what is a kill switch?

What is a VPN kill switch?

Estimated reading time: 13 minutes

A Kill Switch is a software feature that stops Internet access and other Internet-dependent services if the connection to the VPN drops. This article will discuss three ways that Kill Switches can protect your computer’s privacy and security.

If you’re trying to get around censorship or location restrictions, use a kill switch; this will ensure that your traffic isn’t unintentionally leaking out.

A Kill Switch helps to prevent one of the major risks inherent in VPN use: that your Internet traffic will leak out from the VPN tunnel and be visible on your ISP’s network.

When you try to connect to the internet, your data travels across various channels before it reaches its destination. This journey can be intercepted at any stage by people who may want to harm you or spy on you. They can do this without revealing themselves, thanks to several vulnerabilities in the system. A kill switch is designed to stop that from happening.

If an attacker manages to intercept your data before it reaches its destination, they will only see it on their end, leading them into thinking that they are safe while actually revealing themselves on your end. All of this is made possible thanks to the kill switch mechanism on VPNs.

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It allows you to encrypt your internet connection, hide your IP address and keep yourself safe when you are online. That’s why VPNs must come with kill switches. They help ensure that you remain anonymous, even if your VPN fails to provide the protection it should for some reason.

Here are some of the most important things to know about kill switches:

Kill switch benefits

A kill switch acts as an emergency brake on a car. Even if all else fails, it can be used to stop a vehicle from going any further and causing damage. Similarly, the trigger of a kill switch could also be used as an emergency brake to take down a VPN connection should something untoward happen.

Kill switches and other emergency mechanisms like connection resets and shutdowns are not designed to prevent all data leakages. They should be treated as a last resort for extreme situations only.

Should your VPN fail to work as it should, those who suspect that you are using it should still be able to see what you’re doing. That’s why the kill switch mechanism must be designed in such a way that it can shut down the connection without giving anyone else access to your data – especially if you’re using an unsecured connection.

Read about what a VPN is and why it is important for your online privacy here

How a Kill Switch Works

The best way to think of a kill switch is as an emergency brake designed for VPNs. It is essentially a way to put a stop to all communication between your device and the server, thereby ensuring that no data leaks take place.

Basically, when you activate the kill switch mechanism, it puts your VPN connection in a temporary state of limbo. That’s why it’s also referred to as “disconnecting” or “disconnect-reconnecting”. In this state, you will be able to talk with other people but not receive any information from them. It’s only when the kill switch is turned off that you can start communicating with other people again.

There are different ways in which a kill switch works, depending on the VPN provider you are using. Some brands require you to press a button on your device. Others employ an automatic system that detects when the connection has been compromised and cuts it off instantly. There is also a variation in terms of how long you have to wait before you can resume communicating with other people when the kill switch is triggered. This can range from less than 10 seconds to several minutes or even hours.

Kill Switch vs Connection Reset

The difference between a kill switch and a connection reset is that the latter could be an optional feature on many VPNs. The former is essential to guarantee the safety of your data. However, it can be triggered too, without necessarily having to prove that there has been a breach of security. The only thing that needs to happen is for you to see something suspicious on your screen like, for instance, someone else’s IP address. If you notice this, you should start pushing the button on your device or pressing one of the switches next to it or simply disconnecting yourself from the network entirely.

You could also check out our article about Kill Switches torrent.

In case of a connection reset, you will have to be careful that it does not become a permanent one.

Kill Switches as a way of Testing VPNs

Kill switches can also be used as a way to test whether your VPN is working as it should. For instance, if you activate the disconnect-reconnect switch and your internet connection successfully re-establishes itself within the time-frame indicated by your VPN provider, then obviously everything is working as it should on their end. However, this isn’t always the case.

It’s also possible for the connection to re-establish itself when in reality the VPN has failed in some way, resulting in you inadvertently revealing your identity to someone else. If this happens, then you should disconnect yourself from the internet immediately. This will also help you to establish whether there was a problem on your end or not.

