What is a VPN Kill Switch?

What is a VPN Kill Switch? (Updated for 2024)

Published on: October 29, 2023
Last Updated: October 29, 2023

What is a VPN Kill Switch? (Updated for 2024)

Published on: October 29, 2023
Last Updated: October 29, 2023


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What is a VPN kill switch and why is it used?

If, for whatever reason, you lose your connection to your VPN, then both your internet protocol and the things you do online are likely to become accessible to others.

You do not want something like this to occur since providing cybercriminals with accessibility to confidential information such as your private details could assist them in committing crimes such as fraudulent activity and other forms of online scamming.

It presents a dilemma, as VPNs are intended to increase security, not decrease it. Some VPN companies offer a kill switch, often termed a VPN kill switch.

A kill switch can instantly unplug your gadget from the Internet if you lose your VPN provider, ensuring your anonymity stays protected unless your VPN link is reinstated.

A kill switch safeguards your Internet address, position, and identity against inadvertent disclosure.

This article explains what a VPN kill switch is, how it operates, the various sorts of VPN kill switches, and how a VPN kill switch may secure you.

What is a VPN Kill Switch?

VPN Kill Switch

Your data will not be exposed to the public Internet if you use a sophisticated security measure known as a VPN Kill Switch.

The VPN Kill Switch disables your computer from establishing unauthorized networks. It actively monitors your remote server connections.

In the event of an accidental disconnect, the VPN Kill Switch will ban your gadget from accessing the Internet.

When you utilize Kill Switch, your website traffic is safer, which means your private data is protected from being unintentionally exposed.

It is the final layer of protection for your VPN. Your connection remains blocked until you either reestablish the SSL connection or deactivate the VPN Kill Switch.

Even the most reliable networks are susceptible to outages that expose your personal information; however, VPNs with a kill switch feature conceal your IP address and keep your data secret even when connectivity is lost.

A VPN kill switch gives users an additional degree of protection while they are connected to a virtual private network (VPN).

VPNs offer numerous advantages, including surfing the web securely and privately.

Still, even a brief connectivity lapse to the private network has the possibility of revealing your identity.

To guarantee your online privacy, it is crucial to have a failsafe that activates immediately if your VPN connection breaks.

How Does A VPN Kill Switch Work?

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A VPN kills switch functions by continuously checking your connection, identifying problems, restricting your access to the network, and recovering your connection as soon as it is safe.

Here is a more in-depth explanation of how VPN kill switches operate:


Your access to the VPN server is continuously monitored by a VPN kill switch, which checks for any changes in the condition or Ip ( internet protocol of the connection.


After that, the VPN kill switch will immediately identify any modifications that would render your VPN inoperable in its normal fashion.


Your virtual private network (VPN) kill switch will prevent access to the Internet on your device in one of two ways, depending on the sort of virtual private network (VPN) you are running (further on this a little bit later down).


Your virtual private network (VPN) has a kill switch that will automatically reconnect you to the Internet as quickly as the problem has been fixed, without requiring any action on your side.

The following occurs when connecting to a VPN server:

  • After connecting to a VPN server of your choosing, you can view a website using your web browser.
  • The VPN application on your device protects and conceals your outgoing information from your ISP (ISP).
  • The encrypted traffic is transmitted to the VPN server, where a new IP address is generated.
  • As soon as you connect to a VPN, your data is decrypted by the service and sent to the destination website.
  • The process then occurs in reverse, resulting in the website information being shown in the browser.

Different Kinds of VPN Kill Switches

It is the function of an Active Kill Switch Protocol to detect when your connection to the VPN service has been severed, communicate that fact to your device, and then use that knowledge to stop your device from connecting to untrusted networks.

Even though it doesn’t sound very menacing, a passive kill switch protocol offers a higher level of protection.

The VPN application does not wait to receive information from the VPN server; instead, as soon as it stops getting a signal from the server, it prohibits that device from delivering your traffic.

System Level Kill Switches

Kill switches at the system level are able to identify when there is an issue with your access to the VPN server that you are utilizing.

The kill switch then sends a signal to the system instructing it to prevent all traffic from exiting the device.

A system-level VPN kill switch prevents your Internet address from escaping into the Internet by preventing all traffic from leaving your device.

Application Level Kill Switches

This form of network lock is restricted to certain applications, such as torrent clients, email clients, broadcasting applications, etc.

The user has the ability to choose which applications must activate the kill switch in the occurrence of a VPN power interruption.

Some VPN services may disable this capability since it terminates the connection of a certain app.

This form of the kill switch is quite useful if, for instance, you wish to conceal your Internet address while browsing torrents.

A kill switch at the software level could prevent your software from updating to future versions.

However, one must guarantee that applications such as anti-virus, authentication systems, and anti-malware can be upgraded to newer versions.

Why You Want A Kill Switch In Your VPN

Whoever is frightened about their surfing data being exposed should investigate VPN services with kill switch capability.

While this may appear to include all VPN users, some are at greater risk than others.

For instance, if you are using a VPN to disguise your browsing history from authorities in a nation where web traffic is inspected and regulated, a kill switch might provide vital security in the event that your VPN connection breaks.

This could also apply to intel agencies, undercover officers, and whistleblowers.

The great majority of VPN users are not avoiding hostile countries; rather, they are safeguarding their internet privacy.

