Are you sick of lag when gaming online, or randomly being kicked from a lobby when things are going really well? Using a VPN while you game could be the answer.
Gaming is a favourite pasttime at the VPNOnlineFree offices and we have seen the power of a VPN for gaming first hand. From saving you money to improving your connection and online experience, VPNs have a wide range of applications for gamers.
Combining a VPN with your gaming setup allows you to:
- Prevent DDoS attacks by concealing your real IP addres from trolls
- Avoid ISP throttling which can slow down your connection to game servers
- Optimise the path your packets take, which can help with ping in some cases
- Purchase game titles earlier or cheaper by geo-spoofing to a different country
- Play on game servers in a different country that would otherwise be unavailable to you
- Allow you to play games that would otherwise be banned or blocked in your region
VPNs can also be used to improve your mobile gaming experience. Using a VPN for Pokémon Go, for example, can enable you to catch Pokémon that aren't available in your region.
If you're still unsure if a VPN will benefit you, check out our do I need a VPN for gaming page.
What are we looking for in a gaming VPN service?
The most important features of a vpn that make it good to use when gaming are speed and server locations. However, privacy is also important because some famous game distributors – such as Steam – will block accounts if users are discovered to be geo-spoofing to a different country.
When selecting our favourite VPNs for gaming, we considered:
- How the VPN performed on desktop computers (across various operating systems).
- How easily VPN connections can be shared with today’s most popular consoles.
- How fast the VPN is.
- How many servers locations the provider offers.
So, now you know what you're looking for, let's get into it.
What are the best VPNs for gaming?
The VPNs for gaming below are way ahead of anything else on the market – which means that while they are all amazing they do have certain similarities. However, each service is slightly different – so it's worth reading the summaries below to select the best VPN for you.
ExpressVPN is an excellent VPN for gaming because it has servers in 94 countries. Encryption is provided via robust VPNOnlineFree encryption and users can select between TCP and UDP (UDP is better for gaming). It's fast enough for competitive gaming as well as streaming (it also unblocks US Netflix).
ExpressVPN has 24/7 live chat support and the software is available for all platforms. It's a little pricey compared to other providers but is known for its premium quality and customer care. Worth testing using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost is a VPN provider based in Romania. It is a secure VPN with a choice of encryption protocols to keep your gaming devices secure. This VPN because is extremely easy to use and has excellent apps for all popular platforms. If you are a console gamer, you can install CyberGhost on a router (or buy a pre-flashed router).
CyberGhost VPN has servers in over 90 countries – which means you can use it to play a large choice of gaming servers around the world and get cheap games. CyberGhost lets people use the software on 7 simultaneous devices and its money-back guarantee lasts for 45 days!
PIA is best known for its privacy chips, a reputation only enhanced by proving its no-logs claims in court… twice! And with 3500 servers in 33 countries it's likely to have servers located just where you want them for the best gaming experience.
Gamers may also be interested in PIA’s SOCKS5 “Squid” proxies, which use less encryption than VPN servers, and may thus have improved ping response times.
This British Virgin Island-based VPN service keeps no logs, is fast (so great for gamers), and offers lots of bells and whistles for its asking price. For a start, Surfshark runs in over 60 countries around the world, including places popular with competitive gamers, such as Japan and South Korea
The split-tunneling feature for Windows and Android is also useful for gaming, as it allows you to include (or exclude) Steam and other gaming platforms from VPN – such as streaming sites and apps!
Smart DNS, static IP addresses, DNS ad-blocking, and multihop VPN are not useful to gaming, but may be for the rest of your life. And with 24/7 Live Chat support and a 30-day money back guarantee, its hard to go wrong with Surfshark.
Now based in Switzerland, this privacy-friendly no logs VPN service owns its entire CDN distribution network. This makes it particularly resistant to DDoS attacks and ensures high ping rates thanks to minimum loss to latency.
And with over 700 servers in over 60 counties, you’ll be sure to get the jump when new titles become available.
Which is the fastest VPN for Gaming?
When playing games online, speed is king. The faster the better and it's the same when it comes to your VPN. To help you understand what speeds you can expect from our top VPN for gaming picks, we run 3 speed tests daily on them and display the results in the graph below.
Will a VPN for gaming help improve my ping?
Yes, sometimes, but it depends on your specific situation. Connecting to a VPN server closer to the gaming server may reduce your ping – so it is worth trying it out. However, it's important to note that this is only true in some situations. Unless your ISP is throttling your internet connection, a VPN will not likely be the answer to your problems. If you're unsure whether your ISP is throttling you when you game, simply trial a VPN to see if it improves your ping rates and connection speeds. All our recommended VPNs in the list above have money-back gaurantees. So if your issues aren't resolved you can get your money back.
