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NordVPN Split Tunneling: What is it, and what does it do?


Split tunneling is one of the features that help ensure NordVPN tops the best VPN list. A feature that you can’t get from other VPNs, it’s a fantastically useful tool for many users. Any VPN is better than no VPN but it makes sense to have as many useful tools at your disposal as possible. If you have no idea what split tunneling means or you’re concerned that it’s just a gimmick, read on while we break down exactly what it is and how it can help.

What is split tunneling?

A basic VPN means that you can browse online in an encrypted and secure manner, effectively navigating the internet through a tunnel so other users can’t see what you’re doing. Split tunneling gives you the benefit of two tunnels. By using it, you are able to browse the internet from your regular local location while simultaneously browsing other content via a VPN-protected split tunnel. Think of it as like dividing up the streams in a river or similar, taking you down alternate paths.

The idea is that, for instance, you can watch videos or share files under the protection of NordVPN, all while browsing local content that doesn’t require a VPN to protect you.

In some cases, it’s only possible to view domestic content if you are not using a VPN, so the flexibility of being able to switch between the split tunnel is incredibly useful here. It’s possible to use NordVPN split tunneling so that the VPN is only ever used on Google Chrome, for instance, while a different browser is able to access local content.

Potentially, splitting your connection in two can actually boost your speeds as there’s no chance of it being bottlenecked through one server. This can be particularly useful if you want to download large files while also watching streaming content.

Do you need NordVPN split tunneling?

Not everyone might need split tunneling. Some users may be happy with a simple VPN that doesn’t require delving into settings for added protection. However, it’s generally useful to have extra features available to you considering NordVPN is so well regarded anyway.

Split tunneling is best suited for users who want the most flexible browsing experience while also knowing their connection is secure. By using NordVPN split tunneling, someone could choose to use Steam to play a game unencrypted while also viewing a website encrypted via a VPN.

It all depends on how you plan on using a VPN and your browsing habits. Another user may find it useful to be able to watch Netflix content via NordVPN, avoiding geo-restrictions, while browsing their local news website away from the VPN, thereby viewing content relevant to them.

Split tunneling can also help if you suffer from speed issues. Because your connection is split into two, it can prevent bottleneck issues, meaning you get the best speeds.

How to turn on NordVPN split tunneling

Setting up NordVPN split tunneling is very simple. First of all, you need to make sure that you’re signed up for NordVPN as a paid subscriber. As one of the best VPNs, this is strongly recommended whether you want to use split tunneling features or not.

Once signed up, install the NordVPN app for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or Linux. Once installed, click Settings then scroll down to Split tunneling. Click the toggle to switch it on.

You’ll need to tweak it so it suits your needs. Do so by clicking Add apps then entering which apps you wish to enable for the split tunneling feature. It makes sense to use one browser for local browsing needs and another for the split tunnel feature. Gamers may also wish to add game launchers such as Steam or the Epic Games Store depending on what they want to do with it.

The process applies the same on all devices. If you run into any issues, try restarting the VPN app or removing your enabled apps and re-adding them.

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Jennifer Allen
Jennifer Allen is a technology writer with over 10 years of experience. She primarily writes about the best deals coverage…
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