PureVPN has a kill switch that deactivates the internet whenever the VPN server connection drops. This prevents your IP, DNS, location, and internet activity details from leaking to hackers, your ISP, network admin, the government, or snoops during that moment of disconnection.
However, the PureVPN kill switch has no toggle-able setting on all mobile apps. Instead, the feature is baked into the operating systems.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through enabling the PureVPN kill switch for devices with a toggle-able switch.
How to Activate PureVPN's Kill Switch?
The PureVPN kill switch only features as a settings option on its PC and Android apps.
I’ve shared stepwise guides to enable it on these units below.
How to Enable the PureVPN Kill Switch on PC?
PureVPN’s PC kill switch ships with its Windows, Mac, and Linux apps.
Here’s a guide to enabling it on Windows devices:
- Buy a PureVPN plan to use its kill switch. Grab these discount offers to save more.
- Download the PureVPN app for your preferred device. I’ll download the Windows app for this demonstration.
- Launch the PureVPN app and log in with your username and password.
- Click the settings cog in the lower left corner of the screen.
- Under the “General” tab, scroll down and toggle “Enable IKS” to the ON position.
- Optional: Choose “Automatic IKS” to have the kill switch always enabled for all connections. Otherwise, choose “Manual IKS” to customize the kill switch application on every connection. I recommend the Automatic IKS.
- Click the VPN location button to choose a preferred server.
- Search for a server and click to connect. Alternatively, you can connect to the “Recommended Location,” which gives the nearest/fastest server location. I’ll connect to the USA – New York server for this example.
- Click “Connection Details” to check the parameters of your current VPN connection. It should show that your kill switch is active.
- Confirm that the kill switch is on, and browse the internet securely.
How to Enable the PureVPN Kill Switch on Android Devices?
Android units are the only mobile operating system with a PureVPN kill switch setting. Here’s how to enable it on your smartphone:
- Get a PureVPN account. You can save more with these PureVPN offers before they expire.
- Download the PureVPN Android app via the Google Play Store.
- Launch the app and log in with your account credentials (created in #1 above).
- Tap the menu icon (three horizontal dashes) in the top left corner.
- Tap “Settings.”
- Tap “Always-on.” That’s what PureVPN calls its Android kill switch.
- Tap “Open Android Settings” on the prompt you get.
- Tap the settings cog icon next to PureVPN.
- Enable “Always-on VPN.”
- Leave “Block connections without VPN” toggled off unless you need it. This may interfere with your device’s internet settings in some cases.
- Return to the VPN interface and click the big shield icon to connect to the fastest location.
- Or tap the menu icon > Locations to select a preferred location.
- You can now browse the web with the kill switch enabled.
How to Test That the PureVPN Kill Switch Works?
Testing that the PureVPN kill switch works before you get into the situation where it kicks in automatically gives you peace of mind about using this feature.
I’ve shared a straightforward test for even non-tech-savvy PureVPN users below:
- Ensure you’ve enabled the PureVPN kill switch. Refer to the guides above if you’re a PC or Android user. iOS device users can skip this step.
- Connect to a choice PureVPN server. I’ll connect to the UK – London server for this example.
- Launch a page refresher tool in your web browser. I’ll use www.pagerefresher.com.
- Enter “ip-api.com” in the page refresher tool and set the refresh frequency to 5 or 10 seconds. The API we’ve chosen scans for your IP/DNS details automatically, and the page refresher means it does so every 5 or 10 seconds.
- Click “Start/Stop.” On the first run, confirm that the API registers your PureVPN server. In my case, the London VPN server was registered, showing that the VPN works.
- Simulate a VPN server drop to test the kill switch. I’ll switch Wi-Fi networks to do so in this demonstration. You can check out other kill switch triggers in the section below.
- Check the API to see if your true IP/DNS or location details leak. In my case, it doesn’t, only showing an error code.
Hence, the PureVPN kill switch worked, and it’ll keep my device from transmitting to the internet until the server connection is re-established.
What Events Trigger the PureVPN Kill Switch?
The PureVPN kill switch doesn’t work if you manually disconnect from a VPN server. However, the PureVPN kill switch works if you switch servers during an internet session.
So, here’s a list of all the times your PureVPN kill switch would kick into play:
Switching Wi-Fi Networks
The PureVPN kill switch would work when:
- You’re manually changing from one Wi-Fi network to another
- Your device is automatically changing from a weaker Wi-Fi network to a stronger one
- Your device’s Wi-Fi settings are set to roam and connect to any free Wi-Fi network in the vicinity
In any of these cases, PureVPN stops your device from transmitting data packets once it successfully connects to the second Wi-Fi network.
Instead, it waits till you’re reconnected to the chosen VPN server before resuming your internet session. That way, you don’t lose any sensitive data at that moment before the VPN reconnected.
When I tested the PrivateVPN kill switch, it didn’t activate during server switching.
To its credit, it did warn that this might happen before I switched the servers.
However, PureVPN also warned that my traffic might be exposed if I switched servers, but its kill switch still worked!
In this case, I switched from the UK – London server to an Australian server, and it neither leaked the London address nor my real IP address.
Suppose your firewall or router prevents the VPN traffic from passing through.
In that case, your device might automatically get disconnected from the VPN server. Likewise, router and firewall restarts can cause the VPN server connection to drop, only to re-establish when these are back up.
In these cases, the kill switch blocks your device from sending data over the internet outside the encryption tunnel. Once the router or firewall is back up and allows your devices to connect, the VPN connects to the previously chosen server.
Hence, encrypting your connection before sending the data through.
When Should You Turn Your PureVPN Kill Switch On/Off?
You should always leave your PureVPN kill switch on to ensure the best online privacy and security when connected to the VPN’s servers.
However, you can afford to turn off the kill switch when you’re:
- Browsing the web on secure home/work/personal networks
- Simply streaming content on the web
- Accessing non-sensitive websites and materials on the web
Conversely, you should never leave your kill switch off when you’re:
- Browsing the dark web with PureVPN
- Playing online games against unknown peers, especially on platforms known for DDoSing other players
- Surfing the web on public Wi-Fi networks or other untrusted Wi-Fi connections
- Downloading torrents via PureVPN, as this could expose your activities to your ISP and copyright trolls
Is PureVPN Kill Switch Not Working? Try These Fixes
If your PureVPN kill switch didn’t step in to block your IP/DNS leaks during your tests (from above), you can fix it by trying any (or a combination) of the suggestions below.
Get the Official PureVPN App
Never sideload your VPN app from sources other than your device’s app store or the PureVPN app download page. Otherwise, you may get a user-modified version with broken features, like the kill switch.
On top of leaving you exposed, these user-modded versions are also notorious for shipping malware onto your device.
In the same vein, never download cracked versions of the PureVPN app since you’ll be ineligible for updates, and your kill switch may not work or work intermittently.
Update the VPN App
PureVPN pushes out updates quite frequently. You should get these updates as they may fix bugs, vulnerabilities, or compatibility issues in the app system that kept the kill switch from working correctly.
Relaunch the VPN App
My PureVPN app sometimes misbehaves, but it’s nothing a simple restart won’t fix.
Before restarting the app, especially on PC, ensure that it’s been properly closed, including all its instances. You can close it from the Task Manager (Ctrl + Shift + Esc on Windows PCs). Otherwise, the issue may persist.
Check the Kill Switch Settings
If you’ve opted for the manual internet kill switch, you may have forgotten to turn it ON before connecting to your VPN server. So, disconnect from the server to enable the kill switch before connecting again.
Or switch to the Automatic IKS. That way, you never forget to turn it on again.
PS It’s good practice to check your kill switch settings after updating the PureVPN app. That helps you track when the update overrides your kill switch preferences.
Reinstall the VPN App
Reinstalling the VPN app will get you the latest version, but upgrading the app can also do that. So, why bother with reinstallation?
Reinstalling the PureVPN app ensures you also repair additional application files that might have interfered with the kill switch’s operation.
Speak With Customer Support
PureVPN’s 24/7 live chat customer support is always handy to help you troubleshoot issues like this. If all else fails, reach out to them to discuss the specifics, and you should be back with a working kill switch in no time.
What to Do if PureVPN's Kill Switch Stops Your Internet?
While PureVPN’s kill switch is a must-have tool for the best internet privacy, it might sometimes stop your device from connecting to the internet even when the VPN is inactive. This can be frustrating, but you can escape the situation with the following tips.
Check Your Internet Settings
The first place to look is your internet settings. We don’t want to blame the kill switch if it’s an issue with your internet connectivity or ISP.
Check the VPN’s Connection
Mistakenly closing the VPN while it’s still connected to a server can cause the kill switch to activate in the background and stop ALL internet processes.
In this case, it’s best to:
- Relaunch the VPN.
- Disconnect from the VPN server, if any.
- Use your internet normally again.
Sometimes, even if the VPN isn’t connected, connect to a random server, and disconnect. This usually resets the kill switch and releases your internet from the lock.
Flush Your DNS Cache
The kill switch prevents DNS transmissions when active. And suppose your DNS settings have cached that non-transmission. In that case, it might keep your device from transmitting to the internet, even if PureVPN isn’t activated.
That’s why clearing your device’s DNS cache might work.
Here’s how to clear your DNS cache on Windows:
And here’s how to clear the DNS cache on Mac units:
You can also reset your DNS addresses (I’ve found “18.104.22.168” and “22.214.171.124” – without quotation marks – to work).
Plug the Leaks!
PureVPN does a great job of providing stellar privacy and top-notch online security.
But that fantastic job can unravel when the VPN server loses connection for even a second, exposing parts of your online activities and your true IP/DNS leaks.
Thankfully, PureVPN’s robust kill switch technology plugs those leaks.
Simply set it up the right way on devices with the kill switch setting, and you’re good to go.
Lest I forget, grab these PureVPN discounts to save more and access the kill switch on PCs and mobile units.