What Happens when a VPN Disconnects from the Internet

Stop Internet Traffic when VPN Disconnects with a VPN Kill Switch

Network reliability is one of the worst “enemies” of a VPN connection – whenever the Internet connection is flaky and disconnects (even for a couple of seconds), your VPN will disconnect as well. But what happens when the Internet resumes? Most of the times, the computer or mobile device gets back to the default networking settings, getting a public IP, thus, leaving your online data exposed without the protection of a VPN.

So – how can you still protect your online privacy when dealing with unreliable Internet connections and using a VPN?

Case Study: VPN Disconnects while Walking Down the Street

Experiment time: connect your smartphone to a public WiFi hotspot (Xfinity, TWC, etc.) and start your VPN. Walk down the street in a crowded center city area and watch the screen of your phone. You’ll see that as the phone disconnects from the WiFi hotspots or switches to LTE, the little “key” icon representing the VPN connection on your phone will disappear either for good or for some time. As long as that key is not there, your data is not protected and neither is your online privacy.

You’ve got 2 options to fix that: get a VPN with a kill switch or get a mobile VPN. See below what each means.

Option 1: Get a “Kill Switch” VPN to Stop Internet Traffic when VPN Disconnects

As VPN behaviour on unreliable network connections is not a new thing, VPN providers have included the option of cutting all Internet traffic when the VPN is not connected = kill switch. So, if you get disconnected while running a VPN connection, the device will not automatically reconnect to the Internet unless the VPN can connect to the server first. This makes sure that your private data is not exposed when dealing with flaky Internet connections.

The pros of this solution is that most of the major VPN providers nowadays offer this functionality – so it’s easy to find one that would fit your needs strictly from the security point of view.

A big downside for this option is that the VPN provider might have its own issues with the servers, not related to your Internet connection performance. This might prevent your device to successfully connect to the Internet, even though it could safely do so with another server. So, you’ll have to manually try with another server or give up that option altogether, just to be able to enjoy some online time.

Option 2: Get a Mobile VPN to Stay Always Connected and Protected

Surprisingly, a mobile VPN is not a VPN for mobile devices. As defined on Wikipedia, it is “a VPN which is capable of persisting during sessions across changes in physical connectivity, point of network attachment, and IP address.” Since a mobile VPN can use several networks to be connected – e.g. WiFi and LTE on your iPhone / Android smartphone; WiFi, Ethernet and LTE on your laptop, etc. – not only you will always be online, with working Internet (assuming that not all connections drop at the same time), but the VPN will also keep you protected.

Naturally, connection reliability and security is the big plus of this solution. And, since the mobile VPN uses multiple Internet connections at the same time, speed is also something that will drastically improve, as will latency. This is extremely important for bandwidth critical online applications, such as gaming, audio-video streaming and live stream broadcasting.

One of the downsides of this solution is that a mobile VPN solution usually comes embedded in a dedicated hardware device (wireless router) for combining multiple Internet connections. And this raises the cost of it. But there are also software-only alternatives available on the market that you can try – one of these is Speedify.

Stay protected when your Internet connection drops – your VPN service should either have a “kill switch” functionality or be a mobile VPN.

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