A split tunnel VPN gives users the chance to access public networks – such as the internet – while simultaneously connected to a local WAN (Wide Area Network) or LAN (Local Area Network). In other words, for those with split tunneling enabled, they can connect to company servers like database and mail through the VPN; and all other traffic is directed through the ISP (Internet Service Provider).
It’s ideal for businesses and mobile users because it allows them to conserve bandwidth. Administrators can configure the split tunneling to exclude typical content such as browsing and checking personal email, whilst giving a secure, encrypted connection to company resources from anywhere in the world with internet; and on any device. That way, performance is kept optimal and the most important access is kept secure.
What are the Benefits of Split Tunneling?
Businesses and mobile users apply split tunneling for the benefits it has on day-to-day use. Many would argue that the positives outweigh the negatives that come with it.
One of the main benefits, as mentioned before, is that it drastically reduces the chance of users experiencing bottlenecking. To conserve bandwidth, traffic can be directed straight through to the public network and bypass the VPN. Mobile users can access multiple connections and foreign and local material without having to interchange between connections to the public or private network. And content can be downloaded without any compromise on speed or safety.
- Reduces the chance of bottlenecking and bandwidth throttling
- Public and private networks can be accessed simultaneously
- Remote users have access to company resources from anywhere in the world and with any device connected to the internet
What are the Downsides of Split Tunneling?
Without properly configuring your VPN to split tunneling, you are at a risk of your private information becoming visible to third parties and your ISP; through DNS leaks, for example. You can learn more about DNS leaks and how to protect yourself from them here. Without any active firewall protection on a mobile user’s computer, third parties – while unlikely – could bypass the user’s gateway-level security and breach the corporate network.
Remote users downloading content from a corporate private network are also putting the materials at risk. While split tunneling allows them to connect to the private network, the safety protocol in place at the office isn’t protecting the mobile user’s computer once disconnected from the VPN.
- Improper configuration of both the split tunnel VPN and the system firewall can lead to corporate and personal exposure
- At risk of DNS leaks
- Third parties could breach a corporate network by compromising a mobile user’s device
Leading VPN Services for Split Tunneling
Below is just a few of the best VPN services out there for split tunneling. Some of the prices listed are a reflection of current promotions active at the time of writing this article. Many of the deals will change, but there always tends to be discounted prices on offer.
Express VPN: (Recommended)
ExpressVPN is a highly reputable provider. The app’s interface is very simply to navigate – and there’s only light work involved for anyone looking to apply a split tunnel. Just simply log into the app and choose which devices will run through the VPN. It offers fast and unlimited bandwidth, and comes with 24/7 customer support.
‘Connection per app’ is a feature that ExpressVPN offers exclusively to its Mac users. It allows them to modify which apps – like safari or mail – go through the VPN and which ones don’t.
Current Pricing: 1 Month - $12.95 (billed monthly) / 6 Months - $59.95 (billed biannually) / 12 Months - $99.95 (billed annually)
PureVPN is another service that uses a smart desktop to make it simpler for all users. Every account can have as many as five multi-logins, so families, friends and colleagues can access the network from anywhere. Ideal for anyone looking to split tunnel. And Like ExpressVPN, PureVPN also offers unlimited bandwidth, access to a large number of servers and 24/7 customer support.
Current Pricing: 3 Months - $18.00 (billed trimonthly) / 12 Months - $59.00 (billed annually) / 24 Months - $69.00 (billed biennially)
Ivacy is a highly flexible VPN. It accommodates for a wide range of devices, including Xbox and Kodi, and it’s packed with a range of features to ensure security, performance and anonymity. Ivacy has a 256-bit encryption and unlimited server switching – ideal for VPN split tunneling. Plus, you can also choose from multiple protocols. And for complete privacy, it doesn’t keep any logs.
Current Pricing: 1 Month - $11.95 (billed monthly) / 12 Months - $39.95 (billed annually) / 24 Months - $49 (billed biennially)
With servers in almost 50 countries, IBVPN is another good choice for anyone that requires split tunneling. Like the others, it supports numerous protocols, provides reliable encryption and doesn’t record traffic logs. It’s got ibDNS protection integrated, and comes with a default kill switch feature.
It also comes with a full-featured free trial, without the need to exchange any payment information.
Current Pricing: Torrent VPN - $36.95 (billed annually; or monthly at $4.95) / Standard VPN - $36.95 (billed annually or monthly at $4.95) / Ultimate VPN - $58.06 (billed annually; or monthly at $10.95)