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What is a VPN Kill Switch and why should I use one?

What is a VPN Kill Switch and why should I use one?

VPNs are primarily used to provide you with privacy and security on the Internet. They protect you from your ISP’s monitoring of your internet usage and can give you the assurance that you can safely use a public Wi-Fi hotspot. However, one of the risks you should be aware of when using a VPN is the possibility that you might be disconnected and allow your information to be leaked. The best protection you can get against data leakage if your VPN goes offline is with a kill switch.

A VPN kill switch is a tool that constantly monitors your connection to your VPN provider’s servers. If it detects an outage indicating that your VPN connection has been dropped, the kill switch blocks all network communications. A VPN kill switch also protects you from a scenario where your VPN connection was not active. For example, this could be because the VPN does not start automatically after a system reboot or software update.

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By cutting off your network communications when they are not connected to your VPN, the kill switch protects your information from leaks. For example, your IP address is disclosed to websites you connect to or your Internet usage is disclosed to your ISP.

If you use a VPN, your privacy and security are probably your main reason for doing so. Using a VPN kill switch is a key part of ensuring your VPN always protects you, even if you get disconnected.

Unfortunately, not all VPN providers include a VPN kill switch in their software. However, there are third-party solutions that can perform a similar task. VPN Watcher is a paid application that can be used to specify applications to prevent sending network communications when the network connection is lost. VPN Lifesaver is a similar free and open source application. If your VPN goes down, you can prevent specified apps from communicating, prevent unsecured communication, close specified apps, and try to restart the VPN automatically. While a built-in VPN kill switch is the perfect way to keep your information safe and private, a third-party solution is better than no solution at all.