What Is League of Legends?
League of Legends (LoL) is one of the most widely-played computer games in the world. Riot Games, which produces LoL, estimates that there are more than 100 million players every month. The game is free to enter. It involves fight matches between two teams, each with five players. You can set up your own team, or line up in a solo queue for LoL to allocate one. The game is addictive and the company that runs it makes money by encouraging players to buy game facilities.
League of Legends was officially launched in 2009. Riot Games runs its US servers for LoL from its offices in Chicago. The server structure and ownership of the game worldwide is quite complicated. That makes switching regions difficult.
Quick Links to our 5 best VPNs for League of Legends
Why Do I need a LoL VPN?
Riot Games does not run LoL all over the world. Instead, it licenses other companies to run servers for the game outside the US. Those companies pay for the rights to manage access to the game for specified regions. They earn that money back by selling in-game utilities. The operating model is very similar to media companies that produce movies and shows. It is very common for streaming services to block access to their content from overseas. This is because they only have the right to show that content to the people who are physically located in the countries that are written into the contracts they signed with the copyright owner.
In 2010, Riot Games cancelled its agreement with its European distributor, taking over that region’s service itself. Despite the fact that players in North America and Europe get their game from the same company, Riot Games doesn’t like cross-border access between these two operating areas.
If you are tired of the opponents in your region, you may want to try an arena for another part of the world. You can do this with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A LoL VPN has to be fast. Thus it’s better to avoid a free VPN for League of Legends. VPNs divert your traffic and encrypt and repackage every chunk of code that crosses the internet between you and the game server. That’s a lot of work. If you want the best VPN for League of Legends, focus your search on paid services.
Lag is a serious problem when playing the game online. You’ll find that even the best free VPN for LoL will make those delays and stutters even worse.
Focus your search for a good LoL VPN on the top five that we’ve put together here. These VPNs are the best around. They offer high network speeds and world-beating anonymity, along with the ability to get around regional restrictions.
Best VPNs for League of Legends: Summary
- Our Score
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- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Fast connections
- Servers in 94 countries
- Great customer support
- Has stealth protection
- Only three simultaneous connections allowed
All of the VPNs in this review will get around regional restrictions and mask your real IP address. What puts ExpressVPN at the top of the list is the great speeds that its network offers. If you are in a location with a poor local internet service, ExpressVPN can actually make your connections faster, in our experience. This achievement is astonishing when you consider all the extra work the VPN needs to do in order to encrypt and reroute all of your internet messages. If you do want to put a VPN on your router, this is your best option, particularly if you have a Tomato router, for which ExpressVPN has a custom app. The ExpressVPN customer support team is legendary. You can usually catch them online in order to get quick solutions to your technical problems.
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- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Five simultaneous connections
- Loads onto DD-WRT routers
- Easy to use app
- No app for iOS
Buffered doesn't have the very high speeds of ExpressVPN. Nor does it have such a large server network. However, it has servers in all the locations you need for access to LoL servers, and its speeds are good enough for online gaming. The main reason you would be more likely to choose Buffered over ExpressVPN is that this service is a lot cheaper than the top dog. You can run the VPN on DD-WRT routers and you will get a total simultaneous connection allowance of five devices. Even though you can connect all of your gadgets in the house through the VPN router, that link only counts as one of your five connection allowance.
- One-day free trial
- Based in Malaysia
- Good for use in China
- Stealth servers
- Protects chat system users
- Servers in only 11 countries
Our BolehVPN review suggests it's a good option for gamers in Asia. The company is based in Malaysia, right at the center of all the Asian time zones. This means that you don't have to wait as long when you contact customer support with this company. As the offices of BolehVPN are active during business hours, you'll be less likely to wait overnight for a response to your query as you would with VPN services based in distant locations. The VPN is good for those 300 million QQ Chat Messenger customers in China who all have free access to LoL. Make sure you turn the VPN on before you connect to the chat system.
- Seven-day money-back guarantee
- Up to six simultaneous connections
- Servers in more than 60 countries
- Setup for DD-WRT routers
- Apps for Windows and Mac OS X
- Live customer support not available 24 hours a day
Our review of VPNArea found it is also a good VPN for China. The Chinese authorities don't like people there using VPNs and in some areas of the country, the detected use of a VPN will get you a fine. VPNArea never gets blocked in China and is has recently upgraded its session establishment security to keep ahead of rumored Chinese government advances in cracking the security of this connection phase. You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections with this service, which gives you the opportunity to share an account with friends and save money.
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Up to 6 simultaneous connections
- Account sharing encouraged
- Servers in 58 countries
- Cut price 2-year special offer
- Customer support has a slow turnaround
You can share an account with friends if you choose to sign up with NordVPN. NordVPN gives you an allowance of six simultaneous connections. You can bring the cost of the service down even further if you sign up for the two-year plan. Committing to such a long service period might put you off. However, the company offers you a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can make sure that the service works before you are fully locked in.
For many games, you need to load your VPN onto your router in order to get proper protection when playing. In the case of League of Legends, this is not strictly necessary. The game can only be run on computers running Windows and Mac OS X. That means that you can get full protection from your VPN by loading it onto your computer.
The reason other games need the VPN to be loaded onto the router is because it’s difficult to get VPN software onto a games console. Therefore, those who access games through a console, such as Playstation or Xbox, have to put the VPN on their router.
If you only want to play League of Legends online, installing the VPN software on your computer is good enough. If you also want the VPN to cover your games console, you’re better off loading it onto your router.
Unfortunately, getting the VPN onto your router is quite a complicated task. Of the options available, your best combination of VPN service and router type would be ExpressVPN with a Tomato router. This is because that VPN company has a custom app for Tomato routers and it installs itself. The ExpressVPN service for DD-WRT routers is a lot more complicated. You have to install a third party app, called OpenVPN, onto the router, then work through a long list of instructions to get it to work. With all the other VPN services on this list, you can load the VPN onto your router, but you have to go through the manual setup with OpenVPN.
As lag is a major problem with LoL, you need to choose a VPN server that is as close as possible to the League of Legends server that you want to access. To access the US service, select a VPN location that is as close to Chicago as possible.
LoL doesn’t have a voice chat facility for its players. That can be a pain when you’re trying to coordinate the efforts of a team of five. If you’re tempted to invite your fellow players into a third-party Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, be careful about who you include. These systems, plus forums and text chat apps, can make your IP address visible to others. If others find out your IP address, they can launch a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on you when you are in a match and lock you out of the game at a vital moment.
VPNs allocate temporary IP addresses to their customers for the duration of each session. Thus if you do use chat systems, snoopers will only be able to see the VPN company’s IP address. If anyone launches a DDoS attack against that address, they will be attacking the VPN company, not you. VPNs have a lot of spare capacity on their servers and can usually absorb these attacks. Thus you can keep on playing even when an attacker is trying to lock you out.
Best VPNs for League of Legends: Conclusion
VPNs are great for those who play League of Legends. You can use your VPN to ensure that you don’t get allocated to your local regional server and instead choose the region you play in. A VPN can also prevent others from hijacking you with a DDoS attack. Try any or all of the free trial and money-back guarantee periods of our five recommended LoL VPNs to work out which is the right choice for you.