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VPN split tunneling: Digital protection, your way

Secure your data traffic while letting some apps bypass encryption for easy access. Make your VPN protection work for you with split tunneling.

A man using the split tunneling feature to let some apps access the internet directly.

What is VPN split tunneling?

Virtual private network (VPN) split tunneling lets you route some of your data traffic through an encrypted VPN while other apps keep direct internet access. This advanced VPN feature allows you to tailor your digital protection to your needs. By splitting your connection, you can secure your online traffic while letting some apps access the internet directly. Split tunneling is available on Windows, Android, and Android TV NordVPN apps.
An infographic showing how a VPN protects users by creating a secure tunnel for online traffic.

How does VPN split tunneling work?

VPN split tunneling divides your network traffic into two separate connections. Part of your online traffic goes through a VPN server’s encrypted tunnel, keeping it protected. The rest of your traffic can access the internet directly without going through the VPN tunnel. You choose which trusted apps can bypass VPN protection in your VPN app’s settings.

Different types of VPN split tunneling

Policy-based split

With policy-based split tunneling, routing is based on predefined policies that you or the network admin set up.

Route-based split

In route-based split tunneling, the traffic is divided based on predefined network routes (which can be dynamic).

App-based split

App-based split tunneling means you choose which apps don’t need VPN protection. The rest of your internet traffic is encrypted.

URL-based split

URL-based VPN split tunneling lets you specify which URLs you want to exclude from the secure connection. This feature is available on NordVPN’s browser extensions.

Why use VPN split tunneling

A woman holding a house to symbolize how split tunneling lets her simultaneously access home and foreign services.
A man with a rocket strapped to his back to symbolize faster speeds with direct internet access.
NordVPN protects user data by encrypting it.

How to enable split tunneling on NordVPN

Split tunneling is available with NordVPN on Android, Android TV, and Windows devices. If you have any connectivity issues, check out our tutorial on NordVPN split tunneling.


Go to “Settings”

From “Profile,” tap on the settings icon in the top left.


Select “Split tunneling”

Scroll down to the “VPN connection” section and tap “Split tunneling.”


Choose apps

Select which apps you want to exclude from your secure VPN connection.


Go to “Settings”

Click the cogwheel icon in the bottom-left corner.


Select “Split tunneling”

Scroll down and tap “Split tunneling” in the menu.


Select type

Choose your split tunneling type based on your preferences.


Add apps

Choose which apps you want to be covered by split tunneling.


Go to “Settings”

In the main NordVPN menu, scroll down to “Settings.”


Select “Trusted apps”

In the screen that opens, select “Trusted apps.”


Add apps

Choose which apps you want to exclude from your secure VPN connection.

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Frequently asked questions