Tons of traffic go through your internet daily, and you may not have the need to encrypt all by sending them through a virtual private network (VPN); when you decide to route some through a separate tunnel on the open network, you definitely need split tunneling
What is Split Tunneling VPN?
Split tunneling is a feature of the VPN that allows it to provide a multi-branch networking path that enables users to divide their internet traffic and send some of it through an encrypted VPN tunnel, while the rest is routed through a separate tunnel on the open network. The working principle of split tunneling is to allow you to choose which apps to secure and which can connect normally.
The Urban VPN app has the split tunneling function which allows you to choose which apps, websites, or devices use the VPN and which use a direct connection to the internet. This ensures that your sensitive data is secure and kept away from prying eyes.
It’s a useful feature that enables you to save some bandwidth, keep some of your traffic private, and still access both local and foreign networks at the same time. Split tunneling works perfectly for accessing a public network such as LAN, WAN, or the internet while you are connected to a VPN. A split tunnel can be configured to handle traffic going to a specific destination (split-include tunnel) or to accept all traffic except the one that is for a specific set of destinations (split-exclude tunnel).
When is VPN split tunneling required?
Since split tunneling provides strong internet security of a VPN with minimal decrease in internet speed; you will require it if you have to handle large volumes of data that must be securely transferred online, and internet speed is of great essence. Another time you require split tunneling is if you want to protect your personal data, or you want to access content from geo-restricted sites on an encrypted connection and your connection speed is a fundamental need.
As the world is operating more on remote working, you will require split-tunneling to ensure that your remote workers have reliable, speedy internet connections to conduct their daily business, and also ensure that the organization’s sensitive information is secure. This is because any employee’s home network may be a source of vulnerability.
Split tunneling pros, cons, and risks
- The very first aspect of split tunneling is that it removes some difficulties organizations experience when they have to pass all their data and processes through VPN. It’s not every app website that works perfectly with VPNs; your bank will not condone irregularities in your location, you may find it difficult to access some business networks, and streaming platforms may frown if you are streaming from another country; all these are issues you can resolve with split tunneling, while your VPN serve for securing more sensitive information.
- Split tunneling allows you to access network devices that may not be high sources of vulnerability, such as printers. It also enhances your performance and needs for bandwidth, especially where you need a VPN for just a couple of websites. You don’t need to slow down your speed unnecessarily, as you will do if you pass all your information through the VPN.
- Split increases your rate of performance, however, you must understand that you are exposing yourself to security issues. Any time you decide to allow your traffic to bypass the VPN, especially where some of your employees need to make use of the public Wi-Fi hotspots without adequate protection, you are playing into the hands of hackers.
- The real scenario with split tunneling is that you can never be certain when you are protected and when you are not. What most people do is resort to guesswork to determine when they need to split-tunnel which is very dangerous, you may not even know of the existence of the type of traffic that must use the tunnel.
- Once you embark on a new split tunneling rule, you are exposing your network to risks, even if at the smallest degree. Unless split tunneling is of the highest priority to your organization, you may not need it.
- Unfortunately, a risk you consider minute, depending on the number of apps, may later become very problematic. It becomes very precarious if your network is not secure, threat actors can capitalize on the “small” entry point to carry out nefarious activities, it can serve as a backdoor for the introduction of malware and ultimately, malicious attacks.
- However, if you have the assurance of a secure network connection, and there is every reason for you to split your traffic into what you want to keep private and what you can afford to do on an open network, nothing stops you from split-tunneling, after all, you will gain the necessary speed while internet security is assured.
Split tunneling in Windows 10
There are different methods for enabling split tunneling in Windows 10, however, the simplest for you may be to go for a split-tunneling VPN. Before attempting to enable split tunneling in Windows 10, you must know how to set up a VPN for Windows. If for instance, your VPN is not connecting or drops in a few minutes, you don’t even need split tunneling in Windows 10. If you have to change split-tunneling in Windows 10, you can use PowerShell.
Get a VPN client with split tunneling:
- Sign up for Urban VPN.
- The next step is to enable the downloading and installation of the Windows 10 desktop client.
- You can then launch the app and click its icon in the system tray.
- Go to Settings > Network.
- Enable Split Tunnel and Allow LAN Traffic.
- After clicking Add Application, you go on to select a program.
- After you must have opened the dropdown menu that is next to the program, you go on to either:
- Choose Bypass VPN if you desire your program to connect to your home network.
- Or, select Only VPN to link the program to the VPN server.
- Set all other apps to bypass/circumvent VPN or only VPN (opposite of the program’s connection mode).
- Click IP address if you want to exclude any particular IP address from the VPN tunnel.
- Restart Urban VPN and the programs added to split tunneling.
You need to understand that not all free VPN providers have split-tunneling support, that’s where Urban VPN comes to the front burner, and you can use it for more than Windows 10. There is the opportunity to create a whitelist or blacklist of apps and IP addresses that will use Urban VPN or to always circumvent it for direct connection to the internet.