How the NordVPN kill switch works

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How the NordVPN Kill Switch Works

Many VPN reviews talk about how important a kill switch is and that it’s a big benefit when a VPN comes with a built in kill switch. So we wanted to show exactly why and how one of the biggest and best VPNs utilises it’s kill switch and how simple it is for you to make use of it.

What is a Kill Switch

I wanted to quickly cover this just in case you didn’t already what a kill switch in your VPN does.

When you’re connected to the internet through a VPN, a kill switch will essentially monitor your VPN connection and if your connection to the VPN should ever drop, then the kill switch activates and prevents your device from accessing the internet.

Why? Because once your VPN connection is disconnected, then your traffic is potentailly exposed. And seeing that you have a VPN connected in the first place means that you likely don’t want your traffic exposed.

And until your VPN connection is restored, typically the kill switch will prevent you from reconnecting to the internet.

And that’s exactly how NordVPN’s kill switch works. So let’s walk through that.

NordVPN scored 9.5/10 in our rating and is currently ranked the best VPN

How the NordVPN Kill Switch Works

NordVPN actually has two versions of a kill switch: system-wide and app-level.

System-Wide

Specifically for the iOS, Linux and macOS (IKE) versions of the NordVPN app – the platform has a built in network lock that happens, as the name suggest, system-wide as soon as your VPN connection drops.

Worth noting that the Android 7.0 also has the system-wide kill switch built in but it has to be configured in the apps settings.

Additionally the Windows NordVPN app will let you pick between the system-wide and app-level options to utilise the kill switch.

App-Level

For the MacOS (OpenVPN version) and the Windows version of the NordVPN app, you have the option to specify which apps you want to be blocked should your VPN connection drop.

In fact in the wording, the app says ‘Quit apps in this list if connection to NordVPN’ is dropped.

NordVPN Kill Switch Setup (MacOS OpenVPN version)

We were able to test the MacOS (OpenVPN version)  of the NordVPN so let’s take a look at how to set this up.

  • First up, go to NordVPN in the top menu (next to the Apple symbol) and select Preferences.

  • Make your way down to Kill Switch, the fourth menu option.

  • You are then able to add as many apps from your local system as you would like using the ‘Add new app’ option. In the example below, I’ve added Slack, Discord and Telegram to close should my VPN connection drop.

  • The final step is to turn the kill switch on by using the button below the app list that specifically directs to ‘Quit apps in this list if connection to NordVPN is dropped’
NordVPN Kill Switch

And as simple as that, you’ve enabled the NordVPN kill switch on MacOS (OpenVPN version).

In our opinion, it’s always a worthwhile piece of functionality to have configured when using your VPN. It’s a premium feature that many VPN providers don’t offer so if you’re paying for one of the better providers, like NordVPN, then you should be making using of it.