5 Best VPNs for CS:GO That Work in 2017

Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper

July 30, 2017

What is CS:GO?

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) is a great multiplayer shooter game that launched in 2012. This is one of the most popular games in the world, with millions of players. You play in a team of terrorists or counter terrorists, pitting your wits against opponents to win points and become the only team left standing.

The game has a range of different maps. Each gives a different atmosphere and contains different obstacles and hideouts. Depending on your chosen scenario, the terrorists have to plant a bomb or defend hostages. The counter-terrorists have to either find and defuse the bomb or rescue the hostages.

Although this is a team game, you don’t have to be part of your own team in order to play. You can get allocated to a team once you join a queue for a live game online. Teams often exchange warnings and coordinate activities by using a voice chat app while playing. Some find that this combination of high-traffic applications slows down their connections. A slow connection can cause the game to freeze and voice chat to cut out. You may even lose your connection altogether.

Connection problems can be frustrating. When it happens to just one player in a live team game, then a lot of people lose. You could end up getting a reputation as someone who ducks out of the game at vital moments. The fast pace of games like CS:GO mean that you can’t let your concentration slip for a second. If your connection goes bad, you will lose the match very quickly.

If everyone experienced poor connections, then online gaming wouldn’t have become so successful. If you experience connection problems when playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, you need to resolve them.

The problems you experience with poor connections are the fault of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Worse still, they are intentional. You can improve your connections by masking the type of traffic that passes to and from your computer. Your ISP selectively slows down certain types of connections. It can’t do that if it can’t see where you are connecting to. VPNs hide the administration data that goes on the front of data packets. This creates the privacy needed to prevent your ISP from slowing your connections to CS:GO.

Quick Links to our 5 best VPNs for CS:GO

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. Buffered
  3. BolehVPN
  4. VPNArea
  5. NordVPN

You can find out more on why ISPs slow down gaming traffic later in this article. First, let’s take a look at the five best VPNs for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Best VPNs for CS:GO: Summary

BestVPN Editor's Choice Award
ExpressVPN Homepage
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Super-fast network
  • Servers in 94 countries
  • App for Tomato routers
  • Manual installation for DD-WRT routers
  • Only three simultaneous connections allowed

ExpressVPN has one of the fastest networks in the industry. It also has the largest server network on this list. The number of servers is an important factor with a VPN because all of your traffic will be diverted through the server location that you select. It is better to channel you traffic through a server that is either physically located close to you or close to the destination of your connections. The 94 server locations of ExpressVPN mean that you have a better chance of one being close to you than you would get with a smaller server network. ExpressVPN has an app that can be loaded onto Tomato routers and there are manual instructions to get the VPN installed on DD-WRT routers. This is essential if you want to use a console to play CS:GO because it's almost impossible to load a VPN onto a console.

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Visit ExpressVPN »30 day moneyback guarantee

2. Buffered

Buffered Homepage
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Up to five simultaneous connections
  • Servers in 37 countries
  • Good speeds
  • Manual install for DD-WRT routers
  • No app for Linux

You'll be pleased to know that when reviewing Buffered we found that their staff are gamers, so they will be able to give you all the advice you need to improve your connections for CS:GO with their VPN. The server network of Buffered is not as big as that as ExpressVPN and the speeds they offer are not quite as fast. However, the main reason gamers don't all choose ExpressVPN is because that service is expensive. Check out the server locations of Buffered and if there is one close to you, this provider could offer you a service that is just as good as ExpressVPN's but for a lower price.

3. BolehVPN

BolehVPN Homepage
  • One-day free trial
  • Based in Malaysia
  • Good service for Asia
  • Stealth servers
  • Good customer support
  • Servers in just 11 countries
  • Only two simultaneous connections allowed

This is the only VPN on the list that has its operating base in Asia. BolehVPN is based in Malaysia, which means its customer support team is easier to reach during the active hours of surrounding Asian time zones. The service was created to help customers in China get around government web access restrictions. This means that this VPN is very good at tunneling and can avoid detection by the toughest examinations. One of the drawbacks of BolehVPN is that it has a very small sever network, so check out the company's server locations before you decide to buy. You can try BolehVPN for free with a one-day trial.

