Having a VPN connection on can protect you whenever you turn it on and log into your favorite websites and social media accounts. While they are a powerful piece of online security, they are not 100% foolproof – as nothing is!
A VPN kill switch is a piece of software that can help increase your online security as you use a VPN provider. This tool is particularly useful for those who use BitTorrent and other P2P systems as they step away from the computer for extended periods of time – one dropped connection can leave them exposed.
What is a VPN kill switch used for?
This is also called an Internet kill switch sometimes. Essentially, this is a piece of software that is either written into the that the VPN provider gives to you as part of their package, or a piece of software that you add to your existing connection.
A VPN kill switch will make sure that your actual IP address, the IP address you’re trying to hide, isn’t ever exposed if the connection between you and the VPN server drops. How it does this is by cutting off your internet connection the moment that a dropped connection occurs between VPN server and your computer.
If you don’t use a VPN client, your computer will just connect up to the Internet automatically with your regular IP address. This will expose your location, and all other personal information that your VPN hides, to whatever web services you were using at the time of the drop.
How does a VPN kill switch protect you?
Essentially, the software isn’t monitoring your connection to the VPN, it monitors a change in your IP address – the type of change that would occur if you were suddenly disconnected from your VPN.
With the Internet automatically shutdown, your information is never exposed to the web services that you’re using. It’s a great piece of software engineering, and is sure to give you just one more layer of anonymity and security online.
Nearly every VPN provider has a different name for their piece of VPN kill switch software. A careful look through their FAQ pages should help you find the feature.
The best VPN kill switch programs from our reviewed services
As I said, nearly every VPN service provider has some sort of VPN kill switch protection. Here are a few of our favorites out of the ones we’ve reviewed:
IPVanish is our top rated VPN provider for a reason: They do everything well. This includes their easy to use VPN kill switch. It’s as simple as checking one box in the settings, and you can see it in action to the right! “Kill network if VPN Connection is lost.” Check done! IPVanish dropping a connection is very, very rare. With their kill switch on though you can be sure that you’re protected.
Private Internet Access is one of the leaders in online anonymity with the policy against logging. Coupling this with their long developed, and possibly first, VPN kill switch technology ensures users a nearly unparalleled level of online anonymity. PIA didn’t stop there though as they have added DNS leak protection to the ever growing list of useful VPN features.
Hide My Ass has made their name with innovative software offerings. The name that they have for their own VPN kill switch is Secure IP-Bind Technology. When you have their on-demand random server switching, and their sortable 900+ servers by speed, you have a VPN provider that values speed and security.
CyberGhost’s kill switch is a effective as any other, but they don’t really push it hard. You can find it by going to Settings -> General -> Action in the event of a lost connection. Just turn it on and you’ll be well protected.
PureVPN just launched their VPN kill switch this past February. While they may be the ‘new kids on the block’ when it comes to VPN kill switch technology, they certainly don’t act like rookies. The software works fine with no complaints received as far as we’re aware.
VyprVPN has one of the most comprehensive software packages available, nearly as many as Hide My Ass!, if not more. Their kill switch, however, remains in limbo. They are on top of it and working on a version for their users, this was confirmed by a staff member, but the public beta still is not ready. This remains the only hole within their software package, otherwise they are near perfect.
**UPDATE: VyprVPN have since added a VPN kill switch to their service! This truly helps them rank near the top of the best VPN providers on our website.