7 Best VPN for Gaming 2021

We analyzed more than 30 VPNs (virtual private networks).

So, during our search, we found the ones gamers are going to love.

And just for you, we:

  • have prepared a helpful guide on how to use the best VPN for gaming to maximum effect.
  • discuss the key factors to keep in mind to protect your privacy, defeat geo-restrictions, prevent DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and more!
  • answer the most frequently asked questions about VPN and gaming.

Let’s get started!

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1. CyberGhost Best value for money

  • Affordable plans
  • Solid security features
  • Seven simultaneous connections
  • WireGuard and IKEv2 support

9.2

Excellent

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CyberGhost offers VPN must-haves for gaming at a fraction of the cost of its closest competitors. It’s among the best cheap VPN for gamers. Considering what it brings to the table, CyberGhost is a definite steal. Full Review

  • No lag
  • Private DNS
  • Doesn’t track user activities
  • Suits cloud gaming platforms

9

Excellent

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In tеrms of speed, ExpressVPN is way ahead of the other best VPN for online gaming options. “Lag” isn’t in its vocabulary. Surprisingly, it can deliver consistent unencumbered performance without compromising privacy and security. It can justifiably sell at a premium. But it can still be a real bargain no matter its price. Full Review

3. NordVPN The secure

  • WireGuard version
  • Stellar security capabilities
  • Obfuscated VPN servers
  • Dedicated IP addresses

8.5

Very good

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If cybersecurity is high on your agenda, NordVPN is probably the best gaming VPN. Its excellent DDoS protection is praiseworthy, but it doesn’t stop there. It can neutralize a laundry list of cyber threats gamers contend with. Full Review

4. Perfect Privacy The anonymous

  • Offers IPv6 addresses
  • Supports stealth VPN
  • Four-time encryption
  • Uses AI-based routing

8

Very good

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Perfect Privacy values function over form. And the robustness of its tech makes anonymous gaming a reality. When called into action, it can obscure your online identity and keep snoopers guessing. If you have a high base internet speed, you can push the envelope of what it can do. Full Review

5. PIA The flexible

  • Encryption options
  • Open-source software
  • Supports port forwarding
  • 10 simultaneous connections

8

Very good

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When it comes to choice, PIA is one of the best VPN for gaming. Its massive network and highly configurable settings are not even its most exciting features. If you know what you’re doing, you can play to PIA’s inherent flexibility to experience games your way. Full Review

6. Surfshark The versatile

  • Private DNS
  • Smart DNS service
  • Unlimited devices
  • P2P sharing on all servers

7

Good

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If you’re the type who plays all sorts of games across different platforms, you’ll fall in love with Surfshark. And if you live in a place where online censorship reigns, you’ll appreciate it even more. It has the necessary tools of the trade to break barriers and beat the system. Full Review

7. TunnelBear Extremely easy to use

  • Free license
  • User-friendly apps
  • P2P traffic on all servers
  • Impartial security audits

6.5

Fair

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TunnelBear deserves a ton of credit for its simplicity. Its usability is criminally underrated. It’s the ultimate choice if you’re new to the blend of VPN and gaming. It has the essentials and lacks the unbearable complexities. TunnelBear is a powerful option for non-power users. Full Review

The Best VPNs for Gaming for 2021

Here’s a summary of our reviews of the best VPNs for gaming.

Detailed Reviews

CyberGhost
CyberGhost

BEST FOR

Best for affordability

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  • Affordable plans
  • Solid security features
  • Seven simultaneous connections
  • Supports WireGuard and IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange v2)

CyberGhost is just as useful for gaming as it is for streaming and torrenting. But that’s not all.

Overview

CyberGhost is compatible with major desktop and mobile operating systems. If you install it directly to your router, you can use it on PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.

If you use multiple devices and platforms for gaming, CyberGhost allows for seven simultaneous connections. Its nonexistent bandwidth limit is good news, too.

With this VPN’s large network size, you’ll be spoilt for choice. CyberGhost’s fleet consists of nearly 7,300 servers, many of which support P2P traffic. Its global network encompasses 113 locations across 91 countries and territories.

CyberGhost, however, isn’t the fastest VPN for gaming. Its military-grade AES 256-bit encryption is one of the reasons.

