While it’s a good idea to always encrypt all your traffic, sometimes you may need to access certain websites via your regular connection and at the same time hide your torrenting activities. This can be achieved with split tunneling or SOCKS5 proxy.
Best VPN with Split Tunneling:
Split tunneling is an advanced feature that can route only specific traffic through VPN while sending another type of traffic through your regular unencrypted connection. VPN providers use different implementations of split tunneling:
- you can select which apps to exclude from sending via VPN
- you can select with apps to route through your VPN tunnel
- you can select which devices to route through your VPN tunnel
- you can select which websites to route through a different VPN server
In this article we will consider only the first two implementations because the last two cannot selectively split torrenting traffic from other traffic on the same device.
Hide.Me has split tunneling for Windows and routers. On Windows devices you exclude certain apps from the VPN tunnel or let only specific apps to use the VPN tunnel while all the other connections use normal connection. On routers you have an option to decide which device should use a VPN and which shouldn’t.
NordVPN supports split tunneling on Windows, Android and Android TV. You can disable VPN for selected apps. By default all apps run through VPN, but you can add “trusted apps” to the list to have them bypass VPN encryption.
PureVPN offers split tunneling for Windows and Android devices. You can add apps that should be routed through VPN and only those apps will use encrypted PureVPN connection. For example, if you add uTorrent to split tunneling, only torrenting traffic will be routed through secure VPN servers. All the other traffic (like browsing) will go through your regular Internet connection.
CyberGhost supports split tunneling on Android only. You can exclude select apps from going through a VPN and you can check the ”protect new apps” option to ensure that newly installed/reinstalled apps are protected automatically.
PIA supports split tunneling on Android only as well. You can exclude select apps from going through a VPN and you can check the ”protect new apps” option to ensure that newly installed/reinstalled apps are protected automatically.
VPN providers do not offer split tunneling feature on iOS devices because it’s not supported.
ANNUAL PRICE: 3.49 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 11.95 USD
Panama based NordVPN is one of the best security oriented VPN companies with amazingly fast infrastructure. NordVPN is a no logs VPN service that was independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers AG based in Zurich, Switzerland (one of the Big 4 auditing firms) to back the claims that they don’t log identifiable user information under any circumstances.
NordVPN custom apps have DNS and IP leaks protection and a kill switch that actively monitors your network and shuts down Internet access when your VPN in not running.
NordVPN offers a Double VPN – a privacy feature that sends your Internet traffic through two VPN servers, encrypting it twice.
Onion Over VPN servers is a powerful NordVPN feature that takes your privacy and security to the next level. Using this tech, you first connect to a VPN server and then to the Tor network. Your ISP does not know you are connected to Tor because your entry point in a secure VPN server, while your destination sees an anonymous Tor exit point.
NordVPN obfuscated VPN servers are a perfect choice to use on restrictive networks and to hide the fact that you are using a VPN. These VPN servers are generally recommended for countries that block VPN altogether because the technology can bypass even the most advanced network filtering. Obfsproxy hides OpenVPN and makes your VPN use completely undetectable. Neither your ISP nor the government will know that you are on VPN.
Besides, NordVPN has a Smart Play technology offering an encrypted connection to access geo-restricted content on Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Spotify and similar services. If you are a torrenting user, NordVPN has torrenting VPN servers as well.
NordVPN offers over 5,000 high-speed servers in 62 countries, dedicated & shared IP types, 6 simultaneous logins; the infrastructure is built to provide maximum online security, bypass Internet restrictions, online censorship and network firewalls.
To read a full NordVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.59 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 9.95 USD
Based in Malaysia, Hide.me is one the most secure and fastest VPN providers offering ultra fast gigabit VPN servers that deliver the fastest VPN speeds for users on gigabit Internet connection.
Hide.Me is a no logs VPN service with custom VPN apps that include a number of advanced features for maximum security. Hide.Me VPN has a built-in protection against IP and DNS leaks. Kill switch is an excellent tool to shut down Internet access when the connection to a VPN server is dropped.
Stealth Guard takes this even further by blocking access to predetermined apps even when the VPN is OFF. Essentially, you can configure Hide.Me in a way that makes it impossible to use Chrome browser, for instance, when the VPN is not running. This feature is an excellent addition to protect yourself from accidental mistakes.
Hide.Me supports perfect forward secrecy, an advanced security feature that tells OpenVPN to regularly renegotiate private keys. In case the private key of the server is compromised, past session keys will not be compromised. Forward secrecy protects past sessions against future compromises of secret keys, and future sessions against current attacks.
