A Virtual Private Network (VPN for short) is a privacy technology that also happens to double as a great tool to gamers looking for an edge when playing online. While a VPN can, and probably will, have a negative effect on your internet connection, there are plenty of scenarios where using a VPN can improve your online gaming experience.
“But wait, why do I need a gaming VPN if it slows down my connection?”
This is the most common question our readers ask when considering a gaming VPN. Luckily, here at BestVPN.com, we have tested more than 150 VPNs in the last five years in search of the fastest VPNs for gaming. Keep scrolling down to see our recommendations and find out everything you need to know about VPN gaming!
The 5 best gaming VPNs: Side by side comparison
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The Best VPNs for Gaming
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- Servers in almost 100 countries
- User-friendly apps
- Excellent customer service
- 30-day money back guarantee
- A bit pricey - but worth it!
ExpressVPN often comes as one of our top recommendations for gaming VPNs, as they have carefully assembled a service that is easy to learn and performs remarkably well. There are server locations in almost every major country, as well as impressive apps for Mac, Windows, and Linux, with iOS and Android devices also covered. ExpressVPN even offers unique VPN apps for routers, including Linksys WRT models and a wide range of ASUS RT series routers.
Up to 23 different payment options (including Bitcoin), and subject to British Virgin Islands laws (no jurisdiction here for the NSA!) mean they are an excellent choice for privacy as well. Impressive customer service through live chat and e-mail, and an extensive knowledge base are also great reasons to choose ExpressVPN.
Protect yourself using ExpressVPN using the link below.
CyberGhost is the best VPN for Gaming!Visit ExpressVPN »30-day money back guarantee
Special Offer: 77% off today!
- Bitcoin payment
- Double data encryption
- Servers in 61+ countries
- Up to six simultaneous connections
- Not much
If you are located in the US and privacy is of great importance to you, NordVPN might just be the best pick for you. NordVPN has a reputation for taking encryption very seriously, as evidenced by its “DoubleVPN” encryption system. This system allows NordVPN to encrypt inbound and outbound data with AES-256-CBC encryption not once, but twice! NordVPN is also based in Panama, and it emerged from the recent Panama Papers scandal unscathed – erasing any doubts regarding logging policies. Tor users will also be happy to see NordVPN’s support for Tor over VPN. NordVPN's speeds are now very good, and a nice touch is that a three-day trial to test out the service before purchasing. Check out the second-best Gaming VPN using the link below.
Special Offer: 77% off 1-year plan!
- High speed for ultra-fast streaming
- More than 800 servers & global coverage
- Multiple usage on up to 5 devices
- No Logs Policy, guaranteed security and encryption
- No longer offering a free version (but does offer 30 day money-back guarantee)
CyberGhost has more than 800 servers and speeds are perfect if you are looking for a gaming VPN. The CyberGhost app is really smooth and will appeal to a fashion-conscious, young crowd. CyberGhost are based both in Romania and in Germany, the latter being responsible for most of the software development. With both teams united by a common credo for internet anonymity, CyberGhost is a major supporter and promoter of civil rights, a free society and an uncensored internet culture.
Are you looking for thebest gaming VPN without breaking the bank? Check out CyberGhost today!
- Very fast due to own infrastructure
- Outfox optimised gaming network
- Servers in over 70 countries
- Port selection
- No usage logs
- Connection (metadata) logs
- P2P: no
VyprVPN is notable for being one of the rare VPN services to own and control its entire network infrastructure. The result is fantastically fast connection speeds around the world.
This has alowed it to build its Outflox optimized gaming network , whuich VyptVPN claims will actually increase your ping rates while gaming!
We strongly recommend avoiding its PPTP-only basic plan, but VyprVPN otherwise offers a great selection of features, such as a SmartDNS service, robust customer support, port selection, and servers in over 70 countries.
- Servers in 190+ countries
- User-friendly apps
- Free anonymous email service
- Some concerns with speed
HMA has servers in more countries than any other provider. Right now it hosts servers in more than 190 countries. That’s about every country on the planet with a solid internet infrastructure capable of hosting high-speed connections. I don’t like the fact that you’re only allowed two simultaneous connections per account, though. Although, if you’re a single user with only a couple of devices, and no desire of sharing your VPN account, it shouldn’t matter. Lastly, it is based in Britain, which is not ideal as the UK is a Five Eyes participant.
VPN Gaming: FAQs
What is a VPN for gaming?