Nevertheless, it offers several workarounds to increase your connection speed.

Three of its four tunneling protocols are fast: OpenVPN (in UDP mode), IKEv2, and WireGuard. You can encrypt less data and so, minimize its impact on your system with its split tunneling capability.

CyberGhost isn’t the most solid among the VPNs for gaming when it comes to privacy, though.

It does have a no-log policy. It has brilliant encryption, too. But it may keep some of your personal data on third-party computers.

Also, it supports L2TP/IPSec (Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol over Internet Protocol Security). This VPN protocol makes cybersecurity experts sweat since the United States National Security Agency was part of its development. It’s perfectly valid to presume the US government has a way to peek at its traffic.

At least CyberGhost is based in Romania. The company doesn’t answer to any of the members of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. You’ll hear more about this coalition as you go further.

In terms of security, it has an automatic kill switch. Likewise, it comes with a free email monitoring tool that will alert you in case of a data leak and an ad blocker.

If you’re interested, you can buy CyberGhost’s 3-in-1 add-on. It can neutralize viruses, prevent Microsoft from prying into your activity, and also keep your apps updated.

Price

Of all the best VPNs for gaming, CyberGhost offers some of the cheapest plans.

Have a look at its price list.

  • 1 month: $12.99
  • 1 year: $3.99/month
  • 2 years: $3.49/month
  • 3 years: $2.44/month

CyberGhost’s three-year plan comes with an introductory discount that translates to 3 months’ worth of free gaming VPN service. So, your first term will cost $2.22 a month only.

CyberGhost’s free trial is good for only 24 hours, though. But it doesn’t require any credit card information.

Each of its premium plans has a money-back guarantee too. This VPN’s monthly subscription refund policy lasts for 14 days, whereas that of the rest is 45 days.

Verdict

CyberGhost is far from perfect. But it’s worth consideration if you’re on a budget and looking for a long-term VPN.

ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN

BEST FOR

Best for speed

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  • No lag
  • Private DNS
  • Doesn’t track user activities
  • Suits cloud gaming platforms

ExpressVPN lives up to its name. But gamers like you will be glad to know that it’s not one-dimensional.

Overview

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN for gaming in our book.

Despite having just over 3,000 servers, it distributes its network across 160 locations in 96 jurisdictions. So, you won’t have any difficulty finding a VPN server near you or the game server you intend to access.

This low latency VPN is installable to routers. In other words, you can use it to secure outgoing traffic from your PS5, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and/or Nintendo Switch.

Also, it has downloadable apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android with a seamless setup procedure. No wonder why it’s popular for users of the cloud gaming platforms, including:

  • Google Stadia
  • Amazon Luna
  • GeForce Now

And more!

It’s also compatible with Linux and supports P2P file sharing too.

When it comes to tunneling protocols, ExpressVPN isn’t a strong believer in WireGuard. But it likes IKEv2 and OpenVPN.

In addition, it supports L2TP/IPsec and has a proprietary protocol called Lightway. It has ceased to use the speedy but highly vulnerable PPTP (Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol)

But whichever protocol you use, you can enjoy AES 256-bit encryption.

ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth, so you can connect to it as much as you want. You may only connect five devices at a time, though. Still, each one may use its kill switch (Network Lock) and split tunneling capabilities.

ExpressVPN doesn’t own the distinction for being the best gaming VPN for privacy. But you can count on it.

The company is headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and keeps zero activity and connection logs. It runs its own private DNS on each of its VPN servers. With its TrustedServer technology, it wipes all data on its servers after every reboot.

Price

ExpressVPN isn’t for penny pinchers. Check out the prices of its three plans below.

  • 1 month: $12.95
  • 6 months: $9.99/month
  • 1 year: $8.32/month

Admittedly, this VPN for game lovers is rather expensive. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. At least, it doesn’t force you to subscribe to a multi-year plan.

Normally, you can’t test out ExpressVPN at no cost. But it occasionally sends a 30-day free trial offer with no credit card required to its mailing list.

If you buy any of its paid subscriptions, you’re doing it at your own risk. But each of them has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict

ExpressVPN is a proven low latency VPN for gaming. It’s not for every budget, but it’s definitely worth the expense.