VPNArea Homepage
  • Seven-day money-back guarantee
  • Up to six simultaneous connections
  • Servers in 60 countries
  • Manual install for DD-WRT routers
  • Optimized servers for gaming
  • Live customer support not available 24/7

Our VPNArea review shows that it's another service that works well in China. If you like to access video streaming services, this is a good choice because it can get around even the toughest regional restrictions. VPNArea has servers in 60 countries around the world, which means there is a good chance that it has a server close to you. Many of VPNArea's servers are optimized for specific tasks, and there are specialist servers for gamers. VPNArea allows up to six simultaneous connections and if you install it on your DD-WRT router, the VPN will cover all of the devices in your home while using up only one of those six possible connections.

NordVPN Homepage
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Up to six simultaneous connections
  • Account sharing encouraged
  • Servers in 58 countries
  • Manual installation for routers
  • Customer support is a little slow to respond

NorVPN has servers in 58 countries. You get an allowance of six simultaneous connections. You can install the service on your router and only use up one of your simultaneous connection allowance. The company is OK with people sharing an account. That means you can make running this VPN really cheap. This is the cheapest VPN service on the list and it gets cheaper still if you catch the two-year subscription offer. If you worry about paying up front for such a long subscription period, you can take advantage of the company's 30-day money-back guarantee to make sure you're happy with the service.

ISP Throttling

ISPs don’t like their customers playing online games. This is not because they are killjoys, but because interactive games use up a lot of bandwidth. ISPs take a similar approach to streaming services and media download networks. These applications create a lot of traffic, making it difficult for ISPs to control costs.

In order to bring down costs and deliver a low-price service to all customers, ISPs regularly divert high-traffic applications onto slower connections. The slowing of one type of traffic while leaving all other connections at the headline speed is termed “throttling.”

Online games, such as CS:GO, only became commercially viable once broadband delivered high data throughput rates. When ISPs selectively reduce gaming traffic, they turn back the clock, making these games unplayable.

Packet Filtering

Every piece of data that travels out of your computer or into it travels in a structure called a packet. This has a data payload and a header with administration information on it. Secure connections encrypt the data in a packet so that no one tapping the line can steal the information within. When you see “https://” at the beginning of a web address, an encryption-based security system is protecting the connection that delivered that page.

Internet security is not quite secure enough. The admin information on the front of each packet is still visible to all the computers and network devices that it passes through. This has to be the case, because routers need to read this information in order to get packets across the internet.

Unfortunately, this information gives your ISP the opportunity to perform other tests and actions on your data packet. These actions include failing to pass on the packet to another router, thus making a connection impossible. This takes place when a government orders a ban on access to a particular website. With throttling, the ISP’s gateway computer selects a slower connection to send on packets going to a destination that is on a throttling list.

VPN Methods

A VPN intercepts all of the data packets that are about to leave your computer. While the VPN is turned on, the client software on your computer will send all of your internet traffic to a nominated VPN server. In turn, the VPN server gathers all traffic destined for your computer and sends it on.

The client and server programs of a VPN coordinate to use the same encryption key. They then encrypt all of the packets that come out of your computer. This means all of each packet, including the header. Without access to the header information, no router can pass those packets on. To get around this problem, the client program puts the encrypted packet inside another packet and addresses that outer structure to its home server. Thus, the VPN establishes a “tunnel” between your computer and the VPN server. The server unbundles the original packets and sends them on. Before those packets leave, the VPN server puts its own address in the header as the source of the message, so all replies go to that address. When replies arrive, the server bundles them up and sends them back to the client program on your computer.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive VPN

The tunnel that runs between your computer and the VPN server makes it impossible for your ISP’s gateway program to manipulate the data packets passing through. The packets look like the encrypted traffic of secure connections. Even a more sophisticated program that tries to detect the contents of the packets will fail. These detection methods are called “deep packet inspection.” They try to work out the purpose of the data inside. However, the encryption used by decent VPNs is so strong that no one can ever read inside the payload and see that there is actually an entire packet in there.

This tunneling trick stops the throttling of CS:GO traffic. Thus, if you use a VPN, you will find that it solves the problems you experience when your game freezes.

Best CS:GO VPNs: Conclusion

You will see free VPN services available on the web. Unfortunately, these are not very good. They usually have monthly throughput limits, which soon run out when you play CS:GO. Another limiting factor of many free VPNs is that they also practice bandwidth limitation, so they’ll put you in the same position that you experienced when your ISP throttled your games connections.

The five services on out list of the best VPNs for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive are not only good at protecting traffic, they also have fast networks. When your traffic is diverted to the VPN, it doesn’t travel over the regular networks that your ISP has agreements with. Instead it travels at least part of the way on the VPN’s faster, private, un-congested network, which can improve transfer speeds.

Try any of the VPNs on this list to evade throttling. Get back in the game and be a CS:GO winner!

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