Best VPN with Kill Switch in 2021

When it comes to a VPN kill switch, you might be wondering what it is and whether you really need one. Most VPNs offer this essential tool, but some don’t. Others automatically activate the kill switch upon download, whereas in other cases users need to enable it for themselves.

If you’re wondering about whether or not a kill switch is worth it, and want to know which VPN providers are the best when it comes to kill switches, read on. We’ve compiled a guide on everything to do with kill switches so that you can get a VPN that is always going to protect your browsing data.

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Should I Enable VPN Kill Switch?

You may have heard of a kill switch before, but are unsure as to what it actually does. If you have a VPN but haven’t yet activated the kill switch, we recommend you do so. If you’re looking for a VPN to purchase, then you should definitely buy one that comes with a kill switch.

What is a Kill Switch?

Simply put, a VPN kill switch is a safety measure to protect your browsing data. In the case that your VPN connection experiences issues or drops, your original data, information, and IP address won’t be exposed as your internet access will cease. Your private and sensitive data is kept safe by disconnecting your internet connection until your VPN server is back online.

Once you enable the kill switch, you pretty much assure an extra level of protection for your VPN internet access.

A kill switch can come as a setting you enable or in the form of an automated network lock when your VPN connection is experiencing issues. In some cases, the VPN kill switch is active automatically within your app or software, while in others, you need to enable it yourself to secure your wi-fi network and device.

It all depends on your VPN service provider software options, if and how they incorporate the internet kill switch option.

Why Do You Need a VPN Kill Switch?

While it’s true that most VPN networks are reliable services, the particulars of the VPN server you’re using depend on your provider. Here at PrivacySharks, we’re all about keeping it real and let’s face it, no service or system is entirely perfect. A VPN mediating your internet connection is no exception, even though there’s a constant effort being put into it running smoothly.

When such a moment of imperfect functionality occurs, your VPN provider cannot guarantee that the users’ information is always 100% safe. When it comes to such moments, rare though they may be – depending on your provider -, you can benefit from the use of the kill switch feature. It guarantees that your internet connection cuts out when your VPN connection goes down.

Because of the kill switch effectively imposing a network lock, you protect your data privacy until you can connect to the VPN again. It’s like a gatekeeper that programs the gates to close until a time when you can get safe passage via the encrypted VPN tunnel again.

You want your VPN software to offer you data protection at all times. Kill switches are an extra layer of protection for when you connect to the internet even when your VPN connection drops.

Which VPNs Have a Kill Switch?

There are plenty of paid and some free VPN providers that offer a kill switch feature or a kill switch equivalent with their software. Most paid VPNs have the kill switch activated by default, but if they don’t, it’s usually just one click away.

One notable provider is NordVPN. Other options include ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, SurfShark, and Hotspot Shield to name just a few.

1. NordVPN

Does NordVPN have a kill switch? Yes, it does! NordVPN is one of the most popular VPNs on the current market for several reasons: advanced security, military-grade encryption, a choice of secure protocols, and built-in malware protection.

Not only this, but NordVPN can bypass geo-restrictions and give you access to censored content on the web. Thanks to its obfuscated servers, you can use the VPN in some of the most restricted places like China. Fans of Netflix can also bypass the streaming service’s firewall to enjoy unlimited online content.

Nord has dedicated apps for many different platforms including Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, and Android. You can easily activate the kill switch, and many other useful features, in the app’s settings. Customer support is available 24/7 should you run into any issues, and you can get in touch with the support team via a live chat or email service.

2. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a paid VPN service that gives you the freedom to switch between 160 server locations in 94 countries while keeping your IP address and data safe. It works with Windows, Mac, mobile, and tablet devices, routers, consoles, and Smart TVs.

Should your VPN connection ever go down, ExpressVPN’s kill switch, known as the Network Lock will kick in. The great thing about the Network Lock is that it is automatically enabled upon download, so you don’t need to worry about activating it. You can simply start surfing the web with utter peace of mind.

There is one downside to ExpressVPN’s Network Lock, and that is the fact it is only available on Windows, Mac, Linux, and routers. Android and iOS users cannot take advantage of this integral feature which is disappointing. If you use your cell phone a lot in public, connecting to public wi-fi networks, then you may be at risk without a kill switch.

Fortunately, ExpressVPN offers great security in other ways; military-grade encryption, super-secure protocols including the Lightway protocol, and a zero-logs policy.

kill switch

3. CyberGhost

Another VPN that we like, that offers an excellent kill switch feature is CyberGhost. This VPN provider is based in Romania and is big on internet privacy and security. Therefore, it makes sense that the VPN has a great kill switch, that works well.