NordVPN
NordVPN

BEST FOR

Best for cybersecurity

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  • Has stellar security capabilities
  • Provides obfuscated VPN servers
  • Offers a promising WireGuard version
  • Sells dedicated IP (Internet Protocol) addresses

When it comes to cybersecurity, NordVPN doesn’t play games.

Overview

NordVPN has dedicated apps for major desktop and mobile OSes, as do most other gaming VPNs.  You can set it up on your router to connect your gaming system to the VPN.

Furthermore, you also get neat NordVPN gaming features, such as unlimited bandwidth, kill switch, and split tunneling.

NordVPN’s global footprint has shrunk over the years. The decrease was partly due to its decision to leave suffocating countries like Russia.

Its conviction was admirable. But now its network is down to 5,253 servers scattered across 59 countries and territories. Having said that, NordVPN has servers optimized for P2P file sharing.

NordVPN won’t be challenging ExpressVPN for the title of the fastest VPN for gaming. But its speed is decent. It tends to noticeably affect ping time, though.

The vendor uses OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec as tunneling protocols. Also, it supports WireGuard too, but not the generic kind. The company has its own iteration of it called NordLynx, which can be 10 times faster than common VPN protocols.

On the cybersecurity front, NordVPN is practically peerless. Arguably, it’s the best VPN for DDoS protection.

To clarify, using any option that can consistently hide your real IP address can shield you from cyber attacks. But if you go with NordVPN, you can use double VPN, Onion over VPN, and a dedicated IP address.

Other than providing reliable VPN DDoS protection, it can keep ads off your screen too. NordVPN will help you steer clear of dubious sites. And all of its tunneling protocols use AES 256-bit encryption.

This Panama vendor takes privacy seriously, too. It will give you access to obfuscated VPN servers that can make your encrypted communications look like normal HTTPS traffic.

NordVPN saves no activity logs. It stores your last session’s timestamp to enforce its limit of six simultaneous connections per account. But the company erases this data after 15 minutes.

Price

NordVPN offers a free trial in the form of a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you have to buy a subscription first. Then, you can get a refund only if you cancel the service within 30 days from the date of purchase.

At the time of writing this NordVPN gaming VPN review, the company’s prices are: 

  • 1 month: $11.95
  • 1 year: $4.92/month (initial price), $8.25/month (renewal price)
  • 2 years: $3.67/month

The 2-year plan renews as a 1-year plan.

If you wish to buy a dedicated IP from NordVPN, it will set you back $70 a year.

Verdict

Ordinary gamers may find NordVPN’s advanced security and privacy features a bit excessive. But they’re just right if you don’t take cyber threats lightly.

Perfect Privacy
Perfect Privacy

BEST FOR

Best for internet privacy

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  • Offers IPv6 addresses
  • Supports stealth VPN
  • Can encrypt your traffic four times
  • Uses artificial intelligence-based routing

We can’t say that Perfect Privacy is flawless. But the branding of this VPN for games is spot on.

Overview

Perfect Privacy is engineered to make gamers extremely difficult to track.

Its AI-driven NeuroRouting dynamically changes your IP address whenever it finds a more efficient way to move your traffic.

On paper, this routing algorithm cuts the travel time of your data. But Perfect Privacy’s speed isn’t on par with the VPNs on this list.

Perfect Privacy uses obfuscation. If you need to camouflage your traffic in order to bypass firewalls, strongly consider this gaming VPN service.

It supports P2P file sharing, has high-bandwidth (1,000Mbps) servers, and also imposes no traffic limit per user.

This VPN vendor’s server fleet, however, won’t blow your mind. It only has 58 servers spread across 25 countries. Many of which snoop into their citizens’ online activity or censor the internet.

Normally, a VPN vendor’s presence in unfriendly jurisdictions is concerning. But Perfect Privacy’s HQ is in Switzerland. Also, it runs its system on RAM only and retains zero traffic logs.

Its kill switch is configurable in three ways. With it, you can enjoy tremendous leeway to protect your traffic data.

Perfect Privacy supports IPv6 connectivity. Therefore, it’s probably the best VPN for Xbox.

Moreover, this VPN’s multi-hop lets you cascade your connection up to four times for high-degree anonymity.

