Split Tunneling - Customize Your Security by App

Choose which apps and sites can stay outside of the VPN tunnel with PIA’s split tunneling.

  • Bypass the VPN by app, IP address, or domain
  • Speed up low-security browsing and streaming
  • Connect to your local network with your VPN still on
Split Tunneling - Customize Your Security by App

What Is VPN Split Tunneling?

Imagine running all your trusted local apps like banking on your standard connection, while simultaneously using less-trustworthy apps and websites with a VPN. That’s split tunneling.

PIA took this basic concept one step further by allowing you to choose between standard or inverse split tunneling. We also offer unique split tunneling features for Windows Store apps, Linux, and DNS requests.

What is VPN Split Tunneling?
When Should I Use Split Tunneling?

When Should I Use Split Tunneling?

Split tunneling is a good idea at any time. It gives you complete VPN protection over your data and devices, without hampering access to apps and services that aren’t VPN-friendly.

If a service poses a potential privacy or security threat, like a shopping app or file-sharing website, keep it inside the VPN. When you trust an app or service, or it requires a local area connection, run it outside the VPN. This might be the case for banking sites or local network resources like a printer.

Set Up VPN Split Tunneling in 3 Steps

PIA makes setting up split tunneling a cinch for all your compatible devices. The steps below show you how to quickly activate split tunneling for Android or desktop.



Open the PIA App

On your desktop or Android system



Navigate to Split Tunneling settings

Or Per-App settings on Android



Configure Split Tunneling rules

Bypass the VPN by app or IP

PIA’s Top VPN Split Tunneling Features

Split Tunneling by App or IP
App-Based Kill Switch
Inverse Split Tunneling
Windows Store App Support
Advanced Linux Functionality
Split Tunnel DNS

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FAQ

Split tunneling in VPNs allows you to use both your standard connection and a VPN simultaneously. It lets you choose which apps and sites run through your regular unencrypted connection, while enforcing VPN encryption for those that go through the VPN tunnel.

This comes in handy when you want fast connections for local news, gaming, or work, but need added protection for accessing banking apps and other sensitive accounts.

Tunnel mode encrypts both your data and original IP address information before sending it over the internet. This essentially creates a secure tunnel between subnets — smaller IP network groupings.

Using tunnel mode increases privacy and helps ensure data packets reach the correct destination. Many VPNs still use IPSec for tunnel mode, though PIA uses the latest protocols, WireGuard® and OpenVPN.

Yes. Split tunneling is safer than not using a VPN, but it’s important to remember that traffic outside the VPN won’t be encrypted. You should only run trusted apps and websites outside your VPN, and keep everything else inside to ensure you block ads, trackers and other malicious software.

Get PIA’s advanced split tunneling to enjoy the best of both worlds: secure access to sites and services via the VPN, and the ability to use your standard connection for fast access to local content.

Yes. Our split tunneling feature allows standard and inverse split tunneling. Choose whether all apps run through the VPN with minimal exceptions or vice versa.

You also get several advanced options, including routed packet splitting for Linux and compatibility with Windows Store apps.

Split tunneling is available on Windows, Linux, and macOS (pre-Monterey only). You can also use standard split tunneling on Android devices, and we support allowlisting on PIA VPN browser extensions for Chrome, Opera, and Firefox.

The general rule is if you don’t trust an app, website, or IP, route it through the VPN. Most apps should run through the VPN to protect your anonymity online, but some exceptions exist.

For services that require better speeds, like regional channels, running them outside the VPN could provide a small speed boost. Many local network resources and banking services pose a minimal security risk and may require a local IP address, so some of these services will also need to run outside the VPN.

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Disclaimer: Per our Terms and Conditions, using PIA VPN for illegal purposes is not encouraged.

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