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NordVPN’s automatic Kill Switch

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What is a VPN kill switch?

A VPN kill switch is an advanced security feature designed to protect your digital data from accidental exposure. If your VPN connection drops, the VPN kill switch will block your internet access until the connection to the VPN server is restored.

Why you need a VPN kill switch

Dropping your VPN connection for even a millisecond can lead to data being lost and your IP being exposed. Here’s why you should keep the Kill Switch on at all times.

A political activist, a journalist, and a blogger, happy that they are protected by Kill Switch.
A man standing next to a sensitive file that is protected and not visible to third parties.
A woman holding a key, happy that her data is protected by Kill Switch if her connection drops.

Types of VPN kill switches

There are two types of VPN kill switches watching over VPN connections today — those that protect only certain apps and those that guard your whole system.

A laptop screen showing a secure connection to a VPN server in the US protected by Kill Switch.
A smartphone protected by the Kill Switch feature in case its Wi-Fi connection is disrupted.

The Kill Switch offered by NordVPN software

NordVPN’s Kill Switch is not activated by default — you need to first turn it on in the app settings. To find out more about NordVPN’s Kill Switch, visit our Help Center.

A blue Windows logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue Windows logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue Windows logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue Windows logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.

Windows

The NordVPN Windows app lets you choose between an app-level and a system-level kill switch.

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A blue macOS logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue macOS logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue macOS logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue macOS logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.

macOS

The newest version of NordVPN for macOS lets you specify which apps you want the Kill Switch to shut down.

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A blue Android logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue Android logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue Android logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.
A blue Android logo representing Kill Switch compatibility.

Android

On Android 7 (or later) devices, VPN connections have native kill switches thanks to Android’s “Always on VPN” feature.

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Blue Linux and iOS logos representing Kill Switch compatibility.
Blue Linux and iOS logos representing Kill Switch compatibility.
Blue Linux and iOS logos representing Kill Switch compatibility.
Blue Linux and iOS logos representing Kill Switch compatibility.

iOS and Linux

The Kill Switch is integrated into NordVPN Linux and iOS apps and will block your internet connection if your VPN connection drops.

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VPN Kill Switch technology: How it actually works

The internet Kill Switch feature monitors your VPN connection and shuts down internet access if irregularities occur. Let’s have a deeper look.

1

Observe

The Kill Switch continuously observes your connection to a VPN server, looking for changes in the status or IP address.

2

Detect

If the connection between the server and the VPN client drops, the Kill Switch instantly detects this change.

3

Block

Depending on the type of kill switch you’ve set for your VPN connections, Kill Switch blocks some or all of the apps from accessing the internet.

4

Restore

When the tunnel to the VPN server is reestablished, the Kill Switch restores your internet connection.

When does a VPN kill switch get activated?

VPN connections may be terminated for a number of reasons. It’s not always the fault of your VPN provider — in many cases, your VPN connection drops because of software interference or an unstable internet connection.

A man in distress working on a laptop with an unstable internet connection.
A frustrated man on his phone without VPN protection because the VPN connection was blocked.
An unhappy woman that was disconnected from a VPN server while working on her laptop.
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