There are many VPN services today, but one thing for sure, not all give you the same experience. Why? Well, all VPNs are built differently.\r\n\r\nIn concept VPN technology is easy \u2013 encrypt traffic, establish a secure connection, relay it through a remote server. But every VPN does that differently, which is why there are comparison websites such as ours.\r\n\r\nAfter being around for quite some time, VPN providers started developing new features to further ensure your online privacy and anonymity. And one of those essential features is a Kill Switch.\r\n\r\nThese days a kill switch comes with pretty much every VPN (unless the provider doesn\u2019t care about you), but very few of them get it right.\r\n\r\nBut what's even more important (and tragic) very few users seem to understand the importance of a well-functioning kill switch. Even experienced users often see a kill switch as more of a nuisance, that cuts your Internet connection at unexpected times.\r\nWell, we're about to change all of that.\r\n\r\nWhat is a VPN kill switch?\r\nA kill switch is a built-in security feature that cuts off your Internet when the connection to the VPN server drops.\r\n\r\nSince some VPN protocols can be unstable, the kill switch feature makes sure that even if the connection to the VPN server gets interrupted, none of your personal information will be leaked.\r\n\r\nThink of it as a fail-safe security measure that ensures your IP address is not exposed in such an instance.\r\nHow does a kill switch work?\r\nThe VPN kill switch, sometimes referred to as the Internet kill switch, constantly keeps an eye on your connection to the VPN server and only comes into play when it detects a sudden drop.\r\n\r\nIt immediately stops any traffic to and from your device by automatically severing the connection.\r\n\r\nBy doing this, the kill switch makes sure none of your personal information is ever exposed. This includes your real IP address, your destinations on the Internet, the apps you are using, any kind of information you might be receiving or sending, and everything else Internet-wise.\r\n\r\n\r\nThe connection will remain severed until the VPN connection is reestablished and becomes secure again (some VPNs do that automatically as soon as an outage is detected).\r\n\r\nThe feature is active by default in some VPNs, whereas in others, you may need to activate it from the VPN\u2019s settings.\r\nWhy would you want to use a Kill Switch?\r\nCutting your entire internet connection? That doesn\u2019t sound like anything fun.\r\nSo why would one even want to have this option enabled?\r\nThere are actually lots of occasions, where having a kill switch is absolutely mandatory if you care about your online security and privacy. Here are but a few examples of its uses:\r\n\r\n \tWhen the VPN connection fails.\r\nNot all VPN protocols are stable, so the VPN connection can fail. In some cases, the signal might be weak, or the server may malfunction, leaving you exposed.\r\nWithout a properly functioning kill switch, this could lead to all of your personal information being left out in the open.\r\n \tIf the app crashes suddenly.\r\nIt is a rare occurrence, but we\u2019ve all had issues with apps, and VPN apps are no exception. In the event your VPN client crashes, you need to be assured your privacy won\u2019t be compromised. Unfortunately, not all providers account for that - looking at you, PIA.\r\n \tIf firewall or antivirus settings on your device disrupt or even choke your connection.\r\n \tIf you switch from one internet connection to another, say, from 5G to Wi-Fi.\r\nThis is common when using mobile devices, but with a kill switch, you\u2019ve nothing to worry about when you make the switch. The VPN will stop all traffic from leaving your device, and as soon as you connect to a new network, it will immediately reestablish a secure connection.\r\nYou will barely notice it happening, but it will keep you secure at all times.\r\n \tIf your device goes to sleep or reboots, accidentally terminating the background processes, including the VPN.\r\nAfter you boot your device back up, you might find yourself accidentally exposed. The feature will prevent that from ever happening.\r\n \tWhen you are doing something online that you don\u2019t want your ISP to find out about.\r\nLet\u2019s face it there are some things we just want to keep private like P2P file sharing and gambling. A kill switch ensures these remain so at all times.