Best VPNs with Split Tunneling: How To Use a VPN With Multiple Devices or Browsers

Last Updated on January 22, 2024

The Best VPNs with Split Tunneling : Control Your VPN Connections

As with many aspects of technology, certain concepts sound much more complicated than they really are. Using split tunnelling on your VPN does sound very difficult and involved. However it’s not and in fact using split tunneling can actually make your VPN easier to use.

With split tunneling, you’re able to listen to and download media while using VPN protection.. You decide which parts of your internet traffic to include or exclude for secure interconnection.

Best VPNs with Split Tunneling

If you know all about VPNs and Split Tunneling and just want a recommendation – NordVPN has a great split tunnel implementation available on it’s Windows, Android and Android TV applications. It’s not available on other platforms and devices like iPads at time of writing,

What is VPN Split Tunneling?

VPN split tunnelling is a type of VPN technology in which the end-user can select what traffic will go through each interface. This allows for one protocol (Internet) to be routed through one interface and another protocol (local network) to be routed through the other.

This can be useful when you want to use a VPN for certain activities but not others. For example, you might want to use a VPN to protect your privacy while browsing the internet, but you don’t want to use the VPN when streaming video or playing games.  Other uses include setting one browser to a specific VPN say to watch UK TV online while leaving another browser set to your real location.

If the traffic is not destined for the internet, such as traffic between your device and another computer on your local network, then that traffic will bypass the VPN. Remember though this means that all traffic on your local network will be unprotected by the VPNs encryption layer.

How does VPN Split Tunneling work?

VPN split tunnelling allows you to route specific traffic through the VPN, while other traffic passes through your regular internet connection. This is helpful because it allows you to keep your regular internet connection for activities that don’t require the security and privacy of a VPN, such as checking email or browsing the web.  It gives you the flexibility of a proxy server but with the increased security.

NordVPN Split tunnel settings

Normally, when you connect to a VPN, all of your traffic is routed through the VPN tunnel, and your IP address is masked. This can be a problem if you want to access local resources on your device while connected to the VPN.

All other traffic travels directly to the internet without going through the VPN. This can be useful if you want to use a local resource that’s not available over the VPN, such as an intranet site or file server.

What are the benefits of using VPN Split Tunneling?

Not everyone needs split tunnelling but it is actually incredibly useful if you have this facility. What’s more it allows you to enable your VPN permanently without the need to keep turning it on and off all the time. You can specify which function needs the VPN and what doesn’t.

Here’s a quick list of some of the benefits of using Split Tunneling

Split tunnelling allows users to access content that might otherwise be unavailable.

It provides security and privacy benefits, but there is a risk of privacy violations if you bypass the VPN for some applications.

  • Split tunneling is best used when anonymity is not as vital as privacy.
  • VPN split tunneling allows you to use a VPN for some tasks while using other applications directly on your computer.
  • The VPN prevents your online activity from being monitored by the government or other third-party organizations.
  • It also protects your privacy by hiding your real IP address and location.
  • VPN split tunnelling is an effective way to protect yourself against potential cyberattacks.

What are the different types of VPN Split tunneling?

This can be useful when you want to access resources on your local network from a remote location, but don’t want all of your device’s traffic going through the VPN.

There are three primary types of VPN split tunnelling:

Application Exclusion

Most VPNs encrypt your whole connection and let you choose what apps not to include. Both our Android and Windows apps are like this.

Inverse split

Some VPN apps also offer encrypted tunnelling, which only encrypts traffic from selected programs. This function is available on the NordVPN Windows application.

Choose Specific URLs

Browser-based VPN extensions prevent you from being recognized and tracked on every website. You can allow or block specific URLs to use your real IP address.

How to Enable a VPN at OS Level

You can choose which devices will use the VPN and which will use your regular internet connection. This is useful if you want to use a VPN for some devices but not others. You can enable a VPN manually by connecting using your operating system, you’ll need the credentials and server details though. It’s generally easier to use the client application if available though.

VPNs Secure Traffic on all Devices

On Android, iPhone, and iPad, you can change your settings in the Network section of Settings. On Windows 10, go to Settings > Network & Internet > VPN.

Then connect to the VPN as usual. The device will now use the VPN for all traffic except for traffic directed to certain websites or services.

If you’re having trouble connecting to a VPN, contact your provider for more help. If your VPN provider doesn’t have a dedicated application for the platform you require then it might be worth checking out a different provider.

Enabling Split Tunnelling on NordVPN

NordVPN Windows app

STEP 1: Access Network Settings

Click on the cogwheel icon in the top-right corner of the map screen

STEP 2: Enable Split Tunneling Feature

Select Split tunnelling and choose how to enable split tunnelling

STEP 3: Specify Split Tunneling Options

Either exclude apps from VPN protection OR enable VPN protection for specific apps only

Best VPN for Split Tunneling

There’s not a huge list of commercial VPNs which support this for obvious reasons.  However probably the one that has always worked best for me is NordVPN.

Check out the Latest Deals on NordVPN here