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.
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.
ExpressVPN has Windows, Mac and Android apps with a built-in split tunneling feature. It allows to route all traffic through VPN while excluding specific apps, or to route only specific apps through VPN while everything else goes outside the VPN. So you can either exclude or include your favorite torrenting client from running via VPN. Additionally, ExpressVPN allows split tunneling on a router level where you can select which devices are routed via VPN. So you can control which devices at your house use VPN and which don’t.
VyprVPN has split tunneling built-into their Windows, Mac and Android apps. Just like ExpressVPN, they support a per-app functionality. So you can both exclude specific apps from VPN and include only select apps to be send through VPN: a perfect setup to send only torrenting traffic through VPN. VyprVPN also has router app with built-in split tunneling.
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.
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.
IPVanish supports split tunneling on Android only and this feature is not the most effective to route only torrenting traffic (assuming your goal is to torrent on Android). You can select which apps not to tunnel through a VPN. For example, if you want to send only torrenting through a VPN, you should uncheck all your apps and leave the torrenting client checked.
CyberGhost 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: 6.67 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD
ExpressVPN has one of the largest and fastest infrastructures with over 2,000 servers in 94 countries. Ultra fast ExpressVPN network supports gigabit Internet connection which makes it a perfect choice for ultra high speed streaming and torrenting. Besides, ExpressVPN aligns itself as one of the Internet’s leading advocates for net neutrality, for a democratic and open internet. Considering they have a no logs policy, accept Bitcoin and are located on the Caribbean Island, they are a great choice for privacy oriented customers who want to protect their data from surveillance, bypass censorship and access restricted materials. To read a full ExpressVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 2.50 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 12.95 USD
VyprVPN is a leading no logs VPN provider with over 700 ultra fast servers worldwide that support gigabit Internet connection (1,000Mbps). VyprVPN has done independent public audit by Leviathan Security to ensure that no logs are collected. Unlike most VPN providers, VyprVPN doesn’t rely on 3rd party hosting – they own and manage their own VPN servers. VyprVPN infrastructure is amazingly fast offering ultra fast speeds and low ping times for high speed HD streaming. With their server clusters located in close proximity to major gaming servers, VyprVPN also delivers a better overall gaming experience. VyprVPN custom software is very reliable and protects users from various IP leaks. In addition, VyprVPN is an excellent provider to bypass even the strictest firewalls that block VPN connection. To read a full VyprVPN review click HERE.
TRIAL: 0.99 USD
ANNUAL PRICE: 6.49 USD/mo
Hong Kong based PureVPN is a proud owner of a massive 2,000 servers network in over 140 countries with over 60 server locations specifically optimized for torrenting. PureVPN is a fast and reliable VPN provider with exclusive streaming servers to unblock Netflix, Hulu and similar services. PureVPN online gaming VPN servers are dedicated for gamers’ traffic only. Low ping offered by optimized PureVPN servers make it possible for gaming and streaming users to enjoy entertainment with the fastest load time. Secure PureVPN infrastructure is protected behind NAT Firewall. PureVPN offers custom apps for all devices, while desktop apps have a built-in Kill Switch feature that guards the users from unencrypted data leaks when the internet connection drops. To read a full PureVPN review click HERE.
ANNUAL PRICE: 4.99 USD/mo
MONTHLY PRICE: 9.95 USD
Based in Malaysia, Hide.me is one the most secure and fastest VPN providers offering ultra fast VPN servers that provide gigabit Internet connection. 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. Hide.Me offers incredibly convenient custom apps for all devices with a number of advanced security features for maximum protection. Hide.me is a no logs company that has custom software with a built-in protection against IP and data leaks, obfuscation tools to bypass strict firewalls, dynamic TCP/UDP port-forwarding (UPnP) and SOCKS5 proxy that is especially useful for torrenting. To read a full Hide.me 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.
Split tunneling, on the other hand, allows users to send only certain traffic over VPN while letting other applications bypass the VPN altogether. For example, split tunneling can configure VPN 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.
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. You only need to download their 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.