We have updated our Privacy Policy as of September 22, 2023, for more information click here

How a Feature Toggle Kill Switch Works


A feature toggle kill switch, also known as a feature flag kill switch or simply a kill switch, is a mechanism used in software development to quickly and remotely disable a specific feature or functionality in a software application. It allows developers and product managers to turn off a feature or revert to a previous version of the software without the need for a new release or deployment.

Here’s how a feature toggle kill switch typically works:


Developers add a feature toggle, which is a conditional statement in the code that determines whether a feature should be enabled or disabled. This toggle can be implemented using various techniques, such as configuration files, environment variables, or dedicated feature flag management tools.


Initially, the feature toggle is set to the “on” position, meaning the feature is active and accessible to users.


The application continuously checks the state of the feature toggle during runtime to determine whether the feature should be enabled or disabled. This check typically occurs at key entry points or checkpoints within the application.

Kill Switch Functionality

When the kill switch is triggered, the state of the feature toggle is changed to the “off” position, effectively disabling the associated feature.

Immediate Effect

Once the feature toggle is set to the “off” position, the application immediately behaves as if the feature does not exist. This ensures that the undesired functionality is instantly deactivated.

Centralized Control

The feature toggle kill switch can be controlled remotely through a centralized management system. This allows authorized personnel, such as product managers or operations teams, to turn off the feature without requiring code changes or redeployment.

Rollback and Mitigation

The kill switch provides a means to quickly react to issues or emergencies by disabling the feature. This allows teams to mitigate potential risks or errors without having to wait for a full software release or deployment.

The feature toggle kill switch is a valuable technique in agile software development, as it enables organizations to safely experiment with new features, test changes, or respond rapidly to incidents while minimizing disruption to users.

Get Split Certified

Split Arcade includes product explainer videos, clickable product tutorials, manipulatable code examples, and interactive challenges.

Switch It On With Split

The Split Feature Data Platform™ gives you the confidence to move fast without breaking things. Set up feature flags and safely deploy to production, controlling who sees which features and when. Connect every flag to contextual data, so you can know if your features are making things better or worse and act without hesitation. Effortlessly conduct feature experiments like A/B tests without slowing down. Whether you’re looking to increase your releases, to decrease your MTTR, or to ignite your dev team without burning them out–Split is both a feature management platform and partnership to revolutionize the way the work gets done. 

Switch on a free account today, schedule a demo to learn more, or contact us for further questions and support.

Want to Dive Deeper?

We have a lot to explore that can help you understand feature flags. Learn more about benefits, use cases, and real world applications that you can try.

Create Impact With Everything You Build

We’re excited to accompany you on your journey as you build faster, release safer, and launch impactful products.