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NordVPN Kill Switch: how does it work

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:

On Windows:

  • The Internet Kill Switch feature in the Windows application has two operation modes:
  1. Disable internet access when a VPN connection drops unexpectedly (default mode). With this mode selected, internet access is disabled only if an active VPN connection is lost due to an error or some other VPN connection related problem.
  2. Disable internet access when you disconnect from VPN manually or the connection drops unexpectedly. This mode disables internet access whenever there is no active VPN connection.

On iOS and macOS:

  • The mobile version of Kill Switch in the iOS application as well as in the NordVPN (App store) version 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.
  • On macOS (NordVPN version), terminates the applications you specify if the VPN connection suddenly breaks off, preventing those applications from sending unprotected traffic to the internet.

On Android:

  • 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.

On Linux:

  • The NordVPN client for Linux disables system-wide internet access if the VPN connection suddenly breaks off or you disconnect manually. You can enable NordVPN 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.

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