Recently, Nintendo Switch users have been targeted by hackers trying to gain access to their accounts. On top of that, some countries have blocked Switch users from accessing the best titles like Animal Crossing. To improve security and allow you to unblock games that may not be available in your area, we recommend that you use a VPN for Nintendo Switch.
With titles like Pokemon, Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda, it's no wonder Nintendo is still a big player in the world of video games. For a while Nintendo seemed to be losing its popularity as a console, especially during the Wii U era, but the Switch proves that the company still has some gaming tricks.
Using a VPN with your Nintendo Switch will allow you to pretend to be in another country, which can be a big benefit for many users. Especially for anyone living in a country like China that has blocked Nintendos games. For this reason, we have put together this guide to guide you through the best way to use a Nintendo Switch VPN to access more content.
A quick note
Unfortunately, it is not possible to install a VPN directly on your Nintendo Switch. In order to operate a VPN with your switch, you must use one of the following methods:
Use a VPN router
Share your VPN connection from your computer to your Nintendo Switch.
Use a Smart DNS service – ExpressVPN offers SmartDNS with its package, it quickly allows users to connect to different countries.
See our guide on how to share a VPN connection to learn more about the methods above.
Best VPN for Nintendo Switch
Take a look at our top picks below. All these services offer excellent security, high speeds and are easy to use. If you need more information on any of the services below, check out our detailed VPN reviews that are linked to each provider.
ExpressVPN is the best Wii U VPN service because it works wonderfully on Tomato and DD-WRT routers. He also sells a pre-flashed router on his website, which comes with preloaded ExpressVPN. This makes it perfect for people who don't want to bother flashing a router themselves. ExpressVPN also provides the best levels of VPNOnlineFree encryption, as well as super-fast servers for streaming and gaming. ExpressVPN has servers in 94 countries, which means you can unblock any website and play game servers around the world.
In addition, ExpressVPN has simple configuration guides to install it on compatible routers or to connect using an integrated VPN client on a VPN compatible router. Customer service is provided via 24/7 live chat, which means that whatever your problem is, you can solve it immediately. Finally, it offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so you can test the service without risk.
Surfshark is a VPN based in the British Virgin Islands, ideal for Nintendo consoles. The VPN has fast servers located in over 60 countries, which means you can easily hide your IP address to pretend to be in another country. As a result, you can join different game lobbies around the world to find different players and increase your multiplayer opportunities.
With this VPN, you can also unblock more content on YouTube or Netflix and get privacy from your ISP. Surfshark is a great service with apps for all platforms, and can be installed on an unlimited number of devices. And, when it comes to privacy and security, this service is extremely solid thanks to its VPNOnlineFree encryption, obfuscation, killswitch and DNS leak protection. This makes it ideal for gaining privacy at home and on public WiFi. An excellent VPN with a 30 day money back guarantee.
Private Internet access is often praised by Reddit users due to its high performance and security levels. It is a logless VPN that has apps for all platforms. And this software provides all the best VPN features, including VPNOnlineFree encryption, a killswitch and obfuscation. In addition, with PIA, you can customize your encryption options to maximize your speeds or enhance your security – depending on your specific needs.
With a private Internet access VPN, you can spoof your location in 33 countries, which, although less than some of its competitors, will still work for most Nintendo players. These servers are fast and located where you will need them most. And, PIA can unblock Netflix US and other wanted US streaming services. A great all-rounder that can be used on up to 10 devices simultaneously, and which has a 30-day money back guarantee to test the service.
Cyberghost is a VPN based in Romania which is ideal for gamers. It has servers in 90 countries and these servers all offer extremely fast speeds. As a result, you'll be able to easily stream, multiplayer games, VoIP conference calls, and whatever else you may want to do. And because this VPN has a zero log policy and strong encryption, you never have to worry about your ISP or the websites you visit knowing where you really are.
We love the easy-to-use CyberGhost apps, and this software is available for all platforms. Although CyberGhost has all the VPN functionality you will probably need, it is easy to use and does not require a lot of configuration, which makes it ideal for beginners. Even if you need help, the VPN has plenty of great setup guides and live chat support. A VPN that can be installed on up to 7 devices simultaneously, and that you can safely try for up to 45 days thanks to its long money back guarantee.
