When it comes to private Internet access and security, a VPN kill switch is a critical feature within a VPN service. The VPN kill switch is one of three of the most important features a consumer should look for when subscribing to a VPN service. VPN kill switch, which is also commonly known as an Internet kill switch, is a feature that essentially shuts down your connection to a network that is being compromised by a hacker or spy. It also makes sure that your Internet access and actual or ‘true IP address’ is never exposed online in the event that your VPN services fail.
How Do They Work?
The kill switch feature is written into the VPN software that you subscribe to. Note, not all VPN service providers provide this feature. It’s important to do your research before subscribing to a VPN service. We will get into the products and service providers that include this feature in their software later in this article. When enabled, the kill switch will make sure your IP address isn’t exposed due to a dropped connection in your VPN server; it does this by killing your Internet connection.
The kill switch constantly monitors your Internet connection for any change in IP address. If the kill switch detects any change it will instantly stop your computer by using the administrator privileges and stops the user from connecting to the internet until the VPN connection can be restored. This feature can react instantaneously in order to give you the highest level of protection available.
What Would Happen If You Did Not Have This Feature within Your VPN Software?
If the feature is either not included in the software or simply disabled, in the event the VPN server goes down, your computer will automatically connect to the Internet through your actual connection and it will expose your computers actual location to all websites you are accessing at that time. It also would give a hacker or spy better access to your computer and personal data.
How Would I Know If My VPN Software Goes Down?
You don’t, this is the scary part. Without a kill switch feature, you are not informed and potentially at risk.
How Reliable Are VPN Networks?
This really depends on the service provider. The kill switch comes last in the line of security. Every VPN service claims to have the fastest speeds and the lowest number of dropped connections. Inevitably it does come down to price, the more you pay with these types of services, the more reliable of a service. The following companies have claimed to have 99.99% uptime are:
- NordVPN offers 918 worldwide server locations in 57 countries
- They also claim to have ‘lightning speed’
- And they carry the Automatic Kill Switch feature
- Offers no third-party servers (they manage their own servers)
- Claim they have ‘the world’s fastest VPN’
- They also have 200,000 global IPs in 700+ locations
- Offers 145+ locations
- Claims to be ‘ultra-secure and ultra-fast’
- Has an advanced encryption system and says this system is ‘used by security experts worldwide’
- Offer 750+ servers in 141 countries
- Will give you access to all servers no matter which package the subscriber chooses
5. Total VPN
- Offers 30 locations
What Types of Kill Switches Are There?
System Level Kill Switch – This is the simplest and most popular kill switch. With this type of kill switch, the switch will completely block the Internet connection to the entire computer until the VPN connection is restored or by resetting the network adapter. This type of switch’s setup is relatively easy; it is just a matter of checking a box on the VPN settings screen.
Application Level kill switch – This type of switch is a little more customized as it allows the user to choose specific applications that the user would like to kill when the kill switch notices any change in IP address or when the VPN service goes down. This is a much more flexible type of switch due to the custom settings allowed.
When Are Kill Switches a Must?
- Torrent users
- Those worried about their personal data being breached
- Activists (people who want to stay anonymous)
- Individuals who work out of the office but still require access to their business network
- Individuals holding confidential documents
How Do I Know If My VPN Service Has a Kill Switch?
Generally, this is pretty easy; most VPN service providers list the kill switch in their features tab due to the kill switch being such an attractive add-on to their service. If it is not listed there, it probably doesn’t have one but you can also look at their FAQ page or contact their customer service team. Most VPN Service providers have 24/7 customer service. All the companies listed earlier in this article have kill switch as well as around the clock assistance.
Which VPN Service Provider Who Has a Kill Switch Feature Is Suggested?
ExpressVPN has by far been the most top recommended VPN service provider. They are a little more expensive; however, they have the best reputation. ExpressVPN is also the most popular on the market due to the number of countries they cover, their 99.99% uptime reporting, their speed, and their locations. They are in general known for their excellent security services. They also do not log their user activities. ExpressVPN uses the Internet kill switch. This is enabled by default but you are also free to deactivate it if required. This ensures that all traffic can go through the VPN tunnel.
To close off, the kill switch feature within VPN Services essential. Most popular VPN service providers have it. Without the kill switch feature having a VPN service is almost pointless. It’s not meant for individuals who only use the VPN service to unlock Geo-restrictions; however, if the purpose of the VPN is to hide the users IP address not using a kill switch could compromise the user’s intent. Ensure before choosing a VPN service provider that you first look to see if they have this feature and if they don’t it would be wise to look at one of the more popular providers for access to this feature.