One of the best and often overlooked features of a VPN is a Kill Switch. It’s a function where it makes sure you will never accidentally send your data over an unsecured internet connection.
If you are concern about your security (and you should), especially if you are downloading a torrent, a kill switch is a feature that you should be looking for when you are shopping for a VPN.
Today, we will take about how important it is, and which VPN with Kill switch feature is the best for your buck.
Kill switch works by preventing your IP address exposed when your connection drops, or you experience an intermittent connection with your VPN provider. If this happens, not only your IP is exposed, but your entire browsing profile will be grabbed by companies who profit from users’ data.
And the most dangerous part of it, without this kill switch, you wouldn’t even know it happened.
To prevent this from happening, VPN providers offer the kill switch feature. It works by cutting your connection when your internet or your VPN connection fails.
Causes for Disconnections
The reason that VPN is more popular now than before is that they are very reliable, though their connection drops sometimes which frustrates some users.
The three reasons for a lost connection are:
- Firewall or router settings – Firewall, antivirus or even your anti-spyware programs can affect your connection. To test, disable these programs and try to connect again, if your VPN connection stabilizes, that means you need to add your VPN network as an exception.
- VPN protocol -ExpressVPN mentioned that connections are more stable when you run it on TCP protocol instead of default UDP. If you are experiencing a drop, you should check this in your settings.
- Poor signal strength -Since VPN services allow its users to connect to remote servers, its easy to think that your WiFi is not important. The strength of your WiFi connection will affect your VPN connection. A low signal will cause your connection to drop, heavy usage of the internet like on coffee shops, airports and busy public WiFi, all of these can make your connection unstable.
VPN Networks That Offer Kill Switches
Is the Kill Switch feature active automatically?
Not always the case, some VPN providers will have their settings that you have to manually activate. While some, like CyberGhost and ExpressVPN (called Network Lock), are already set up for you.
Impact of VPN Network Reliability Issues
Connection drops will severely impact users who use their VPN for downloads, P2p, and people who are using their VPN for a long amount of time. They may be not aware that their connection drops, and without a kill switch or even activated, their IP address will be open for tracking over a public connection.
To lower this risk, users usually look for a VPN with a kill switch feature.
Other Ways to Protect Against Connections Drops
Aside from kill switches, there is 3rd party software that can protect your privacy and security in case your connection drops. The most popular are VPNetMon and VPN Watcher.
VPNetMon will prevent unsecured connections in case your VPN slows down. This free 3rd party program will close any applications you have when your connection drops. Users like this program because it doesn’t shut off your internet connection, it just closes the program that you are currently using.
VPN Watcher is a VPN connection monitoring tool, it prevents any applications from sending any data to a network when your VPN connection fails. It is priced at $9.95.
VPN with Kill Switch Feature
They call it Network Lock, it is available in desktop for Windows and Mac.
Network Lock is already enabled by default, though there’s a way to change it in ExpressVPN software. From Options > General > Second section that says Network Lock > checkbox labeled Network Lock
IPVanish also offer a kill switch feature. Just open your IPVanish software > Settings > Connection > Under VPN section > checkbox for Kill Switch.
NordVPN kill switch option can shut down applications if you specify whenever your VPN connections drop. In the app version, the app will not be able to communicate across unsecured internet connection.
Kill switch is not enabled by default, to enable it from Settings > General > It will show you different options including Kill Switch > toggle the slider to turn it ON or OFF. Below, you can add different applications that would be terminated in case of connection issues.
VyprVPN has detailed settings that will let you customize to your liking. From Settings > Connection Tab > labeled as Kill Switch. There is a checkbox that will stop all internet traffic when your connection has failed, which I urge you to enable.
Under the checkbox, there are two options, App and System. The ap means that the kill switch will run and prevent you from using the internet until you connect to the VPN server. The system means that the kill switch is running all the time even if you are not using VyprVPN software.
PureVPN has an easy to use kill switch, open the PureVPN software > Settings > Advance Option > look for section Internet Kill Switch.
There are three checkboxes, Activate Internet Kill Switch, Auto-redial-if your VPN connection drops, and Stop the Internet even if I disconnect the VPN manually. We suggest you enable the first checkbox.
Ivacy‘s kill switch is disabled by default, to enable it look for Settings > Connections > IKEV > toggle the option to enable Kill Switch.
What I like about CyberGhost is that they already have this feature enabled by default.
While different users use VPN services for a different reason, we all value one thing and that is privacy. When your internet connection fails, your IP address will be exposed to trackers and hackers. This is why your VPN network reliability should be checked.
People who need a constant connection, whether for downloading torrents or identity protection, choosing a VPN with Kill Switch feature is important.
The good thing is, many of today’s VPN provider knows about this need and mostly offer the kill switch feature bundled with the price.