Best VPN Providers for Gamers, want a good online gaming VPN to play Dota 2, League of Legends, Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft, Counter-Strike, Fortnite, Minecraft, Overwatch, PUBG, or other online game?
We will cover various gaming VPNs for PC, console, Android, and iOS. If you don’t want to read the entire article, here is a rundown of the recommended VPNs for gaming:
Best 6 VPNs for Gaming
- NordVPN: the best VPN for games. Extremely fast servers in more than 60 countries and powerful security. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: the best economic alternative. A solid option for games. Reliable servers, excellent cross-platform support, and a good range of privacy features.
- ExpressVPN – operates servers in 94 countries. Fast connections and works with a good range of devices.
- IPVanish: fast servers in more than 60 countries. Level 1 network.
- CyberGhost: Great Value VPN. Solid provider with many useful features for online games.
- VyprVPN – Tier 1 network provider with servers in over 60 countries.
See more details on all those VPNs below.
Why should you use a VPN when playing online games?
Online gamers want the fastest possible connection to a game server, so using a VPN may seem counter-intuitive at first. A VPN service, which stands for Virtual Private Network, encrypts a device’s Internet connection and routes it through an intermediary server in the user’s preferred location.
The encryption and redirection process often hampers connections and increases lag. Dig a little deeper though, and gamers can find multiple ways to use VPNs.
Why should you play with a VPN?
- Access geographically blocked games inaccessible from your country of residence. Is your favorite game only available in Korea or Japan? No problem! Just connect to a VPN server in those countries and update your language skills.
- Bypass the IP bans. Was the IP of a game that you just love wrongly banned? A VPN will change your IP address for you to visit again within the action.
- Access to Steam and other markets when traveling abroad. Steam and other online game stores may not accept payments if your IP address does not match the country on your profile. A VPN can help you fix this problem.
- Protection against DDoS attacks. If you are a competitive gamer and therefore the other team is using dirty tactics to target your IP address with a denial of service attack, many VPNs have built-in protections against that.
- Protection against hackers and snoopers. Leaving your hospital connection in a game for long periods of time is often a security risk. The encryption and IP masking that a VPN offers will help keep you safe.
- Play games that aren’t available in your country yet. If you reside in Europe and need to urge your hands on a game that is only available in the US, a VPN can help you get access sooner. Simply confirm that you are not violating any terms of service.
- Access to game servers in other regions. If you have a lover in another country that you would like to play with, but the game servers are divided by region, a VPN may allow you to play together.
- Unlock Discord. Some countries and environments prohibit the use of Discord. All of the VPNs that we recommend support split tunneling, allowing users to decide which applications use the VPN and which do not. You will unblock Discord with a VPN while at the same time using a direct connection for games.
- Access to game streaming services. Google Stadia and XCloud, two-game streaming services, are only available in a few countries. With a VPN, you will be able to access them.
Some online gaming VPNs claim that they will even reduce ping time and lag. We recommend that you take that statement with a big grain of salt. In some cases, a VPN will offer you access to a game server that is performing better or maybe it will find a faster route between you and therefore the game server, but in the vast majority of cases, the process encryption and redirection through an additional server. ping time will increase.
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There are no hidden terms; Just contact support within 30 days if you choose that NordVPN is not right for you and you will get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.
Best VPNs for online gaming
All of the VPNs that we recommend meet certain criteria for playing online. They also meet our standards for speed, privacy, and security:
- Number and size of servers. tons of servers around the world to install you will give you access to more games and less latency.
- NAT firewall and anti-DDoS protection. These will help protect you from hackers and denial of service attacks.
- Speed and reliability. Good bandwidth and a stable connection will keep you in the game and playing competitively.
- Dedicated game servers. Some VPNs have servers specifically optimized for gamers.
- Layer 1 network. A Layer 1 network means that the VPN provider connects its servers to the fastest possible network available. You don’t accept a downstream ISP who buys your bandwidth from a much larger company and then resells it. Essentially, a VPN that uses only Layer 1 networks is directly connected to the web backbone.
- Split tunnels. A feature that allows you to decide which applications use the VPN and which use an immediate connection. for example, if Discord is blocked in your country, it will configure Discord to use the VPN and use an immediate connection for games.
