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Does PrivateVPN Have a Kill Switch? (+ How to Activate It)

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PrivateVPN has a system-wide kill switch that works on all its apps, including iOS, Windows, Android, MacOS, and Linux. PrivateVPN’s kill switch also works on some devices without the VPN’s native apps, such as routers and Kodi.

However, not all PrivateVPN-supported devices have a toggle-able kill switch, even though the feature works on such devices. Likewise, PrivateVPN has a secondary kill switch (dubbed Application Guard) on some devices.

So, in this guide, we’ll discuss the different PrivateVPN kill switches, what devices you can toggle them on, and how to set them up for a safer internet experience.

How to Activate PrivateVPN’s General Kill Switch?

The PrivateVPN general kill switch is available on Windows, MacOS, and Android devices but missing on iOS units. Here’s how to set it up for the devices with the physical settings:

How to Setup PrivateVPN’s Kill Switch on PC?

If you have a Windows PC or MacOS device, follow these steps to activate the PrivateVPN kill switch:

  1. Get a PrivateVPN subscription to access its kill switch. Use these discount offers to save more.
  1. Download the PrivateVPN PC app for your device. I’ll use Windows PC for this demonstration.
download privatevpn to compatible devices
  1. Login with your account username and password.
  2. Click “Connection Guard,” then toggle “Kill Switch” to green.
locating kill switch in connection guard on privatevpn
  1. Click “Dashboard” then “Change” to choose a server. Otherwise, click “Connect Now” to get the fastest/nearest server.
change server in dashboard on privatevpn
  1. Wait for the VPN connection confirmation.
  2. You can now browse the web securely with the kill switch enabled.
privatevpn connected to australia server

How to Setup PrivateVPN’s Kill Switch on Android?

Android users can also choose to enable or disable the PrivateVPN kill switch.

Here’s how:

  1. Get a PrivateVPN subscription for your Android device.
  2. Download the PrivateVPN app from your Google Play Store.
  1. Tap the app to launch it. Then, log in with your email and password.
  2. Tap the three horizontal lines icon on the main page to access the VPN menu.
  1. Tap “VPN Settings.”
  1. Toggle the “Kill Switch” to green.
  1. Return to the homepage and tap the big power button to connect to the suggested server. Or tap “Change” to choose another server.
  1. You’re good to go.

How to Setup & Activate PrivateVPN’s Application Kill Switch?

Most VPNs usually have one kill switch, but PrivateVPN also has an application kill switch called Application Guard. This can be configured to strictly disable some apps, rather than the entire internet, once the VPN connection drops.

For instance, you can set up this application kill switch to terminate BitTorrent (or your favorite torrenting client) once the VPN connection drops without interrupting what you’re doing on Google Chrome or another internet-enabled app.

Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Get a PrivateVPN account (discounts here).
  2. Download the PC app. This app kill switch is only available on PCs. I’ll use Windows for this example.
  3. Click “Connection Guard,” then toggle “Application Guard.”
application guard settings on privatevpn
  1. Click “Add” and select the PC programs you want the app kill switch to work for. You can only pick one at a time, so repeat the process for every other app you want to protect.
locating add button on application guard on privatevpn
  1. Once satisfied, click “Dashboard” and then “Change” to choose a preferred server. Else, you can click “Connect Now” to automatically get the fastest/nearby server.
change server in dashboard on privatevpn
  1. The application kill switch is enabled!

How to Test That the PrivateVPN Kill Switch Works?

Kill switches ensure your IP/DNS details or internet activity doesn’t leak outside the encrypted tunnel if the VPN connection randomly drops. Still, you shouldn’t use yourself as a guinea pig and wait until the worst happens to know if it works.

So, here’s a quick test to determine if your PrivateVPN kill switch is working:

  1. Enable the PrivateVPN kill switch as outlined above. iOS users don’t need to toggle any extra setting to enable the kill switch.
  2. Connect to a PrivateVPN server. I’ll use the Australia server for this example.
privatevpn connected to melbourne server
  1. Go to a page refreshing tool. I use www.pagerefresher.com.
  2. Enter “ip-api.com” in the page refresher tool and set a refreshing frequency. I’ll set it to 10 seconds for this test.
setting refresh time on ip-api.com
  1. Click the “Start/Stop” button to activate the tool. A new window should open (for PC users).
  2. Scroll down on the new window, and you’ll find the details of your VPN’s IP address. This shows that the VPN (not the kill switch) is working.
vpn ip address on ip api.com
  1. To verify the kill switch, simulate a connection drop. In this instance, I’ll switch Wi-Fi networks. In the heading below, you can find other events that trigger the kill switch.
  2. If the kill switch works, you’ll get an HTTP error code, as in the image below. Otherwise, your true IP, DNS, and location details leak.
http error code on ip api.com

What Events Trigger the PrivateVPN Kill Switch?

