Protect your privacy with a VPN kill switch

But what if the VPN protection accidentally goes down, and your data becomes vulnerable? No need to worry — Surfshark Kill Switch feature will protect you.

A hand pressing a big red button with its index finger surrounded by stars in the background.
What is a VPN kill switch?

What is a VPN kill switch?

When connected to a VPN, your data is protected by industry-leading encryption and security protocols. If your VPN connection drops, a kill switch shuts off your internet connection. 

This way, you don’t stay online without the protection of a VPN and don’t leak any sensitive data.

Once activated, the feature works quietly in the background — you don’t need to lift a finger.

What are the benefits of a kill switch?

Keeps your data protected

Keeps your data protected

The internet and the devices connected to it aren’t always reliable. If your VPN connection suddenly drops, your sensitive data will be protected by a kill switch feature.

Ensures your traffic is always encrypted

Ensures your traffic is always encrypted

A VPN encrypts all traffic from your device, keeping it safe from prying eyes. If your connection drops, a kill switch won’t allow you to connect to the internet without VPN protection.

Guards your identity

Guards your identity

Your IP (Internet Protocol) address is like the online equivalent of your home address. Connecting via a VPN server hides it, and a kill switch makes sure that it doesn’t get exposed, even if your VPN connection drops.

Makes sure you’re secure

Makes sure you’re secure

If your country is restricting your online rights and you’re using a VPN service to skirt the blocks, losing your VPN protection could be dangerous. But a VPN kill switch ensures that if your VPN protection goes down, so does your internet connection, keeping your data and IP hidden.

Protects your file sharing

Protects your file sharing

Peer-to-peer technologies rely on people sharing the files constantly, exposing your IP address to everyone. With a VPN and a reliable kill switch feature, you can share it all and remain hidden from prying eyes.

Provides the feeling of safety

Provides the feeling of safety

Reliable internet connections aren’t always available, and devices can sometimes struggle to reconnect to networks. But even these issues won’t diminish your safety if your VPN has a kill switch function. No matter what happens, your IP won’t leak, and your data will remain encrypted.

How a kill switch works

A kill switch monitors if you’re connected to a VPN server and shuts down the internet connection if you’re not.

A kill switch monitors your connection

1. A kill switch monitors your connection.

A kill switch notices that you're no longer connected to a VPN server

2. A kill switch notices that you're no longer connected to a VPN server.

A kill switch kills the internet connection

3. A kill switch kills the internet connection.

As soon as you reconnect to a VPN server, things go back to normal

4. As soon as you reconnect to a VPN server, things go back to normal.

How to use Surfshark Kill Switch on your device

Log in or sign up to Surfshark

1. Log in to your Surfshark account, or sign up if you’re new.

Toggle Kill Switch

2. Go to Settings and toggle the Kill Switch button.

Your data is safe

3. Done! Your data will be safe with our industry-leading encryption.

What causes VPN disconnections?

VPN disconnections are quite rare, but they still happen. Here are the most common reasons why:

Unstable internet connection

An unstable internet connection is probably the most common reason for VPN connectivity issues. You can’t be connected to a VPN server if you don’t have internet. So, your VPN connection shuts down every time your internet connection drops.

Unstable internet connection
Firewall and antivirus settings

Firewall and antivirus settings

Your firewall or antivirus software settings may clash with your VPN. If you lose connection frequently, try adding your VPN app to your firewall’s list of exceptions.

VPN server issues

Surfshark has built a solid infrastructure for its VPN servers, so downtime is uncommon. However, it’s not impossible. There might be times when your VPN connection drops because of server issues.

VPN server issues
Network congestion

Network congestion

If a network experiences heavy use, it may be subject to ISP throttling, sometimes leading to connection loss.

Start using a Kill Switch
Don't be left unprotected if your VPN connection is disrupted!
When does a VPN kill switch activate?

When does a VPN kill switch activate?

A kill switch activates (cuts your internet connection) when you lose connection to the VPN services. This could happen if:

  • You or someone else restart the device and don’t connect to a VPN server;
  • Your device restarts by itself (ah, overnight updates) and doesn’t automatically connect to a VPN; 
  • Your connection is unreliable, causing you to disconnect and reconnect to the internet continuously;
  • Your new firewall doesn’t have an exception for your VPN and blocks your VPN connection.

Potential risks of using a VPN without a kill switch

Here are the potential dangers that await you if your VPN connection drops and your VPN is without a kill switch:

  • Leaking your real IP address — your real IP address is like your home address online, so it’s not something you want to give out to strangers online;
  • Leaking your approximate location — the website or service can now detect your country or even your city;
  • Your online activities become traceable — anyone from marketers to censorship-prone governments may be interested in what you do; 
  • You become vulnerable on public Wi-Fi — a VPN ensures that anyone trying to skim your data via an insecure Wi-Fi hotspot gets nothing useful.
Potential risks of using a VPN without a kill switch

Kill Switch on your devices

Here are the platforms that support a VPN kill switch:


Should you turn on a VPN kill switch?

Yes, you should turn on your VPN kill switch, as it is an additional security feature. It keeps you safer in case the VPN connection drops unexpectedly.

How do I turn off a VPN kill switch?

To turn off a VPN kill switch on Surfshark:

  • Go to your app; 
  • Choose Settings;
  • Flip the Kill Switch, er, switch. 

How do you know if a VPN kill switch is working?

Go to the VPN settings of your Surfshark app and check if the Kill Switch feature is active. If it is, your connection is protected.

What happens when a kill switch is activated?

If your VPN connection is stable, a kill switch feature does nothing. If your VPN connection drops, a kill switch turns off your internet connection to ensure you don’t leak any unprotected data.

How do I know if my VPN is activated?

Visit the home screen of the Surfshark app to check if you are connected to a VPN. If it says “Connected,” you are safe. If you get a warning message that says “Unprotected! Connect to stay safe,” you need to connect to a VPN server to secure your connection.

Is a kill switch on by default?

No, a kill switch is not on by default. You need to turn on the feature in your VPN settings. If you’re unsure a kill switch is active, you can check these same settings to find out.

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