Do You Know What A VPN Kill Switch Is And Why You May Need It?

Bearing in mind that shopping for a VPN provider can be tricky, narrowing down your must-have features can be considered. But, of course, one of the most primary features for anyone concerned about browsing privacy is a VPN kill switch.

Definition of a VPN Kill Switch

It is a safety measure orchestrated to protect you in the time of VPN disconnection. When you connect to a VPN, an encrypted connection channels all of your internet traffic. Lest someone tries to snoop on, you will see obscured encrypted data rather than whatever it is you’re doing online.

Since a VPN is like any other connection, it can fail now and then. Whatever gadget you’re working on will default to your standard, unencrypted connection when this takes place.

Your actual IP address will be revealed when this occurs because you’re not passing internet traffic via a reliable intermediary anymore. Any portals you go might be registered by your ISP or even by the regime. Anything you’re doing (such as downloading files over BitTorrent) could get disclosed to any parties observing your connection.

A kill switch refrains your gadget from talking to the internet in a manner that might put you in a dicey situation. It is done by “killing” any connection to the outside net that doesn’t go via a VPN.

What Is The Need Of Killing Switch in Your VPN?

Anyone concerned about having their browsing data exposed should look at VPN providers that render kill switch support. While this seems inclusive of all VPN users, some are more in danger than others.

For instance, suppose you are using a VPN to conceal your browsing data from authorities in a country where internet traffic is navigated and censored. In case your VPN connection fails, a kill switch can render much-needed protection. But, of course, it could apply to personal informants, whistleblowers, or leakers, too.

Most VPN users are not dodging oppressive governments but taking precautions to defend their online privacy. As a result, these users profit from the peace of mind that a kill switch affords them if their VPN connection fails.

Failed connections are the primary reasons to ensure using a failsafe measure such as a kill switch. VPN disconnections can be due to all sorts of reasons, comprising network congestion, which VPN protocol you’ve opted for, software crashes, and firewall settings. If your VPN service is not exceptionally reliable, ensure that you have a kill switch for those unavoidable connection failures.

Anyone who uses a VPN long-term should be using a kill switch. For example, if your desktop is connected to the net via VPN, the kill switch is essential (even when you are not sitting in front of it). The same is valid if you’ve connected your router to the VPN directly (so that all of your network traffic is encrypted).

Shopping for a VPN is often a case of trial and error. If you encounter frequent disconnections, we recommend trying some of the top-rated VPN providers until you find one that works for you. For example, How-To Geek’s preferred VPN partner ExpressVPN comprises a kill switch that the provider calls Network Lock.

Not All VPN Providers Provide a Kill Switch

If you are using a VPN to defend your online privacy, making sure you use a kill switch adds another layer of protection. Unfortunately, not every VPN provider provides this functionality.

The good news is that many do, comprising Private Internet Access, VyprVPN, ExpressVPN, PureVPN, and IPVanish. Most services that assist the feature will be upfront about it in marketing materials, but a quick internet search indeed shows you.

Since many of the most critical services now provide the feature, paying a premium is not worth it. However, it’s also essential to comprehend that just because your VPN provider offers the quality doesn’t necessarily mean it is available by default.

Enabling Your VPN Kill Switch

If you are planning to use a kill switch, you must first enable it. Not all providers turn this feature on by default since it will stop your internet connection from working at all in the event of a disconnection. For more casual VPN users, this might be overkill.

Using a VPN provider’s software should make the kill switch setup as easy as possible. Some providers, such as ExpressVPN, have the feature enabled by default. For others, you will require to dig around in the VPN app’s preferences to ensure that the quality is turned on.

For instance, a PureVPN user on Windows would require running the PureVPN client with administrator privileges, accessing the Settings menu, and then delving down into the General menu to allow the “Enable IKS” setting to function. If your provider provides the feature, a support document should show you how to use it on their portal.

While a few service-agnostic VPN customers such as OpenVPN can be configured to use a kill switch, there’s a more significant margin for error in verifying that the configuration of everything is done correctly.

To connect to a VPN and set up a kill switch, you need to use software, whether a proprietary app or an open-source solution such as OpenVPN. Even though a kill switch is a beautiful idea and something that we should all strive to use, glitches occur.

Things get a little more difficult on mobile, especially on Apple’s platforms. While NordVPN has implemented a kill switch in its iPhone and iPad app, it only works with the IKEv2 protocol. However, Android users running version 7.0 or later of the operating system can use system-wide kill switch support.

Choosing the Ideal VPN for You

Not everyone has the exact need for a VPN. For some, speed is the primary requirement, while others use it to procure geo-restricted content. Learn the technique of choosing the ideal VPN for your needs, and ensure that you keep safeguards such as a kill switch in mind while coming to your conclusion.

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