As VPN usage becomes increasingly popular, it is essential to understand the technology’s benefits and risks to make informed decisions. One of the most significant features of VPNs is split tunnelling. In this article, we’ll explore what split tunnelling is, how it works, and the benefits and risks of using it for VPN users.
What is Split Tunneling?
Split tunnelling is a VPN feature that allows users to send some of their internet traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel while other traffic goes directly to the internet without encryption. In simpler terms, split tunnelling lets users choose which applications or websites will use the VPN connection and which ones will bypass it.
How does Split Tunneling Work?
When you connect to a VPN, all of your internet traffic gets routed through the VPN server, including data from applications and websites you access. With split tunnelling, however, you can specify which traffic goes through the VPN and which traffic doesn’t.
For example, let’s say you want to access your online banking website securely, so you connect to your VPN. But at the same time, you also want to stream a movie on Netflix, which might not work well with a VPN connection. With split tunnelling, you can route your online banking traffic through the VPN and your Netflix traffic outside of it.
Benefits of Split Tunneling for VPN Users
- Better Performance: By choosing which traffic goes through the VPN, you can avoid slowing down your internet connection. Streaming and gaming applications that require high bandwidth and low latency work better without a VPN.
- Access to Local Network Resources: Split tunnelling allows you to access local network resources such as printers or files that are not accessible through the internet.
- Increased Security: Split tunnelling enables users to prioritize the most sensitive data and applications, ensuring that they are always encrypted and secure.
- Cost Savings: Split tunnelling can reduce VPN bandwidth usage, which can result in cost savings for businesses that have to pay for VPN usage.
Risks of Split Tunneling for VPN Users
- Reduced Security: Split tunnelling can expose your internet traffic to security risks. If you bypass the VPN connection for non-sensitive traffic, hackers can intercept and compromise your data.
- Privacy Concerns: When you bypass the VPN connection, your internet service provider (ISP) can monitor and track your non-encrypted traffic, compromising your privacy.
- Inconsistent Protection: If you use split tunnelling, you may not have the same level of protection across all your devices and applications.
- Configuration Complexity: Split tunnelling can be complicated to set up and maintain, and users may not be aware of the potential security risks of bypassing the VPN.
Split tunnelling is a useful feature for VPN users that allows them to choose which traffic goes through the VPN and which traffic doesn’t. While split tunnelling has benefits such as better performance and access to local network resources, it also has risks, including reduced security and privacy concerns. Therefore, it is essential to weigh the benefits and risks of split tunnelling before using it.