A Virtual Private Network is a service that allows you to connect to the internet via a securely encrypted server. You can use a VPN for games, although there are some downsides worth mentioning. Keep scrolling to see why you might need a VPN for online gaming.
Additionally, you can read more about the everyday benefits of using a VPN in our handy VPN Beginners’ Guide.
Can I use a VPN to access restricted games?
Love playing games like Fortnite, PUBG, Overwatch, and Minecraft? These incredibly popular games have completely changed the online gaming landscape over the past few years. Unfortunately, various regional restrictions mean these games might not be available everywhere.
So, how can a VPN help access a blocked game in your area? Bottom line, a gaming VPN allows you to connect your device to a country where the game isn’t blocked. Changing your device’s virtual location with a VPN to bypass regional restrictions in this case is the same as using a VPN to unblock content from Netflix or BBC iPlayer.
Perhaps your IP address has been blocked or the game developers might have even banned you by accident? Using a high-quality VPN for gaming can give you a clean slate by helping you bypass these bans.
Unblocking content isn’t an easy task and only the very best VPNs are up to unblocking services like BBC iPlayer and Netflix. Check out our favourite services in our best vpn services list.
Use a VPN to save money on games
Buying the newest games can be expensive, especially when buying premium AAA titles. Additionally, regional sales tax and currency differences also factor into how much game will cost you.
A good example of this in the real world is the recently-released Sea of Thieves. The popular pirate game sells for €70 in the German Microsoft Store, £50 in the UK and $60 in the US. Sea of Thieves therefore costs gamers in the UK an additional $28, while Germans are forced to pay $33 more for the same game!
Luckily, anyone can easily use a VPN to bypass unfair pricing tactics and get the best deal on a new game. Simply connect to a VPN server in a country where the game is the cheapest (the US is usually the best bet) and avoid paying more for the same game!
Love a bargain? Check out our favourite cheap VPNs.
Protect yourself from hackers and DDOS attacks
The rise of eSports and competitive online gaming has increased the number of dirty tactics that some gamers use to gain an edge. One of these methods that has quickly spread (especially in the MOBA scene) is the use of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
Additionally, hackers can get a hold of personal information connected with your online gaming profile. A few examples of this could be hacking World of Warcraft accounts, scamming your Steam account, or – worst-case scenario – stealing the credit card information you used to sign up for games! A secure, gaming VPN can protect you from these malicious attacks.
Security and speed exactly go hand-in-hand, but if your privacy is a key concern, check out our most secure VPNs list.
Can a VPN reduce lag?
Another reason for gamers to use a VPN is to reduce lag (or “ping”) in online games. While a VPN doesn’t solve every connection issue, using one could help you stabilize your connection or allow you to connect to different servers that might perform better. Here are some examples of where a VPNs for games might help:
- Poor Connection – Depending on your ISP, you could be suffering from a spotty internet connection. Whether this is a packet loss or simply high latency, a VPN could improve a poor connection for gamers.
- Avoid Regional Servers – This is a common issue for online gamers in South East Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. A local game server could be underperforming or overcrowded, meaning a server in a different region could be an attractive option.
- Network Throttling – Some ISPs around the world are known for restricting internet speeds, giving users the “slow lane” for certain online games and services such as torrenting and video conferencing. If you suspect that your connection is being throttled for activities such as torrenting, we recommend checking out a VPN for torrenting.
It is worth mentioning that due to the nature of VPNs, you could end up with a worse connection to a game server when connected to a gaming VPN. Getting lower ping or less lag with a VPN only works in specific situations (such as the scenarios mentioned above).
If you’re looking into using a VPN for gaming, I recommend trying a free trial VPN to see the effect on your internet connection before committing to a long-term plan. See our guide for a list of VPN trials.
Choosing a VPN for Gaming
Finding the right VPN that fits your requirements can be a tough task, especially with so many providers to choose from. Luckily for gamers everywhere, BestVPN.com is here to help you make the right decision when it comes to VPNs for gaming!
- Speed – The download and upload speed of a VPN service is going to be the number one priority for online gamers using a VPN. Want to know which VPN will give you the best speeds for gaming online? Check out the fastest VPNs updated daily via our VPN speed test tool!
- Server Locations – Gamers looking to access unavailable games or to get a cheaper price should pay attention to a VPN’s server locations. A high-quality VPN service will have a global server presence and might even offer servers in some rare locations (South America, Asia, and Africa come to mind).
