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What is Kill Switch and how does it work?

This article is available in French and German.

Kill Switch is a feature helping you prevent unprotected access to the internet when your traffic doesn't go through a NordVPN server.

The NordVPN apps employ a few different versions of Kill Switch:

  • The PC version of Kill Switch, available in the NordVPN applications for Windows (App Kill Switch) and Mac (OpenVPN version), terminates the applications you specify if the VPN connection suddenly breaks off, preventing those applications from sending unprotected traffic to the internet.
     
  • The Internet Kill Switch feature in the Windows application disables system-wide internet access if the VPN connection suddenly breaks off or you disconnect manually. That way, it protects all the apps without terminating them.
     
  • The mobile version of Kill Switch in the iOS application as well as in the IKEv2 app for Mac disables system-wide internet access if the VPN connection suddenly breaks off, thus protecting all the apps without terminating them. It will also try to reconnect you to the last server you were connected to. This feature is enabled by default and not visible in the app settings as a separate option.
     
  • Kill Switch on Android version 8.0 or later works just like a system-wide Kill Switch, blocking any internet access when there is no VPN connection.
     
  • Most devices (depending on the ROM) that run on Android version 7.0 or later have the Always-on VPN functionality, which prevents leaks if the VPN connection suddenly drops. To enable it, go to Settings > Connections > More connection settings > VPN. Tap the cog icon next to NordVPN and enable the Always-on VPN toggle switch.
     
  • The NordVPN client for Linux disables system-wide internet access if the VPN connection suddenly breaks off or you disconnect manually. You can enable the Kill Switch feature by typing the nordvpn set killswitch on command. If you want to disable Kill Switch, type the nordvpn set killswitch off command. You can find the current status of the Kill Switch feature by typing the nordvpn settings command.

Find more information on the dedicated VPN Kill Switch feature page, where we explain how you can use it.

 

Tip: Your VPN connection safety depends on your account password too. Don't forget to use a strong password on your account, as it will help you to avoid credential stuffing attacks and will keep your connections safe and uninterrupted.

As generating and remembering strong and secure passwords is not an easy task, we recommend downloading our free password manager — NordPass. It generates secure passwords for you and stores them safely, letting you avoid time-wasting password resets in the future.

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