Perfect Privacy supports OpenVPN and IPSec, but not IKEv2 and WireGuard. And if you know your way around manual VPN configurations, you can secure outgoing traffic from specific apps through SSH2 tunnels.

With this VPN, you can use PPTP at your own risk. But if you don’t need AES 256-bit encryption, you can use its HTTPS and SOCKS5 proxies for IP masking.

Perfect Privacy has downloadable apps for Windows, macOS, and Android only. But it provides helpful tutorials for other platforms and devices, including various routers.

Price

Since it’s one of the best VPN gaming solutions around, it’s naturally among the most expensive. Here’s the cost of its plans.

  • 1 month: $12.99
  • 1 year: $9.99/month
  • 2 years: $8.95/month

Perfect Privacy doesn’t offer any free trial at the moment. But its plans come with a seven-day money-back guarantee.

Not all payments, however, are refundable. You can’t enjoy this guarantee if you pay with cash, cryptocurrency, or use a coupon.

Verdict

Perfect Privacy isn’t for every gamer. It’s more suitable for advanced users than for beginners. When you get a handle on it, you can benefit a lot from the uncompromising privacy it offers.

PIA
PIA

BEST FOR

Best for flexibility

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  • Open-source software
  • Encryption options
  • Supports port forwarding
  • 10 simultaneous connections

PIA recognizes the trade-offs between key VPN features. So, it provides you enough room to tweak it as you see fit. With its functionality, you don’t have to settle for anything less.

Overview

PIA does everything every VPN for games worth it’s salt can.

It has a kill switch, supports split tunneling, has no data cap, and also allows P2P file sharing. It’s compatible with major desktop and mobile OSes as well as routers.

With PIA, you can tunnel your internet traffic using WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. It provides instructions for PPTP and L2TP configurations too.

If you want to connect an unlimited number of devices, this is not the vendor for you. But its 10 simultaneous connections are not too shabby.

What separates PIA from the rest is its massive global network. It has no less than 25,600 houses in 99 locations across 77 jurisdictions. Half of its fleet is in the States, which can be beneficial whether you’re American or not.

This VPN for gamers is open-source. So, its code is available for public consumption and lends itself to permissionless audits by anyone.

PIA could have been the best VPN for gamers across the board if it wasn’t headquartered in the US.

Fortunately, it has an unquestionably reliable no-log policy. On at least two occasions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has tried to obtain its users’ online activity records without success.

This VPN service provider can deliver decent speed, albeit inconsistent. But it gives you the luxury to change your encryption settings.

You can choose between 128 and 256 bits of AES encryption.

The former isn’t as secure as the latter, though. But it recommends the 128-bit encryption strength to minimize its impact on gaming systems. Besides, it’s good enough to fend off cyberattacks.

In addition, PIA has port forwarding capability. When used correctly, it can make your connection more stable and much faster when using this vendor’s non-US servers.

It offers dedicated IPs, too.

Price

Considering PIA’s unique value proposition, you’d be surprised that its subscriptions come cheap. Here’s the rundown of its plans and prices.

  • 1 month: $9.95
  • 1 year: $3.33/month
  • 2 years: $2.69/month

You may now test-drive its Android or iOS app for 7 days. Whatever paid subscription you buy, you’ll enjoy a 30-day money-back guarantee.

But if you don’t like shared IPs, you can buy a dedicated one for just $5 a month.

Verdict

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a VPN for online games that provides the same level of flexibility PIA does. Its massive network of servers and configurable encryption settings are refreshing.

Its inconsistent speed is a stain on its reputation. But with its free trial, we recommend that you give it a whirl and experience its performance firsthand, risk-free.

Surfshark
Surfshark

BEST FOR

Best for versatility

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  • Private DNS
  • Smart DNS service
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Supports P2P file sharing on all servers

Most gaming VPNs market themselves as advocates of internet freedom. But Surfshark is one of the few that really walks the talk.

Overview

On the surface, Surfshark doesn’t seem special compared to every VPN we’ve mentioned so far.

It has native kill switch and split tunneling functionalities. Its unlimited bandwidth and AES 256-bit encryption are basic by this list’s standards. Its speed is usable, and its WireGuard, IKEv2/IPsec, and OpenVPN tunneling protocols ideal.

