What is a VPN Kill Switch and Why You Need One

What is VPN kill switch and Do You Need One?

VPNs are becoming popular nowadays. You may have seen there are multiple different VPN services providers in the market as everyone is now getting more concerned about their privacy in this new world of technology. People want to keep their data, messaging, and web history private so that no third party can get access to it. One way to do so is through an extraordinary feature that goes by the name of a Kill Switch. But what is? What does it do? Find out below.

What is a VPN Kill Switch and Why You Need One

Virtual Private Networks – The What, Why, and How

A Virtual Private Network is an internet tool that creates a more secure and private connection for your web surfing over the internet. It hides your current location and provides you a virtual location from the VPN servers in various parts of the world.

Once you connect, and you have selected your virtual location, your internet identity .i.e., I.P address, will be changed. You’ll take on an IP address based on where the selected server is located. That way, you’ll appear to be browsing the web from that region instead of your physical one.

Why and How?

You can use VPNs for several tasks. Most people use VPNs to protect their privacy by hiding their real identity. However, others use them for various purposes, such as accessing geographically blocked websites or bypassing internet censorship.

The VPN follows the client-server architecture. The data is first transferred to a point in the VPN network, then the VPN client performs the encryption of your data, and it is forwarded through the Internet to the VPN server, which decrypts your data and then it is sent to your target website or IP address.

There are various methods that a VPN uses to encrypt your data. Data travels through a secure tunnel, which assures you the protection of your data, and no one can interrupt your data in between.

The VPN servers are hosted in different countries with various locations by their VPN providers, which the user can choose to connect with the location of his/her choice.

Advantages of Using a VPN:

A VPN offers several advantages to its users. Some of the benefits are listed below.

  • Secure connection
  • Extra privacy
  • Safe browsing
  • No restrictions
  • VPN Kill Switch

VPN KILL SWITCH – An Extra Feature for Extra Privacy

Imagine, you are surfing online with an active VPN connection, and suddenly your VPN server faces some issues, and VPN got disconnected; the same applies if you have connection issues.

At this point, you are now vulnerable as your protective VPN layer is no more there to keep your privacy secured. You might not even be aware that your VPN connection dropped. In this scenario, your transmitted data is at risk.

To overcome this problem, VPN providers came up with a new solution named “Kill Switch.” The kill switch disconnects you from the internet connection when your VPN faces any problem in connectivity due to any reason moreover, you could not be able to reach the VPN server.

What a VPN Kill Switch Actually Is?

A kill switch is a feature VPN providers add to ensure their users enhanced privacy. Kill switch protects your identity from being revealed. It can help you in various conditions where your VPN connectivity is down, or maybe you are facing issues due to your internet connection.

When you are in all this scenario, the kill-switch comes to save you. A kill switch cuts off your connection when anything goes wrong with your VPN or the Internet.

Possible Reasons for Your Disconnections

There are a lot of good VPN providers who advertise as they are the best. Yes, some of them are really good at providing their services and keeping the promises, but they could also face problems for some time, or on the other hand, the problems can arise at the user’s end.

  • Router or firewall settings: The antivirus you are using or your firewall may mess up with the VPN, which may cause the connection to drop. To test the actual problem, disable these functions, and try reconnecting to the VPN.  
  • VPN protocol: Some VPNs perform better when they run on the TCP protocol. There is a higher chance of the VPN connection dropping when this protocol is in use. 
  • Your signal strength: As you are connected to a VPN server through your internet connection. If the signals get weaker “Metro line, elevator” it will directly affect your VPN connectivity resulting in a poor connection, or in some cases, you even lose your connection.

Types of Kill Switch

There are two types for kill switches for a VPN user:

  • System Kill Switch: It completely cuts off the connection from the internet until the problem with your VPN or internet connectivity is resolved. You can turn it on or off easily. You can navigate to your VPN settings where you can enable or disable it.
  • Application Kill Switch: You can select different applications that you want to prevent from using your internet if the Internet drops “torrent apps, messaging apps.” This switch is also referred to as App Killers

Why Do You Need a Kill Switch?

The VPN kill switch is not for everyone, especially if you are an ordinary VPN user. The VPN switch becomes essential for you to when:

  • Transferring Sensitive Data: If you are a journalist, blogger, whistleblower, or someone who wants to ensure that your privacy is never compromised in between your data transfer process. Then the kill switch will surely help you.
  • Using a Public Network: A public network is never secure enough; it can lead to various privacy leaks. So, you must use a kill switch in a VPN when you connect to a public place Wi-Fi such as an airport or any restaurant’s Wi-Fi.
  • Your geo-location privacy: If you are very conscious about their location privacy and you do not want to uncover your real location, then kill switch is a must for you.

VPN Connection without a kill switch

Should You Enable It Manually?

In most VPN applications, the kill switch is enabled by default. However, I highly recommend you check it manually by going to the app settings. If it is not enabled there, then you can activate it according to your usage.

Some VPN applications provide the user with the dialogue box to choose in what condition the kill switch should work? As it offers two types of kill switches, system-level kill switch and application-level kill switch as described above. 

Summarizing It All

A VPN kill switch is a perfect way to protect your privacy. That’s all you need to know about VPNs and kill switches that will help you in today’s cyber world. In today’s online world, anybody could be after your personal data. They wait for the moment your VPN connection drops and they strike. 

You will find many providers on the market, but you should choose one suitable for you and of course, with a kill switch. If you have any questions about which VPNs adopt this technology, please share them in the comments below.

Tania Becker

Tania's work at Whatismyip.network revolves around covering the latest cybersecurity news. She has also written several guides on how to bypass regional restrictions.


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