For gaming, you will require internet speeds of at least 10 Mbps. Always check your internet connection speeds without a VPN to figure out whether a VPN is going to work well. The higher your benchmark speed is without a VPN – the more confident you can be about using a VPN.
To understand more about how VPNs affect connection speeds please visit our fastest VPN article.
Tips for reducing VPN ping
In this section, we will look at a few helpful tips that may help to reduce your ping when using a VPN.
VPNs come with various different encryption protocols and some are faster and some offer extra privacy. For gaming, you mainly want a fast-tunneling protocol. If your VPN provides PPTP encryption, you may want to give it a test run as it will provide faster speeds. If you are purchasing games overseas, we generally recommend using a more robust protocol with better privacy (such as VPNOnlineFree or IKEv2).
Connect to a VPN server that is closer
Always connect to a VPN server that is as close as possible. If you need a server in the US, consider whether an East or West coast server is closer to your home country. Every second counts, so always choose the server nearest to you.
Always test a few servers as some may be faster than others. Servers can slow down if they are oversubscribed due to congestion. If a VPN server seems a bit slow just check another that is also close by.
How can I save money on games with a VPN?
People living in different countries can pay vastly different amounts of money for games. Game companies charge as much as they can for their games, but it's not the same in every country. Local sales taxes and currency rates can affect how much a game costs.
With your VPN for gaming, by connecting to a server in another country and browsing their local online game marketplaces you can save money on brand new AAA releases, and even older games.
Where can I find cheaper games online?
Alongside Steam and the Epic Store, individual publishers have also established their own platforms on PC, with EA's Origin, Ubisoft's Uplay and Blizzard Activision's Battle.net. In fact, it's become more common for game developers like Taleworlds, Mojang, and Cloud Imperium to self-publish, releasing games directly on their website. And this isn't to forget console powerhouses like PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.
In addition to these online marketplaces, you can also make savings on games by checking out the following online game retailers:
With so many options available, we recommend shopping around and testing a few different countries with your VPN. That way you will get the best possible price.
What games can I get a discount on?
If you don't want to trawl around looking for best price you can get on a specific titles, don't worry we've already done the leg work for you. The list below provides some examples of the different prices that games can be purchased at. You can use a VPN to buy games cheaper from any of the major platforms listed above, it's all about knowing where to look.
Regional pricing has been known to fluctuate based on different economies, the internal workings of the video game industry and sales. For this reason, you might find some price discrepancies.
|Game||Store||UK Price (£ – $)||US Price ($)||European Price (€ – $)||Cheapest option|
|Death Stranding||PlayStation Store||$71.76||$59.99||$77.51||$59.78 (Hong Kong)|
|The Outer Worlds||Microsoft Store||$65.24||$59.99||$66.43||$59.90 (Hong Kong)|
|Fire Emblem: Three Houses||Nintendo eShop||$65.24||$59.99||$66.43||$54.80 (Hong Kong)|
|Untitled Goose Game||Epic Games Store||$20.87||$19.99||$17.71||$4.99 (Argentina)|
|Rainbow Six Siege||Steam||$22.15||$19.99||$22.14||$11.68|
|Middle-earth: Shadow of War||Steam||$45.66||$49.99||$44.28||$10.85 (Argentina)|
|Injustice 2||Steam||$52.19||$49.99||$55.36||$14.48 (Argentina)|
|Spyro Reignited||Steam||$45.66||$39.99||$44.28||$16.68 (Argentina)|
|Lethal League Blaze||Steam||$23.48||$19.99||$22.14||$3.76 (Argentina)|
|Call of Cthulhu||Steam||$45.66||$39.99||$44.28||$21.70 (Argentina)|
|Red Dead Redemption (PS4)||PlayStation Store||$78.29||$59.99||$77.51||$59.78 (Hong Kong)|
|Red Dead Redemption (Xbox One)||Microsoft Store||$78.29||$59.99||$77.51||$25 (Argentina)|
|Madden 19||PlayStation Store||$58.71||$39.99||$55.36||$17.16 (Indonesia)|
|Battlefield V||Microsoft Store||$58.71||$39.99||$55.36||$38.36 (Argentina)|
|Overwatch Legendary Edition||Microsoft Store||$76.33||$59.99||$66.43||$38.73 (Turkey)|
|Fifa 20 (PS4)||PlayStation Store||$78.56||$59.99||$66.63||$53.92 (Hong Kong)|
|Fifa 20 (Xbox One)||Microsoft Store||$78.56||$59.99||$66.63||$55.70 (India)|
|Fallout 76 (Xbox One)||Microsoft Store||$45.66||$39.99||$44.29||$15.45 (Argentina)|
|Spider-Man||PlayStation Store||$45.66||$39.99||$44.28||$39.34 (Hong Kong)|
|Devil May Cry 5||Steam||$58.71||$59.99||$66.43||$27.43 (Argentina)|
|Metro Exodus||PlayStation Store||$71.76||$59.99||$77.51||$52.01 (Hong Kong)|
|Resident Evil 2 Remake||Steam||$58.71||$59.99||66.43||$20.52 (Argentina)|
|Far Cry New Dawn||Steam||$49.58||$39.99||$49.82||$33.34 (Argentina)|
|Kingdom Hearts 3 (PS4)||PlayStation Store||$71.76||$59.99||$77.51||$59.78 (Hong Kong)|
|Kingdom of Hearts 3 (Xbox One)||Microsoft Store||$71.76||$59.99||$77.51||$24.35 (Argentina)|
How much can I save?