The Need for Kill Switches

A kill switch is necessary when using VPNs because they are designed with the main objective of protecting your identity and providing security online. However, they can also be quite convenient for controlling what types of information are being sent over the internet.

This is why your VPN must come with a kill switch feature. It ensures that you remain anonymous, even if there has been some kind of leak or attack on your VPN.

A kill switch can put an end to your online activities if the VPN connection fails, preventing you from ever giving away any data. This means that no one will be able to see what you are doing or see where you are located. The only thing they will be able to do is to see what you’re looking at, which isn’t very much if they don’t know what you were looking at in the first place.

Using a Kill Switch to Protect Your Privacy

A kill switch is a great way of stopping your data from leaking if something untoward happens. While it is not designed to be used as a regular workaround, you shouldn’t go without using one either. If your VPN fails, then you shouldn’t wait around for it to start working again before disconnecting yourself from the internet. It might never happen and your data could be compromised long before that. That’s why you should always have an emergency stop on the line just in case.

Kill switches can also help ensure that you remain anonymous when all else fails. You can use them if you’re connected to someone else’s network and you don’t want their friend to see what you’re doing. This is especially true if you are using an unsecured connection such as public Wi-Fi or cellular data.

Kill switches are not the same thing as connection resets, which can also be useful in certain situations. However, it’s imperative that the kill switch only works on your VPN and not anything else on your device, or your internet service provider (ISP). That means that it shouldn’t affect the information sent over the internet and it shouldn’t cause any problems when you are using other software or applications.

How to Use a Kill Switch

How you use a kill switch depends on the VPN brand that you are using. However, the most common way is for you to open your VPN app and then click or tap on the “disconnect” button. That will cut off all communication between your computer and the internet until you press “reconnect” at which point you will be able to talk with other people again. Remember that this is not an option that requires much precision because it can be triggered too easily.

Kill switches are typically found in the settings section of your VPN app. They are usually located in a drop-down menu, where you can set the amount of time that passes before you begin the disconnection process. By default, this is usually between 10 and 60 seconds. You can choose a longer time if you want to be extra careful or a shorter one if you need to disconnect as soon as possible.

Importance of Using a Kill Switch

Using a kill switch is an important safety measure for anyone who uses VPNs. Even though it only works when there has been some kind of connectivity issue, so you can’t use it as a simple way to protect your identity, it is still extremely useful.

Kill switches are perfect for avoiding breaches of security, which is the whole point of having a VPN. That’s why this feature should never be an afterthought and should always be included in your VPN purchase. It will allow you to quickly and easily disconnect yourself from the internet, which is what you need most right before your privacy is compromised.

Kill Switches and Torrenting

Kill switches can also be very useful for torrent users, especially when downloading movies or other files that exceed several gigabytes in size. This is because torrenting requires a lot of bandwidth and it is easy to download too much data or accidentally open an illegal file that doesn’t exist on the internet anymore. When that happens, your bandwidth is suddenly being sucked away, leaving you with less than what you need to continue torrenting.

When the bandwidth suddenly stops flowing, the download will stop automatically because it’s missing data. The torrent client will not waste any more of your time or energy so it will disconnect itself from the network entirely. This can suddenly stop you from continuing to download anything else, which defeats the whole purpose of using a VPN in the first place. It also means that there is no way for anyone to see what you are doing online either.

However, if you use a kill switch then your VPN connection will be cut off long before the download stops working. This will mean that you won’t have any problem with your torrenting at all. In addition, if you stop torrenting before the download is complete, it will give you a chance to analyze exactly what you downloaded. You can then decide whether or not to keep it or delete it.

That way, there is no harm done and your data is still protected with the VPN. That also means that if someone steals your internet connection, they won’t be able to figure out what you’re downloading and they won’t be able to prevent you from finishing what you were working on. Think of this as a fail-safe in case something happens unexpectedly.