- Security and Encryption – Although not the first thought in many gamers’ minds, a VPN will provide DDoS protection during online gameplay. There are also a number of other security benefits worth considering, such as having a secure private network for LAN games or protecting your voice chat server from hackers.
The best way to choose the right gaming VPN is to give them a try yourself! Sign up for a money-back guarantee VPN or take advantage of a free trial to see which VPN for gaming is right for you.
How to setup a Gaming VPN
Gaming VPN on Windows PC
- Make sure the game isn’t running and any relevant software is closed (Steam, Battle.net, Origin, etc.).
- Choose from one of the VPN services we’ve highlighted above.
- Sign up and install the VPN on PC.
- Depending on your reasons for using a VPN when gaming, connect to a VPN server in a country that fits your needs.
- If possible, select the fastest VPN protocol that the provider offers. Check our list of gaming VPN protocols below for more information.
- Boot up the game with the VPN connection active and that’s it! Enjoy your online gaming with all the benefits of a VPN!
Gaming VPN on Android
- Restart your Android device.
- Choose from one of the VPNs we’ve highlighted above. Each VPN offers an easy-to-use app for Android.
- Sign up and download the Android VPN app from the Google Play store.
- Connect to a VPN server in a country that fits your needs.
- If possible, select the fastest VPN protocol that the provider offers. Check out the list of protocols below for more information.
- Boot up the game with the VPN connection active. That’s it! Start enjoying your online gaming afresh with all the added benefits of a VPN!
Gaming VPN on iOS
- Make sure the game app isn’t running on your iOS device (you don’t have to delete it!).
- Choose from one of the VPNs mentioned above. Each one has a dedicated iOS client that will be very easy to set up.
- Sign up to the service and download the VPN client app from the App Store.
- Launch your new iOS VPN app and enter any required login information.
- Connect to a VPN server in the country that best meets your needs.
- If possible, select the fastest VPN protocol that the provider offers. See below for more information.
- Boot up the game with the VPN connection active on your iOS device and you’re done! Enjoy mobile online gaming on iOS with a VPN!
What VPN protocol should I use for gaming?
A VPN protocol serves as the set of instructions used between two computers to negotiate a secure encrypted connection. While some VPN protocols are more secure than others, most of the time they also incur some level of speed loss. You can read more about encryption and VPN protocols in our complete VPN encryption guide.
- Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) – a slightly outdated VPN protocol, originally developed by Microsoft. While not as secure as other protocols, PPTP comes highly recommended for online gamers looking to avoid dramatic VPN speed loss. PPTP is also recommended if you need a VPN for gaming on Android devices.
- Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol/Internet Protocol Security (L2TP/IPsec) – this protocol encapsulates data twice, which could lead to higher ping and a slower connection. Recommended for mobile devices but not for PC or console gaming.
- Secure Socket Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) – SSTP is primarily a Windows-only protocol with about the same effect on speed as L2TP/IPsec. Not recommended if you are looking for DDoS protection or increased security.
- Internet Key Exchange version 2 (IKEv2) – this is known as one of the fastest VPN protocols, even though it’s only supported on select platforms (Windows 7+, Blackberry, and iOS).
- Cisco AnyConnect – Cisco AnyConnect is used with the AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client as a business-friendly VPN connection. While gaming is theoretically possible, Cisco AnyConnect requires official Cisco hardware in order to function.
- OpenVPN – Not the fastest on this list, but the most popular and secure protocol that we recommend for general use here at BestVPN.com. I do not recommend using the OpenVPN protocol for gaming as the speed loss will be noticeable.
Using a free VPN for gaming?
You might have arrived on this page looking for a free VPN. While there certainly are some free VPNs out there, there are also some drawbacks worth mentioning. For starters, a free VPN will probably come with some sort of data cap (usually around 1 GB/month), while various speed throttling techniques can make online gaming nearly impossible.
More importantly, a free gaming VPN could also skimp on security and privacy features, which could actually put your PC or device at even greater risk.
If you do want to try out a VPN to see if it could help you, we recommend trying one of the recommending gaming VPNs we’ve listed in this article, as they all come with some form of money-back guarantee!
Finding the fastest VPN for gaming is going to be the main priority for most gamers, especially when facing off against competitive opponents in online play. All of the services mentioned here are excellent, fast VPNs for gaming.
For more information about using a VPN with your console, take a look at the guides below: