vpn kill switch

What Is A VPN Kill Switch And Why Should You Care?

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Last Updated on May 15, 2021 by Calvin C.

One of the standard features of any premium VPN is a kill switch. In this article, we look closely at what a VPN kill switch is and why you need it every time you use a VPN.

Background of a VPN kill switch

If you are wondering whether a kill switch is important or not in a VPN, then the short answer is a big YES.

In this age of increased awareness of the important of internet privacy and security, a kill switch is one feature in a VPN that gives you the protection you need.

  • By definition, a kill switch is a feature found in a VPN that automatically disconnects you from the internet when there is any disturbance of the VPN connection.

That way, when there is termination of an internet connection, unencrypted traffic is not exposed to cybercriminals and other interested parties.

Data is only send over the internet when the VPN is enabled.

vpn kill switch

How does it work?

A kill switch works just like a trip wire and constantly checks if the VPN connection is intact.

If there is any slight disruption of the connection, the kill switch immediately terminates the internet connection until the VPN integrity is restored.

What are the causes of disconnections?

There are several things that can trigger a kill switch and disconnect your internet connection.

Unstable internet

A weak WiFi signal can result in activation of a kill switch, thus cause disconnection of the internet.

Transition from WiFi to mobile network does not cause activation of a kill switch, but moving from one hotspot to another does.

Antivirus and firewall

Software on your device may block a VPN from establishing a connection.

Make sure you add the VPN you are using to your firewall as an exception.

In some cases, auto-updates on your device can cause it to reboot and cut off a VPN network.

VPN server failure

In some cases a VPN server may fail and this is common if you use a cheap VPN service.

Servers may be sabotaged by cybercriminals and this interrupts a VPN connection.

Types of VPN kill switches

There are two types of kill switches for VPNs and they vary depending on how the connection integrity is affected.

Of the two types, a passive kill switch is more secure than an active kill switch.

Active kill switch

This type of kill switch is usually by VPNs that have few VPN servers.

When there is a disruption of a VPN connection, a signal has to come from the server to activate the kill switch.

Obviously, this arrangement gives rise to a lag leading to risk of data being transferred over an unsecured network before the kill switch is activated.

Passive kill switch

In a passive kill switch, the VPN stops sending traffic immediately when there is a disconnection without waiting for a signal from the VPN server.

This is more secure as there is no lag between the disruption of a connection and the activation of the kill switch.

Premium VPNs like NordVPN use this type of kill switch.

You may not even notice that a kill switch has been activated because it happens very fast.

Which VPNs have a kill switch?

The following premium VPN services have a kill switch that is immediately activated when a VPN connection is terminated.

1. NordVPN – Overall best VPN

  • 68% off a 2-year plan
  • Has a kill switch
  • Antimalware
  • Adblock
  • 30-day money-back guarantee and free-trial
  • Best security features

Read full review

2. ExpressVPN – Best for speed

  • Fastest VPN
  • Has a kill switch
  • 35% off a 1-year plan
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Read full review

3. Surfshark VPN – Low cost VPN

  • Low cost VPN
  • Has a kill switch
  • 81% off a 2-year plan
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Conclusion

A kill switch is necessary to safeguard your privacy by ensuring that your traffic always passes through a VPN.

That is why it’s risky to work with sensitive data online while using a VPN like DroidVPN because it has no kill switch.

Make sure the kill switch is on every time you use a VPN online.

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Tech writer and VPN expert. DIY enthusiast and loves anything to do with space science.

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