It’s not simple to locate a reliable VPN service that works well with gaming. You’ll want to use a service that doesn’t slow you down or increase your latency. Therefore, there is a lot to think about when selecting the one and only. You need a service that can reliably prevent problems like throttling and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
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You are not, thank goodness, expected to bear the burden of that on your own. The best virtual private networks (VPNs) for online gaming are already on our list. If you want to play even if the game is banned in your country or if you want to be matched with players from other continents, you can use any of these services to do so.
What a VPN Does
Virtual private networks (VPNs) can be roughly divided into two categories. The first is a virtual private network (VPN) provided by your company. Virtual private networks (VPNs) are encrypted tunnels that let you connect to your company’s network and access restricted resources like documents and the website’s back end.
The second variety is the consumer VPN that everyone is hawking these days. Similar to a traditional VPN, this one encrypts your connection between your device and a server, and then from there to the wider internet. The VPN server will appear to the outside world as if it were your computer. This way, your real location won’t be revealed.
Using a virtual private network (VPN) like this is ideal if you’re in Europe and want to watch a Netflix show that’s only available in the United States. If you’re using a public Wi-Fi network, like the one at a hotel or airport, and want to keep your data safe from prying eyes, a virtual private network (VPN) is an excellent choice.
But gaming is a totally different can of worms.
Benefits of Using a VPN for Gaming
The benefits of using a virtual private network (VPN) include improved safety, privacy, and anonymity. However, using a VPN has many additional advantages when playing games online.
1. Protect Yourself Against Swatting
Rare as it may be, there have been reports of gamers becoming so enraged that they begin to stalk other players, especially in multiplayer games.
Someone who isn’t happy with you playing could use your IP address to spy on you online and in real life.
They might resort to “swatting” in the worst-case scenario. It is a very unusual form of harassment when someone calls 911 to report a fake hostage situation, bomb threat, or other emergency at another person’s home. On rare occasions, this has resulted in death.
2. Avoid DDoS Attacks
In a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack, an attacker uses infected machines to flood a target system with requests.
DDoS attacks were once rarely seen outside of the realm of websites and occasionally online games. However, nowadays, anyone can launch a DDoS attack against a website or other users thanks to the widespread availability of DDoS software. This means your opponent could attempt to denial of service you while you’re playing.
If you use a VPN, no one can see your real IP address and thus can’t target your connection with a distributed denial of service attack.
3. Stay Safe on Public WiFi
Whether you prefer to play on your mobile device, tablet, or laptop, you may find yourself making use of a public WiFi connection.
Hotels, eateries, airports, and even shopping centers now routinely offer free public WiFi. You can use these public Wi-Fi spots to get online with your gaming rig at no cost. However, there are many dangers associated with using public WiFi, as it is not always secure.
The majority of public hotspots don’t secure their connections. This means that anyone on the internet can view the information traveling between your device and the router.
WiFi Sniffing and Snooping
Cybercriminals can easily “listen in” to WiFi traffic with the help of specialized software and devices. Because of this, cybercriminals can monitor your every move.
They can monitor your keystrokes and view the websites you visit. A hacker could use this information to gain access to your social media, credit cards, and bank accounts.
One of the most typical dangers of using public WiFi is a man-in-the-middle attack. A network intrusion occurs when an adversary reads your data as it travels from your computer to the internet.
The information stolen by hackers can be used for espionage, identity theft, account takeovers, data corruption, or communication disruption.
Laptops, tablets, and mobile phones are all vulnerable to “man in the middle” attacks. Therefore, you may be at risk if you play Bejeweled in the airport lounge while waiting to board your flight.
A hacker may be able to secretly install malware on your device if it connects to public WiFi, where security is often laxer than it should be.
Most high-end VPNs support a wide range of devices, have a wide range of security features, and use industry-leading encryption standards. When connecting to a VPN, your data is encrypted even when using a public network like WiFi. Even in the unlikely event that your data is intercepted, a hacker will be unable to decode it.
4. Forget About Bandwidth Throttling
Bandwidth throttling or slowing down is a practice employed by many internet service providers (ISPs). In an effort to reduce network congestion, some services employ throttling at predetermined times and days.
