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While using a VPN is a good way of protecting your online data and privacy, did you know you can add an extra layer of security by using a service that also has a VPN Kill Switch?
If you’re not familiar with what a Kill Switch is, or simply want to learn more about it, here’s everything you need to know - what a VPN Kill Switch is, how it works, who it’s right for, and how to also test it.
Most VPN servers are generally reliable – especially those belonging to decent, paid VPN providers. However, even then, there’s always a risk (albeit a very small one) that connectivity issues might arise because of the following reasons:
As a VPN user, you’ll normally be able to use two types of Kill Switches:
This type of VPN Kill Switch completely shuts down all network activity until the VPN connection is successfully re-established, or until you reset your network adapter. Normally, this type of Kill Switch can only be turned on or off.
An application-level Kill Switch allows you to choose which apps and web applications you want to prevent from accessing the Internet (like email apps or torrent clients, for example). Some VPN providers might refer to these types of Kill Switches as App Killers.
CactusVPN also offers an app-level kill switch, so you can selectively pick which apps can’t access the web when your VPN connection goes down.
Keep in mind that using an application-level Kill Switch can prevent software from updating to newer versions. For the sake of your security and privacy, you should make sure your anti-virus/anti-malware programs are not prevented from staying up-to-date.
When thinking about how a VPN Kill Switch works, you should always have the basic firewall functionality in mind – the fact that it can block unauthorized connections while also offering support for exceptions.
Well, a Kill Switch uses a functionality based on firewall rules, and routes all network traffic through the encrypted tunnel established by the VPN. Then, the Kill Switch will constantly monitor your VPN connection. If it notices a sudden change in your VPN connectivity status or IP address, the Kill Switch will block all connections to ensure no online traffic goes through your ISP-assigned IP address.
Normal Internet access will be regained once the VPN connection is restored or once you’ve closed the VPN application.
We’ve already mentioned that a VPN Kill Switch will kick in if it detects that your VPN connection has gone down, but here are some concrete examples of when something like that might happen:
Not always. While some VPN providers might offer VPN clients that have pre-activated Kill Switches, most of the time you’ll need to manually turn them on. That can usually be done by turning on the VPN Kill Switch feature in the VPN client.
For example, in the CactusVPN app, you just have to head over to “Settings,” and switch on the Stop Internet traffic if VPN connection is dropped option.
A VPN Kill Switch would really come in handy for anyone who downloads torrents on a regular basis, and lives in a country where file-sharing can get them in legal trouble. Now, we’re not encouraging illegal copyright infringement or anything like that, but we are aware that some people can only get access to the files and entertainment they need with torrents.
Basically, a VPN Kill Switch can improve your odds of not receiving DMCA notices, risking legal fines, or having your ISP terminate your subscription because you’re caught torrenting if your VPN connection goes down.
Beside that, a VPN Kill Switch would be very useful if you’re someone who’s very concerned about their online privacy. Whether that’s because you’re doing an analysis of your business competitors, want to make sure your ISP can’t see what you’re browsing for, or are a whistleblower or a journalist with access to sensitive information, a Kill Switch can help ensure your privacy is never in danger because of a connectivity issue.
Yes, there are third-party programs you can use to monitor your VPN connections. However, most of them will only allow you to select which applications you want to shut down or prevent from accessing the web when your VPN connection goes down.
VPN Watcher is a good example.
Alternatively, if you’re a Windows user, you could use the built-in Task Scheduler. Just create a task that will automatically close the application you want (like your torrent client) when your VPN connection is terminated.
All in all, you’re better off just using a VPN with Kill Switch features. It’s much more convenient, you don’t really need to set up everything, and you’ve got all you need in one simple client. Plus, some third-party VPN connection monitoring tools also come with an additional cost, so just using a VPN with a Kill Switch is more cost-efficient.
The simplest way to test if the VPN Kill Switch works is to follow these steps:
If you want a more in-depth method of testing your VPN’s Kill Switch, here’s what you can do:
CactusVPN has got you covered. Not only do we offer a reliable and very easy-to-use Kill Switch, but we also provide a built-in App Killer in our VPN app as well. All you need to do is add the application you want shut down when your VPN connection is terminated to the list and you’re good to go.
So, it’s very easy to make sure your privacy is never exposed when you’re on the Internet with CactusVPN.
With our service, you’ll always get to enjoy a safe online experience. We only use strong encryption algorithms (like AES), we don’t store any logs, and we let you choose between up to 6 VPN protocols (including the very secure OpenVPN and SoftEther protocols).
Plus, we provide 30+ high-speed, stable servers located around the world. They also come with unlimited bandwidth, so you can rest assured you’ll get to enjoy a smooth online experience.
And once you do become a CactusVPN customer, we’ll still have your back with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
A VPN Kill Switch is a feature VPN providers offer to further secure their users’ online privacy. Basically, a Kill Switch will shut off all Internet traffic if it detects that your VPN connection has gone down. A Kill Switch can also come in the shape of an App.Killer that allows you to select which applications should be terminated when your VPN connection is disconnected.
A VPN Kill Switch is very useful for people who want to make sure their Internet privacy is 110% secured, and for online users who download torrents on a regular basis.
While there are Kill Switch alternatives (like VPN connection monitoring tools, for instance), you’re better off just choosing a VPN with Kill Switch features simply because it’s way more convenient.