Surfshark’s zero traffic log policy is as confidence-inspiring as ExpressVPN’s. It’s under the jurisdiction of the BVI, which has no data retention laws.

This VPN vendor’s global network isn’t the envy of the industry. It only has 3,200+ servers in 65 countries and territories.

But here’s where Surfshark can make a good case for being the best VPN gaming solution.

If you live in a repressive country, Surfshark makes it possible to access the open Web more easily. It supports Shadowsocks, an encrypted proxy. It’s engineered to defeat state-sponsored internet censorship mechanisms like the Great Firewall of China.

Likewise, Surfshark has MultiHop. It’s more similar to NordVPN’s Double VPN than to Perfect Privacy’s solution, though.

When gaming with VPN through Surfshark’s Camouflage Mode, you can achieve obfuscation with OpenVPN traffic.

Moreover, 100% of its VPN servers handle P2P traffic and use private DNS. Surfshark also has an answer to NordVPN’s SmartDNS and ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer.

Its built-in Smart DNS feature makes it compatible with pieces of technology that don’t natively support VPN. Despite its limitations, it’s a viable solution for IP masking.

But if your router lends itself to VPN installation, you can secure all of the devices within your network. Surfshark has no simultaneous connection limit, so it’s feasible. 

But if you just want to use Surfshark for gaming, you can leave your router out of the picture. Instead, you can set up your game console over your PC with an ethernet cable. You can take this route if you have PlayStation (PS4 or PS5) and/or Xbox (One, Series S, or Series X).

Price

A quick look at Surfshark’s pricing below can make you think it’s more budget-friendly than CyberGhost.

  • 1 month: $12.95
  • 6 months: $6.49/month
  • 2 years: $2.49/month

But the truth is that Surfshark is relatively riskier to buy. It has no free trial. And its 30-day money-back guarantee pales in comparison to that of CyberGhost, the best VPN for games affordability-wise.

Verdict

Few VPNs are as useful for accessing and playing games under extraordinary circumstances as Surfshark. You may find its configurations a bit challenging. But this slight inconvenience is a small price to pay to enjoy all kinds of games borderlessly.

TunnelBear
TunnelBear

BEST FOR

Best for ease of use

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  • Free license
  • User-friendly apps
  • Supports P2P traffic in all locations
  • Undergoes impartial security audits

TunnelBear doesn’t have the most impressive resume. But its simplicity is what makes it great.

Overview

TunnelBear is probably the best VPN for online gaming that you can’t install on modems or routers. It has dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. It extends limited support for Linux, so it provides setup instructions for it.

TunnelBear has browser extensions, as do all leading VPNs for gaming. When used on Chrome, Firefox, or Opera, it can obscure your identity on cloud gaming platforms.

TunnelBear’s Unlimited plans offer – unsurprisingly – unlimited bandwidth and five connections all at once. But you can take it for a spin with no time limit.

Its free edition, however, restricts data usage to 500MB per month. It’s not a lot, but it can be good enough to test this VPN for games before you buy a paid plan. You can tunnel an extra 1GB if you promote TunnelBear on Twitter.

This VPN vendor has presence in 41 countries only. But it has no less than 1,800 servers in total, so it can prevent overcrowding in popular cities.

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that the closest TunnelBear VPN server is too far from your geographical location. For this reason, your download speed and ping time may suffer.

Nevertheless, TunnelBear can secure P2P connections on all of its servers.

TunnelBear supports three tunneling protocols only: IKEv2, OpenVPN, and IPSec. It uses AES 256-bit encryption and provides no weaker option.

This VPN service provider is headquartered in Canada, which is noteworthy from a privacy standpoint. This Great White North is one of the founding members of the Five Eyes Alliance (one of the predecessors of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance).

You shouldn’t trust the Canadian government to leave you alone digitally. But you can rely on TunnelBear to not record your gaming activity.

It doesn’t log your movements during VPN sessions. It does collect so-called operational data, though.

To help erase any fear of vulnerabilities, TunnelBear goes through impartial security audits annually. They’ve helped this VPN vendor address bugs in a timely manner. That’s why you can expect its kill switch and split tunneling to work as intended.

Save for GhostBear, a feature that renders encrypted gaming traffic less detectable, TunnelBear has no distinctly advanced capabilities. This fact may disappoint power users. But you may like its bare-bones, no-nonsense design.

Price

Considering its functionality, TunnelBear should be the most affordable on this best gaming VPN list. But it’s on the cheaper end of the price spectrum.

Here’s an overview of TunnelBear’s pricing for individuals.

  • 1 month: $9.99
  • 1 year: $4.99/month
  • 3 years: $3.33/month

This vendor has a free plan, but you’ll be limited to 500MB. It doesn’t have a standard money-back guarantee either. But it may approve your refund claim under certain circumstances.

Verdict

TunnelBear is a tough sell if you want all the bells and whistles. But you can find this no-frills VPN for gamers usable if you don’t use consoles.

How To Use a VPN for Gaming

So, you need to consider a few things.

Good news is, we’ve got you covered.

Here’s a short guide to ensure that you cover all the bases:

  • Set up the right app. Cross-platform VPNs come in many forms to work on every operating system or device they support.

Generally, you can find readily downloadable products for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. A good VPN game client should be up and running in a minute or two.

But if you intend to install your VPN on your Linux-based hardware, you have to manually configure it.

For game consoles, you have to use the one for routers. Its setup may not be straightforward. You’ll, however, almost certainly find a simple installation guide from the vendor’s site.

  • Choose a fast and secure protocol. You’ll learn about the ideal VPN protocols for gaming shortly. But as a rule of thumb, don’t settle with the one set on default.

Some VPN vendors use proprietary protocols, which may not be open-source. So, due to their lack of transparency, it’s hard to draw conclusions about their privacy and security.

  • Activate the kill switch. First, go to settings and verify whether the kill switch is enabled. Chances are, it’s not. So, toggle it on before connecting to the internet.

Don’t assume that your VPN for online games can and will remember your settings. Some clients don’t save such changes.

To avoid surprise data leaks, check the settings each and every time you connect to your VPN. It’s a small sacrifice in exchange for playing online games with peace of mind.

  • Configure split tunneling. If you intend to secure outgoing traffic from certain apps only, set this feature up accordingly.

Including apps to or excluding apps from VPN connections only takes a few clicks. So, make an effort to finalize your Split Tunneling inclusions and exclusions.

  • Choose the apt server. A good gaming VPN service will automatically choose the fastest server at the time of connection. But your app may recommend the least crowded server, not the nearest one to you or your target game server.

Sometimes, you need to manually pick the most appropriate server to keep your ping within the optimum range. Also, you should connect to a specialized server when playing games that use P2P networking.

These tests complete in a matter of seconds. But they can be annoying when you have to do them at the start of every VPN session. Nevertheless, they help you detect issues that you may not notice otherwise.

But successful VPN server connections don’t always guarantee IP and DNS request leakage protection. Even the most reputable VPNs could fail, so don’t blindly trust them. Instead, trust the leak test results you can verify.

  • Start playing. So, if the test results look good, you can now safely load your game and play to your heart’s content.

How To Choose the Best VPN for Gaming

Not all VPNs are suitable for gaming.

Those that do the basics well can spoof your location and circumvent online censorship successfully. But gaming with VPN is more than just masking your identity and unblocking restricted content.

Ideally, you should use a VPN that can seamlessly work on most devices and platforms. It should be able to reduce latency effectively. It matters particularly in first-person shooters and MMO (massively multiplayer online) games. In addition, it should offer reliable protection against DDoS attacks and other cyber threats.

To choose the best VPN for gaming, you should consider:

Speed

First and foremost, go with a VPN that promises the fastest connection.

Routing your traffic data through a VPN server will almost always cause more latency. After all, adding a third-party computer is in the equation inevitably increases the time your data has to travel.

A good VPN service, however, can render increased latency unnoticeable. Experienced vendors use efficient routing algorithms to minimize any direct impact on connection speed.

Other than routing practices, many other factors can affect VPN speed. You should also think about the:

  • specs of your device.
  • internet speed.
  • setup of your internet network
  • location of your chosen server.
  • bandwidth of your chosen server per user.
  • tunneling protocol you use.
  • strength of your VPN’s encryption.

Every VPN vendor markets itself as fast. But you ought to test its service’s speed to verify such a claim.