Some networks will automatically apply restrictions to activities like gaming, streaming, and file sharing if they detect a certain type of traffic on the network. Many also limit data transfer after a certain threshold is reached.
Different games have different data consumption rates, but here are some common examples:
|Game||The Hourly Data Mean|
|Grat Piazza V in Cyberspace||60MB|
|Black Ops 4, a Call of Duty game||80MB|
These figures represent typical performance over a one-hour session. They don’t factor in the possibility of having to download an update for the game.
As you can see, the amount of data a game uses varies greatly depending on the game itself, the type of game it is, and your playstyle. If you play for more than a few hours per day and get all the updates, you might find that you hit a data limit rather quickly.
By encrypting your data, a VPN makes it more difficult for your ISP to tell if you’re gaming or just browsing the web, reducing the likelihood that they will throttle your connection.
In addition to hiding your online activity from your ISP, many premium VPNs also allow you to change the ports that you connect through.
5. Play Online From Any Region
In order to guarantee that you always connect to the server that is closest to you, many online games employ geoblocking technology.
When a game isn’t available in all regions yet, when games are organized into categories based on language, or when a game’s popularity necessitates the use of servers in more than one location, this is often the case.
If you’re in the United States, you’ll connect to a server there. You would connect to a server in the UK or Europe if you were physically located there. However, this could be a problem if you’re located in one region but want to play with friends in another.
Only premium VPNs offer servers in multiple locations worldwide. Therefore, connecting to a server in a different region is simple. Choose a reliable business and establish a VPN connection to a server there.
Since a virtual private network (VPN) masks your true IP address with one from the server you connect to, playing games across borders is no problem at all.
6. Enjoy New Releases Earlier – If They Only Release to Certain Areas First
Usually, different regions get their copies of a new game at different times. If you’ve been waiting a long time for a new video game, finding out that it won’t be available in your region for a while can be incredibly disheartening.
With a virtual private network, or VPN, you can bypass regional restrictions and play newly released games on their day of release. Play the game to your heart’s content by connecting to a VPN server in a region where it was initially released.
7. Play Banned Games – If You’re in an Area That Bans Some Games
It may seem strange, but many nations have outright banned video games on the basis of their content or the type of game. Here are a few examples of these regions:
The United Kingdom has banned a number of video games due to graphic depictions of violence and sexual content.
Germany has banned video games that feature Nazi imagery or themes.
Australia has one of the longest lists of banned games because of its strict stance against content that promotes or glorifies sexuality, nudity, drug use, violence, or even graffiti.
Shooter games are now illegal in Venezuela.
Games with graphic violence are now prohibited in Brazil.
Games that “hurt China’s national dignity and interests” are among those banned in China. ”
There are a number of countries that strictly censor video games before they can be sold, downloaded, or played by their citizens.
In order to access games that are blocked in your country, you can use a virtual private network (VPN) to connect to a server in a location where they are not restricted.
8. Don’t Worry About IP Bans
In order to prevent players from accessing their games after breaking the rules or terms of service, many developers and publishers now employ IP bans.
Sometimes, users’ IP addresses are blocked for no apparent reason. Some suspensions are short-term, such as a “time-out” of one week for misbehavior, while others are more permanent.
It is not a good idea to break any rules or the terms of service. When connecting to a VPN, you get a new IP address and can therefore avoid being IP banned in the first place.
Keep in mind that many games strictly forbid the use of virtual private networks. If you are banned from using a VPN service, a high-quality service should have enough servers that you can connect to one of their other locations.
9. Reduce Lag and Ping Times
Nothing is more frustrating than facing off against a dungeon boss only to discover your powers aren’t functioning properly, or having to retreat from a treasure chest or health kit because you were thrown backward by a rubber band.
One of the main causes of lag is long ping times (the time it takes for data to send and receive between your device and the game server), and lag can ruin your gaming experience.
The distance between your device and the server is a major factor in high ping times. Connecting to a VPN server in a location closer to the game server can decrease ping and delay.
10. Connect With Routers
Installing a virtual private network (VPN) on your router is a must.
While many premium VPNs offer apps for smartphones and tablets, only a small handful work with gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation.
