VPN Split Tunneling – What is it and Do You Need It?

VPN split tunneling is a great way to keep all your sensitive data secure without compromising your Internet speeds. But it also makes your web traffic less anonymous when you don’t need all your web activities to be protected.

And therefore, if you’re more concerned about your security when surfing the Internet, you should probably disable split tunneling and continue using the VPN for all your web traffic. However, if you don’t want to encrypt everything you do online and just need some extra protection without slowing down your connection speeds, split tunneling is worthwhile.

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What is a VPN?

A VPN gives users a secure tunnel through which data traveling from and to their device is encrypted. It allows you to enjoy safe remote access and protected sharing of files while also masking your location if you choose to do so.

Nonetheless, with the best VPN, you might experience slow bandwidth and network speed issues due to the encryption applied to the data traveling through the tunnel.

With the split tunneling connection, users can easily send their traffic via an encrypted VPN connection and ultimately allow the rest of the data to travel via a different tunnel on an open Internet.


Short of Time? See Our Top 5 for October, 2021

1. ExpressVPN – #1 Trusted Leader in VPN
2. NordVPN – Kill Switch Works Well
3. CyberGhost – Rock Solid Connection
4. IP Vanish – Excellent Support
5. Surfshark – 30-day trial period


What Is Split Tunneling?

VPN split tunneling allows routing some of the device or application traffic through the encrypted VPN, but other apps or devices have direct access to the web. This is useful if you want to take advantage of services that perform best if your location is known while enjoying secure access to possibly sensitive data and communications. It’s important to remember security when taking this into consideration.

Split tunneling is the VPN feature, which divides the Internet traffic and ultimately sends some traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel, but then routes the rest of the data via another tunnel in the open network. Essentially, split tunneling lets you to pick the apps to secure and those you can connect normally.

It’s a handy feature, especially if you want to keep the traffic private whereas maintaining unlimited access to the local network. Therefore, you can easily access local networks and foreign networks simultaneously.


Top 5 VPN With Split Tunneling

As mentioned earlier, split tunneling allows you to select which websites, apps, or devices use the VPN connection and which utilize a direct connection. Following are the best VPNs with split tunneling.

🥇 1. ExpressVPN

With regards to split tunneling, ExpressVPN is very systematic. The feature works on macOS and Windows apps. In such cases, the setting section of your VPN application includes split tunneling.

Users can easily send traffic via the VPN, or send the traffic coming from some apps. They are commonly referred to as split tunneling and the ‘split-exclude’ option. Many VPNs, which apply split tunneling, work on such methods, but if you choose to use ExpressVPN, you’ll be getting both. You can use it on different apps, including iOS, Android, Linux, macOS, and windows.


🥈2. NordVPN

NordVPN applications are obtainable for android, iOS, Linux, macOS, and windows. Nevertheless, it’s the VPNs browser extension for Firefox and chrome that give you a chance to fully apply split tunneling. Technically, users can choose the sites to use direct connection and the decided VPN.

Keep in mind that you should leave your apps off and switch off your browser extension. All the browser traffic goes via a VPN tunnel, whereas the remaining apps remain unprotected. However, this does not offer much flexibility for the split tunneling system, though it may be ideal for some people. NordVPN provides perfect security and makes it easier for you to access numerous streaming services such as Netflix.


🥉3. CyberGhost

CyberGhost split excludes alternative that allows you to choose the websites that can utilize VPNs and those to use the direct connection. For those people who prefer the website-based tunneling feature, this will work for you. Technically, this split-include aspect that allows you to choose the apps that need to be obscured by your VPN. You could choose a separate server site for every app included for protection.

You can access split tunneling via the preference tab in your desktop application. This VPN offers you access to more servers in over 90 countries. Also, it unblocks many streaming services. Apps available for amazon fire stick, amazon fire TV, Linux, iOS, Android, macOS, and windows.


4. IPVanish

IPVanish applications for android and the FireOS include the split-tunneling. It allows you to have more apps running via the VPN whereas leaving the rest of the traffic outside that tunnel. For instance, Kodi runs via the VPN, whereas Netflix utilizes the direct connection.

IPVanish is one of the quickest VPNs you’ll find. It has amazon fire stick, amazon fire TV, Linux mint, iOS, macOS, and windows. You can set up the VPN manually on Fedora Linux, Kali, and Ubuntu.


5. Surfshark

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Surfshark operates more than 1000 servers in 60 countries. This makes it easier to obtain lower latency connection and high speed. It’s able to unblock the most popular services such as HBO and Netflix US from anywhere across the globe, and there are no connection limits; you can easily secure all the devices you have in one account.

The split tunneling features make it easier for you to allow some websites or apps completely bypass a VPN. Also, there is 256-bit encryption, protection against WebRTC, DNS, IPv6 leaks, and a kill switch. Not to mention the NoBorders feature, which bypasses countrywide Internet blocks.


How Split Tunneling Works?