Not all VPN server disconnections trigger the PrivateVPN kill switch.

For example, manually disconnecting from a server won’t trigger the kill switch since the system knows you merely want to stop using the VPN.

kill switch not working on privatevpn reddit
The kill switch works if you use it properly

Hence, here’s a list of events that’ll cause the kill switch to kick in:

Random Router Drops

Suppose your device isn’t set to automatically reconnect to your router (e.g., the “Auto-Join” network settings on iOS devices). In that case, it might randomly get disconnected from the router, and the VPN connection drops.

In that case, the kill switch ensures your device doesn’t transmit any data to the internet when it reconnects to the router. Instead, your device connects to the VPN server first, encrypts your connection, then opens internet access again.

Firewall Conflicts

Your VPN connection may be rejected by your router/network firewall.

When such happens, the firewall might even disconnect the VPN server, which could result in data leaks. But thanks to the kill switch, such leaks are contained till you re-establish your VPN server connection.

Unstable Internet

An unstable internet connection causes the VPN to disconnect since VPNs need a working internet connection to latch onto a server.

streaming voot with privatevpn on india server
Use kill switch when streaming with unstable internet to prevent losing access to unblocked content

When the internet becomes unavailable, the kill switch keeps your internet-enabled device from interacting with the internet the instant the connection is restored.

Hence, your IP/DNS details are never transmitted, and you only get internet access once the VPN server is connected.

Switching Wi-Fi Networks

Sometimes, your device automatically switches Wi-Fi networks because it found a stronger one. My iOS device does this for 2.4GHz and 5GHz band networks.

At other times, your device might pick up random free Wi-Fi networks if you’ve set it to connect to free Wi-Fi. And in some other cases, you might be manually switching networks while your VPN is connected.

vpn with kill switch for torrenting tweet
Always use a VPN that has a kill switch. Always!

In any of these cases, the VPN server connection drops until it finds an internet service again. With the kill switch enabled, your device doesn’t start transmitting to the internet until it secures another Wi-Fi network. Instead, it waits for the VPN server to re-establish your encryption too.

Switching VPN Servers

Some VPN users (myself include) are fond of switching to another server without first disconnecting from the one they’re on. When you do that, the VPN disconnects from the first server before connecting to the second.

That moment between the disconnection and reconnection is enough to have small packets of data leak outside the encrypted tunnel. But with an active kill switch, the leak is blocked, and you’ll only keep browsing once the VPN server is back online too.

When Should You Turn Your PrivateVPN Kill Switch On/Off?

You can always leave your PrivateVPN kill switch ON to work whenever you connect to the VPN and safeguard your connection during random server drops.

However, some operating systems sometimes briefly conflict with the kill switch.

So, you may not want to have it on all the time.

In that respect, it’s best to enable the PrivateVPN kill switch when performing security-sensitive tasks like downloading torrents, bypassing censorship, securing remote file access, having private conversations, or using public Wi-Fi networks.

ip address exposes when vpn drops out tweet

In these cases, losing the VPN connection may expose you to many dangers, such as conversation hijacking, DMCA notices, copyright trolls, hackers, etc.

However, you can afford not to use the kill switch if you’re simply using the VPN to unblock websites, apps, and streaming content. The worst that could happen is temporarily losing access to the platforms you’re accessing and regaining access once you manually reconnect to the VPN.

Is the PrivateVPN Kill Switch Not Working? Try These Fixes

If you’ve tested your PrivateVPN kill switch, and it’s not working, don’t fret! Try these fixes first:

Update the VPN App

Check your device’s app store to get the most recent version of the PrivateVPN app.

If the kill switch doesn’t work due to a bug or system issue, the update should address such issues.