Think about a virtual private network (VPN) that is router-friendly if you use a gaming console or app on multiple devices. When a VPN is connected to a router, all devices using that router’s WiFi are automatically protected.
All of the VPNs I suggest for gaming work with specific routers. ExpressVPN is my go-to VPN service because of how simple it is to use.
Read our guide to the best VPNs for routers to learn about additional options.
Drawbacks of Using a VPN for Gaming
Using a virtual private network (VPN) is beneficial for gaming in many ways. However, there are a few downsides to consider. The bright side is that every disadvantage typically has a solution or workaround. When using a virtual private network (VPN) for gaming, you may encounter issues such as:
1. The Issue of Legality
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are generally accepted as lawful, but there are a few exceptions. Among these are:
- The DPRK
In addition, some countries only permit government-sanctioned VPNs, and others outright ban their use altogether. Before signing up for a VPN service, make sure you understand the legality of doing so in your country. To learn more about the legality of VPNs, check out our previous post.
2. Activity Monitoring and Data Logging
Some virtual private networks (VPNs) aren’t as safe as others, it’s true. Some may even keep track of what you do and what information you provide in order to target you with ads or sell the information to third parties.
Make sure the VPN service you use for gaming does not keep any logs of your activity. If you’re looking for a VPN that won’t keep any logs, be sure to read our guide.
3. Slower Connection Speeds and Lag
A virtual private network (VPN) can improve your online gaming experience in many cases by connecting you to a server in a location closer to the server hosting the game.
However, you may find that your speeds are actually slower and your lag is more noticeable if you connect to a server that is further away or if the server you connect to is particularly busy. In such a case, connecting to a different server may help.
Using a premium VPN service, such as ExpressVPN, can help you avoid this issue. Check out our feature on the fastest VPN services for more suggestions.
4. Disconnects and Packet Loss
The reliability of your VPN connection is heavily dependent on the server you choose to connect to. Choose a VPN with many servers in different countries to reduce the likelihood of packet loss (when some data isn’t delivered to its intended recipient) and disconnections.
5. Confusing to Configure
Configuring and using a VPN can be tricky if you are not tech savvy. Inadequate configuration of a virtual private network (VPN) can compromise its ability to safeguard your online activities.
Select a VPN service, such as ExpressVPN, that has an intuitive interface and dedicated apps for all of your devices to avoid any configuration headaches.
6. Incompatibility With Gaming Devices
It’s possible that your VPN won’t work with your gaming console if you use PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo.
You can get around this by sharing your computer’s internet connection with your console over an ethernet cable, or by using a virtual private network (VPN) that you set up on your home wireless router.
Can a VPN Protect You From DDoS Attacks?
Security is the primary argument for using a virtual private network (VPN) that gamers and gaming experts make. Some games’ multiplayer networking is facilitated by peer-to-peer technology. When this occurs, it may be possible to learn the IP (Internet Protocol) address of an adversary.
IP addresses are analogous to physical addresses; however, they are only used by computers and routers on the internet. If you have another device’s IP address, you can make an attempt to establish a connection with it. To perform distributed denial-of-service attacks, in which an IP address is flooded with so much traffic that the connection is disabled, bad actors use this data. Since DDoS attacks can be easily launched by renting time on botnets (given a target IP address), they pose a very real threat.
Major internet companies like Amazon and Google, as well as servers run by gaming companies and a number of VPN services, regularly face Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. But it’s not something a typical home internet connection can handle, so a VPN is essential. While a VPN connection won’t prevent you from being temporarily knocked offline by a DDoS attack, it will make it much easier to reconnect once the attack has passed.
It’s easy to find evidence of widespread panic about being the target of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack while playing video games online. You can find discussions about DDoS on the forums of any game with a multiplayer online component, such as CS:GO, Overwatch, Call of Duty, Destiny 2, and League of Legends.
There is some justification for these worries, and (hopefully) developers will take precautions against DDoS attacks like Bungie did for Destiny 2 in early 2020. However, for most games, the greater concern is that the servers hosting the game will be attacked, bringing the game down like what happened to World of Warcraft in late 2019. If the game’s servers are under attack, a virtual private network (VPN) won’t help you play better because the DDoS attack is aimed at the game’s servers, not your connection.
