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VPN split tunneling

Protect the data that matters without losing access to local networks and services.

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VPN split tunneling for local networks and services

How does split tunneling work?

Split tunneling lets you watch videos and share files behind VPN protection while still being able to surf local content. You choose which part of your online traffic is left out of the secure encrypted tunnel and can access the internet directly.

Types of split tunneling

App exclusion

Most VPN apps encrypt your whole connection and let you choose specific apps to exclude from the tunnel. Both our Android and Windows apps offer this option.

Inverse split

Some VPN apps also offer inverse split tunneling, which only encrypts traffic from selected programs. This function is available on the NordVPN Windows app.

Specifying URLs

Browser-based VPN extensions protect you on every website. However, you can specify which URLs you want to access with your real IP address.

Do I need split tunneling?

Since connecting to a VPN server can lock you out of your own country’s websites and services, you may be tempted to turn NordVPN off to see what’s happening at home. Don’t leave yourself exposed — use split tunneling to protect the data that matters while you surf at your leisure.

For example, you can set up NordVPN to work with Google Chrome only, letting you access local content on Firefox or Edge at the same time. Or enable split tunneling P2P apps to benefit from our specialized servers while you do your business online.

However you use it, split tunneling is a very handy tool — but just like every tool, it has its time and place. Keep in mind that others (including your ISP) may be able to see your unencrypted traffic, so always use VPN protection when handling sensitive data.

Enabling split tunneling
on NordVPN apps

NordVPN offers split tunneling for both Android and Windows devices.

NordVPN Android app


Tap on the cogwheel icon in the top-left corner of the map screen


Select Split tunneling


Choose apps to exclude from your secure VPN connection

NordVPN Windows app


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


Select Split tunneling and choose how to enable split tunneling


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

Frequently asked questions

Surf fast and see more with split tunneling