We are excited to see a growing number of VPN services offering advanced privacy features. One of the most important features they can offer to many users is a VPN kill switch. You will also see it referred to as an Internet kill switch. The idea is to kill your online connection anytime the VPN drops. Some will let you set specific applications while others block your Internet communications all together until the VPN reconnects.
You will also find that a number of companies with VPN kill switch features also have no-log policies. Both the kill switch and commitment not to log users activities on their network are strong signs that the provider takes your privacy seriously. Let’s take a quick look at some VPN services that have VPN kill switch features. Then we will elaborate on the functionality for each provider along with details on their logging policy since I think a lot of VPN users desire the highest possible level of privacy.
1. IPVanish – VPN Kill Switch for Windows & Mac
IPVanish is a top rated VPN service on our site for a number of reasons. Along with having the fastest network, IPVanish also has a commitment to user privacy. They start by not logging user’s activities on their network. They take it a step further by offering a VPN kill switch for Windows and Mac OS X. They are one of the only VPN services to offer the feature for Mac users.
Let’s take a look at the IPVanish connection settings page of their VPN client. This is where you can set the feature to kill your network if the VPN connection is lost.
As you can see above IPVanish also has a feature to change your IP address periodically. You can set the client to change your IP address at a set interval. You can also set at alternate port number and use TCP instead of UDP. Though I recommend sticking with OpenVPN (UDP) connections for the best performance.
2. ExpressVPN – VPN Kill Switch for Windows, Mac, Linux & Routers
ExpressVPN is one of the best known VPN providers in the world. They are serious about user privacy and have taken several steps to make sure user privacy is a top priority. For starters, ExpressVPN does not keep activity logs. Members usage on their network is not tracked. They take that a step further by including strong encryption and advanced features like Network Lock to protect your privacy anytime the connection drops.
Here’s a closer look at the ExpressVPN Network Lock (kill switch) setting on the General tab of their Windows VPN client. This is where you can set the feature to stop your system from communicating if the VPN connection is lost.
The network lock is enabled by default so you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of the feature. As shown in the image above the Network Lock “ensures your internet traffic goes through ExpressVPN’s secure tunnel and stops all traffic if ExpressVPN disconnects unexpectedly”. We’re tested the kill switch feature and it works well. You can also set the network lock feature in the ExpressVPN Mac, Linux, and router apps.
3. PIA – Windows / Mac VPN kill switch
We’ll start our list with Private Internet Access. Better known as PIA, the company is very well known for their commitment to user’s privacy. They were one of the first to offer a VPN kill switch feature and support it on both Windows and Mac operating systems. Here are some more details directly from PIA:
The internet kill switch activates VPN disconnect protection. If you disconnect from the VPN, your internet access will stop working. It will reactivate normal internet access when you deactivate the kill switch mode or exit the application.
Users who may be connected to two connections simultaneously (ex.: wired and wireless) should not use this feature, as it will only stop 1 active connection type.
PIA doesn’t stop there as they have a strict no-log policy and several more advanced features to help protect your privacy. Let’s take a look at their client settings page:
As you can see Private Internet Access also offers DNS leak protection to help prevent leaking your DNS queries while using their VPN. They also have an “Encryption” settings screen that will let you set the data encryption, data authentication, and the handshake method used to connect.
4. Hide.me – VPN Kill Switch for Windows
Hide.me VPN is a newer addition to our site. I had an opportunity to test and review the service last week and was very impressed. They include specific language on the information they log which only includes the users email address during sign up. They do not log any user activity on the network. They go as far as telling users exactly how they respond to legal notices in their TOS page:
What happens if you receive a legal notice such as a DMCA for copyright material that I have downloaded?
Since our customers are anonymous when using our service, such notices are directed to hide.me and our legal department will issue an appropriate response. Since we store no connection logs, we couldn’t associate a request with a customer identity even if legally compelled to do so.
Here’s a look at the Hide.me VPN kill switch setting:
As you can see Hide.me has options to let users:
- Bind your internet connection to our VPN
- Avoid DNS leak by using secure DNS binding
This helps protect users privacy anytime the VPN connection drops and also helps members avoid DNS leaks while using the service. The combination of advanced features an no-log policy makes Hide.me a great choice for those who want a high degree of anonymity.
You can read over our list of the top 10 VPN services for more options but I highly recommend the services listed above for those who want extra security features. We selected them over other leading VPN services based on privacy (no-log policy and encryption), VPN kill switch feature, support for P2P / file sharing, availability of server locations in key locations, performance, reliability and price. We also looked for services with a good number of servers and those with plenty of bandwidth. You’ll want a reliable VPN provider to help secure your online privacy.