Re-Open the VPN App

Having the app open for so long can sometimes cause it to misbehave, especially on Windows devices. In such cases

  1. Disconnect from the VPN;
  2. Close the VPN app;
  3. Re-open it.

When closing the VPN app, check your device’s task manager to ensure the PrivateVPN app is fully closed.

close privatevpn from task manager

That’s because conventional app closing methods (on PC) mostly relegate the VPN app to the background rather than fully closing it.

Check the Kill Switch Settings

Sometimes, you might have forgotten to enable the kill switch. In other cases, you might have only enabled the application kill switch for some programs, failing to set up the general kill switch for all programs.

connection guard settings on privatevpn

That’s why checking that everything is appropriately set up doesn’t hurt.

Likewise, don’t forget to connect to a PrivateVPN server after setting the kill switch up. Otherwise, it doesn’t work.

Consider the Event Trigger

Not all VPN disconnection events trigger the kill switch, while some trigger it on a hit-and-miss basis.

For example, I’ve discovered that the kill switch ALWAYS works whenever I switch Wi-Fi networks while connected to the VPN server. However, it’ll NEVER work if I disconnect from the VPN by myself. On top of that, it may not work when you’re switching servers abruptly, and PrivateVPN does well to warn you sometimes.

So, ensure you’re within the kill switch’s working parameters.

Re-Install the TAP Driver

A corrupted TAP driver may sometimes keep your VPN from encrypting your connections properly. Hence, affecting the working principles of the PrivateVPN kill switch also.

I’ve only ever seen this issue on Windows PC. Still, it doesn’t hurt to re-install the VPN configuration on other devices you’re using too.

Here’s how to make it happen on PCs:

  1. Open the PrivateVPN app.
  2. Click “Settings.”
windows tap adapter settings on privatevpn
  1. Click “Install/Repair” in front of “Windows TAP adapter (disconnects from VPN server).”
Please note that doing this disconnects you from the VPN. So, pause any sensitive internet activities to prevent leaks.

Re-Install the VPN App

Re-installing the VPN app ensures you get the latest version which should be free from all bugs keeping the VPN kill switch from working. But this can be done via updates, right?

Well, re-installing the PrivateVPN app (especially on PCs) also ensures you get the correct system files re-installed. Hence, ruling out the issues of corrupted/missing system files, which may be affecting the kill switch.

Speak With Customer Support

The PrivateVPN customer support staff can help you 24/7 if all else fails.

I recommend the Live Chat option to get quicker responses and solve the issue in no time.

What to Do if PrivateVPN’s Kill Switch Stops Your Internet?

vpn kill switch meme

VPN kill switches may sometimes misbehave and keep you from accessing the internet even when you’re not connected to the VPN. This sometimes happens when you shut down the VPN incorrectly while connected to a server.

In such cases, here are some fixes to consider:

  • Check that PrivateVPN is disconnected: Relaunch the VPN to confirm that you’re still not connected to a server. That’s because exiting the VPN doesn’t always mean it’s off and may still be running in the background.
  • Remove PrivateVPN from running in the background: Check your task manager to ensure the VPN isn’t running in the background. If it is, stop the VPN process.
  • Disable PrivateVPN from the startup menu: Unless you need your VPN to automatically enable it on startup, I recommend disabling it from your device’s startup menu.
  • Restart your device: After doing the above, it’s best to restart your device for the new settings to take effect. This should get you back to your internet-browsing ways.
  • Flush your device’s DNS: The DNS flushing process differs for Windows and Mac devices. Find the proper procedure for your device (usually available on YouTube) and apply it.
  • Change your DNS settings: The kill switch might have locked a specific DNS to prevent internet leaks. Thus, changing your device’s DNS servers (8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4 usually works best) holds good promise.
  • Speak with PrivateVPN’s technical support: You can access PrivateVPN’s live chat (you don’t need to log in to your account) on another internet-enabled device to speak with the technical support staff about this problem.
Interesting Reads:

Get the Zero-Leak Promise

PrivateVPN’s kill switch lives up to its name on PCs and mobile devices.

Even though it doesn’t have the switch setting on iOS devices, it still works on these devices, as it’s automatically enabled whenever you connect to a PrivateVPN server.

The best part is that you don’t have to pay extra to enjoy this security setting.

Get PrivateVPN for your PC (Windows, Linux, or MacOS) or mobile devices (Android and iOS), and you’ll automatically have access to this feature.

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