What is VPN Split Tunneling? Everything you need to know

Unable to access local services or devices on connecting to a VPN? Disconnecting from a VPN isn’t the best practice. Thinking how it’s possible, VPN split tunneling got you covered. You are at the right place to know everything about it and how to use it to enjoy accessing geo-blocked content & regular content simultaneously. Let’s get started…

What is split tunneling

Split Tunneling is an 🔥incredible feature that helps to route some of your traffic through a VPN encrypted tunnel. This keeps you connected to the local network and keeps the other part of the traffic private.

⏳ Short in time? Here is a quick guide for you:

Split Tunneling is a 🤗handy feature that divides your VPN traffic and internet traffic. So, you access local content or services even connected to a VPN. While you can choose the specific applications to use VPN traffic. ExpressVPN is a great choice (simple to use) to ensure that your identity is never revealed with its Kill Switch in a VPN tunnel.

What is Split tunneling?

First of all, it’s a VPN (Virtual Private Network) 🤗feature that can divide your regular internet traffic from the encryption tunnel. So, you can access geo-blocked content and still connected to your local area network (LAN).

With Split Tunneling, you can stay private in desired applications from your ISP & Surveillance groups. Yet you can be a regular internet user (without VPN) in some applications, where your browsing history will be tracked by your ISP.

This feature benefits the services which work better when your location is known as banking applications, printing, and other services.

📝Note:- Keep in mind that there are some security risks on using split tunneling.

How Split Tunneling Works

It’s a simple process, let me explain it in a simpler way to digest. When your VPN creates an encrypted tunnel to route traffic. Split Tunneling will split this into two to route “VPN encrypted traffic” in one way and “regular internet traffic” in another.

Most of the VPNs (No-log) route all your traffic through VPN tunnels to keep you 🛡protected. But they also offer this feature as your preference to choose sites, apps, networks you want to use VPN connection.

Split Tunneling Benefits

Though a VPN offers several amazing benefits, still you can run into some issues when you try to access certain websites, services, or devices like your local printer. But split tunneling will solve all these VPN issues.

Access LAN devices

Your printer or some local devices might not connect properly due to your VPN connection (that creates a secure tunnel). But the Split tunneling feature helps you to connect to these devices by turning off LAN invisibility in the settings menu, which most VPN providers like ExpressVPN & NordVPN offer.

Simultaneous access to local and foreign content

You might be able to unblock certain websites on connecting to that specific VPN server. But you will lose your local content access (vice versa), Split Tunneling will help you can stream Netflix US series & access their local regional content simultaneously.

Increase bandwidth

It’s not a surprise that your speed feels a bit slow due to its encryption. But you can enhance your bandwidth by preventing ISP throttling. So, you can surf, stream, torrent with optimal speeds.

If your VPN is eating your bandwidth, then you can set it free using split tunneling on other paths.

Types of Split Tunneling

There are different types of split-tunneling to ensure that your traffic is routed (when you need it), here are they.

URL-based Split Tunneling

URL-based split tunneling helps you to route specific URL traffic through a VPN connection (encryption) and the rest of the traffic as public. Usually, a VPN browser extension will use this type.

App-based Split Tunneling

It’s similar to URL-based, you can choose the application for which the traffic should be routed through VPN & which don’t more like a VPN kill Switch. So, you can watch other Netflix libraries (VPN IP) & open your bank application (original IP).

Inverse Split Tunneling

Inverse Split tunneling works opposite to other types. While you need to specify which apps or URLs should use a VPN connection, here you need to specify which apps or URLs to use regular internet (the rest of everything is routed through a VPN connection).

Steps to enable Split Tunneling

Only a few (fingers count) premium VPN services offer this feature. Also, it’s very simple to set up split tunneling here are the steps.

  1. We recommend using ExpressVPN which has this Split tunneling freature on Android, iOSWindows, and macOS.
  2. Now click on ☰ and click on ⚙option available.ExpressVPN Settings (1)
  3. Now You can find Split Tunneling settings on general section.ExpressVPN Split Tunneling (1)

You can configure the App-based split tunneling by changing the settings and specifying the apps’ to use VPN tunnel.

Steps to test Split Tunneling

It’s very simple to test your Split tunneling feature, follow the steps mentioned below.

