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What is VPN split tunneling?

If you’re looking to secure your data when browsing the web and using apps, you’ve probably heard of a VPN, or virtual private network. However, there are also some great lesser-known features worth taking advantage of once you install your VPN. One of these features is split tunneling. 

Keep reading to learn all about VPN split tunneling and what it’s used for.

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What is VPN split tunneling? 

Split tunneling is a VPN feature that makes it possible to allow specific apps to access the internet directly for faster speeds and more accurate location services. All other traffic is then encrypted via the VPN as usual. 

VPNs work by encrypting your data and IP address when browsing. It routes your web traffic through the VPN server before it arrives at its final destination, preventing your data from being intercepted by websites, ISPs and anyone else trying to snoop on your browsing activity.

While using a VPN gives you a greater level of protection online, it can cause internet speeds to slow down and prevent you from accessing features that rely on location data to work. This is where split tunneling comes in. 

Split tunneling allows you to choose the apps that you trust and give them permission to bypass the VPN. This means you can continue to access local websites and services at faster speeds without compromising your security when browsing any other apps or websites. 

The feature is especially useful when it comes to connecting to LAN devices that require you to be nearby, such as printers, smart home tech and more. 

The three types of VPN split tunneling available on NordVPN include inverse split, app-based split and URL-based split. Inverse split and URL-based split are similar, encrypting your activity by default and allowing only select programs and websites to bypass the VPN. URL-based split can be found on the NordVPN browser extension. App-based split works in the opposite way, bypassing the VPN by default and only applying protection to apps when specified. 

You can access split tunnelling services on a variety of devices. For example, NordVPN offers split tunneling through its Windows, Android and Android TV apps. The feature is also available on NordVPN’s browser extension. There doesn’t appear to be support for split tunneling on Apple devices with NordVPN as of writing this guide.

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