How to turn off a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a highly useful service that should usually be switched on. It encrypts your data, securing it from cybercriminals. It also lets you spoof your location so you can bypass geo-blocking. In some cases, a VPN may even boost your connection speed if you’re suffering from bandwidth throttling from your ISP.

Despite the various benefits, you may need to turn off your VPN to troubleshoot a connection issue or to access a particularly troublesome website or service that’s blocking VPN IP addresses. In this post, we’ll take you through how you can turn off a VPN, be it on a desktop or mobile device, or even a router. We’ll also explain why it’s better to have a VPN turned on than off.

How to disconnect a VPN

If you’re using a third-party VPN app from your school, office, or VPN provider, then you should be able to disconnect by hitting a switch in the app. Most VPNs allow you to quickly and easily disconnect from a VPN server with a single click.

If you don’t use a third-party app and instead configured the VPN on your operating system, then we’ve got you covered. Here’s how you can turn off a VPN on WindowsAndroidMaciOS, and Linux.


  1. Go to Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. Select VPN from the left-side menu.
  3. Choose the VPN you want to turn off.
  4. Click on Disconnect.


  1. Navigate to Settings > Network & Internet.
  2. Click on VPN.
  3. From here you can toggle off your VPN.


  1. Head to System Settings > Network.
  2. Find your VPN connection in the window on the left.
  3. Click Disconnect.


  1. Go to Settings > General.
  2. Scroll down to VPN & Device Management.
  3. Toggle the VPN status to Not Connected.


There are many Linux distributions and Ubuntu is one of the most popular. Below you’ll find instructions for turning off a VPN on Linux Ubuntu.

  1. Select the network icon in the top right corner.
  2. Choose VPN connections from the dropdown menu.
  3. Click on the active VPN connection to disconnect.


The process of turning off a VPN on a router depends on your router model.

  1. Start by finding your router’s IP address. This is usually printed on a sticker on the back of the router.
  2. Type the IP address into your browser’s address bar. You’ll be taken to the router’s admin page.
  3. Enter your admin login credentials. You should be able to find this information on the back of your router.
  4. Look for a tab along the lines of VPN settings in the admin panel.
  5. Turn off the VPN and then restart your router.

When to turn off a VPN

You may already have a reason to turn off your VPN. Or it may be that you simply want to know how to turn off the VPN if and when that time comes. Here are some examples of when you might want to turn off a VPN:

  • Troubleshooting connection issues: Sometimes you’ll find a certain webpage or app just won’t load. In order to find out if this is a problem with the network itself or the VPN server you’re connected to, you’ll want to disconnect (or switch servers) to see if it resolves the issue.
  • Unblock stubborn websites and services: While the best VPNs rarely fail when it comes to bypassing geographic restrictions, some websites and services are trickier to access from abroad than others. Streaming services in particular often block VPN IP addresses. Very occasionally, you might have to turn off your VPN to access them.
  • Preserve device battery life: The more apps you run on your device, the quicker the battery will drain. A VPN routes your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel and this extra step naturally consumes more battery. Turning off your VPN for a short time or using an efficient VPN protocol such as WireGuard can help.
  • Traveling to countries where VPNs are illegal: Fortunately, VPNs are legal in most countries. There are a few countries in which the legal status of VPNs is something of a gray area however. This includes China and Belarus where many popular VPN services have been banned by their respective governments.

Turning off a VPN: FAQs

Why should I keep a VPN on?

The main reason to keep your VPN on, wherever possible, is because of the many security and privacy-related benefits it provides. When connected to a VPN server, your internet traffic is encrypted and protected from hackers and snoopers. There are times when this is even more essential, such as when connecting to unsecure public wifi networks or conducting more sensitive online activities such as online banking.

Keeping your VPN on also allows you to access more online content. You’ll sometimes find that you can’t access certain websites and services. This is particularly the case if you travel abroad and want to access your usual content from back home. Citizens in some countries such as China, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates suffer from strict online censorship. With your VPN on, you can bypass censorship and prevent your ISP and government from snooping on you.

Does a kill switch turn off a VPN?

While a kill switch might sound like it turns off your VPN, that’s not what it’s for. A VPN kill switch is a security feature that cuts off internet access in the event that your VPN connection drops. This can be particularly useful if you’re using public wi-fi, torrenting, or switching between wi-fi and mobile networks. A kill switch prevents third parties from seeing your IP address as well as what you’re doing online.

What is split tunneling?

Split tunneling is a VPN feature that allows you to choose which apps and/or websites use your VPN connection and which use your regular internet connection. With this feature, you may be able to avoid turning off your VPN. For example, if you’re struggling to access a streaming service such as Netflix or DAZN, you can disable the VPN for that specific website or app. It will continue to route the rest of your internet traffic through the encrypted tunnel.

What happens when I turn my VPN off?

Disconnecting from your VPN or turning it off entirely means your internet traffic is no longer encrypted. Furthermore, your IP address is visible to anyone and your ISP will be able to see what you’re doing online. In some countries, this information may be shared with your government or sold to advertisers. Your ISP may even throttle your bandwidth when you’re streaming or torrenting in order to better manage its network.