VyprVPN is a service based in Switzerland, a place that is known to be excellent for privacy. The VPN is ideal for games thanks to its wide choice of servers in 70 countries around the world. With VyprVPN, you get full apps for all platforms, which means you can easily operate it with any of your laptops or desktops to share the VPN connection with your Nintendo Switch. And VyprVPN is one of the best VPNs to unblock more content on Netflix US, or to access geo-restricted services such as BBC iPlayer, hulu or other American TV channels.
With VyprVPN, you get a service with a waterproof zero log policy, and the VPN is fully endowed with all the best privacy and security settings; VPNOnlineFree encryption, killswitch, stealth servers and more. VyprVPN is also one of the few services to have fully proven the effectiveness of its platform with a third-party security audit. A powerful VPN that offers good value for money. Can be used on up to 5 devices simultaneously and has a 30 day money back guarantee.
A quick tip that will protect your Nintendo Switch
While a VPN will help you protect your privacy and unblock services from around the world, you should be aware of other security dangers. More recently, Nintendo Switch owners have seen a massive increase in account breaches, which has led hackers to use their payment information to buy Fortnite's premium VBuck currency (used to launder money).
You must immediately activate two-factor authentication (2FA) to protect your account from unauthorized access. To do this:
- Log in to the Nintendo Account website.
- Select the Connection option and security settings to the left.
- Click on Edit next to the two-step verification settings at the bottom.
- Nintendo must verify that you are the account holder before making any changes. To select Send an email if you have access to the attached email address or go to user information > email address to change it before continuing this step from the beginning.
- The website will now ask you to enter the code you received.
- Download an authentication application on your smartphone (or other device). The most popular is Google Authenticator.
- Add a new device to your authenticator (on Google Authenticator, you can click the + symbol and scan the QR code displayed on the website).
- Another code will appear in the application to confirm the modification. Enter this code in the corresponding field on the website.
- Save your recovery codes by copying them to a document. These will be required to log in if you lose access to your authentication application.
- Your Nintendo Switch will automatically disconnect you and ask you to enter a code displayed in your chosen authentication application. You only need to do this once per device.
Why should you use a VPN?
VPNs allow you to pretend to be in a foreign country, allowing you to play online with different matches than you would be used to. This is especially handy for those in more stringent countries, where some games have regional restrictions or have been banned outright. Animal Crossing: New Horizons for Nintendo Switch is the latest game to be criticized by the Chinese Communist Party government after being used by Hong Kong activists to push messages in support of democracy.
Plus, it's not just your console that is connected to the VPN. All of your devices are protected by VPN encryption, which means that every connected device in your home has digital privacy. In addition, all the devices in your house have their real hidden IP address and seem to be in the location of the VPN server.
This allows you to unlock regional libraries of streaming services, unearth a multitude of new content. It's perfect for unlocking content on Hulu and YouTube on Nintendo Switch, but unfortunately Netflix remains unavailable for the console. However, Wii U users can continue to unblock U.S. Netflix if they choose the right VPN. See our VPN guide for Netflix for a list of services that allow you to do this.
What is a Nintendo VPN?
A virtual private network for Nintendo is a VPN that can be used effectively in combination with a switch, Wii U or 3DS. Unfortunately, it is not possible to install a VPN directly on Nintendo devices and consoles. For this reason, you must connect to the VPN using your router.
Connecting to a VPN on the router will protect all of the devices in your home – not only your Switch, but also your laptop, PC, smartphone and any other Internet-connected product you may have. Connecting to a VPN on your router is the safest way to protect all of your devices at once.
For those who don't know, a VPN is an online service that lets you pretend to be in another country. By doing so, you can bypass censorship and local restrictions. VPNs can also overcome geographic restrictions in order to access generally blocked content. It's great because it gives you the online freedom to access websites from all over the world.
In addition, a reliable VPN provides a strong layer of military grade encryption. This encryption scrambles all data entering and leaving your devices. The result? No one – not Internet Service Providers (ISPs), government, advertisers, or local area administrators – can see what you are doing online. This gives you digital privacy and allows you to access everything you want online without the fear of being watched.
Why is one VPN better than another?
Due to the fact that you need to connect to the VPN at the router level, router compatibility is the first consideration. There are too many routers on the market for us to be able to list each one here. However, the VPNs in this article have all been selected because they will work on compatible routers. In addition, the VPNs in this guide have all been selected because they have impressive configuration guides AND exceptional customer support.
