Improving your gaming experience or performance can be quite the challenging task whether you’re a PC, Console, or Mobile gamer. A premium gaming VPN will help you achieve that.
As you might expect, a gaming setup is complicated. First you have to get the right hardware (PC, Console, Mobile, Tablet…), and position yourself perfectly. If you are looking to live stream, you would need to setup a small studio space as well.
Those may be the main factors to consider when trying to improve your gaming experience. However, there is another important aspect to look at. That is your internet connection.
High speed servers, secure encryption, and low ping times are among the most important factors in assessing how good a VPN really is for gaming.
The objective of this article is to showcase how you can utilize VPNs to get an advantage over your competition or simply improve your gaming experience. I’ve tested many VPN providers with a number of different games including Call of Duty Warzone (PC), NBA 2K21 (PS4), Among Us(PC), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive(PC) and PUBG Mobile.
Setting up a premium gaming VPN on your PC, Console, Mobile, or router can significantly improve your experience as well as your performance by reducing lag and ping time. All the while protecting you from DDoS attacks, ISP bandwidth throttling, and geo-blocks.
- What Are The Benefits of a Gaming VPN?
- Can a Gaming VPN Bypass ISP Bandwidth Throttling?
- Can I Use a Gaming VPN to Play In a Different Region?
- Can a Gaming VPN Provide Low ping and Latency?
- Can I Get Around Regional Bans with a Gaming VPN?
- Best Gaming VPN
- A gaming VPN Unblocks Streaming Services Too!
- Best Gaming VPN – Conclusion
What Are The Benefits of a Gaming VPN?
There are many reasons a VPN can improve your gaming experience. First you get more security and privacy, which is crucial in online games to protect your gaming profile. Furthermore you can get lower pings and bypass ISP throttling.
I will discuss some of the most important features a VPN provides that can impact your gaming performance in the sections below.
Protection against DDoS attacks
A VPN masks your actual IP address. Which means hackers won’t be able to find your Network to flood it with requests and get you disconnected.
A DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack is when someone overloads your network by sending a large number of requests to your system causing it to shut down.
Over the years players have been subject to DDoS attacks in-game that causes players to disconnect and lose the game. Such attacks occur across all games but perhaps most notably in NBA 2K21, it is referred to by the 2K community as “getting booted off the game”, where your opponent wins by way of you disconnecting.
It is worth noting that performing a DDoS attack is a fairly easy task with ready made software that does all the dirty work for you. So basically, anyone can do it. Which is why you need a VPN for DDoS protection. VPN’s can protect you from DDoS attacks with military-grade encryption and shared server IPs.
Public WiFi Security
Mobile, Tablet, and Laptop gamers regularly connect to public WiFi networks, be it in a Hotel, restaurant, coffee shop or wherever. The point is, these public WiFi hotspots are not secure and can cause a lot of harm.
- WiFi sniffing: There are many software packages and devices available for people to see everything you are doing online by sniffing out your device on a network and hijacking it’s connection. Your valuable information may be at risk on a public WiFi connection as cybercriminals can easily acquire personal and payment information off of your device without you noticing anything.
- Malware: Public WiFi connections are open to vulnerabilities where attackers can inject malicious software into your device through the public network you are both connected to. Such attacks are due to the lack of security protocols and encryption techniques that are just not implemented in public WiFi hotspots. All the more reason to always have a VPN active on your device to shield you from such threats.
Can a Gaming VPN Bypass ISP Bandwidth Throttling?
Unfortunately, it is a common occurrence that internet service providers (ISPs) throttle their user’s bandwidth speed while gaming to reduce the strain on their network infrastructure. Some ISPs detect your traffic by type, gaming, streaming, or file sharing and then lower your download and upload speed accordingly.
You can see why such behavior by ISPs can be problematic for gamers, you obviously don’t want your speed to be downgraded, it would destroy your performance.
This is where a Premium VPN can help. A VPN encrypts your data in a private tunnel through which your ISP cannot pass or even see the data being transferred. Therefore bypassing any method your ISP can deploy to detect what kind of traffic your using, be it gaming or something else.
Can I Use a Gaming VPN to Play In a Different Region?
Gamers have the unique choice to join multiplayer servers in any region of the world via a VPN. Your gaming experience may vary widely depending on which servers you play on. For example when I play NB2K21 I like to join US servers as the community there seems more engaged in the game.
You can also get the scoop on titles that are yet to be released in your region. All you need to do is just hop on a VPN server in another region and play your games early.
Most VPN providers have server networks spread across the globe. You can surely find a location in any region you want.
Can a Gaming VPN Provide Low ping and Latency?
Ping refers to the network latency between a player’s device (or the client), and either another client (peer) or the game’s server.
Ping or latency is the most important contributing factor to your gaming performance, that is a fact. Connecting to a fast VPN server in the same region as your game’s server will greatly reduce lag and ping. Consequently you can start getting those headshots you’ve been missing because your ping is too high.
