There are many features that VPN providers brag about. Some brags are just for show, like IPVanish‘s “The World’s Best VPN Service” slogan. Others are nice to have but not “live or die” important – like an app for Linux. But some are plain mandatory, like a kill switch. And our IPVanish review wouldn’t rate the VPN so highly if it didn’t have one. But what kind of kill switch is it and what exactly does it do?

What kind of kill switch does IPVanish have?

Some free VPNs also have a kill switch, but for a paid service this is a mandatory feature. That’s because it acts as your safeguard in case of connection loss, preventing anyone from seeing your real IP address. A kill switch does that by, well, killing your internet connection (or parts of it) when it detects a VPN connection failure.

In the VPN industry, two types of kill switch are in use. A system-level kill switch takes over the admin rights to your internet connection and disconnects as soon as there’s a problem to prevent your personal data from leaking. An application-level kill switch gives the user more control – he can choose which programs will shut down and which ones will continue working in case of a VPN failure.

The IPVanish kill switch is a mix of both. It has a system-level kill switch and also lets Windows users add an exception for their Local Area Network. While it limits the ways in which more advanced users can customize their VPN, it provides simple and reliable protection for all. You just have to make sure it’s on. And those who want to use IPVanish and still be able to maintain connectivity for certain apps can use third-party software, such as VPN Watcher or VPNetMon, which act as an application-level kill switch.

What might cause IPVanish VPN to disconnect?

Router

A VPN is built to provide a stable and reliable connection. But sometimes this can fail. There are a few common reasons behind that: some might be known to you, while others may not be.

The first one is your firewall and router settings. Disabling your anti-virus, anti-spyware or any other security software might help. So could adding your VPN network as an exception. However, in most situations, your firewall or cybersecurity software should prevent the VPN from connecting in the first place, rather than disconnect it later.

Another common cause for VPN connection drops is the combination of your chosen protocol and an unstable internet connection. In some cases, using TCP gives more stable results when compared to the default UDP setting.

If your Wi-Fi signal is weak or there’s a high traffic load, you might be experiencing data loss. Either of these situations can be too much for your VPN. Even if the signal is great, but you’re at the airport or a crowded coffee shop, the VPN connection may fail.

Sometimes those possible causes add up, making an issue more complicated. In that case, we’d suggest contacting IPVanish live support – they should be able to help you with troubleshooting.

Why your IPVanish kill switch should be turned on

Some users might wonder why they would need a kill switch at all. So here are at least three reasons that should stop you from even thinking about using a VPN without a kill switch or with the kill switch turned off.

Firstly, if your employer requires you to use a VPN, it means he also wants to avoid data being exposed when your connection drops. Most of the time a kill switch will be pre-configured on your work computer, but it’s always good to check if it’s still on.

Another reason is avoiding legal consequences for downloading content that’s not exactly free or not exactly allowed in your country. This can cause serious issues while traveling, for example. If your connection drops in the middle of your download, the authorities can easily check your IP address and other leaked information to track you down.

Third, there’s the question of security in general. While some of us might think that no hacker will manage to steal our data, unexpected VPN connection drops make such an event more likely.

With all these reasons laid out, one should see that there’s no point in leaving your digital doors open to all sorts of risks. And it’s easy to close them using IPVanish because it has a built-in kill switch. You just have to make sure it’s on all the time.

How to make sure your IPVanish client has its kill switch turned on

To see if your IPVanish kill switch is on, just follow these simple steps. The instructions are for Windows and Mac OS X versions that currently support this feature.

Turning on IPVanish kill switch on Windows

ipvanish kill switch on windows

  1. Launch the program and enter your account credentials
  2. Click the Settings option on the left side
  3. Select the Connection tab
  4. Click the Kill switch checkbox
  5. Choose whether you want to allow LAN traffic in case of VPN failure

Turning on the IPVanish kill switch on Mac OS X

IPVanish kill switch on Mac

  1. Click IPVanish at the top of the menu bar
  2. Choose Preferences
  3. Select the Connection tab
  4. Click the Kill switch checkbox

Should you have any troubles turning on the kill switch on your IPVanish client, just contact their live chat support.