Split tunneling is an excellent VPN feature that offers you more control regarding the data you can encrypt and that which you can send through the VPN server and the data that travels faster in an unencrypted, open web. Therefore, how does split tunneling work? Typically, to properly understand what VPN split tunneling is, it’s essential for you to know the basics of the VPN server.

Essentially, the device will possibly have a direct connection to the web, where data will be received and resent. However, if you choose to utilize the VPN, this creates a secure connection between the VPN server and your device. The VPN server will then access the Internet. Therefore, each data packet is received and sent through that secure VPN.

The good thing is that the data is entirely encrypted. But since everything must travel via the VPN, it might slow down your Internet speed. Split tunneling provides you with two simultaneous connections- the open Internet connection and a secure VPN connection. Therefore, you can easily protect all your data without necessarily slowing other Internet activities.


Is VPN Split Tunneling Important To Have?

As with many VPN features, there are numerous benefits of utilizing split tunneling. Following are some of the reasons you should consider using split tunneling.

  • It improves Internet speed through alleviating drawbacks and conserving the bandwidth since all the Internet traffic is not forced via the VPN server.
  • It gives you access to different networks simultaneously, meaning you can access your foreign network and corporate network while still connected to the local network. In essence, this means you don’t need to keep disconnecting and connecting the best VPN for Netflix.

Therefore, you can do things such as access the network printer and still maintain online privacy, stream foreign movies and still get local search results, or download something without necessarily slowing down the browsing speed.


Does Every VPN Have Split Tunneling?

Unfortunately, there are some VPNs that doesn’t have split tunneling. Therefore, when choosing the best VPN for gaming service, it’s essential to check whether it has split tunneling, which allows you to connect to different networks simultaneously.


Is It Safe To Use A VPN Without Split Tunneling?

For starters, split tunneling is very safe, presuming it’s implemented well and you are aware of the data traveling through that VPN and what it does.  Furthermore, websites and apps that use a VPN via split tunneling don’t have any added ping time or latency. The websites and apps that route via the best VPN for Kodi have the added latency, which you’ll get with the VPN connection.

If the Wi-Fi router supports split tunneling, you can opt for devices that you want to use the VPN and those you don’t. Game consoles can utilize direct connections with no lag, whereas your laptop and phone can use a VPN. Also, you can easily connect local network devices like routers, smart home devices, and printers when using a VPN.

In doing so, you can easily connect local resources in an office or school and, at the same time, unblock apps and sites from behind the web filter.


Types Of Split Tunneling

VPN split tunneling might take different forms based on the manner through which it decides what will go through the VPN and what won’t. Most of the VPN services listed above allow users to split tunnel certain apps. You can choose the apps to use the VPN and direct connections, which aren’t encrypted. Following are the most common types of split tunneling.

  • Split tunneling by app – This kind of VPN split tunneling allows you to choose the apps you want to be routed via the VPN, whereas the remainder of the traffic travels via the regular network.
  • Split tunneling by URL allows you to choose the URLs you want to be encrypted via the VPN. This is often done utilizing the VPN browser extension.
  • Inverse split tunneling – This works opposite. Whereas the first two types of split tunneling route everything via the open network, and you can pick the URLs and apps you want to be routed via the VPN, when it comes to inverse split tunneling, all the traffic is automatically sent via the VPN unless otherwise specified. Regarding inverse split tunneling, you get to choose the apps and URLs you want to be transmitted via the VPN instead of those you want.

Protecting Your Privacy with VPN

A VPN goes a long way to ensuring that your Internet service provider, government agency, or snoopers can spy on what you do while on the Internet. The best VPN uses high-end encryption technologies like Transport Layer Security, Secure Sockets Layer, Layer 2 Tunneling, and IP Security to build an encrypted tunnel between the VPN server and your device.

Although the traffic is in the tunnel between the VPN and yourself, no other person can see what you’re doing or the websites you’re visiting. Besides protecting your sensitive online activities, VPNs are often used for Peer-to-Peer traffic and BitTorrent.


Split Tunneling FAQs

Is split tunneling bad?

Although split tunneling provides many benefits, there are a few risks. If a bad actor gains access to the same network that hosts the corporate PC, the corporate network might be at risk.

Is split tunneling good for you?

Split tunneling might be an excellent way to keep your sensitive data safe without having to slow down your Internet speed. However, this might make your web traffic less private than utilizing the VPN for everything.

Is split tunneling more secure?

If you disable split tunneling, then the company's secure infrastructure may have an opportunity to intercept the hacker's command and start controlling it. As a result, enabling split tunneling isn’t considered secure.

Why use tunneling?

Tunneling is often utilized in VPNs. Also, it can set up secure and efficient connections between the networks activate that use other unsupported network protocols.

What are the main types of tunneling protocols?

The most commonly utilized split tunneling in the VPN sector as OpenVPN, SSTP, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.
Author: Daniel Jovanovic
Daniel Jovanovic is an avid website creator who started exploring the World Wide Web as a young kid. Being still a newbie got his first project hacked, which inspired him to learn more about network protection. Now he understands internet security by heart, and this is why he is our VPN expert.