When performing a test, don’t just concentrate on download and upload speeds. Pay attention to the ping time too. The lower it is, the faster your player’s response time in the game is.

So, a decent ping is anywhere between 19ms (milliseconds) and 151ms. If your ping is over 150ms after connecting to a VPN, you won’t enjoy the best online experience.

To solve this, connect to the nearest low latency VPN server to your location or to the game server.

If nothing happens, however, your VPN may not be the problem. It could be your Wi-Fi, an app running in the background, outdated network drivers, or malware, among other things.

Compatibility

Most (if not all) VPNs are cross-platform. Not all, however, can work with devices that run major PC and mobile operating systems. Some VPNs aren’t compatible with game consoles either.

Further, you may have to manually set up your VPN for gaming. Generally, you can only download a VPN game client for a PC or a mobile device.

If you use different devices and platforms for gaming, explore your prospective VPN’s configuration options. Highly adjustable settings can give you tons of flexibility when finding the right balance between speed and security.

Data Cap

Some VPN vendors have data restrictions. Such limitations can ruin your experience, especially when playing resource-hungry multiplayer games online.

You wouldn’t want to keep worrying about your bandwidth usage. You wouldn’t want to lose your VPN access just because you exceeded your cap either.

Fortunately, many VPN service providers adopted an unlimited bandwidth policy. Still, it’s wrong to assume that all of them have done away with data caps.

Network of Servers

More often than not, VPN vendors with large server fleets deliver excellent services. An overabundance of hardware can reduce the chances of overcrowding.

Network size isn’t everything, though. You also have to take server distribution into account.

Normally, the VPNs for gaming have a global fleet of servers housed in strategic locations. With more choice, the odds of connecting to an overburdened computer are low and of beating geo-restrictions are high.

Moreover, it pays to use a vendor with gaming-optimized servers.

One doesn’t need dedicated VPN servers to beat IP bans and shop at online game stores like Steam while traveling abroad. But they may deliver better performance than regular ones.

P2P Support

If you play online games that use P2P networks, you’ll need a VPN that supports P2P connections. Not all vendors allow such traffic, though, so just don’t go use any VPN for online games marketed as such.

Privacy

A VPN can mask your IP address when gaming. But a vendor that keeps a record of its users’ personally identifiable information may leak your identity one way or another.

That’s why you should choose a VPN service provider with a strict zero-log policy.

Some companies boast of not recording the real IP addresses of their users. But also they admit to collecting some other personal data for marketing, legal, and other reasons.

Never take zero-log policies at face value. Read the fine print before you sign up for any VPN for gamers.

The most reputable vendors do require email addresses to exchange correspondence with users. But you may find some that accept masked email addresses from Abine and other cybersecurity brands. Email masking lets you set up online accounts without sharing any sensitive information.

Be mindful of the headquarters of your prospective VPN vendor too. Some governments are infamous for extensive online surveillance. Well-funded intelligence agencies spy on their citizens under the guise of law enforcement.

Even worse, many countries band together for intel exchange. They have a coalition called the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. Its members are:

  • The United States
  • The United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • France
  • The Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Belgium
  • Germany

Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Israel are not part of this group. But they have a reputation for cooperating with the Fourteen Eyes Alliance.

So, think twice before you use a vendor that’s under the jurisdiction of any of the above countries. If forced, it may share its database with powerful governments.

But if your gaming VPN service provider has an honest-to-goodness zero-log policy, it can’t leak any personally identifiable information. It can’t spill any data it doesn’t store, to begin with. The authorities won’t be able to squeeze intelligence from it no matter what.

Security

Cryptography is inherent in VPNs. But they don’t always offer the same level of cybersecurity.

How come?

VPNs don’t always use similar tunneling protocols. And one can use a single, several, or a combination of multiple encryption algorithms. The stronger the encryption algorithm, the harder it is to crack.

It’s not uncommon for a VPN to support a long list of tunneling protocols. More may be merrier than few, but it’s not a numbers game.

When gaming with VPN, the ones to look for are IKEv2 and WireGuard.

These popular tunneling protocols are open-source, so anyone can audit them for vulnerabilities. IKEv2 has few known security weaknesses, whereas WireGuard has no major holes in its cyber defense.

Both of them are famous for their speed. As a result, discerning gamers gravitate toward them. When either is unavailable, OpenVPN is the next best thing.