  1. Choose your Netflix app to use a VPN.
  2. Now connect to Netflix US on your VPN, here I am using ExpressVPN.Start and Connected to a server
  3. Check whether you are able to see Netflix US titles on your Netflix application.Top 10 in the US on Netflix

See I’m able to see “Top 10 in US Today“. This means your VPN Split tunneling is working fine.

Best VPNs with Split Tunneling


Express logo new
  • 3000+ Servers in 160+ locations (94 countries).
  • Unblock Amazon Prime, Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, BBC iPlayer, and more.
  • Unbeatable Security Encryption with OpenVPN (TCP/UDP), L2TP, IPSec, IKEv2.
  • Full Torrenting Support (Dedicated P2P Servers) with split tunneling.
  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux, Consoles, routers etc.
  • 5 Simultaneous device connections.
  • Zero Log Policy.
  • Reliable kill switch.
  • 24/7 Customer Support.
  • 30 Days full refund policy.

ExpressVPN is a 🥇top geo-unblocker of any online service that provides military-grade security encryption without any DNS/IPv6 leaks (proven in tests). With its 3000+ servers in 93+ countries all over the world to quickly connect to a server, supporting WireGuard protocol for quick streaming speeds.

ExpressVPN has a minimal & 🧑‍💻user-friendly interface that is well compatible with all the device platforms like Android, iOSWindows, and macOS. Your subscription won’t end with you, you can share it with another four members (5 Simultaneous connections).

ExpressVPN is a top VPN recommended by Reddit users. ExpressVPN is also a great choice for unblocking the geo-blocked content in different platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and other streaming Apps.

Also, ExpressVPN supports 💪unlimited P2P torrenting. It offers better value for money reliable service, check out its full review. They do offer 30 days of the money-back guarantee program. So, you can claim your refund if you are not satisfied with the service. It’s worth trying out (risk-free).

2. NordVPN

nordvpn logo
  • 5500+ servers in 62+ Countries.
  • Double VPN feature for extra privacy.
  • Unlimited Streaming in Ultra HD quality without data caps.
  • Unlimited P2P/Torrenting anonymously with dedicated P2P servers.
  • Unblocks International services Netflix, Hulu, Prime, HBO, iPlayer, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.
  • CyberSec to avoid malware and block ads.
  • Reliable kill switch.
  • Strict No-logs policy.
  • 30 Days full refund policy.

NordVPN is one of the best streaming VPNs. that can bypass most geoblocks providing high-level VPN encryption. Its 5500+ servers all over the world provide you the flexibility of choosing the best server based on your needs. NordVPN has a very minimal interface with map 📌points (Servers) all over the world.

NordVPN is very 🤗user-friendly & compatible with AndroidiOSWindows, and macOS, one of the best No-log VPNs without any leaks. Its custom-developed NordLynx protocol delivers superior server ⚡speeds to stream your favorite content in Ultra HD without any buffering.

NordVPN offers everything for a 🔐security lover, stay completely anonymous with 🧅Onion Over VPN & VPN Chaining. Also, you can 🥳enjoy unlimited torrenting with dedicated P2P servers (stops ISP throttling). This VPN can unblock anything coming in its way.

Also, they are offering 30 days of the money-back guarantee program (worth trying out). You can claim a full refund if you don’t like the service. Check out the full review for more features they are offering.

3. Surfshark VPN

surfshark logo
  • 3200+ Servers in 65 Countries.
  • Standard AES 256-bit encryption with OpenVPN, WireGuard and IKEv2 protocols.
  • Whitelister and Cleanweb feature.
  • Multihop mode to stream the content in high quality without buffering.
  • Static IP Addressess available.
  • Reliable Kill Switch.
  • No Log Policy.
  • Unlimited device connections.
  • 7 Days free trail & 30 days refund policy.

Surfshark is the 💪best no-log affordable VPN that provides unlimited devices connections. Powered with the class-leading VPN protocols and camouflage mode hides that you’re using a VPN. Surfshark VPN provides military-grade encryption keeping your identity hidden.

Surfshark VPN is compatible with almost all the device platforms and easy to set up on Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS. This VPN ensures that all your browse history is hidden from your ISP and keeps you away from the surveillance groups.

Also, they offer 30 days risk-free money-back guarantee program. If you don’t want to empty your pockets for a VPN consider this one as an option. Check out its detailed review for more information.

4. CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN
  • 6500+ Servers in over 90 countries.
  • Unblock Amazon Prime, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and many other streaming platforms in high quality. 
  • Supports a maximum of 7 devices simultaneous streaming.
  • Compatible with Android, iOS, Chrome, Linux, and other devices.
  • 45 days money-back guarantee.
  • No Log Policy.
  • 24/7 Customer Support.

Cyberghost is the best No-Log VPN for beginners especially brilliant at unblocking Netflix on Android. Its 2200+ servers in more than 60 countries offer great & reliable speed to stream your favorite content.

Like other VPNs on this list, CyberGhost has a zero-logging policy and completely makes you free from 14 eye surveillance. This VPN ranked third as there is no Split Tunneling and all the IP Addresses are static.

Cyberghost has multiple protocols like OpenVPN, AES 256 encryption with a kill switch feature to protect you from unexpected disconnections. Cyberghost will also unblock popular video streaming platforms like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and many more that come along the way.

CyberGhost is specially designed to determine which server will work on your streaming services. They also have apps for almost all the platforms. Also, they are offering 7 days free trial for Android, iOS, and Windows.

They offer 45 days risk-free money-back program and 24/7 live chat support for all of your problems. If you want then there is a hidden page for low price subscriptions.

5. IPVanish

  • 1300+ Servers in 75+ Locations.
  • Quick Server Connection without any data caps.
  • Unblock Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, etc.
  • Unlimited Simultanoues device connections.
  • Endless Streaming with optimized servers.
  • Multi-platform Support with a reliable kill switch.
  • No Log Policy with superior anonymity.
  • 30 days Full Refund Policy.

If you are the one who enjoys downloading speeds with privacy (No Log), IPVanish is for you. You can enjoy unblocking streaming services and grab crazy deals by spoofing your location with 1500+ servers in more than 75 locations across the world (Dynamic IPs).

IPVanish is so fast, you can’t tell the difference whether you are connected to VPN. They have also included leak protection along with standard 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN protocol. You can enjoy unlimited simultaneous device connections seamlessly with tons of configurations day-by-day.

IPVanish works well in real-time with decent internet speeds. Also, you can enjoy downloading games without any bandwidth limitations.

They offer 30 days risk-free money-back program and 24/7 live chat support for all of your problems. If you want then there is a hidden page for low price subscriptions.

VPN Split tunneling Security Risks

DNS Leaks

When you split your network traffic, others (ISP providers, the government) can see your real identity proven in the DNS leak test. This makes it clear, Split tunneling is vulnerable to your privacy (again it’s your choice).

Compromising device

Hackers mainly target 📲android devices (doesn’t mean iPhones are safe), easy to crack. Tunneling your traffic leaves your identity and information open to hackers which helps them to inject 🦠malware on your device. So, they will gain full control over your device.

Configuration vulnerability

Improper configuration is another great loss for users as it opens a portal to open the network. You might be trapped, a similar incident happened in 2015 which leaked over 40 million records.

Wrap Up!

Split Tunneling is a 🥳useful feature in your VPN journey. Though it’s a benefit of countless VPN benefits. But there are some downsides to using this feature if you don’t use it perfectly. Instead of disconnection from the VPN, use this feature to access services that are inaccessible with a VPN.

📝Note: Make sure that only exclude trusted apps (don’t leak your personal information).

Is Split Tunneling Secure?

Split Tunneling is safe though it divides your traffic (create’s a hole). But the risk depends on the applications you are excluding (might leak your information & can become a threat), so add the applications consciously.

Why I should use Split Tunneling?

Though there are several benefits, you can enjoy your full internet speeds. Also, you can access local & international content simultaneously, can connect to your local network device still enjoying VPN benefits.

Which VPN protocols Support Split Tunneling?

There are no restrictions on protocol, this feature also works with top-notch protocols like OpenVPN & WireGuard. You can also try it on NordVPN’s NordLynx or ExpressVPN Lightway.

How to use Split Tunneling?

Just enable the setting in the VPN app and choose the App (App-based ) to use a VPN connection. It’s the same when you add a VPN extension to your browser.

What is the difference between Split & Full tunneling?

Full Tunneling mode encrypts all your internet traffic and routes it through VPN. Whereas split tunneling divides the traffic for specific app choices.

About Nandam Sreenivasulu

Nandam Sreenivasulu is passionate about cybersecurity and tech lover believes in Internet freedom for all. Loves to watch animes in his free time and explore more about the latest animes.

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