How to turn off your VPN

By Evan Stockton

VPNs have skyrocketed in popularity and use in 2020, and the trend is continuing into 2021.

However, sometimes consumers install, and start using a VPN and find they need to turn it off, but don’t know-how.

This article will cover all the bases for people who have questions regarding when, and when not, to use a VPN.

I will also cover how to turn it off in the case of such an event being necessary.

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How to turn off your VPN

Once you’ve determined that you do need to navigate the internet temporarily without your VPN on, you need to know how to switch it off. Read on to find detailed instructions on how to do so. These are listed by the operating system, and I cover the four most popular operating systems out there.

iOS

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Go to General in Settings.
  3. Then select “VPN” in General.
  4. Change the VPN status so that it reads “not connected.”

Android

On Android systems, the app itself will often have the option to turn the VPN on and off directly, without having to go to settings. If this is not the case:

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Go to Network and Internet in Settings.
  3. Select “VPN” and change the status so that it reads “not connected.”

Windows

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Go to Network and Internet within Settings.
  3. Select the tab in the menu on the left side of the screen that says “VPN”.
  4. Click on the name of the VPN you are using.
  5. Click on “Disconnect.”

macOS

In macOS, you can also often disable the VPN directly in the app, depending on which VPN you are using. If this is not the case:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Click on the icon that says “Network” in System Preferences.
  3. Look at the left-hand panel and find the name of the VPN you are using.
  4. Click on “Disconnect.”

Turning the VPN back on

For the four operating systems discussed above, turning the VPN back on is straightforward. Simply reverse the switch-off process in order to turn the VPN back on and continue enjoying the security and privacy that a good VPN offers you.

Reasons to turn off a VPN

Firstly, when you have a new internet connection with a new router, you will have to have the VPN off so that the connection can be properly established. There is no way around this and, under these circumstances, it’s absolutely necessary to disable the VPN temporarily.

Also, some websites log IPs and IP ranges. You can get into a situation where a website will only recognize you from your home location. If this is the case, turning the VPN off temporarily is probably going to be the best solution to the problem.

Additionally, if you have any kind of network issues, the VPN will need to come off temporarily in order to properly troubleshoot the issue. Naturally, as soon as the issues are 100% resolved, the VPN can come back on.

Reasons not to turn off a VPN

The main reason, in all honesty, to not ever turn off a VPN is to keep your connection safe and secure all the time. As can be seen above, the occasions when you will actually not want a VPN are quite rare.

In general, you will get all the security benefits of using a VPN back the moment you turn it back on. Of course, it’s very important to remember to turn the VPN back on manually. There is another way where this won’t be necessary, depending on your VPN (see “split tunnelling” below),

There is, however, one exception. Your internet service provider will possibly use the opportunity to collect more data on you. Although, to be honest, such a thing happening is highly unlikely under most circumstances.

Split tunnelling: also an option

Many of the best VPNs also offer the option of split tunnelling. Split-tunneling is a great way to keep your VPN on all the time and still get around some of the issues mentioned above.

Split tunnelling basically allows for exceptions to the VPN. But what do I mean by this? Well, exceptions to the VPN allow specific websites or apps to connect directly to the internet by bypassing the VPN. This will allow you to connect to certain sites that are expecting to see your home IP address for example. Using split tunnelling, you can do this without having to stop running the VPN. What’s more, you, the user, are in control of which exceptions you set up.

This is a highly recommended option, as it keeps you secure, and takes the mental burden of remembering to turn the VPN on and off all the time off of your shoulders.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Evan Stockton

Evan Stockton - Author

Evan Stockton is the proud publisher and founder of Securifer.com where he mainly manages publishing, editing and fact-checking. Evan is an expert Cybersecurity-researcher, and has written many articles for several large IT-centered publications.