Our first choice for a gaming VPN is NordVPN. It has about 5,000 servers in 60 countries. a couple of these accompany the built-in anti-DDoS protection for super stable connections. NordVPN is extremely fast. In fact, it outperformed all the competitors in our last round of testing.
Next to each server listed within the app is the one that the server loads and therefore the number of miles between you and the server, which should give you an indication of the ping time. Will “bookmark” a server for quick search later. NordVPN supports tunnels split into Chrome and Firefox browser extensions and mobile apps.
It has apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. If you want to connect a game console, the NordVPN website has a plethora of tutorials on how to set up a VPN on various Wi-Fi routers.
- Ultra-fast, low-latency servers
- It operates a network of 5,000 servers in 63 countries.
- For ping time estimation, server loads and distances are shown.
- You can save favorite servers once you find a reliable one
- Provides instructions on how to set up a router for PlayStation and Xbox users.
- Customer service available via live chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
- You can choose server locations but it cannot be set to specific servers
BEST VPN FOR PLAYERS: NordVPN is our number one choice. With a wide range of servers spread around the world, including dedicated game servers, Nord VPN sets the standard for gamers. It’s also hard to beat when it comes to privacy and security measures. Allows you to use up to six devices simultaneously from one account. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try them risk-free.
Moneyback Guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark may be a low-cost provider operating 1,700 servers in 63 countries, which suggests that you are effectively guaranteed a low-latency connection anywhere in the world. It also allows you to automatically connect to the fastest server available and determine the current load on each server at a glance. With decent speeds, no connection cap, and plenty of security measures (including 256-bit encryption and a no-logs policy), this VPN is well worth it.
A split tunnel feature called Whitelister is built into Windows and Android applications.
Surfshark comes with applications for macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, and Windows. Do you want to use a VPN on your game console? Surfshark’s website even offers step-by-step guides for installing its software on your home router.
- Speeds high enough for lag-free play
- Large network of low latency servers
- Strong in security and privacy
- Accept Bitcoin
- Some servers are much faster than others
BEST BUDGET CHOICE: Surfshark allows you to connect as many devices as you want, implying that you can play, surf, or stream without fear of being watched. This VPN, which prioritizes security, keeps no logs, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Moneyback Guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN has a global network of over 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Your desktop app comes with a built-in speed tester so you can quickly figure out which servers have a minimum ping time in milliseconds. The VPN consistently scores well in our speed tests, and it offers enough bandwidth to keep up with online opponents. The split tunnel is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and ExpressVPN router firmware.
If you’re a console gamer using a PlayStation or Xbox that doesn’t support VPN apps, ExpressVPN sells pre-configured routers and creates free router firmware models that will surely allow you to route all traffic connected to them through the VPN. This is usually much easier to use than trying to update an open-source firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato on your router and manually setting up a VPN, which is also a problem when you want to modify servers.
ExpressVPN apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and select Wi-Fi routers.
- Built-in speed tester for determination of the lowest ping time
- Fast, low-latency servers are great for gaming
- PS and Xbox users can install software on certain routers or get preconfigured ones
- 24 hour live customer support
- Not the most profitable provider here
- Limited advanced features in advanced user applications
CHECK ALL THE BOXES – ExpressVPN has its own thing. a fast and reliable option to play. Great privacy features and no logs. More expensive than others on this list. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Moneyback Guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish uses Tier 1 networks and has over 1200 servers in over 60 countries. It is one of the few providers that actually owns its servers rather than rents them out. meaning that if your priority is to play on a VPN without lag, then IPVanish is a great option. The application allows you to determine the current load and ping time of each server and even filter by ping time, protocol and country. The service includes a NAT firewall.
I read some previous articles that said that IPVanish has servers optimized for games. which may only be true on one occasion, but I can’t find anything about it in the current version of the desktop app. The Android app supports split tunnels.
It has apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. IPVanish can also be used with wifi routers to protect your game console.
