Online gaming is massive with so much choice on the types of games and how you want to play them, it's exciting times indeed.
Sadly though with all the fun of online gaming comes some of the pitfalls and these can often ruin your game time.
Everything from others jealous of your skills attempting to DDOS your connection to slow internet access and more can dog your gaming experience. If you're a competitive gamer, then this can have a severe impact and even if you play for fun, it can make what should be a pleasurable experience into one long headache.
A VPN can protect against such threats and let you access games and servers that aren't usually available in your region.
But how do you begin to choose a gaming VPN with so many options out there and what makes one better for gaming than another? We aimed to find out so have researched for you.
In this guide we've rounded up the Top 5 VPN choices specifically for online gaming.
How to choose a gaming VPN
Choosing a gaming VPN is much like selecting a VPN for any other purpose but there are some specific features to consider.
If you want to get the very best to improve your gaming experience then look out for these:
- Fast speeds – Online gaming is all about speed and latency. The difference a few ms can make in gaming shouldn't be understated. It's often the difference between life and death. Getting that slightly faster connection will make you react quicker leaving the noobs behind and you looking like a pro.
- Selection of servers – Unless you're trying to access overseas games then having a choice of local servers is essential. Generally the closer a VPN server is to you the higher your speeds will be and the less latency introduced into the connection. For this reason selecting a service with many servers and locations is essential.
- Range of apps – There are loads of ways to online game these days and it's not just limited to the traditional keyboard+mouse or console combination. Making sure the VPN service offers apps for the most popular devices means you'll be able to keep up your gaming even on the move on devices like phones and tablets as well as the more traditional home systems.
- Money back guarantee – Speeds for online gaming can vary massively depending on your location, quality of internet connection and many other factors. Ensure you sign up for a VPN service that gives you time to test it for your needs and covers you with a money back guarantee.
5 Top VPNs for Online Gaming
If you're looking for a VPN service for online gaming then below are the top 5 choices:
You can find out more details about the service offered by each provider in the detailed sections below. Click the names above to go directly to that provider's information.
There were numerous reasons why but one of them was the speed and reliability of their services. Across their massive range of server locations in 94 countries, they offer some of the fastest speeds we've experienced.
A quality service will allow you to get the very best speeds when gaming and avoid introducing lag into your connection. Simply put you'll be able to react faster than with other providers keeping you on the top of your game.
Having servers in so many countries is neat and if you want to unblock games restricted to specific regions, then you'll have no trouble.
Many new games soft-release in Asia like PUBG Lite in Thailand or others in the Philippines. Or some games are restricted to Asia only which is often the case with Japanese or South Korean games. Using ExpressVPN, you'll be able to unblock them.
Even if you don't want to access games from far afield, there's plenty of local servers. So wherever you game from you'll almost always be able to get a local connection. A handy 30-day money back guarantee comes as standard so you've got loads of time to test the service.
Best VPN for Online Gaming
In recent years NordVPN has become known for the stability of their connections and their speeds.
One feature that stands out is the number of servers available. At recent count, there are over 5,100 available. While it's a popular service it means you have a massive choice of where to connect and which server.
If you discover one is too slow or over-utilised, then there's plenty of options to change and connect elsewhere.
NordVPN also offers some of the fastest speeds in the industry and in our recent review we found there to be minimal impact on our regular speeds compared to those when connected to the NordVPN service.
Prices are cheap and there are some outstanding deals if you sign up for their two or three-year plans. Plus you've got a massive 30-days to change your mind with their money back guarantee.
VyprVPN has been one of the most stable and speedy VPN services for years but their logging policy was always a concern. At the end of 2018 this all changed when VyprVPN announced they would no longer be retaining records of your usage.
Retaining no logs is excellent news if you're an online gamer because they offer some of the best speeds we've seen. Their connections are also more reliable than most with no connection drops.
It's achieved by VyprVPN owning their entire network and hardware. Unlike some other providers that rent cheap VPN servers from third-parties, VyprVPN owns them which gives them a higher degree of control. This results in reliable and fast connections.
Servers are available in over 60 countries and there are more than 70 locations to choose from. So whether you're a Fifa player, a MMORPG gamer or an FPS fan you'll be able to get the best possible speeds while staying protected.
VPN.ac is one of the best security VPN services out there and for gamers, it can make a good choice – however, it's not for everyone.
Speeds on the service are some of the best we've experienced and their servers are massively underutilised which means you're getting more of the resources to yourself. Lag or disconnect issues do not exist here.
However, one word of warning. While VPN.ac is one the fastest and most reliable VPN services it does have limited server locations. Due to this you'll need to check to see if they've got local servers in your area.
Most of North America and Europe will have no issues and there's even a selection of servers in Asia and Australia. However, outside of those areas, you'll need to check for local connection points otherwise stick with one of the earlier providers.
There's a 7-day money back guarantee available on the service so you can try without risk.
IPVanish rounds up our choices and has been one of our favourite go-to VPN services for many years. With seven years in the VPN industry, it's not difficult to see why they're a tried and trusted service.
