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VPN split tunneling

Give programs you trust direct access to the internet for better speed — without losing VPN protection for your sensitive data.

VPN split tunneling.

What is VPN split tunneling?

VPN split tunneling is an advanced feature that lets you choose which apps need virtual private network (VPN) protection and which can access the internet directly. The first group benefits from the safety of the secure tunnel of your VPN, while the second group enjoys faster speeds and access to local services. Split tunneling is available on Windows, Android, and Android TV NordVPN apps.

How does VPN split tunneling work?

Woman uses split tunneling for secure entertainment and fast file sharing.

VPN split tunneling lets you maintain two connections at the same time. Your VPN app divides your internet traffic into two categories — one part gets encrypted and rerouted through secure VPN servers, while the other is left untouched and allowed to interact with the internet directly. You choose which apps can be trusted to bypass VPN protection in your VPN app’s settings.

Different types of VPN split tunneling

Inverse split

Inverse split tunneling encrypts your whole connection by default, with only trusted programs permitted access to the internet directly. It’s the safest form of split tunneling.

App-based split

With app-based split tunneling, only the selected apps will benefit from VPN protection. The rest of your internet traffic is unencrypted.

URL-based split

Want to access some websites with your real IP? URL-based split tunneling lets you specify which URLs you want to exclude from the VPN connection. This feature is available on NordVPN’s browser extensions.

Which split tunneling types do NordVPN apps use?

App-based split tunneling

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    Windows 8.1 and later

Inverse split tunneling

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    Windows 8.1 and later

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    Android TV

Do I need split tunneling?

It’s easy to track you if you go online without a VPN.

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 VPN split tunneling to protect the data that matters while you surf at your leisure.

However you use it, VPN 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 internet traffic, so always use virtual private network protection when handling sensitive data.

When should you use VPN split tunneling?

Get a fast VPN connection with NordVPN.

When you want to avoid slowdown

NordVPN is the fastest VPN on the market, but encryption and decryption still take time. While the speed drop is imperceptible in most cases, some online activities (like FPS games) require you to push your internet connection to the limit — and that’s where split tunneling comes in handy. Protect the apps that handle your sensitive data and let others go full throttle.

People staying safe online with NordVPN on PC, mobile, tablet, and other devices

When you want to access local and home content at the same time when abroad

Get the best of both worlds while traveling — literally. With split tunneling, you can enjoy your usual home services without losing access to the local version of the internet. For example, the VPN split tunneling feature lets you work on Google Chrome over a secure network connection while you browse local content on Firefox at the same time.

NordVPN protects user data by encrypting it.

When you want to connect to LAN devices while using a VPN

In some cases, encryption prevents your device from interacting with others on your local area network (LAN). In this case, split tunneling lets you access printers, smart home appliances, and other useful tools without losing VPN protection for your sensitive files and data.

How to enable split tunneling on NordVPN

NordVPN offers split tunneling for Android, Android TV, and Windows devices.


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


Tap VPN connection


Select Split tunneling


Choose the apps to exclude from your secure VPN connection


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


Select Split tunneling and choose how to enable split tunneling


Method 1: disable VPN for selected apps


Method 2: enable VPN for selected apps only


Scroll down to the Settings


Select Trusted apps


Choose the apps to exclude from your secure VPN connection

Split the stream safely with NordVPN

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Frequently asked questions