Can I Get Around Regional Bans with a Gaming VPN?
The list of banned games in some regions has been steadily growing the past few years with increasing global economic tension between countries like US, China, and others. If you happen to reside in a region where a video game you like is banned, then a VPN can help you get over that hump easily.
Here are some countries that are currently banning certain games or have been known to regularly ban certain game genres.
They usually ban any game that is detrimental to “China’s national dignity and interests”. Such banned titles include:
- Animal Crossing: New Horizons
- Plague Inc
- Battlefield 4
- Command & Conquer: Generals
- I.G.I.-2: Covert Strike
- Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni
- Plague Inc./Plague Inc. Evolved
The UK bans any video game title containing realistic violence or sexual conduct. Such banned titles include:
- Manhunt 2
- Sex Vixens from Space
They ban any game with nudity, drug use, violence, and even graffiti. Australia has a specially long list of banned titles that include:
- Saints Row IV
- Katana Zero
- Super Blood Hockey
- Omega Labyrinth Z
- Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni
- South Park: The Stick of Truth
- The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
They prohibit video games that glorify violence, and overt sexual activity.
- Army of Two
- Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
- Dead Island
- Far Cry
- Left 4 Dead (uncensored)
- Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
- Postal III
- Quake 4
- Resident Evil 4
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Best Gaming VPN
Assessing the viability of a VPN for gaming relies heavily on it’s ability to provide a stable connection (low ping and lag), secure your connection to the game server to avoid hacks and leaks, and provide you the freedom to change regions and play wherever you feel like it.
The 4 VPNs I’ve listed below are the cream of the crop. They offer competitive prices and high quality performance. However there are major differences between the providers. Which one you pick is completely up to you, they all work great.
Every VPN product offers unique subscription packages that might save you some money in the long run or even give out extra free months. Compare the prices and main features for each VPN in the table below before making your final decision.
NordVPN is the most gamer-friendly VPN on the market. They offer over 5800 blazing fast servers all over the world so you can enjoy regional freedom. Additionally they provide a stable and secure connection with AES-256 bit encryption deployed on all servers.
Another added benefit is the VPN’s ability to unblock any streaming service or website including major platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, and countless others.
The company maintains a strict no-logs policy to ensure your online anonymity at all times. Being headquartered in Panama helps NordVPN achieve that since the country doesn’t adhere to international law regarding user data retention.
All subscription plans include a “no questions asked” full 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.
An all purpose VPN that excels in gaming. Although a bit pricier than it’s competitors, ExpressVPN offers an excellent service with over 3000 highly optimized servers. Furthermore you can unblock any streaming service with ease.
The company is based in the British Virgin Islands and is therefore able to safely maintain their no-logs policy. ExpressVPN servers are also optimized for P2P applications like uTorrent, Bittorrent and others.
You also benefit from a risk-free subscription with ExpressVPN’s 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.
Private Internet Access
PIA is US based VPN company that is primarily focused security and user privacy. However they also have high speed servers that are able to unblock most streaming services and provide a stable connection for gaming.
The product is considerably cheaper than others in it’s class and also ensures satisfaction with a 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee.
Although the company is in the US which makes them more vulnerable to privacy laws, they are nevertheless able to maintain their no-logs policy.
A great product at a fairly cheap price. For gamers, the service can help you stabilize your connection and hop around regions freely. Additionally you can unblock 35+ streaming services on any compatible device.
The service uses the AES-256 bit encryption algorithm to secure your connection from any threat while you play, stream, or browse.
You also have a 45-Day Money-Back Guarantee just in case.
Peace of mind with a VPN router
If you have a router with VPN capabilities or willing to get one, it would provide an added value to your VPN subscription. Configuring your VPN on the router will automatically protect and encrypt your entire connection including all devices connected to the router. It doesn’t matter on what device your gaming as they’re all secured.
NordVPN is compatible with any router that has built in VPN capablities.
A gaming VPN Unblocks Streaming Services Too!
You can use your VPN subscription for more than just gaming. Elite VPN providers can unblock all geo-restricted streaming services so you can stream it all in Ultra HD quality.
In order to unblock services like ESPN+, Netflix US, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more, all you have to do is connect to a VPN server in an allowed region. Your VPN will hide your IP address and allow you to appear in the region of your choice. Therefore tricking streaming services into thinking you are in a covered area.
Best Gaming VPN – Conclusion
Regardless of what device or console you game on, you need to protect your gaming profile, and connection. Avoid DDoS and other malicious attacks with a simple VPN solution. An elite VPN provider offers high speed, low ping servers which is greatly beneficial for gamers looking for opportunities to improve their performance. Add to that all the additional benefits that come with a VPN including bypassing geo-blocks and moving around regions.
That’s why I’ve curated a list of the best gaming VPNs on the market so you can get all the information you need to take the right decision. My selections all include full refund guarantees and have been rigorously tested with multiple online games, streaming services, and torrent clients. In other words, if it’s in my list, it works!