The table above reveals that with a VPN it is possible to save as much as $57 on some games. If you often buy games, a VPN is an excellent way to save hundreds of dollars all year round!
You can compare game prices for various PS4 stores around the globe – by clicking here! To compare Xbox stores from around the world – check this website.
Buying games at cheaper rates is easy and convenient with a VPN! All you need to do is connect to a VPN server in a foreign country. If a valid local payment method is required, you can get one by following our guide for virtual card services.
How to install and use a VPN for gaming on console and PC
Installing your VPN depends on whether you game on a PC, PS4, Xbox One or Nintendo Switch. By far the easiest to set up is a VPN for gaming on PC. But, setting up on console isn't too taxing and takes around 15-minutes of intial setup.
Setting up a VPN for gaming on a PC
This is as simple as:
- Pick the best VPN for gaming that meets your needs
- Subscribe to the service using the links above
- Install the sfotware on your PC
- Pick a server and connect
That's it! You're connected and can start using your VPN with your favourite games and gaming marketplaces.
Setting up a VPN for gaming on console
This is where things get a little more tricky, but it's certainly possible. When setting up a VPN to use with a gaming console, you have two options:
- Connect your console to the internet via a desktop computer or laptop that is running your chosen VPN. You can achieve this by connecting an Ethernet cable from your console to the PC.
- Install a VPN on your router (or buy a flashed router) so that every device in your home (including your games consoles) are automatically connected to the VPN server of your choice.
Fortunatley we can show you how to get up and running on any console, step-by-step. Simply check out the guides linked below.
Which option do we recommend?
For console users, a VPN router is always the best solution for playing games through a VPN. But, a VPN router can also benefit PC gamers eliminating the need to install and run a VPN on your PC. This, in turn, reduces some strain on your CPU – which will leave more power for rendering graphics.
What is a VPN router?
A VPN router has a VPN installed directly onto it. This means every device on your network is automatically protected by the VPN. This is excellent for connecting devices like games consoles to a VPN server (and any other device that you can’t directly install a VPN on). To find out more, check out our VPN routers guide.
We have tried to clearly explain everything you need to know about gaming with a VPN in the article above. However, if you still have questions, we have created the FAQ section below to help you out.
VPNs provide digital privacy using strong encryption. VPN encryption stops ISPs, governments and local network administrators from tracking what you do online. A VPN also conceals your IP address from the websites you visit and lets you unblock content from all over the world – not just game servers – anything!
To change your IP address on an Xbox One, you will need a good VPN for gaming. For more information, please check out our guide for using a VPN for Xbox.
To game with a VPN you will need speeds in excess of 10 Mbps. Anything below that is likely to produce a lot of lag.
Ping boosters like Ping Zapper do work for some people. However, their effect is different for people in different locations and can vary depending on the location of a gaming server. In addition, our recommended services have been known to act as a VPN ping booster; by routing traffic more effectively than ISPs. This is rare, but it is known to happen and it is worth using a little trial and error to connect to several VPN servers closer to the gaming server (and between you and the gaming server) to see if it reduces your ping.
Now you are fully armed with all the information you need to know if you need a VPN for gaming, let's review our top picks:
– One of the fastest VPNs we've tested at VPNOnlineFree – perfect for gaming
– A great range of servers worldwide for searching for deals
Private Internet Access
– Offers “Squid” proxies which put speed at the forefront for gamers
– The cheapest gaming VPN on our list, but their service doesn't disappoint
– Owns own server network for maximum gaming performance