What is an Internet Kill Switch and Why Do You Need One?

We are spoiled for choice when it comes to quality VPN providers to choose from but while many are good and others are pretty average, there is absolutely none that can claim to be perfect. Many will be fast, have a ton of servers to choose from while others might offer slightly less in that regard but have excellent features such as a kill switch. It is that internet kill switch feature that we are going to be talking about and this is a feature that many customers want in their VPN to increase reliability.

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The VPN Kill Switch is an essential privacy feature

When using a VPN, if at any time the connection drops, your computer will instantly revert to your original connection from your public IP address. As you will know, this will mean that your IP is no longer anonymous and your activity can be traced back to your computer. The worst part is that you might not even know that this has happened and will continue to surf believing that your IP address is being protected.

To prevent this from happening, many of the best VPN providers will have a feature in their software called a VPN kill switch. This switch feature will immediately cut off your connection to the internet whenever the VPN connection drops before your usual connection comes into play.

So just how important is this feature? We will take you through that in the F.A.Q below.

What is the Reliability of VPNs in General?

This question will always depend heavily on the VPN provider you choose to go with. Many of the top-performing VPN providers will own their entire network of servers around the world and will be able to offer a better guarantee of a consistent and quality connection. Those that simply rent or share servers are not going to be able to offer the same.

What are the Main Causes of VPN Disconnections?

Reliability is the main reason for the popularity of the above VPN providers but even they can experience disconnections from time to time. Usually, there are three main reasons for these disconnections:

  • Firewall/Router Settings: Settings within your firewall, antivirus, and router can sometimes be a cause for your connection to drop. If you do suffer from regular disconnections it would be a good idea to try to connect with your firewall and antivirus software turned off. If it instantly better, go into those programs and add the VPN network you are using as an exception.
  • Protocol Choice: Sometimes disconnections can be caused simply because of the protocol you have chosen to use within your VPN client. You are usually given a choice of using TCP or UDP, so switch between them to establish which works best for you.
  • Signal Strength: It would be easy to assume that connections drop because of the strength of the VPN connection but sometimes it can be the connection in your home that is responsible. If you have a weak WiFi signal, there is a good chance you will experience a lot of data loss and potential disconnections.

What VPN Providers Have a VPN Kill Switch?

Among the best VPN providers that we know own their network includes the following:

Best All Round 1 ExpressVPN
9.8
More details + 70% of our followers choose ExpressVPN
100% money-back guarantee, no questions asked
ExpressVPN review: Excellent!
ExpressVPN is a complete VPN solution that meets diverse needs. It is suitable for all those who need an easy-to-use VPN to watch streaming TV and download torrents on all their devices without limits. You'll get what you pay for!
Privacy and security
10
Features
10
Speed and Performance
10
Value for money
9
Ease of use
10
PROS:
  • High-speed connection
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Wide selection of countries
  • Military grade encryption
  • Zero logs
  • User-friendly setup and use
  • Unlimited streaming and torrenting
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Exclusive deal: 3 months free!
CONS:
  • Few settings
  • No NAT firewall
  • No IP binding
Best Value 2 NordVPN
9.6
Check latest pricing Go to NordVPN
Read full review
More details + Money-back guarantee available, but with conditions
NordVPN Review: Excellent
NordVPN is a young VPN with a lot of potential. It is suitable for all those who need an easy-to-use and secure VPN: To fight censorship, to watch streaming TV and to download torrents and Peer to Peer. Subscribe for 1 or 2 years to get the best price.
Privacy and security
9
Features
8
Speed and Performance
8
Value for money
10
Ease of use
10
PROS:
  • High speed connection
  • NAT Firewall
  • Native app for iPhone and Android
  • 6 simultaneous devices
  • User friendly
  • No log policy and torrent friendly
CONS:
  • Monthly subscription is too expensive
  • Manual setup only for PPTP/L2TP
User Friendly 3 Private Internet Access Review
9.4
Check latest pricing Go to PIA
Read full review
Private Internet Access review: Good
PIA is a reliable and affordable VPN solution. It is suitable for all those who need an easy-to-use VPN to surf anonymously, watch streaming TV and download torrents on all their devices without limits. And the
Value for money
9
Ease of use
8
Accessibility
9
Supported devices
8
Covered countries
7
VPN for IOS
9
VPN for Android
9
PROS:
  • High speed connection
  • Native app for iPhone and Android
  • P2P and BitTorrent allowed, with no logs
  • SOCKS 5 proxy included
CONS:
  • Few covered countries
  • Interface could be better
4 CyberGhost VPN
9.2
More details + Money-back guarantee available, but with conditions
CyberGhost Review: Good
CyberGhost is a reliable VPN solution, focused on your privacy. It is suitable for all those who need an easy-to-use VPN to surf and torrent anonymously and watch streaming TV without limits. Multi login package is a bit expensive.
Privacy and security
10
Features
9
Speed and Performance
10
Value for money
9
Ease of use
10
PROS:
  • High speed
  • Native apps for iPhone and Android
  • P2P and BitTorrent allowed, with no logs
  • User friendly
CONS:
  • No IPv6 leak protection
  • No built-in firewall (NAT firewall)
  • No IP binding
5 Surfshark VPN
9
More details + Money-back guarantee available, but with conditions
Value for money
9
Ease of use
10
Accessibility
8
Supported devices
10
Covered countries
9
PROS:
  • High-speed
  • User-friendly
  • No logs
  • Torrent-friendly
  • Compatible with US Netflix
  • Affordable
CONS:
  • Newcomer
  • No IP leak protection settings

Any VPN provider that considers itself among the best will offer an internet kill switch feature as part of their service.

Do I Need to Activate the Kill Switch?

It will depend on whether or not the VPN provider automatically activates the VPN kill switch or not. Some will and some will not so it is important to make sure you check before connecting.

Many will require you to go into the settings to customize how you want the internet kill switch to work whereas others will just turn it on automatically every time you connect to their network.

Who Would Suffer Most With No Kill Switch?

Anyone that uses a VPN but is not always in front of their computer is likely to suffer the most. This would be people that are using a VPN to download torrents as they are likely to just leave their computer running while the downloads take place. If the connection dropped, their computer will revert to its original connection and they will not even know about it.

So if you are that person, you really should consider getting a VPN that has a kill switch, especially now that you know what is a kill switch.

If you are the type of person that is always at the computer when using a VPN, a kill switch might not be quite as important as you will there to close your other connection quickly – if you know you have lost connection with the VPN. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes you may not even notice anything different until it is too late.

So you really should consider a VPN with an internet kill switch no matter what you are using it for. This feature is probably more important than speeds or server selection in our opinion.

Conclusion

Now that you have the answer to the question of what is a kill switch, you should be armed with the knowledge needed to ensure that you find the very best VPN provider that has a VPN feature in their software. We recommend ExpressVPN.

It kind of defeats the purpose of using a VPN to protect your anonymity if a simple disconnection can put paid to that anonymity extremely quickly. Anyone using a VPN will be using it for a reason and that is to use the internet privately, so a kill switch feature is something that should be considered a necessity unless you are not that bothered about privacy in the first place.

David

I’m a real internet freak! And that's why I’m in good hands on this site. I want to know everything about all matters relating to the Internet. For me, it's a pleasure to go into technical depth - the more complicated, the better. As a former hacker, not only do I know the bits and bytes extremely well, but also tend to be very creative.

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