These users gain peace of mind from a kill switch in the event that their VPN connection fails.

Which VPN Providers Offer A Kill Switch?

You have the option to activate or disable your VPN’s kill switch at any time.

And although not every VPN service has a kill switch, a number of major providers offer this useful option.

If the VPN service you’ve chosen isn’t one of those listed above, you may learn whether or not it comes equipped with a kill switch by checking the configuration options of your app or conducting a speedy internet search.

What Causes VPN Connection Drops?

Your virtual private network (VPN) connection could unexpectedly drop for any number of different reasons.

For instance, you may lose your VPN connection if you switch between wifi networks. This is particularly widespread on public networks.

It is possible that you will not be immediately connected to your VPN if your device restarts without your knowledge.

You may even discover that unreliable Internet can temporarily impair your VPN connection.

By utilizing the Kill Switch function, you can be certain that if your VPN connection dies, you will not send unencrypted data for even a millisecond.

The Advantages Of A VPN Kill Switch

1. Avoid IP Leaks To Always Retain Online Privacy

If you have the Kill Switch feature enabled, it will keep a continual watch on your connectivity to the VPN server and will prohibit you from accessing the Internet unsecured.

Our Kill Switch will detect every unintentional VPN connection drop.

It will stop your connection to the Internet and reduce the risk of your IP address being leaked. Kill switch protects your online privacy.

2. Download Torrents Absolutely Anonymously

When it comes to activities like torrenting, having a dependable VPN connection and complete anonymity online are absolutely necessary components.

Disclosure of your actual IP address may result in notices of copyright violation, charges, and even legal action. How can we avoid this? Simply ensure that the Kill Switch is enabled!

3. Prevent Unsafe Connections

Trustworthy providers, such as Bitdefender VPN, will incorporate a kill switch as an additional layer of defense in their security architecture.

A kill switch prevents your device from reverting to its default Internet connection if the VPN connection dies unexpectedly.

Some suppliers offer whitelists that allow programs to circumvent the kill switch rules and continue to relay Internet traffic even without a VPN connection.

4. No Accidental Exposure

Internet-operating software and gadgets that link to it are not always reliable.

Secure your important personal information in the event that your VPN connection disappears using the Kill Switch feature, which disconnects you from the Internet if VPN security is lost.

5. Make Sure You’re Secure

If your government restricts your online rights and you use a VPN to circumvent the restrictions, losing VPN protection could be harmful.

With a Kill Switch, however, if your VPN connection drops, so does your internet connection, preserving your IP and data secret.

What Triggers The Kill-Switch?

There are numerous circumstances that can activate the kill switch.

These are the most widespread:

  • Disable the VPN: Many service providers enable the switch to activate if the VPN is disconnected. This can be annoying; however, the option may be deactivated in the options menu.
  • Internet connection loss: If your internet connection falls down, so does the VPN tunnel, causing the switch to activate.
  • Weak connection: If you are on a data connection or public wifi with a weak signal, lost packets may activate the switch.
  • Close the VPN Client Application: If you exit the VPN client application (or it breaks), the kill switch may still activate.

Activating The VPN Kill Switch On Different Platforms

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Your VPN’s kill switch will, in almost all circumstances, become operational immediately upon the successful installation of the software.

If it was disabled for whatever reason, you could reactivate it by heading to the app’s system settings and turning it back on.

This is the standard method for Windows, Linux, and Android; however, Apple OS has its own VPN system configuration where you must tick the box to activate the kill switch.

It is recommended that you always have your VPN kill switch on.

When you’re using a well-developed and reliable VPN service with a large number of servers, the disadvantages of having a kill switch are negligible, and it will keep you secure in all situations.

Why is It Important?

A kill switch is an indispensable security safeguard for VPN users.

Without a kill switch, your device will revert to its default (non-encrypted) online connection when the VPN loses its connection.

This indicates that your data and actions are no longer secure and could be viewed by third parties.

A kill switch is a security feature that cuts off your internet connection in the event that your virtual private network (VPN) becomes disconnected.

This guarantees that your information stays private and safe even if the VPN connection is broken or lost.

Combining this functionality with a double VPN is the greatest approach to secure your online privacy.

Risks Of Disconnecting From The VPN Without A Kill Switch?

The following are some of the possible outcomes that may occur if you disconnect from the VPN without first activating the kill switch:

  • Your ISP can view the websites you visit
  • Your ISP can monitor your P2P activity
  • Webpages can see your actual IP address
  • Everyone within the torrent swarm can view your real IP address
  • Advertising agencies can trace your whereabouts
  • Streaming sites can identify your true IP address.

Final Thoughts

Despite their misleading title, VPN automatic kill switches can protect your online identity as you browse. It is a requirement for every VPN worth its salt, and you must always keep it active.

We believe you now have an improved comprehension of VPN kill switches and their functionality.

It is essential, however, to select a VPN service with a kill switch that works effectively. Several service providers offer inadequately created tools that do not ensure customer privacy.

At home, you can test the dependability of a kill switch option provided by your selected VPN service provider.

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Written by Trevor Cooke

Trevor Cooke is an accomplished technology writer with a particular focus on privacy and security. He specializes in topics such as VPNs, encryption, and online anonymity. His articles have been published in a variety of respected technology publications, and he is known for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and accessible manner.

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