Speeds on the service are fast and for online gaming you'll be able to connect and forget about the VPN concentrating on your gaming alone.
VPN servers are available in some 50 countries worldwide, so there's plenty of options for local connection and connecting to those further away locations helping you unblock overseas games or servers.
Set-up is smooth and the apps they offer cover most major devices. We found them to be one of the more accessible services to get to grips with so you can concentrate on your gaming rather than get bogged down fiddling with VPN settings.
There's a pretty short 7-day money back guarantee available on the service but it should be enough time to test the service and see if it's to your liking.
Which VPN should you sign-up for?
Choosing a gaming VPN isn't too difficult. Mainly you want to be looking for a fast VPN service with nearby server locations such as ExpressVPN.
However, you may have some more specific needs that not all gamers do. For example, you may want to access a game that's restricted to Japan only or you may want to connect to an American server to play with friends.
Below we've listed some of the most common gamer scenarios to help you pick from the five services above.
If you want the best overall gamer VPN, get ExpressVPN. With servers in over 94 countries and some of the fastest speeds we've seen you really can't go wrong. Even if it's not the service for you they've got the protection of their lengthy 30-day money back guarantee.
If you want to access overseas games or servers, choose NordVPN or VyprVPN. With servers in some 60+ countries including many in Asia you'll be able to tap into all those beta, pre-release and region restricted games from across the world. Locations to note for those types of games include Canada, the Philippines, Thailand, Japan and South Korea.
If you want to try risk-free, sign up for VyprVPN. While most VPN services offer a money back guarantee, VyprVPN is one of few that offer a completely free trial. Sign up for their service to enjoy 3-days of entirely free access without restrictions.
If you're looking for the fastest speeds, try VPN.ac. In our VPN.ac review we found them to be one of the quickest VPN services. They don't offer masses of locations though so if you're after speed but need servers closer to home then ExpressVPN will be the better option.
If you want ease of use and minimal fuss, get NordVPN, Their apps are some of the best designed we've seen and you can connect with just one-click. Letting you game without wasting time elsewhere.
Why is a VPN important for Gaming?
With companies and others tracking your every move and online threats on the increase a VPN is an essential security tool these days.
However, VPNs do also serve some useful purposes for online gamers. If you're looking for the best gaming experience, then a VPN can help in a multitude of situations which we've listed below.
- Improve speeds and ping – While it's often thought that VPNs will introduce delays, they can help you in specific circumstances. Often your internet data travels via one route and if there's an issue then you'll experience slow connections, lag and other in-game issues. A VPN can send your data down a different path, one that doesn't have any bottlenecks or problems along the way. The result is you would see an improved gaming connection.
- Protect you from DDOS attacks – We've all been there, you're top of the table brushing noobs aside when some geeky 12-year old takes a disliking to your kill-streak. Next thing you know and your connection goes all laggy and you drop from the server. It's likely your nemesis discovered your home IP and used a booter service to flood you off the game. Using a VPN will disguise your real IP Address so no one can find it. Many also have built-in DDOS protection so you can continue gaming without worry.
- Unblock overseas games – Some games restrict access to specific regions. Others soft-release or run betas in select countries. Games like PUBG released first in Asia and others like Pokemon Go came late to certain areas. By using a VPN you can access these games before they're intended for your country allowing you to get a competitive advantage.
- Access home servers and services – If you like to game while you travel then you could find yourself blocked from accessing your regular games, servers or services. Using a VPN allows you to connect to your home country and game as if you were at home in your favourite gaming chair.
How to use a VPN for console gaming?
If you game on a computer or you're a mobile gamer, then VPN access is pretty simple. Almost all providers have apps for the most popular devices.
If you're a console gamer, then things get a little more complicated. There are no VPN apps for Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo consoles.
So for this, you're going to need a VPN router. It's a hardware device that takes care of the VPN connection for you. They're better than using a VPN app because you're protected greater against connection drops.
The downside is they're a lot more expensive and for gaming you'll need to get the pricer models. Cheap VPN routers do exist but the speeds they offer aren't suitable for online gaming.
We recommend InvizBox 2. It's a new dedicated VPN router built from the ground-up. It comes in two editions both the ‘InvizBox 2' and the ‘Pro' edition. If you can stump up the extra cash for the ‘Pro' edition, then it's well worth it for the increased processor and wi-fi range.
The InvizBox 2 Pro connects to your regular home router and takes care of the VPN side of things for you. You can keep it connected to a specific VPN server or change at will.
You can also set-up multiple hotspots connected to different servers or regions which is neat if you play different games that you have different requirements for.
Choosing a VPN for any purpose is difficult these days because there are so many choices and all claim to be the best.
For overall gaming, our recommendation is to choose ExpressVPN. They've got one of the most expansive server networks and some of the best speeds we've seen.
From a gaming perspective this covers all types of usage scenarios. If you can spare time (away from gaming), then it's worth checking out all five options listed above as you may find a feature of one that you prefer over the others.
Whatever you do, make sure once you've got a VPN that you remember to connect to it and use it!