The provider also offers advanced VPN masking tools to bypass strict firewalls, censorship and hide VPN use. Hide.Me masks (obfuscates) OpenVPN traffic with TLS-Crypt so, if your WiFi network blocks VPN by analyzing traffic patterns, this methods can bypass the most advanced firewalls. This setup also encrypts every OpenVPN packet twice, sort of like double VPN encryption.
Additionally, the provider offers a dynamic TCP/UDP port-forwarding (UPnP) with up to 10 TCP/UDP ports, a useful feature on WiFi networks that block VPN ports, or for torrenting. Port forwarding feature is a great addition as it can speed up torrenting or streaming when your ISP throttles select traffic.
More so, you can selectively tunnel only specific traffic via secure servers. Split tunneling feature allows this or, alternatively, SOCKS5 proxy can be setup on your browser/torrenting client and re-route only that traffic.
Hide.Me VPN is extremely reliable and very fast which makes it a perfect choice for security oriented users who would like to enjoy uninterrupted streaming and browsing experience.
To read a full Hide.me review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 3.33 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 10.95 USD
Hong Kong based PureVPN is a no logs VPN service that was independently audited by Altius IT, a leading California-based independent Certified Information Systems Auditor. Altius IT team members are experts in higher-level network security audit, risk management, assessment, and security consulting services.
Secure high-speed PureVPN infrastructure offers advanced security features for anonymous Internet use. PureVPN custom apps have a built-in WebRTC, IP and DNS leak protection. Kill switch is feature that guards the users from unencrypted data leaks when the internet connection drops. PureVPN even has a DDoS protection add-on.
Additionally, the provider considered the importance of uninterrupted streaming by introducing Dedicated Streaming add-on that will boost streaming speed and enhance performance. PureVPN optimized streaming servers are best to get a buffer-free streaming experience.
PureVPN is also one of the few VPN providers that can effectively unblock Netflix. For this purpose PureVPN setup dedicated Netflix servers. At the moment the provider can unblock Netflix USA, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Japan.
In case you want to limit your VPN use to specific websites/services only, Split Tunneling feature lets you decide which applications to send through unencrypted channel and which one to secure with an encrypted VPN service.
Split tunneling is commonly used in case you need a VPN for torrenting only. More so, PureVPN offers 2,000 high-speed VPN servers in 140 countries with over 60 dedicated torrenting servers and a port forwarding feature to maximize your upload and download speeds.
Overall, PureVPN is a great no logs VPN service for privacy and security, to access geo-restricted streaming content, unblock websites and bypass censorship.
To read a full PureVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.19 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 11.95 USD
PIA is a leading no logs VPN service with over 3,000 VPN servers that deliver great speeds and a reliable performance.
PIA offers an easy to install VPN app for all devices with security and privacy features that protect VPN connection from unexpected data leaks. PIA was once subpoenaed by the FBI and the only information they could provide is that the cluster of IP addresses being used was from the east coast of the United States. The FBI case confirms that PIA indeed does not log any user activity.
Their NAT firewall does a great job protecting from cyber attacks, built-in kill switch secures from unprotected data leaks. In addition, PIA apps have a DNS and IPv4/IPv6 leak protection.
PIA VPN service provider gives unrestricted and uncensored access to blocked or censored websites. Aside from unblocking various restricted sites, PIA can also unblock Netflix USA and Netflix UK libraries, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime.
For faster streaming and torrenting PIA software offers switching between different connection types and ports. The settings have UDP (faster) and TCP connections types that, depending on network, can speed up traffic. UDP is also greatly preferred for torrenting and streaming. Additionally, PIA allows port forwarding to 443, 80, 110, 53, 8080, 9201. Port 443 is the most widespread option because it is used to bypass strict firewalls when all the other ports are blocked. For instance, forwarding traffic through port 443 will likely bypass VPN block on most WiFi networks.
Thus, PIA can bypass strict censorship and firewalls, effectively giving you anonymous browsing experience by hiding your real IP address.
SOCKS5 proxy is another excellent feature that can re-route only certain traffic through VPN tunnel eliminating the need for split tunneling. SOCKS5 is widely used with torrenting software due to its convenience. Once installed on uTorrent, for instance, it works for p2p traffic only.
To read a full PIA review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.45 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.99 USD
Romania based CyberGhost is a secure no logs VPN provider with over 6,500 ultra high speed VPN servers in 90 countries.
The provider has a number of advanced security and privacy features that are not offered by competitors. CyberGhost desktop apps have DNS & IP leaks protection, as well as an automatic kill switch that guards your connection if VPN disconnects.
