How to route torrent traffic through a split tunnel

By learning how to route torrent traffic through a split tunnel, you can enjoy faster speeds for other internet activities. Let your ISP’s servers handle things like streaming, video calls, or high-speed gaming sessions while your VPN keeps your torrenting private and secure.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to access local network devices (e.g. printers) and services such as home banking or regional streaming sites using your normal connection.

In this article, we’ll explain how to route torrent traffic through a split tunnel, on both desktop and mobile. We’ll also show you how to test if your split tunneling setup works correctly. Finally, we’ll address some common questions we’ve seen from users around the internet.

How to route torrent traffic through a split tunnel on desktop

We’ll focus this tutorial on NordVPN, as it’s our top-rated VPN for torrenting and integrates split tunneling excellently. Each VPN has a different way of implementing the feature, so check out your provider’s support guides for any specific steps.

In any case, let’s see how to route torrent traffic through NordVPN’s split tunnel:

  1. Launch your VPN and enter the app settings. In NordVPN, this is indicated by a cogwheel icon in the bottom left corner of the app. NordVPN Settings
  2. Click on Split tunneling to proceed. NordVPN Split Tunneling
  3. Toggle Split tunneling on, click on the Type drop-down, and select Enable VPN for selected apps, as shown below. NordVPN Enable VPN For Apps
  4. Press Add apps, pick your torrenting client from the list that pops up, and click Add selected to finish up. NordVPN uTorrent Split Tunneling
  5. Can’t find the client? Click Browse apps and navigate to the app’s installation folder if the program isn’t on the list. Once you find the .exe file, just double click it and it will be added automatically. NordVPN Add Torrent Client
  6. Exit the app settings and connect to a server. That’s it! NordVPN will now route torrent traffic through its split tunnel.

If you’re having trouble locating your torrent app, here’s where you can usually find the .exe files for uTorrent, Transmission, and qBittorrent on Windows 10 and 11:

  • uTorrent: C:\Users\[YourUsername]\AppData\Roaming\utorrent
  • Transmission: C:\Program Files\Transmission
  • qBittorrent: C:\Program Files\qBittorrent

We recommend checking if everything works as intended before you start torrenting. If you’re not sure how to do it, scroll down to our quick guide on how to test your split tunneling setup.

How to route torrent traffic through a split tunnel on Android

Split tunneling is a little different on Android, where you have to exclude apps you don’t want using the VPN tunnel. In this case, we’ll exclude things that use a lot of data, such as YouTube Music and our browser, while keeping our Android torrent client (Flud) as is.

Launch the VPN app, then tap Profile > Settings > Split tunneling.

NordVPN Split Tunneling Mobile

Again, there are different vendors and different settings, so check out your provider’s support pages for the actual location if you’re unsure. Otherwise, select which apps to exclude from the VPN tunnel.

NordVPN Trusted Apps

When you’re done, simply connect to a server within your VPN app. That’s all there is to it.

Now, before you torrent anything, read the guide below to test if you’ve set everything up correctly. Better safe than sorry.

Testing if torrent traffic is correctly routed through the split tunnel

You can use the Torrent Address detection feature on IPLeak or similar services to see if the VPN correctly routes torrent traffic through its split tunnel. This method works for both desktop platforms and Android. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Enable split tunneling for your torrenting client using our guides above.
  2. Access through your preferred browser. IPLeak Activate Torrent Address
  3. Click on Activate just below Torrent Address detection. You’ll get a magnet link. Torrent Address Detection Magnet
  4. Click it, and your browser will prompt you to open the magnet in your torrent client (qBittorrent in our case). Click to open the app. Open Torrent Client Prompt
  5. Add the magnet file to your client by clicking OK. Torrent Client Magnet Test
  6. The IPleak torrent detection file will begin downloading. IPLeak Test Magnet Download
  7. Return to and check under Torrent Address detection. Compare this IP to the one listed at the top of the website, which is your real IP and should show your country’s flag. If the two are different, you’re good to go! Torrent Address Detection IP

What else can I do to ensure private torrenting?

We have a guide on how to torrent safely, and we recommend checking it out by following the link. Here’s a quick summary of what to expect:

Route torrent traffic through a split tunnel FAQs

Is there split tunneling for specific sites?

Yes, some VPNs implement split tunneling for specific sites (also known as URL-based split tunneling). Some examples include IPVanish and CyberGhost VPN via its Smart Rules for Windows. Meanwhile, Proton VPN has an IP-based split tunneling feature in addition to the traditional app-based setup.

Does split tunneling work for qBittorrent?

Yes, split tunneling works effectively for qBittorrent and most other torrenting apps.

Is split tunneling a risk?

Split tunneling can be a risk in certain situations and could expose your sensitive data if not set up carefully. For instance, let’s say you forget that split tunneling is active while logging into services or making online payments on an unsecured network, such as public wi-fi. Cyber attackers monitoring that connection could potentially steal your logins or payment details.

The same applies if you use a corporate VPN to access your company’s intranet. Split tunneling leaves open avenues for attackers and malware, since your whole connection isn’t protected. For example, your company’s DNS could be set up to block phishing scam domains. Well, using split tunneling bypasses your company’s setup and leaves you exposed to online scams.

Is split tunneling faster?

Split tunneling can be faster for certain activities, as it lets you route only specific traffic (like torrents) through the VPN tunnel, while the rest uses your regular connection. This puts less strain on the VPN and helps with things like streaming, which doesn’t really need extra security.

Does NordVPN work with qBittorrent?

Yes, NordVPN does work with qBittorrent and many more torrenting clients, such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, Deluge, and Vuze. You can read some must-know tips on how to use qBittorrent with NordVPN by following the link.

Does NordVPN allow split tunneling?

Yes, NordVPN allows split tunneling on its Windows, Android, and Android TV apps.

Should you route torrent traffic through Tor?

Routing torrent traffic through Tor is generally discouraged because the Tor network is slow, as it relies on volunteers worldwide to operate its relays (or nodes). Using Tor for torrenting puts unnecessary strain on the network, and may harm users who need it for privacy reasons.

Read more: What is torrenting and is it legal?