We are spoiled for choice when it comes to quality VPN providers to choose from but while many are really 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 in order to increase reliability.
So What is a Kill Switch?
When using a VPN, if at any time the connection drops, your computer will instantly revert back 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.
In order 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.
Among the best VPN providers that we know own their own network includes the following:
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?
Any VPN provider that considers itself among the best will offer an internet kill switch feature as part of their product. Of those that we know do offer a VPN kill switch includes:
- Hide My Ass
As for a couple that do not, TotalVPN and Buffered have yet to implement an internet kill switch into their product.
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 back 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.
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.
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 really not that bothered about privacy in the first place.