- Owns and operates all servers on your network, providing good speeds
- You can filter, classify and choose servers according to their protocol type, ping time, and country
- Applications automatically connect to low latency servers
- Impressive speeds and reliable connections
- Look elsewhere if you want to use apps in China
GREAT VPN FOR GAMES: IPVanish has a great server network that makes it solid for gaming. A decongested network that achieves good speeds. Strong security and privacy features. Live customer support could do you good. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Moneyback Guarantee: 30 DAYS
CyberGhost is an easy-to-use VPN that comes packed with all kinds of features to help you tailor the service to your gaming needs. All servers available at the CyberGhost tier are DDoS protected and a NAT firewall is included. Our speed tests show that CyberGhost is among the fastest VPNs out there. It is also reliable and offers stable connections to more than 5000 servers in 89 countries. It will enable or disable useful settings like extra speed and data compression. A NAT firewall is created on the service. 256-bit encryption and a no-logs policy ensure your data is safe.
Their apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. Split tunnel, or split-excluded in the CyberGhost parlance, is available on Windows and Android.
- Hundreds of fast, low-latency servers, some of the fastest in our tests
- Protected against DDoS and a NAT firewall built into applications
- The applications are easy to install and use, and they are highly configurable for your games.
- Power users would like more control over advanced features
BEGINNER’S CHOICE: CyberGhost is great for beginners, great value, and easy to use. The wide representation of the server is ideal for games. It does not store logs and streams HD video reliably. 45-day money-back guarantee.
Moneyback Guarantee: 45 DAYS
Like IPVanish, VyprVPN uses Tier 1 network providers and owns its entire own server infrastructure around the world, suggesting little to no lag and tons of bandwidth for gamers. It operates data centers in more than 60 countries. The desktop app displays the ping time for each, so it will find the one with the least amount of lag. A NAT firewall is created to prevent hacker and botnet attacks. German professional eSports team Roughnex uses VyprVPN to stop DDoS attacks during tournaments.
VyprVPN’s parent company Golden Frog is now testing a replacement service that it describes as an “optimized gaming network” that promises to reduce ping times, reduce lag, and divert traffic to avoid network congestion. More information will be added as it becomes available.
Their apps are available for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. The “connect by app” feature supports split tunneling on Android. VyprVPN also creates an application for routers that have compatible firmware.
- Uses Tier 1 ISP for low-lag, high-bandwidth connections, ideal for gaming
- Known for its robust protection against DDoS attacks
- Speeds are fast and stable
- Could have more options for advanced settings
- No payment options with cryptocurrencies
- The two-tier pricing structure is often confusing
EASY TO USE: VyprVPN has fast servers that are great for gaming. Strong privacy and security measures. It could do with having more servers and it lacks 24/7 support.
Moneyback Guarantee: 30 DAYS
Gaming VPN FAQs
Does a VPN reduce ping time and lag?
In most of the cases, no. A VPN sends your data through an intermediary server, which is usually slower than an immediate connection. On top of that, all information needs to be encrypted and decrypted between your device and thus the VPN server, further increasing the delay and ping time. There are a couple of exceptions, such as when the VPN allows the player to avoid congested bottlenecks between their device and therefore the game server. But this is highly dependent on the player’s environment, the game servers, and their locations.
Can I play games from other regions?
Yes, a VPN changes your IP address, which is the way most games will determine your location. If you want to play a game that is only available in Japan, for example, just connect to a VPN server in Japan. Similarly, many online games segregate players by region, forcing them to use region-specific servers. A VPN can take you to servers from any region where you operate servers. Note that you may simply additionally require an area payment method and an area gaming account.
Can I use a free VPN to play?
Not really. Free VPNs tend to be much slower and less reliable than paid VPNs. On top of that, they provide fewer server locations, limiting your region’s unlocking options. Free VPNs are also less secure and sometimes collect your personal data to get money from targeted advertising.
How does a VPN protect me when I play?
If someone launches a DDoS or another attack against your IP address while gaming, that attack will hit the VPN servers instead of your device. this can protect you from attacks and hide your real IP address. A VPN will also prevent third parties on your local network from snooping on your connection.
Is it legal to play with a VPN?
Generally yes. Some games may prohibit the use of VPNs and other proxies in their terms of service. However, even in cases where this is true, it can be difficult for game administrators to detect whether or not you are using a VPN.
Can I use a VPN to access Steam / Xbox Live / PlayStation Network while abroad?
If you are in a country where your preferred gaming network is blocked, a VPN can unblock it. In China, for example, many gaming networks like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are censored. Just confirm to use a VPN that works in China. A VPN can also help in shopping situations when traveling abroad. A game will not be available on Steam in certain regions; otherwise, it may require a type of payment per area, for example. A VPN can help you access your local version of Steam, so you will buy games normally.