A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack can also come from sources other than the game itself. A user’s IP address can be obtained from some services simply by initiating a chat with the target user. The player may also try to obtain your IP address by luring you to a website or chat room under their control. Such assaults are extremely rare. In general, though, you shouldn’t respond to any pre- or post-game chat requests that you didn’t initiate.
In most cases, a virtual private network (VPN) isn’t necessary to protect your gaming connection from DDoS attacks. If you think you’ve been the victim of a DDoS attack while playing a game, research whether or not others have had similar experiences and analyze the actions you took before the attack. Find out if this is a problem by checking the game’s official forums and help pages. In case it’s the real deal, a virtual private network is a good idea.
Can a VPN Improve Gaming Performance?
If a gamer connects to a VPN server that is physically located near the game’s servers, they will experience improved performance. However, virtual private networks (VPNs) almost never end up being faster than a regular internet connection. That means using a virtual private network (VPN) will almost always result in longer ping times and lower throughput than not using a VPN. (But with a fast VPN, the lag might be negligible.)
If your ISP slows down gaming connections but not VPN ones, for instance, using a VPN could improve your experience. Using a virtual private network (VPN) to access a gaming server while connected to a public Wi-Fi network that blocks gaming connections is possible.
The idea that you want to play in a different region, say Europe or Asia, is yet another possible application. If you want to play with people from different parts of the world, make sure the game doesn’t connect you automatically. If a game has a region lock, using a virtual private network (VPN) to switch between different locations shouldn’t get you banned.
Finally, getting around IP filters at a university or corporate firewall is a potential final worry. It’s a terrible, terrible idea to try to get around a company firewall so you can play a game at work. The IT help desk on campus is the best resource for students. They may be able to help you figure out your connection problems if they aren’t actively trying to block gaming but rather traffic that looks similar.
Differences Between Free VPNs and Paid VPNs for Gaming
Numerous virtual private networks (VPNs) are available, and some of them are even free. While it’s always nice to save a few bucks, there are times when a free VPN isn’t the best choice.
Before deciding on the best virtual private network for gaming, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of both free and paid services.
Most paid VPN services provide access to servers in a number of different locations. ExpressVPN is one such service; it offers over 3,000 servers in 94 different countries.
Most premium VPN services also boast military-grade encryption, no-logging policies, 99.9% uptime guarantees, unlimited bandwidth, and support for multiple connections at once. Moreover, many offer helpful customer service and intuitive app design.
When it comes to server locations, free VPNs typically only offer a handful. There are a few that offer top-notch security on par with that used by the military, but the vast majority employ much less robust methods of encryption.
Free VPNs may keep logs of your activities and disclose this information to advertisers, partners, or the government upon request. Free VPNs may be trickier to set up, allow for only a single connection, and place limits on how much data can be transferred at once.
Additionally, you may find that there is minimal to no user support available should you run into any difficulties during setup or regular use.
While free VPNs can suffice for the time being, a paid service will provide you with significantly more privacy and functionality. You can read our article comparing free VPNs and paid VPNs to learn more.
VPNs Aren’t Just for Gaming
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is not only useful for gaming, but has many other applications as well.
When you connect to a VPN, you are effectively geo-spoofing. It also allows you to watch videos on services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and BBC iPlayer that are normally unavailable in your country.
Using its own servers, a VPN reroutes your data through an encrypted tunnel. You’ll have more secrecy and safety as a result of this. You can’t be tracked or found out for anything you do on the internet.
This prevents hackers from accessing your data and also helps reduce intrusive ads and government surveillance.
You can protect your devices from malware with the help of a premium VPN, as many of them have built-in malware blockers.
Using a virtual private network (VPN), you can safely play online games, watch videos, download torrents, and surf the web.
How to choose the best VPN for gaming?
Choosing the best virtual private network can be challenging due to the wide variety of services available. How to pick the best virtual private network (VPN) for gaming, explained.