ExpressVPN (the best VPN for Nintendo), has 24/7 live chat support, for example. This customer service is even available for people who are not yet subscribed. As such, once you've searched online to see if your router is VPN compatible, you can head straight to Express to discuss getting the VPN and connecting using the VPN client integrated into your router.
The following considerations are server locations and connection speeds. For games and streaming content on a Switch or Wii U, connection speeds should be fast. Many VPN services offer connection speeds that are too slow for work. All VPNs in this guide have been carefully selected for Nintendo devices because they have fast networks of servers perfect for data-intensive tasks.
Install a VPN on a router
Unfortunately, it is not possible to install a VPN on Nintendo Switch or Wii U. For this reason, you must connect to a VPN at the router level. Not all routers can be used to connect to a VPN. However, nowadays, many routers are compatible with VPNs. To find out if your router is compatible, search for the model online.
Read on to find out what a Nintendo VPN is and how it works. We explain why you should run it at the router level. We also explain how to connect the VPN to a router and how to flash a router compatible with new firmware (if not ready for VPN) so that you can install a Nintendo VPN client there. Finally, we explain where to buy a new router, if your router is not compatible.
Check the compatibility of your router with VPN
The first thing you need to do is research the make and model of your router online. When you check if it is VPN compatible, also check which encryption protocols it is compatible with. The encryption protocols include Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP), Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP), Secure Tunneling Protocol (SSTP) and VPNOnlineFree. Knowing which protocols your router is compatible with will help you when you approach the VPN you have chosen to help you configure it. Don't hesitate to ask your chosen VPN for help – it's their job and they'll be happy to help, so don't hesitate to let them know what you need. They will have the necessary configuration guides to allow you to be operational.
My router is not compatible with VPN
If your router does not have a built-in VPN client, you will not be able to use it to connect to the VPN. This leaves you with two options. Depending on the router you have, you can flash it with new firmware. However, this is quite technical and is only preferable for those who are confident in technical things. For instructions on how to flash a router, please read this article.
Another option is to let FlashRouters do it for you. FlashRouters can upgrade your router (if compatible) remotely over the Internet. In addition, it is worth talking to FlashRouters if you are not sure about the compatibility of your router. Finally, FlashRouters also sells pre-flashed routers, so if your router is not compatible, it can sell you a router that is.
For more information on Tomato routers (a kind of VPN compatible router firmware), click here. For more information on DD-WRT routers (another type of router firmware compatible with VPN), please read this.
Use VPN on other Nintendo consoles
VPNs aren't just useful for Nintendo Switch users. If you have an older console and want to unblock more content, a VPN can help you do that. However, like the switch, VPNs cannot be installed directly on these consoles. You will need to use a VPN router, Smart DNS or share your Internet connection from your PC or Mac. Fortunately, these methods are not too difficult to implement.
Nintendo Switch and Wii U VPN
Just like other Nintendo devices, you can't actually install a VPN directly on a Nintendo Switch. This means that if you want to access regionally locked content through your console – like foreign Netflix libraries – you must use a VPN at the router level. However, this will allow you to hide all devices that access the Internet through your home network.
Learn more about VPN routers and if your router model is compatible with a VPN on our guide to the 5 best VPN routers.
Nintendo 3DS VPN
As is the case with a Switch, it is not possible to install a VPN directly on a 3DS. However, the good news is that if you connect to a VPN at the router level, all the devices in your house, including your 3DS, will benefit from the VPN connection. This includes the possibility of pretending to be in another country.
Public WiFi privacy using a VPN
Switch VPNs can be installed on multiple devices. All VPNs in this guide allow three or more simultaneous connections. This means that you can also install the VPN directly on your smartphone. This allows you to secure your devices while on the go and use public Wi-Fi hotspots.
Switch VPN Review: Conclusion
You should now know the best way to pretend to be in another country on Nintendo devices. A VPN for Switch, Wii U and 3DS must be installed on your router. All VPNs in this guide have been selected because they work perfectly on routers.
If you do not currently have a VPN compatible router, you will need to obtain one. That's why our first choice, ExpressVPN
, is a great option! It sells a pre-flashed router ready to connect to ExpressVPN right out of the box.
That said, all of the VPNs for Nintendo in this guide have been carefully selected because they offer exactly what you need in terms of server location, connection speed, and privacy. With that in mind, you are free to select one of the Switch VPN services in this guide. The choice is yours!