without realizing that your VPN was no longer active. 

Restores VPN Connection
Once the VPN connection is reactivated, the kill switch will automatically restore your internet access. You’ll be able to return to web browsing and remote server access without taking any additional action.  

How To Test VPN Kill Switch

No matter which VPN you choose, you need to know how to test a VPN kill switch to make sure it’s actually working. First note that many VPNs require you to manually turn on the kill switch in your settings before the first use. Once you are certain that the kill switch is engaged, take the following steps:

  • Log on to your VPN and connect to a server. 
  • Engage in typical internet activity, such as web browsing, sending an email, or sharing files.
  • Open your firewall settings and select the option to block your VPN.
  • Attempt to continue your internet activity.

Is your internet disabled? If so, that means the kill switch is working. If not, you may need to adjust settings or contact customer support. Our customer service team will provide free remote desktop support to help you get up and running.

Get PrivateVPN Today

PrivateVPN is the premier solution for ultra-safe internet access. Our mission is to give you the most optimized and secure internet experience possible. There are many parties trying to get your data–whether for marketing, government surveillance, or nefarious acts such as theft. Our experts have created the VPN that they would trust with their own data. 

  • We never log your data. PrivateVPN is governed by Swedish privacy laws, which forbid the recording of data. We will know nothing about your online activity. We use military-grade encryption technology. PrivateVPN takes your privacy seriously, employing the strongest encryption in the market to protect your data and identity. We have not experienced a single data breach.

  • We make it easy to protect yourself. After you download PrivateVPN, you can connect with a single click whether you’re using a Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, or Linux. Our VPN app is easy and intuitive to use without any technical training. Our top-tier customer support is absolutely free. You can contact our customer support team by email or live chat at any time to request free remote desktop support.

  • Our bandwidth and speed are unlimited. When you choose PrivateVPN, you’ll never have to worry about sluggish downloads or buffering streaming content. We are proud of our record of 98% uptime!

  • You can protect all of your devices at once. PrivateVPN lets you connect up to 10 devices to unique IP addresses. With digital devices proliferating in our homes and places of work, the ability to protect many devices at once gives peace of mind. We support legal peer-to-peer networks. Our VPN is an excellent solution for lawful peer-to-peer file sharing. Transfer large files instantly and securely.

  • We offer global service for all of your needs. With 63 server locations worldwide, you can depend on the protection of PrivateVPN wherever you live or travel. You’ll never have to worry about geoblocking or government surveillance when you’re using our service. 

  • You can try us for free! We know that there are many companies providing VPNs. But we’re so sure you’ll love your experience using VPN that we’ll let you give it a try for 30 days at no cost. Email support@privatevpn.com to receive a gift code and get started!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Devices or Operating Systems Does The Kill Switch Work On?

The PrivateVPN kill switch works on MacOS, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android, Linux, Kodi, and Router.

Can You Specify Apps to Block With The Kill Switch?

PrivateVPN has a full-system kill switch, meaning that all applications are blocked if the VPN disconnects. We find that providing universal protection is the best way to ensure our clients’ privacy and security.

Why Does My VPN Lose Connection?

Even VPNs such as PrivateVPN, which has a record of 99.98% uptime, occasionally lose connection. There are many reasons why this might happen: a weak WiFi connection, firewall or other security settings, switching from one VPN to another, or problems with your VPN client server, internet service provider, or router.

Is PrivateVPN’s Kill Switch Automatic?

Yes. Any time the kill switch detects a dropped connection, it immediately halts your internet connection for your protection.

Should I Use a Free VPN Kill Switch?

Although there are a number of free VPNs that protect users from many security and privacy risks, free VPNs typically do not have kill switches. Free VPNs can also introduce additional problems such as malware. With their low monthly subscription costs, a VPN like PrivateVPN with a trustworthy kill switch is well worth the investment.

Are There Different Types of VPN Kill Switches?

Yes. Some kill switches protect your entire system, whereas others allow you to designate which applications to protect. For the best protection, choose a VPN with a system-level kill switch.