- Speeds. For online gaming, a VPN with lightning-fast connections is essential. You should select the VPN that slows you down the least, since all of them do. When choosing a VPN service, one that supports fast tunneling protocols like WireGuard is preferable.
- Compatibility. A reliable VPN should provide high-quality software for a wide range of desktop and mobile platforms. Also, if your gadget doesn’t have VPN support, try finding a service that provides SmartDNS or has a router app.
- Powerful fleet of servers. Overcrowding of servers is a potential issue with VPNs that don’t have enough of them. Therefore, you should search for a service that offers access to servers in a variety of countries.
- Added conveniences. Features offered by VPNs can vary greatly. Only a subset of these, for instance, support port forwarding. Similarly, some VPNs may not have a large number of torrent-friendly servers. Before signing up for a VPN service, it’s a good idea to look over the available features.
The best gaming VPNs – our detailed list:
It’s not just latency that determines whether or not a VPN is suitable for gaming. There may be far-reaching consequences for things like speed, server count, and more. I eliminated the options that could only deliver the absolute top-tier of performance required for a satisfying gaming session. Those that passed muster are listed below.
1. NordVPN – best VPN for gaming
|Servers/countries:||5400 Servers in 60 Countries|
|Includes instructions for configuring a router:||Yes|
|As it stands,||Save 68% on NordVPN now!|
When asking for recommendations for a VPN service, gamers often hear that NordVPN is the best option. It is not a fluke that it is also our top pick on this list.
They support numerous tunneling protocols, such as OpenVPN, IKEv2, and NordLynx. You can find tutorials on how to install OpenVPN and IKEv2 on a router, so if you use a gaming console, the road ahead is mapped out. In addition, the latency increase will be negligible if you connect to a nearby location.
When it comes to VPN providers, NordVPN is among the quickest. Part of the credit goes to their fantastic in-house adaptation of the WireGuard tunneling protocol called NordLynx.
PC and mobile/tablet gamers alike can benefit from using NordVPN. If you want to connect to the fastest server in a specific country, all you have to do is click on that country on the map. Of course, it can take more time to locate the optimal VPN server for a given online game (especially a multiplayer game) and its associated server.
When using NordVPN, you can rest assured that your online privacy will always be protected. Independent audits have examined all aspects of their privacy policies.
Our comprehensive review of NordVPN has all the details.
- Excellent results in speed tests
- PROXY SOCKS5
- File-sharing websites
- Officially-verified no-logs policy
- Live help available around the clock
- Allows Access to Blocked Netflix
- Free return within 30 days
- Separated tunneling
- There is no trial version available.
2. Surfshark – best VPN for value hunters
|Based in:||The Dutch Republic|
|Servers/countries:||More than 3200 servers spread across 95 countries|
|The Router Configuration Guides:||Yes|
|As it stands,||Save 82% on Surfshark, plus get 2 free months and antivirus software|
If you’re looking for a VPN service that’s great for gaming, Surfshark is a top contender. It’s not only cheap, but it has just as many bells and whistles as the pricier options.
Surfshark is comprehensive because it supports multiple tunneling protocols, including WireGuard, ShadowSocks, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. When using WireGuard, you won’t notice much of a slowdown when downloading large files, so you won’t have to hold your breath while installing that massive update. If you’re connecting to a server in your immediate area, the latency improvements will be minimal at best.
How to configure OpenVPN or IKEv2 on a router is covered in Surfshark’s documentation. Therefore, your router’s setup will be simplified if it supports at least one of these protocols. This is fantastic news for people who use VPNs but have a gaming console that doesn’t support installing VPN clients.
The Whitelister feature is available on desktop and mobile devices. You can use it to connect your gaming devices to a private network over the internet. You won’t have to toggle between tabs, and this won’t interfere with any of your other online pursuits.
The service is dedicated to keeping your information private. No activity logs are stored by Surfshark VPN. In addition, you can connect an unlimited number of devices at once.
Learn more by reading our comprehensive review of Surfshark VPN.
- Excellent results in speed tests
- Discounted subscription fees
- Unrestricted bandwidth
- Allows access to multiple Netflix regions
- As many as you want to connect at once
- Warnings of a data breach
- Accepts Add-Ons to Its Browser
- Policy of no logs at all
- Inadequate Mac app lacks Shadowsocks/Whitelister.
