What is VPN Kill Switch? Why Do You Need It Today?

Ruheni Mathenge  - Streaming Expert
Last updated: December 5, 2023
Read time: 22 minutes

A kill switch is a VPN feature not deemed essential but very helpful nevertheless. This article explains what it is, how it works, why you should use it, and who offers it.


Many top-notch VPN services available today have employed unique features to provide their customers with robust security and privacy. One of those is “Kill Switch,” which lets the users stay secure even when the VPN connection drops. This feature works by blocking your internet access. Kill Switch efficiently detects when you are not connected with a VPN server and makes you offline. Hence, no online traffic will generate until your connection is fully restored. That way, not a single byte of your internet traffic will go unencrypted or without a masked IP. Learn more about the VPN Kill Switch feature in this guide.

Suppose you’re a VPN user on any device you choose (phone, tablet, or computer). What happens if, for whatever reason, your VPN disconnects without you knowing? If your VPN provider has a kill switch feature, then your device will go offline automatically.

That action would ensure that no information leaves your device on the open Internet without protecting your VPN’s secure tunnel. Furthermore, once you’re offline like this, your IP address won’t be exposed to the world because you’re cut off from the Internet until you restore a secure link to your VPN server. Thus, a kill switch will keep your online session’s anonymity and security intact.

Those VPN vendors who include a kill switch have it activated by default most often. However, you can disable it if you so wish. If you do, you will remain online even if your VPN connection goes offline.

This means that you won’t notice any disruption in your VPN service, but it also means that you will be sending and receiving unencrypted traffic from your device and that your actual IP address will be out there for the rest of the world to find. The whole point of a kill switch is that you cannot receive or send any data unless you are within the secure VPN tunnel.

How the kill switch actually works

A VPN kill switch is an exceedingly vigilant piece of software. It monitors your internet connection, detects irregularities, blocks access to the worldwide web if you’re not linked to a VPN server, and restores it once things are back on track.