What should my VPN settings be to play?
Generally, your VPN app’s default settings should work fine. All you would like to try is to select a server location where you will access the games you would like to play. The geographically closest servers tend to provide the simplest ping times. Most VPN protocols offer roughly equivalent speed. If your VPN allows it, use weaker encryption and disable additional privacy features such as IP address modulation and traffic obfuscation.
Can I unlock games at university or at work?
Yes, a VPN should allow you to unblock games that are normally filtered by firewalls in offices and schools. Your internet connection is totally private while connected to a VPN, so no third party can see the websites you visit or the games you play.
VPNs for hosting games online
Now you know which VPN to choose if all you would like to try is playing an online game. But if you would like to host one? You need a few more criteria to consider:
- Forwarding of ports: Games often only operate on certain ports. Older game servers and LAN games would require a VPN equipped with port forwarding. this allows other players to find and connect with your public IP address through the forwarded port. Note that it is not necessary or perhaps recommended to forward your router port and thus the VPN in equivalent time. Only the VPN requires port forwarding; alternatively, you risk opening yourself up to attack.
- Static IP addresses: also sometimes referred to as dedicated IPs, although the 2 differ slightly. A static IP address will allow you to run a reliable game server that will not change IPs all the time. they will also allow your friends to connect to your host computer via LAN applications like Hamachi and Evolve without constantly updating your IP address.
With those criteria in mind, here are a couple of VPNs for hosting online games:
- LiquidVPN: Dedicated IP servers are often found by using the “topology” drop-down menu within the LiquidVPN application and selecting “dedicated.” it will open ports inside the firewall and send them to your IP address directly from the dashboard. For an additional fee, LiquidVPN offers private static IP addresses to users. These IPs are unique to the user and are not shared with others. Read our full LiquidVPN review.
- NordVPN – Offers a couple of static IP servers at no additional cost. Port forwarding is not supported yet, but the company says it plans to implement it during an upcoming update.
- AirVPN: Each Air VPN server has a static outbound IP address with which clients connected to the server are “visible” on the web. No specific configuration is important. Users can forward up to twenty ports simultaneously from the customer area panel on the AirVPN website. Dedicated private IP addresses are available and can be requested by contacting AirVPN.
- TorGuard: it will add dedicated server IP to an inventory within the TorGuard application within the configuration menu, in the Servers tab. it will then appear at the top of the server selection list on most clients. To line up port forwarding, you need to request it on the TorGuard website. Processing is usually instantaneous. Go to My Services> View Details >> Administration Actions >> Port Administration.
VPN players should avoid
We like BolehVPN in general, but not for games. We only highlight it here because we have seen many other sites that claim that BolehVPN offers optimized game servers and game hosting services. In fact, it never offered servers optimized for games and has since stopped selling game hosting services. With only 14 countries to settle down, it’s just not great for gaming.
Free VPNs generally have a limited number of servers, limit data transfers, require a queue to connect, and speed up bandwidth. They also tend to have poorer security and privacy policies compared to paid VPN services, making them unsuitable for gaming.
Using PPTP for a faster connection
We normally never recommend PPTP over other protocols like OpenVPN, SSTP, or L2TP. However, if they are too slow, you will think about using the PPTP protocol when playing games. PPTP tends to be faster than the opposing options and is still widely supported by both VPN providers and operating systems.
However, keep in mind that you simply shouldn’t rely on a PPTP VPN connection to stay safe. The protocol has known security vulnerabilities. Do not use it for privacy critical tasks.
SOCKS5 proxy for gaming
If all you want to do is access a game that is geo-blocked in your area, consider using a SOCKS5 proxy. Because SOCKS5 proxies don’t encrypt traffic by default, they tend to be faster than VPNs (not overloaded free ones, of course).
However, keep in mind that SOCKS5 proxies don’t come with any of the security bonuses of VPNs. The provider can mine your traffic for personal data and inject malware or ads. You will not get a NAT firewall or DDoS protection.
NordVPN subscriptions come with free SOCKS5 proxies and many locations to choose from. The company maintains a strict no-logs policy, so you don’t have to worry about your data being abused.
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