Can VPN be turned off? What if I can’t turn off my VPN?

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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  • You maybe heard that VPNs are the new craze when it comes to online privacy and they're great to have on your computer.
  • However, in some cases, you might be unable to switch the VPN off, even temporarily. This can quickly become problematic.
  • Check out our best VPNs that can help you protect your privacy.
  • Visit the VPN Hub to find out more about how to keep your online privacy secure.
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You maybe heard that VPNs are the new craze when it comes to online privacy. They’re really great tools that can keep your online privacy safe and away from prying eyes.

However, if you’re not exactly tech-savvy, the whole concept of anonymizing your online identity might sound a bit inconspicuous, maybe even shady.

Trust us, there’s nothing wrong with having, nor using a VPN, just as long as your government doesn’t explicitly ban it.

Another common concern regarding VPN functionality is the inability to turn it off.

Just to set things clear from the start. VPNs are not permanent in any way. Some of them you even have to start manually, because they lack that run at startup option.

VPN providers aren’t that crazy about you using the VPN 24/7 either, especially if you’re running bandwidth-intensive processes such as torrent clients or download managers.

Most VPNs can be easily switched off

We say most because we can’t guarantee that every single VPN has an on/off switch. Mostly do, but chances are that some of them won’t work, especially if the VPN itself is a bit sketchy, or poorly designed.

Take a look at your VPN client’s main window and try to locate a large button. One that resembles a power switch, you know, with the I/O symbol and all.

That’s your off switch, and pressing it while connected to a VPN will pull the plug on your secure tunnel. It’s as easy as it gets. If you can’t see that exact button, try to locate a similar one.

Can’t turn off your VPN on Windows 10? Check our guide to see how to do it.

As an alternative, you could right-click the VPN client’s icon in your system tray and select Exit or Quit. If anything else fails, fire up your Task Manager, locate the process and force-quit it.

What if I can’t turn off my VPN?

Not being able to turn off your VPN can be problematic. This could happen for a number of reasons:

1. The VPN is compromised

Sometimes, you might pull the shortest straw and stumble upon a malware-ridden VPN. This can happen when you go deal-hunting and find the perfect offer. You know, the one that sounds too good to be true.

So you’re stuck here with a no-name VPN that’s actually malware and doesn’t allow you to turn it off.

In this case, you might want to run an antivirus/antimalware program on your PC and see if anything changes. If not, we suggest you do a clean install of Windows and get rid of anything suspicious.

2. You’re using Windows’ built-in VPN

Some users prefer creating and configuring their VPN connections manually, using Windows’ built-in VPN feature. If that’s the case, you won’t have any client to be angry at.Windows built-in VPN disconnect

Click the connection icon in your system tray and try to locate the VPN connection. It should look like the picture above, but with a Disconnect button instead of a Connect one. Click it and you’re done.

3. There’s a killswitch enabled somewhere

Many good VPNs, such as PIA, have a killswitch that automatically turns off your Internet if the VPN connection fails. This is meant to protect you from any data leaks and isn’t malicious in any way.

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However, if you forget to disable the killswitch, turning your VPN off might render you unable to access the Internet. In this case, launch the VPN and take a look at its settings. If you notice a killswitch, flip it off, and try turning your VPN off again.

VPNs can be turned off pretty easily

All things considered, it shouldn’t be too hard to turn your VPN off. Except for some special situations, where there’s malware involved or a killswitch mishandling, it should be quite straightforward.

Even if you’re using Windows’ built-in VPN client, you can easily turn it off from the Connection menu. You just need to select the connection and press the Disconnect button.

FAQ: Learn more about turning off VPN

  • Can I turn off a VPN temporarily?

If you want to turn off a VPN temporarily or permanently, check out our guide and see how to do it safely.

  • What’s the best VPN that can be turned off?

We agreed that PIA is one of the best all-round VPN services. It has a killswitch and can be turned off without any efforts.

  • Can you get hacked through VPN apps?

Yes, there’s a chance that you can get hacked through VPN apps, but it’s not very likely if you stick with well-known services instead of going for free, or cheaper, shady services.