You might not always need a VPN when browsing online. There are apps or websites you already trust, but always reconnecting to a server is not very convenient. If you want to easily manage your connections or set up VPN on specific apps and websites you need a VPN with split tunneling.
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Here are the best VPNs with split tunneling:
What is VPN Split Tunneling
VPN split tunneling enables you to route internet traffic via a secure VPN tunnel while at the same time allowing you to select specific apps, websites, or IPs to bypass a VPN connection. It protects part of your traffic and provides access to both the internet and local network.
How Does Split Tunneling Work
VPN split tunneling allows selecting specific apps, websites, or IP addresses to either use or bypass a VPN. Split tunneling type determines which part of your internet connection is secured and which can connect directly to the internet.
In the VPN app settings you are allowed to select applications, enter domain names or specific IPs to use split tunneling. Then the list of selections will be secured, encrypted and router via VPN. The rest of your device’s internet traffic will connect to the internet directly.With inverse split tunneling you can control whether your selections should either use or bypass a VPN. It is an extremely handy feature when you want only the specific apps to use a VPN.
Best VPN with Split Tunneling
NordVPN split tunneling is available for Windows and Android users. It allows you to enable or disable VPN for selected apps. It’s very easy to use and works automatically.
You can also use NordVPN’s Chrome or Firefox VPN extensions for split tunnel browser traffic. These extensions will only encrypt your browser leaving the rest of the activities unaffected.
NordVPN is a well rounded and one of the best VPNs on the market. It has audited and proven strict no-log policy and runs the servers on RAM disk.
The service uses the strongest encryption and works with WireGuard, OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols. There are no IP or DNS leaks so your connection is always protected and private.
NordVPN can unblock Netflix and fully supports P2P traffic. It offers features like internet kill switch, Invisibility on LAN, and an ad-blocker.
NordVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans.
How to Split Tunnel with NordVPN:
Here’s how to use Split Tunneling with NordVPN:
- Get NordVPN and log into the app
- Go to Settings
- Select Split Tunneling
- Enable or Disable apps to use a VPN
Surfshark split tunneling feature is called Whitelister. It is very easy to use and suits best for Windows and Android users. It does not currently have this feature available for Mac or iOS users.
It allows selecting apps and websites that you either want to bypass a VPN or use a VPN. This extra inverse split tunneling setting is very handy if you use torrents.
This skyrocketing VPN has great extra features such as ad-blocking and malware protection, Internet Kill Switch, fully supports torrenting, has great speeds, and can unblock Netflix.
Surfshark is based in The British Virgin Islands and does not keep any logs. As far as security goes it uses AES-256 encryption and supports IKEv2, OpenVPN, and Shadowsocks protocols.
The unique and really amazing thing about this VPN provider is that it allows an unlimited number of devices to be used with the same account.
It’s very affordable and the plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
ExpressVPN’s users can use split tunneling on MAC, Windows and Android apps. It is not common to have this feature or macOS users, so the service is best suited for Apple users. It allows you to select the apps that can either use or bypass a VPN.
It also has the feature available for routers. Its app for routers is very powerful as it allows configuring split tunneling for specific devices.
This VPN is audited, keeps no logs and runs all servers on RAM. It has fast speeds, supports torrenting, and can unblock Netflix.
It’s one of the most secure and privacy-focused VPNs. All apps use the strongest encryption and protocols such as L2TP, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.
ExpressVPN is one of the top services in the industry and is a bit more expensive than others, but the quality has its price. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access is a great choice for those who want reliable and robust connections. It has split tunneling available on Mac and Windows apps. You can select the apps you like to pass through a VPN tunnel just by adding them to a list. It also allows adding specific IP addresses to the list too.
This provider has a no-log policy, high download speeds, and P2P support on their extensive server network. The service has no IP or DNS leaks and an Internet Kill switch.
Your privacy is ensured by strong AES-256 encryption and WireGuard, IKEv2 and OpenVPN protocols.
Private Internet Access comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Supports WireGuard on all platforms
- Currently WG is in Beta testing phase
- No Traffic or Request logs
- Can be used with 10 devices simultaneously
- Unlimited Bandwidth and good speeds
- 3200+ Servers in 29 Countries
- 30-day money-back guarantee
PureVPN is another VPN with split tunneling that has this feature on Windows, Android, and AndroidTV apps. An Android allows you to select apps that should use a VPN and on Windows, you can set either to use or bypass a VPN.
This VPN is very good for streaming as it has servers dedicated just for that. Good speeds and open support for P2P traffic makes it a great choice.
The VPN has protection from IP and DNS leaks, an Internet Kill Switch, and allows up to 10 multi-logins.
PureVPN also has a 7-day trial for just 0.99$ and a 31-day money-back guarantee on all its plans.
What Are Split Tunneling Benefits?
Using VPN split tunneling has its benefits. It allows you to configure your internet connections the way you want.
Here are the advantages of VPN split tunneling:
- Saves data on mobile devices
- Allows LAN and Internet access at the same time
- Enables VPN only for specific websites or apps
VPN connections use some extra data due to encryption. This may affect your mobile data usage when always browsing with a VPN. By setting up split tunneling on mobile devices you can save a reasonable amount of cellular data. This way a part of the traffic does not use encryption and can even make your 4G connections faster.
Accessing LAN and Internet at the same time
Having split tunneling is especially useful when you want to access local network devices like other computers, TVs or printers. When VPN is used on all the traffic it creates trouble connecting to the local network. Split tunneling could be set up in such a way that you can still be private when browsing online, but also access LAN at the same time.
Use VPN only on Specific Apps or Websites
The great thing about VPN split tunneling is that it allows you to configure your apps to either use or bypass a VPN. The processes like torrenting could be set up to always use a VPN, while other browsing activities can stay unaffected. The same applies to the websites or specific IPS. You can set up in such a way that certain websites should always use a VPN, while others don’t.
Is Split Tunneling Secure?
VPN Split Tunneling is generally considered secure. The internet traffic that is selected to use VPN is equally protected with strong encryption and is completely private. However, there might be some indirect split tunneling security risks.
What Are VPN Split Tunneling Security Risks?
If you ever wondered if VPN split tunneling is secure, you should know that it might come with some security risks. Most of the risks are not related with feature implementation ,but rather how and when you use it.
Here are VPN split tunneling security risks:
- Possible backdoors
- Less privacy
- Possible data leaks on public Wi-Fi
There are some concerns that VPN split tunneling might be configured in such a way that your device becomes directly accessible. This could have an effect on your internet traffic safety, however, it’s more concerning for businesses and organisations rather than individuals. Possible backdoor could lead to malware infections and stolen company data.
Using split tunneling leaves part of your connection unencrypted. The unsecured traffic does not go via VPN tunnel and instead uses regular internet connection. This of course is your personal decision if you want websites and ISP to see your real IP address and your browsing habits.
Data Leaks on Public Wi-Fi
Using split tunneling for VPN on a portable device like a phone or a laptop could lead to potential data leaks. Imagine if you set up the feature to be used on a home WI-Fi, but forget to change settings when browsing on a Public Wi-Fi. Such a situation might accidentally leak sensitive data so you must be aware which apps you select to bypass a VPN.
Split tunneling is a handy feature to manage your connections, reduce bandwidth and reach both foreign and local content at the same time. The best VPN with split tunneling for Windows and Android is NordVPN, while probably the one suitable for MAC users is ExpressVPN.