This is why it’s very important to know how to use a kill switch. It will give you the necessary security that you need every day. So, don’t wait until there is a problem before you turn it on. As long as you are aware of this feature, then it should never be an issue again.

Top VPNs with Kill Switch Feature

Here are the top VPNs that offer kill switches along with other features to help you decide which is best for you:

  • ExpressVPN – ExpressVPN is one of the most popular and reliable VPNs around, which makes it the perfect choice for those who want to use a kill switch. This feature can be used with both OpenVPN and the IKEv2 protocol, making it compatible with pretty much all devices and operating systems. It’s easy to set up and simple to operate as well. The only slight downfalls are that there is currently no kill switch available for use on iOS devices, nor does this feature work on Windows 8 or 10.
  • TunnelBear – If you’re looking for an extremely simple VPN that is very easy to use, then TunnelBear would be a good choice. There are no extra features here, but it will work well for just about anyone who just needs to connect their devices to the internet with security. The kill switch has two settings: one that you can choose yourself and another one that is random which means you won’t know when it will activate.
  • NordVPN – NordVPN is another favorite among users because it has so many different settings and options available. This allows you to customize how your VPN works so that it can fit perfectly into your busy lifestyle. You can choose the kill switch and you can even control how it works and what happens when you activate it. Of course, all of this comes with a higher price tag than most VPNs so keep that in mind if it’s something you might want to use.
  • Private Internet Access – PIA is another one of those VPNs that is ideal for those who are already familiar with using a kill switch. This is because the company’s main focus is using this feature as often as possible. Even though there are some other settings on offer, the option to use a kill switch comes first on their menu screen. This is great because it means that users won’t be confused about how it works or when they need to use it. The only downside is that there aren’t any apps available for Windows, so you may need to consider turning off the kill switch option while using your computer.
  • VPN Unlimited – VPN Unlimited offers all the basics that you would expect to get with a VPN, but there are some extra features that will help you to get what you want out of this one. One of these is the kill switch feature which can be activated via the settings screen on each device. It comes with three random modes so you can choose which one fits your needs best. It is also easy to use with no extra options to worry about, so it’s a nice choice for anyone who is new to this kind of software and wants something simple and inexpensive.
  • IPVanish – Among all of the VPNs listed here, IPVanish is the only one that offers a remote kill switch option. This means that you can start this feature from anywhere, just by using your account information. There is no need to be at home or on the same network as your computer or device. You will be able to turn it on whether you are at work or on vacation and you can even use it on multiple devices at the same time.


A kill switch is a useful feature that can help you to keep your data secure and free from any extra scrutiny. It’s far more convenient than connecting and disconnecting manually and it applies to many different situations. This is because your VPN app will automatically disconnect you after a certain amount of time, so you should also learn how to use a kill switch. But don’t think about it as something that takes the place of other precautionary measures, such as using software like HMA! Pro VPN Elite VPN for Windows or setting up a firewall. It’s simply a backup plan for when things go wrong.

But remember that there are risks involved when using a VPN. If you’re connecting to the internet through an unsecured connection such as public Wi-Fi or cellular data, then it would be wise to use extra precautions such as the ones we mentioned above. This is because these types of connections are more susceptible to being hacked, monitored, and tracked.

You should also pay attention if you have sensitive data that needs to remain private while you are on the internet. This includes things like credit card numbers, passport information, bank account information, and more. Instead of entering all of this data online, you should try to find a way to use the internet more safely. For example, you can ask a credit card company or bank for an alternative method of contact, such as a telephone number. That way your information is kept private from everyone except those you want to have it.

In addition to making yourself sound less suspicious online, using a VPN will also give you more anonymity on the web. This means that if anyone tries to track your browsing habits or gain access to your contacts, personal information, and everything else along those lines then they will have a much harder time doing so.

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