- There is no trial version available.
3. IPVanish – one of the fastest VPNs for gamers
|Based in:||In the U.S.A.|
|Servers/countries:||The 2000 servers are spread across 50 different countries.|
|Comprises instructions for configuring routers:||Yes|
|As things stand:||Save up to 69% on IPVanish and a Security Suite now!|
IPVanish provides lightning-fast VPN service, making it a great choice for gamers. Fast and safe connections can be made from anywhere thanks to its extensive network of servers and support for the WireGuard tunneling protocol.
The split tunneling feature and the fact that all IPVanish servers allow P2P connections are additional bonuses. In this way, you can restrict the use of a VPN connection to a selected set of programs.
Besides, this VPN can be installed on your router to safeguard your entire house’s network. This means that your gaming consoles will also use a VPN connection when you are playing online.
IPVanish also provides satisfactory security. The AES-256 cipher you use to encrypt your traffic and data is immune to brute-force attacks. You can use it on as many devices as you like at once, making it ideal for gaming and security.
This VPN is not the most affordable option, but with our IPVanish promo codes you can get significant savings. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind about using the services.
Find out more about IPVanish by reading our in-depth review.
- As many as you want to connect at once
- Quick transfer times with WireGuard
- Mutual aid networks
- Separated tunneling
- Free return within 30 days
- Costs a lot for what it is
4. PureVPN – budget-friendly VPN for gamers
|Based in:||Island Commonwealth of the British Virgin Islands|
|Servers/countries:||6.5k servers in 78 countries|
|The Router Configuration Guides:||Yes|
|Current Agreement:||Enjoy 82% savings 3 months free with PureVPN.|
When it comes to virtual private networks (VPNs), PureVPN offers the best value. This service gives you access to a wide variety of servers, many of which are P2P-friendly.
You can also find comprehensive guides for setting up PureVPN on various routers if you want to protect your connection on gaming consoles. This allows you to secure an infinite number of gadgets.
This service also allows you to set up gaming servers by supporting port forwarding. However, there is an additional fee for this functionality. It costs less than a dollar per month to subscribe.
It’s also worth noting that Android is the only platform to offer a split tunneling option. On the other hand, this is fantastic if you’re playing mobile games and only want to use a VPN connection within that app.
When it comes to safety, PureVPN uses a 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption, which is the gold standard. The military also makes heavy use of it because it is so difficult to decipher without a special key.
This VPN service has extremely reasonable rates. You can protect up to 10 devices at once for as little as $1.99 per month with a subscription that includes a 31-day money-back guarantee. Check out our PureVPN discount coupons page for the best deals.
To find out what makes PureVPN so special, read our in-depth review.
- Plenty of available servers
- Extremely cheap
- Port forwarding is supported.
- Secure ciphering
- Free return within the first 30 days
- Split tunneling is exclusive to Android devices.
5. ProtonVPN – large VPN server list
|Locations:||1600 servers in 63 regions|
|Supports the configuration of routers with:||Yes|
|Status Quo:||Save as much as 50% on ProtonVPN now!|
ProtonVPN is fantastic for gamers because of its extensive VPN server list, which can be used for matchmaking and switching game servers, among other things. In fact, there are P2P-optimized servers that can improve your experience with online multi-player games.
Additionally, one of the most sophisticated split tunneling implementations is at your disposal. Both individual apps and Internet Protocol addresses can be granted or denied access to the VPN tunnel. It is important to note that all communications are encrypted with AES-256.
Additionally, a free version of ProtonVPN is available. There are some restrictions, but it’s a great option for those who want to try out the service. For instance, there is only one VPN connection available, servers in only three countries, and only average download speeds.
Unlimited VPN access is available to paying subscribers for as little as $4.99 per month. If you don’t like the service, you can get your money back within 30 days, regardless of which plan you choose.
To find out more about this service, read our comprehensive review of ProtonVPN.