Anti-fingerprinting and tracking protection blocks websites from storing personally identifiable data. A built-in ad-blocker and anti-malware blocks annoying ads along with malicious websites. Automated HTTPS redirect forces unsecured websites to go to HTTPS, ensuring that you browse the most secure version of it.
Data compression is another interesting feature that compresses data to reduce your Internet usage.
CyberGhost, additionally, offers dedicated high-speed streaming servers to unblock Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other multimedia services. You can also choose to connect to dedicated VPN servers optimized for torrenting.
Split tunneling is a feature that excludes specific websites from passing through the VPN tunnel. CyberGhost split tunneling only works to bypass predetermined websites, like Netflix.com, and cannot be used for other apps, like torrenting.
For faster streaming and torrenting, CyberGhost VPN allows switching between TCP/UDP protocols (UDP may be faster comparing to TCP).
If you are on a restrictive WiFi network that block VPN connection altogether by closing common VPN ports, typically found at hotels, restaurants and the like, desktop VPN apps can automatically test a wide range of ports and connect to the random VPN port that works. For this reason, the provider is a great choice to unblock VPN, bypass online censorship and unblock restricted content.
To read a full CyberGhost review click HERE.
What is a VPN split tunneling and why do you need it
The main reason to get a VPN is to secure sensitive personal data from third party meddling, to protect your privacy, to browse the Internet anonymously without censorship. VPN typically encrypts all your traffic and sends it via secure VPN servers. Without split tunneling, all your traffic reaches its destination through a secure VPN tunnel that ensures your real IP address is never leaked. So that your real identity and browsing habits remain private.
VPN split tunneling is a feature that allows users to route some of their network traffic through a secure VPN connection, while leaving other traffic bypass the VPN altogether. This can offer several benefits, such as improved performance, reduce bandwidth consumption, and access to local network resources. However, VPN split tunneling also comes with some risks, such as exposing sensitive data to unencrypted channels, bypassing security policies, and increasing the attack surface. Therefore, VPN split tunneling should be used with caution and only when necessary.
For example, you can use the VPN tunnel to access sensitive data or websites that are blocked in your region, while using the direct connection to access local devices or services that perform better with your original IP address. VPN split tunneling can also help you conserve bandwidth and avoid performance issues that may arise from encrypting all your data through the VPN.
Split tunneling VPN can also be configured to route only uTorrent/Deluge/Transmission traffic through VPN. This means that browsing (Chrome, Safari, Firefox), email clients, file transfers unrelated to torrenting won’t go through a VPN.
The advantage of split tunneling is that it allows users to connect to secure VPN for torrenting purposes only and browse normal unsecured Internet at the same time. But because you bypass the secure infrastructure, your ISP will continue monitoring your browsing habits, even though they won’t be able to see that you torrent. So in this case, split tunnel should only be used if privacy is not your goal.
VPN split tunneling can offer you more flexibility and control over your online activities, but it also comes with some risks and challenges. For example, you may expose some of your traffic to ISP monitoring, geo-restrictions, or cyberattacks. You may also encounter compatibility issues with some devices or protocols.
How to setup split tunneling
It’s possible configure split tunneling by running a few commands on your device. But the process is complicated, reserved for tech savvy individuals.
The easiest way to use split tunneling is to get one of the VPN providers recommended above. The providers have custom apps with split tunneling feature built-in.
To enable VPN split tunneling, you need to configure your VPN client and your router or firewall. Depending on your VPN provider, you may have different options for split tunneling, such as:
- Check the apps or websites you want to use the VPN, while everything else goes through the regular internet connection.
- Check the apps or websites you want to bypass the VPN, while everything else goes through the encrypted tunnel.
- Route all your traffic through the VPN, except for the local network devices, such as printers or smart TVs.
You only need to download the VPN client for the OS that you use. Once you start it, go to settings and select an option that allows you to chose which apps you want to run through a VPN. The process is straightforward and easy enough even for beginners. Check/uncheck the apps and the software will do the rest for you.
Regular Split Tunneling
Allows you to manage connection behavior on a per-app basis. All apps go through VPN by default so you need to select the apps that you want to bypass the VPN.
Inverse Split Tunneling
Allows you to manage connection behavior on a per-app basis. All apps bypass the VPN by default so you need to select the app that you want to go through VPN.
Router Split Tunneling
You need to install VPN app directly on your router (only certain routers support this setup). Once the VPN is installed, all devices connected to your Wi-Fi network are automatically connected to VPN as well. You can then exclude specific devices and have them use your normal Internet connection. For example, if you have a Windows laptop, Android smartphone, Smart TV and Sony Playstation devices in your house, you can configure your router to send only Windows laptop and Android smartphone through VPN, while having Smart TV and PlayStation use normal unencrypted connection.