In addition to secure tunneling protocols, many reliable VPNs have bonus security features. They can block ads, detect malware, and/or catch email breaches.

Some VPN vendors take one step further and offer double VPN. This advanced capability is more useful for journalists and activists than for gamers. But it can be a testament to a VPN service provider’s commitment to cybersecurity.

Kill Switch

A kill switch can protect your privacy and help keep hackers at bay when your VPN connection drops.

Almost every VPN has this feature. But don’t assume that it’s available across all of a vendor’s products. You may not know whether it’s part of a VPN game client until you install and run it.

And when it does, it may not be activated automatically. It’s not failproof either. Double-check its status, and test it first before using a VPN for gaming.

Split Tunneling

This feature enables you to choose which apps can connect to the VPN.

Split tunneling isn’t as universal as the kill switch. But it can be useful for gamers who occasionally encounter geo-restrictions.

For instance, you can activate split-tunneling to access Discord in a region where it’s blocked. At the same time, you can play games with a direct internet connection.

Pricing

No gamer has to pay for a VPN service. But the question is, is it safe to use a free one?

There’s no straightforward answer to this question. It’s imperative to assess free VPNs for gaming on a case-by-case basis. But it’s always good to maintain a healthy skepticism about privacy apps you can download at no cost.

In most cases, premium VPNs are safer. At least it’s not a mystery where the income of their makers come from.

To avoid the risk of buying a VPN subscription you haven’t tested, go with a product with a free trial.

Being able to experience a VPN service in its full glory without paying a dime is a must. The length of a trial period can vary. It can be as short as 24 hours or as long as a couple of days.

Nevertheless, it’s better than using a free gaming VPN edition of a premium product. Free licenses often come with access limitations like a 2GB data cap.

VPNs with a free trial aren’t always risk-free. Some vendors require payment card information upfront and charge you only if you let the free trial end and immediately turn into a paid subscription.

If you can’t use a VPN for game enthusiasts on a trial basis, at least buy one with a money-back guarantee with reasonable conditions. This way, you may be able to get a full refund if you cancel shortly after making a purchase.

In addition, explore the different plans of VPN service providers. Typically, you can only use a VPN on a limited number of devices and/or platforms concurrently per plan. You’ll have to purchase additional slots or an extra subscription to enjoy more simultaneous connections.

It should go without saying that quarterly, annual, and multi-year plans cost more upfront. Most VPN vendors like to advertise how their subscriptions would cost monthly. Do the math first to avoid any overdraft or over-limit fees.

Wrap Up

No VPN can please all gamers. But with this piece, hopefully, you’ll be able to narrow down your options and navigate the market more easily.

So.

All that’s left is for you to get the solution you like the most and start playing!

FAQ

Is VPN good for gaming?

A VPN can obscure your IP address and DNS requests when playing online games. It’s useful for bypassing geo-restrictions and other forms of location-based discrimination. Accessing games that are unavailable or haven’t been released in your country is a good case in point.

But not every gamer needs one. A VPN is necessary only if you need to hide your identity for privacy and cybersecurity reasons.

Will a VPN improve my ping?

Unlikely. What you gain in internet privacy and security, you lose in speed.

Some VPN vendors claim that they can reduce ping time by routing your traffic data to game servers more efficiently. You may also find service providers that promise to connect you to game servers that deliver better performance.

Diverting your online communications to a VPN server, however, will almost always drive up your ping time. But the increase can be negligible if you use a reliable vendor and connect to a geographically closer server.

Also, VPN use isn’t the only factor that can negatively impact ping. Your base internet connection may be slow or your device may be sluggish in the first place.

Can I use NordVPN for gaming?

Definitely.

NordVPN offers a unique set of robust features for keeping your real IP address private and preventing cyber attacks.

We’re confident that it’s the best DDoS protected VPN on the market.

Which is the best free VPN for gaming?

It’s hard to pick one that’s unquestionably the best at everything. But the following can fit the bill:

  • CyberGhost
  • ExpressVPN
  • NordVPN
  • Perfect Privacy
  • PIA
  • Surfshark
  • TunnelBear

Want to know solid arguments as to why each one deserves the title of the best VPN for gaming? Read this piece from the top.

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