- Numerous available hosts
- Optimized for peer-to-peer networks
- Separated tunneling
- Free of charge
- Free return within 30 days
- Not the least expensive choice
How we selected and tested these VPNs
There is no single test that can identify the best virtual private network (VPN) for gaming purposes. However, there are some options to consider:
- It’s the server ID. If there were more servers, I could probably keep my latency down better. Lag, which can be extremely frustrating in online games, increases as the distance between you and the server grows.
- Results of a speed test. Reductions to base speeds are less severe the better test results are. If your Internet service provider (ISP) is limiting your connection speed, this could mean even greater gains in speed.
- Added benefits. Features like port forwarding and proxy servers can be deciding factors in determining which virtual private network (VPN) should be considered the best for online gaming. Port forwarding can make hosting servers with a VPN possible, and proxy servers increase privacy without significantly impacting performance. Split tunneling is also important – it can be useful to direct only the traffic from a specific app through the VPN connection.
- Security. You shouldn’t sacrifice quality for price when deciding on a virtual private network. Safety is a top priority. You might as well connect directly if your VPN is leaking your IP address or using insecure tunneling protocols. In this respect, you should have zero tolerance.
- Privacy. Having robust security is only part of the solution. The second requirement is a promise to remain anonymous. Promising to keep no logs is great, but it’s even better when the service can back it up with independent audits. If you’ve ever been in court or refused to work with government agencies, consider that a badge of honor.
- Price. Pricing is the final item on the checklist. Many VPNs on the market today charge exorbitant prices despite failing to meet any of the aforementioned criteria. However, there are also services that offer bundles that won’t put too much of a dent in your wallet.
Why do I need a VPN for online gaming?
There are a number of scenarios in which gamers could benefit from using a virtual private network. Some examples out of many are as follows.
- Keeping Distributed Denial of Service Attacks at bay. When you play games online, it’s easy for hackers to track down your IP address and launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. A virtual private network (VPN) can hide your true IP address, keeping these kinds of intrusions at bay.
- Unrestricted online game access. A virtual private network (VPN) allows you to conceal your online identity and access websites and services that are blocked in your country. New movies and shows that haven’t yet been released in your country can be accessed with a VPN as well.
- To keep from getting kicked off the server. You’ve been kicked off your preferred public server. It’s not a problem; just swap out your IP address.
- Changes in servers frequently. By connecting to a virtual location in another country, you can circumvent geographically restricted gameplay.
- Games budgeting savings. Many online game stores set different prices for different regions. Video games are one category of goods that might be less expensive in Russia than the United States. The use of a virtual private network (VPN) during gameplay can aid in this.
- decreasing delay. Even though virtual private networks (VPNs) slow down your connection, they can sometimes improve ping times. In particular, a virtual private network (VPN) may be able to address ineffective routing to the game server.
And now that you know why you need a VPN, it’s time to learn the ins and outs of making your own.
How to set up a VPN for gaming
One potential problem you may encounter right away is that neither Xbox nor PlayStation support VPN apps by default. This already increases the complexity of the setup compared to a computer or mobile device. There are still ways to accomplish this, but they require some creativity. The only two options are setting up a virtual private network (VPN) on your router or connecting your gaming console to your computer over a shared internet connection.
Set up a VPN on your router
It’s important to know whether or not your router is VPN-compatible before you install one. This information is included in the accompanying user guide. You could also try searching online discussion groups for answers; maybe someone else is using the same model and has found a workaround. Installing alternative firmware to work around the lack of built-in VPN support is beyond the scope of this guide.
As you might expect, the procedures differ greatly depending on whether your router has built-in VPN support or whether you are using a custom firmware. But the bolts and nuts are this:
- Invest in a membership to a VPN service. We advise NordVPN.
- Log in to the admin section of your router.
- When you get there, click the VPN option.
- You’ll probably have to provide authentication and upload settings when you get there.
- Send in your router’s configurations and reboot.
- Verify if the IP address has changed since it was last displayed.
With this configuration, you’ll only use up one of your allotted VPN connections on a single device. This is a brilliant method of connecting more than once at once.
Share a VPN from your Windows PC
There is no requirement to install a virtual private network on your home router. It’s also possible to share a connection from your personal computer:
- Pick a virtual private network (VPN) and sign up for an account.