We ran some kill switch tests and found that CyberGhost’s kill switch was 100% effective every time. CyberGhost has apps for all of the most popular operating systems, but also for Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. This means that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) need never know that you’re watching TV with a VPN since the kill switch will kick into action should your VPN connection ever go down.

What’s more, with CyberGhost you have access to more than 6,600 servers across 90+ countries. Internet freedom is possible with this provider.

4. Surfshark

Another great VPN is Surfshark. This provider has a kill switch to ensure your web traffic stays traffic, but this isn’t the only security feature it employs to protect user browsing data. Customers also can enjoy several different modes, such as Stealth Mode, which allows you to hide the fact you’re using a VPN. You can also employ the No-borders mode, to enjoy the VPN in restricted regions.

Multi-hop is another feature we like since it enables users to tunnel their VPN connection via several servers in many different countries. This adds several extra layers of privacy to your connection, meaning that your real IP address and identity will be hidden from snooping eyes.

Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections and works on a whole host of operating systems. It is one of the cheapest VPNs on the market, assuming you buy one of its long-term plans.

5. Hotspot Shield

Hotspot Shield rounds off our list of the best VPN with kill switch. Hotspot Shield has a free VPN version, that also includes this integral feature. You can use the VPN for free and still enjoy first-rate security such as advanced encryption, the kill switch, and excellent protocols.

If you sign up for a paid-plan the features on offer only get better. There is unlimited bandwidth and data, which is great for torrenting and streaming fans. Moreover, you can enjoy 24/7 customer support that includes a live chat and an email support service.

Paid users also can access more restricted content on the web, and bypass geo-limitations. While Hotspot Shield is based in the USA, a member of the Five Eyes, it operates a strict no-logs policy. This ensures that your activity on the servers will never be stored or shared.

Do I Need to Activate the Kill Switch?

First and foremost, not all VPNs offer an internet kill switch feature. Before you tap ‘purchase’ and check out, you need to ensure that your VPN provider actually offers this essential tool. Some providers might have a kill switch feature and name it differently (like ExpressVPN’s Network Lock).

If your VPN does use offer a kill switch, it’s not necessarily true that the option is enabled by default in the app or client. It’s usually a simple click away, though some of the best VPNs out there do have it enabled in their system automatically, like ExpressVPN.

If you’ve chosen one of the top VPN providers, then they will have excellent security features, advanced encryption, and a whole host of other tools available to give you the most secure internet experience possible. However, all of that is futile if you VPN connection drops and you are unaware. This is why a kill switch is so important, and why you need to activate it as soon as you download your VPN app.

If you are using a free VPN, then you might have to do some digging to make sure a kill switch is available. Free doesn’t necessarily equal the top tier of internet network security, but it doesn’t mean free VPNs are no good to their users either. In fact, some free VPN versions have incredible security features, though it is rare.

You need to make sure you’re well informed about what options and services your providers offer. You’re using their services in order to protect the privacy of your traffic, IP address, and data overall, after all. The devil is in the detail, even when it comes to secure internet surfing.

In Short

If you’ve reached the conclusion that you need a VPN to keep your privacy, security, and data safety secured while you use the internet – which you do! -, then PrivacySharks strongly suggests you use a VPN that offers a kill switch.

In fact, some of the best providers out there don’t only offer a kill switch as an option but include it as an automatic feature. That’s how necessary it is.

Whether you choose to get one of the VPN services we’ve listed above or go hunting for your own choice, make sure to choose wisely, be it a free or paid service. Make sure to read the privacy policy and terms and conditions of that particular service provider, and really look into the features they offer. More likely than not, the kill switch or an equivalent service or feature is going to be part of their pitch.

PrivacySharks is dedicated to providing users with better online security solutions and you keeping your traffic and surfing information private, so we advise you to choose wisely when it comes to the VPN you choose to buy. However, whichever it is, make sure to enable the kill switch without hesitation.

Author Cliff Durward

Hi, I'm Cliff. You can find me in Cleveland, Ohio with my wife and kids. I love cybersecurity! I've been writing about it for a decade now and have always loved the space. My favorite articles to write are how-to guides that...
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PrivacySharks » Best VPN of 2021 – Rated by our Experts » Best VPN with Kill Switch in 2021
Last updated: April 19, 2021