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What is a Kill Switch and how does it work?

Kill switch is a technique that helps you prevent unprotected access to the internet, where your traffic doesn't go through the VPN.

There are a few different Kill Switch versions used by the NordVPN applications:

  • The PC version of the Kill Switch, found in our Windows (App Kill Switch) and Mac (OpenVPN version) applications, terminates the applications you specify if the VPN connection suddenly disconnects, preventing those applications from sending unprotected traffic to the internet.
     
  • Our Windows application's feature "Internet Kill Switchdisables system-wide internet access if the VPN connection suddenly disconnects - that way it protects all apps, without terminating them.
     
  • The Mobile version of the Kill Switch, used in our iOS application, as well as the IKEv2 version of the Mac app, disables system-wide internet access if the VPN connection suddenly disconnects - that way it protects all apps, without terminating them. It will also try to reconnect you to the last server you were connected to.
     
  • The "Block connections without VPN" functionality, that can be enabled on most devices (depends on the ROM) that have Android version 8.0 or higher, works just like a system-wide killswitch, blocking any Internet access while not connected to VPN services. To enable it, go to System Settings > More (in the Wireless & networks section) > VPN, tap the cog icon next to NordVPN or tap and hold the NordVPN application highlight until the menu opens. In that menu, click on "Block connections without VPN".
     
  • Most devices (depends on the ROM) that have Android version 7.0 or higher have "Always-on VPN" functionality which prevents leaks in case of a sudden VPN connection drop. To enable it, go to System Settings > More (in the Wireless & networks section) > VPN, tap the cog icon next to NordVPN or tap and hold the NordVPN application highlight until the menu opens. In that menu, click on "Always-on VPN".
     
  • On our Linux client, it also disables system-wide internet access if the VPN connection suddenly disconnects. You can enable Kill Switch feature by typing the nordvpn set killswitch on command. If you want to disable the Kill Switch, type nordvpn set killswitch off command. You can find the current status of the Kill Switch feature by typing the nordvpn settings command.

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