- Launch the program after installation, and then connect to a virtual private network server.
- Join your computer and game console with an Ethernet cable.
- To access the settings, press the Windows key and then click the gear icon.
- Select Network & Internet once you get there.
- Use the VPN option to connect.
- Select Adapter options > Change under Related settings.
- Select VPN, then click the right arrow and select Properties.
- The option to let other people on your network use this computer’s internet connection can be found in the Sharing section of the Control Panel.
- To use a secure connection, check the box labeled “Private Network.”
- Select the Ethernet connection for your console from the opened list and hit OK.
- Start up the console and double-check that the Ethernet cable is plugged in.
- Now, your VPN connection is being shared with another computer, so all of your data will go through it first.
It is important to note that this method will continue to function as long as your computer remains powered on. It is not restricted to the Windows platform. Connection sharing is available on macOS as well. As an alternative to a hardwired connection, wireless VPN sharing is possible (albeit at reduced speeds).
Is a VPN good for gaming?
While using a virtual private network (VPN) probably won’t make you a better gamer, it will improve your experience. The most notable advantages are the ability to connect to servers in other countries, avoid IP bans, increase connection speeds, and shield yourself from DDoS attacks.
The situation is not all positive, though. You should not have unrealistic expectations that connecting from the other side of the world will improve your ping. Constraints like distance and your baseline connection speed are important when running a VPN because it is not being run through a wormhole. That is to say, whether or not a VPN is suitable for gaming is highly context-dependent.
However, if you select a reliable VPN service, you can strike a good balance. The most effective VPNs can be used for gaming along with other activities.
Can a VPN reduce ping for gaming?
While using a virtual private network (VPN) will typically result in a higher ping, there are a few exceptions.
If your ISP is intentionally slowing your connection speed (known as “bandwidth throttling”), a virtual private network (VPN) will eliminate this issue, lowering your ping significantly.
You can potentially lower your ping by connecting to a VPN server that is physically close to the server hosting your game. However, you shouldn’t expect a major improvement in latency.
Fastest VPNs for gaming
You can quickly evaluate the transfer rates of the VPNs we recommend by consulting the table below. Ping is also included because it is crucial to having a good time while playing games online.
- Download and upload speeds of 300 Mbps as a starting point
|Virtual Private Network||The typical ping||The Typical Download Rate||The Typical Upload Rate||lowest possible regular cost|
|NordVPN||148||249 Mbps||93 Mbps||$3.30|
|Surfshark||157||263 Mbps||198 Mbps||$2.30|
|IPVanish||171||239 Mbps||130 Mbps||$3.75|
|PureVPN||166||200 Mbps||210 Mbps||$8.32|
|ProtonVPN||169||257 Mbps||218 Mbps||$3.29|
We conducted these tests utilizing each VPN service’s optimal tunneling protocol. For instance, we put NordLynx through its paces on NordVPN. While Surfshark, IPVanish, PureVPN, and ProtonVPN all had fast connections, WireGuard was the fastest of the bunch.
What is the best free VPN for gaming?
Considering the abundance of free VPN offerings, it could be tempting to use one for online gaming. The truth is more nuanced, and a free VPN has both benefits and drawbacks. There are potentially two different meanings when discussing free VPNs.
Freemium VPN services are also available. Even if you wanted to, you simply cannot afford them. They rely on advertising revenue to operate, though this is not always the case. There are numerous instances of VPNs collecting user information for the purpose of later reselling it. Their entire model relies on monetizing users’ online activities. Finally, gamers should avoid using these VPNs because they typically do not provide the best performance.
Some VPNs charge for some features while providing a freemium option on the side. These are special editions of their premium products that are meant to give customers a taste of what the full version has to offer before committing to buying it. In addition, it is not uncommon for them to impose restrictions in the form of monthly data caps. This is why they are rarely a good option for gamers.
VPN use among gamers is actually quite common. It may be the only way to play against specific opponents or eliminate lag when your Internet service provider (ISP) is restricting your connection. However, this highlights the significance of selecting a reliable VPN provider.
Our hope is that you will find our selection criteria and suggested top-tier service providers useful. If you follow our advice, you’ll have a much better gaming experience.