Private Internet Access VPN Kill Switch

Last week Private Internet Access had some unexpected downtime.  The unplanned maintenance took place on Thursday morning.  At first users weren’t sure what was going on.  Some went to sites like Reddit and Twitter where PIA quickly responded to assure everyone that the downtime was only temporary.  A member suggested adding a server status page which sounds like a good idea.  Otherwise PIA was right on top of it on Twitter and Reddit.  Best of all those using their VPN kill switch were never at risk of unsecured Internet access.

VPN Kill Switch

Private Internet Access has several advanced features in their client.  One of which is the VPN kill switch.  As the name suggests the VPN kill switch will disable your Internet anytime the VPN disconnects.  That way you don’t risk transmitting without the protection of their VPN.  It’s really popular among torrent users who don’t want their clients continuing if their VPN connection drops.  This time around the same was true for everyone.  Regardless of what you were doing on the PIA network your connection would have terminated during the downtime.

Enabling the VPN kill switch couldn’t be easier.  You’ll want to use the Private Internet Access client software for Windows.  It’s free to all PIA members.  Once you start the program go to your tray and right click on the red PIA icon.  Click on Settings and then click on the Advanced button in the lower left corner.  From there you have a number of options.  If your screen differs from the image above click on the Connection button where my image shows Encryption.  Now just click the box next to the VPN Kill Switch.  You can also enable DNS Leak Protection.

No matter how reliable your VPN service is they will have some downtime sooner or later.  Whether it’s a specific server you might be connected to at the time or the entire network as was the case with PIA.  Either way it’s good to protect yourself against outages.  For that matter it’s good to protect yourself from any chance of disconnecting which can happen because of issues on your end, the ISP, a carrier in the middle, etc.  There are lots of reasons your connection could fail.  Having the VPN kill swtich enabled could really save the day.

Cheers to the Private Internet Access team for their prompt response on Twitter and Reddit.  I second the suggestion of having a network status page on the main site.  Of course if the site is down it wouldn’t work out but having something that let’s users know when a server is down for any reason or when a widespread outage happens would be nice.  All in all PIA is one of my favorite VPN services.  They work hard to protect your privacy and the results show with features like VPN kill switch.  If your not a member you join for just $6.45 a month.

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