\r\n \tIf you are carrying out a sensitive activity like sending private information, or trading assets and tokens like crypto that require credentials.\r\nWith an enabled kill switch, you will be able to rest assured, all of your information will remain safe no matter what.\r\n \tWhen you don\u2019t want your ISP or other third parties to find out you are using a VPN.\r\nYou might be able to trick services like streaming providers with a VPN, but if your connection momentarily drops you could be left exposed and locked out. This is often the case when you are using a mobile device that has GPS tracking.\r\nA VPN will make sure you stay secure and hidden at all times.\r\n\r\nWe could keep going, but there is a much easier way to cover all the situations you need a VPN kill switch in.\r\n\r\nHere's the general rule: If you feel you need to use a VPN, then you need a VPN with a kill switch.\r\nWhat types of VPN kill switches are there?\r\nThere are two standard types of kill switches: a network-level kill switch and an app-level kill switch.\r\n\r\n \tThe network kill switch cuts all of your connections as well as the outgoing and incoming traffic.\r\n \tThe app kill switch only kills the traffic sent through applications. Most of the time it\u2019s customizable, and you can choose which apps get cut off from your internet connection while not losing the connection entirely. This is useful in cases like P2P file sharing.\r\nThe app kill switch is generally recommended to be used by experienced VPN users, who know exactly what kind of information is being sent by which application.\r\n\r\nWhat are the best kill switches in the VPN world?\r\nThough we have discussed the kill switch feature as either present or absent in a VPN, it is not exactly black and white.\r\n\r\nRemember that thing about VPNs being built differently? VPN providers also offer different kill switch versions.\r\n\r\nWe won\u2019t drown you with a list of 547864184674 VPNs (even though we have probably tested all of them). Instead, we have selected the three best options.\r\nExpressVPN\r\nExpressVPN has one of the most flawless kill switches we have come across throughout our daily VPN testing.\r\n\r\nThe provider's Network Lock Kill Switch effectively stops all traffic from leaving or entering your device when activated.\r\n\r\nIt\u2019s not very customizable, but as a trade-off, it\u2019s very effective. It also reconnects you automatically, so all you have to do is wait.\r\n\r\nThe VPN additionally comes with a feature that lets you stay connected to devices on your local network. So even if you lose your internet connection, you can still use your device to print out some reports you were working on while you wait for the connection to return.\r\n\r\nThe network lock kill switch is available on the VPN apps for Linux, Mac, Windows, and routers.\r\n\r\nNordVPN\r\nNordVPN is an ever-present name in the top VPNs and the list of best kill switches is not complete without it.\r\n\r\nThis VPN has a great automatic kill switch option that works both on a system level and on an app level. The feature is easy to use, flexible, and reliable.\r\n\r\nWhy didn't NordVPN get the usual 1st place? First of all, because we are honest and thorough. The drawback of this provider's kill switch is that it's neither available on all devices nor protocols.\r\n\r\nThe system-level kill switch option is present on macOS (IKEv protocol), iOS, and Linux apps.\r\n\r\nThe app-level is available on the apps for macOS (OpenVPN protocol) and Windows.\r\n\r\nCyberGhost\r\nAdmittedly, the third spot should have gone to Surfshark. However, during testing, the kill switch kept cutting our Internet connection entirely without restoring it. And the Internet connection would only pick up after we restarted our devices.\r\n\r\nWhile Surfshark works on fixes, we are going to have to give third place to CyberGhost.\r\n\r\nThe VPN has had a troubling past, but its kill switch is straightforward and works as expected.\r\n\r\nIt is available on the apps for macOS, Android (the only Android support on our list), iOS, and Windows.\r\n\r\nWe especially like that it excellently pairs with the VPN\u2019s content unblocking and DNS leak prevention features.\r\n\r\nConclusion\r\nWhile it is hard to hack a VPN server, there are other ways snooping eyes can reach you. They may try different malware or even wait for your VPN connection to fail, ready to strike.\r\n\r\nTo guarantee your privacy, use a VPN with a kill switch that actually works as the best way to protect your online privacy today.