What is Kill Switch and Which VPNs Have Kill Switch?
Undoubtedly, there are a lot of VPNs available today, but let’s face it, no service is perfect. Even the most stable and reliable VPN connection can drop once in a while. It is a no-brainer that when you get disconnected to your VPN, you get exposed to a range of threats online. Your internet service provider (ISP) can record your internet activities, and hackers can attempt to steal your information. Thus, one quality that makes a VPN service better than the other is the presence of a kill switch. You might have heard of it various times before, but if you are not sure what it exactly means, read this article to find out.
What is a Kill Switch, Anyway?
You are accessing certain websites, for instance, and your VPN connection drops. This would convert your IP address to the default public IP address provided by your ISP. What’s next? Your internet activities will be exposed and can be easily tracked. What’s even worse? More often than not, you might not even detect a drop in the VPN connection, and therefore, you might continue to access the internet without any security. This is when a VPN kill switch comes to your rescue and keeps you protected. So how does a kill switch work? Basically, it cuts your connection to the internet almost instantly when your VPN connection fails.
How Does a Kill Switch Work?
Kill switch keeps monitoring your internet connection constantly and keeps a tab on your IP address. It blocks your computer from accessing the internet and drops your connection as soon as it notices a change in your IP connection. This means that you will not be allowed to access the internet until the VPN connection is re-established, or you have exited the VPN software.
Does The VPN Kill Switch Activate Automatically?
Well, there is no straight answer to this question. Ideally, a VPN kill switch is useful only when it gets activated automatically. However, a lot of VPN service providers do not provide this facility, and in such cases, you would need to activate the feature manually by visiting the app’s settings. That said, you must have got a clear idea of the basic working of a kill switch by now.
This brings us to the next important question – if a kill switch is so important, which VPNs have them?
Well, let’s find out!
Here is a list of VPNs that come equipped with a kill switch and keep you protected throughout:
Express VPN is undoubtedly one of the best VPNs that we have with us today. The VPN is committed to maintaining your privacy and comes equipped with all the latest features including a kill switch, split tunneling, 256-bit AES, leak protection and so on. The service allows you to choose from 148 servers located in 94 countries and keeps you protected from prying eyes on the go.
NordVPN is another amazing VPN service that comes with an automatic kill switch and keeps you protected on the internet even when your VPN connection drops out.
NordVPN makes use of three different kill switch versions. It has a PC version of the Kill Switch for Mac and Windows. The mobile version is geared towards iOS and IKEv2 version of the Mac app. Its third version is called ‘Always-on VPN’ and is made for Android 7.0 or higher.
Equipped with an automatic kill switch, the CyberGhost VPN will make sure that your online identity is not revealed even when the VPN connection fails for any reason whatsoever. In addition to providing you with the kill switch which activates itself automatically whenever the service detects a change in the IP address, the VPN also comes with additional features that aim to keep you private and secure.
These include DNS and IP leak protection, 256-bit AES encryption and the use of the latest protocols like OpenVPN, PPTP, and L2TP-IPsec.
Windscribe goes a way ahead, and instead of providing a kill switch, the service makes use of a Firewall which comes inbuilt with its Mac and Windows applications. The firewall works by blocking all connectivity outside of the secure tunnel.
It is worth mentioning here that having a kill switch is just a reactive measure when the connection drops. But this is not the case with a firewall which blocks ALL connectivity outside of the tunnel. Thus, irrespective of whether the VPN connection drops or not, you remain secure as the traffic outside the tunnel is blocked.
In spite of being a free service, TunnelBear does not disappoint you at any point in time. Further, it also comes equipped with a kill switch which is too much to get from a free service.
Kill switch feature is called Vigilant in TunnelBear. The feature blocks all the unsecured traffic as soon as the connection drops, and unblocks the traffic only when the VPN is connected back to the server.
However, this feature is not activated automatically. You would need to activate it manually by going to the General section under the preferences menu. Once you are there, simply check the box next to Vigilant and you are done.
That said, if one of your main purposes behind using a VPN is staying safe on the internet, it is highly recommended to choose a service which comes with a kill switch. The presence of a kill switch ensures that your internet activities are not exposed even when the connection to VPN drops off.
We hope this article would have helped you in choosing the right VPN with a kill switch. So which one is your favorite pick? Do let us know in the comments below!