Best VPN for Steam Gaming

Steam VPN

Steam is without question the best gaming platform for the PC, but if you're looking for a reliable VPN to work with it, the sheer number of options can be confusing.

In this guide, I've been tested all the most “popular” providers to see which works best with Steam.

If you're a gamer and a PC gamer, in particular, you'll know how vital every ‘ms' is on your ping, especially if you're an FPS gamer or play any game that requires you to react quickly to the action.

Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) will add latency to your gaming experience; this goes without saying. However, by choosing the correct VPN, you can be sure this is kept to such a minimum that it will barely affect your reaction time.

It may even improve your gaming by sending your data down faster routes or avoid slow bottlenecks to the server you're playing on.

I've been testing a whole host of VPNs with games on Steam such as PUGB, COD, CS: GO, GTA, and a whole host of different MMORPG's to find out which VPN is the best for Steam gaming.

Keep scrolling to discover who came out on top.

Need a quick answer?

After extensive testing with Steam we picked ExpressVPN as our #1 VPN for use with Steam.

Top 7 Steam VPN services

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN with Steam

Pros
  • Best in class for Steam
  • Works with all games
  • Low latency
  • Apps for all devices
  • Easy for beginners
  • Audited no log policy
  • Registered off-shore
Cons
  • Paying monthly expensive
  • Owns VPN ‘review' sites

For gaming on Steam or any other system such as Origin, you should definitely check out ExpressVPN.

I found them to be one of the fastest VPN providers with the most reliable connections. When gaming, this is absolutely critical because the last thing you want is your connection dropping mid-game.

With well over 90 countries on offer, ExpressVPN will even allow you to connect to servers worldwide and play in different regions. You can also unblock and play games restricted to specific regions or activate games early.

ExpressVPN have a strict no-logs policy and great security features such as a kill switch and 256-bit military-grade encryption.

I found their no-nonsense Windows and Mac apps to be simple to use, allowing you to get connected quickly and easily and forget about it. You can have 5 simultaneous connections on ExpressVPN, so you'll be able to use their secure VPN service on most of your devices.

This lets you get on with the job of gaming without being bogged down. There are also mobile apps and an app for the Amazon Fire TV Stick if you want to take a break from gaming.

ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services you can use to access Steam or change Steam region.

Our #1 Recommendation for Steam

30-day money back guarantee

2. IPVanish

IPVanish website

Pros
  • Unlimited concurrent connections
  • Reliable connections
  • Good download speeds
  • Big range of apps
  • Easy to use
  • 30-day money back guarantee
Cons
  • Apps a little dated
  • Registered in the US

IPVanish has been in the VPN game for a long time, which means they've definitely locked down a good service.

This VPN provider is the ideal solution for gaming, having previously had close links between their prior-parent company managing some of Steam's network. While they're not owned by the same company anymore, it means the technicians have a good understanding of Steam's network.

IPVanish has a strict no-logs policy, so you can rest assured that your user data isn't kept anywhere.

This VPN software now has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it's a risk-free investment.

What's most impressive is you can have unlimited simultaneous connections on one account. This allows you to protect your Steam gaming plus other computers, tablets, phones, Fire TVs and more.

IPVanish is one of the best VPNs for Steam, and will provide you with private internet access.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN Deal

Pros
  • Easy to use apps
  • Beginner-friendly
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Audited no log policy
  • Reliable connections
Cons
  • No paypal option
  • Not the fastest

NordVPN have been expanding a lot over the past few years, which has led them to have well over 5,281 individual VPN servers.

Their easy to use apps are some of the best I've seen and have a great interface. Just click to connect, minimise it and get your frag on.

I dislike that NordVPN adds VAT for EU customers, although that's somewhat unavoidable on their behalf. This adds to the price, and you won't find that from other leading services.

There is, however, a huge 30-day money-back guarantee to give you time to test the service without risk.

NordVPN also offers brilliant security features such as a kill switch, double VPN servers, DNS leak protection, split tunneling, military-grade encryption, IP leak protection, dedicated IP address options, and more.

They also offer live chat support to help you with any questions regarding your VPN subscription.

4. Cyberghost VPN

Cyberghost Website

Pros
  • 45-day money back guarantee
  • Over 7000 servers
  • Big range of apps
  • Works on my systems
Cons
  • Unaudited no log policy
  • Owns VPN ‘review' sites

CyberGhost VPN is another provider that has expanded rapidly in recent years, catapulting them into one of the leading VPN services for multiple purposes.

I really like their apps because they have specific sections depending on what you want to do. Want to unblock movies? They've got a section, want to torrent? They've got a section.

While they don't have a dedicated gaming option, you can select a country and even a specific server individually.

In an industry first, CyberGhost VPN has a 45-day money-back guarantee allowing you to test the service for over a month and a half, which gives you plenty of time to see it working with Steam.

5. VPN.ac

VPN.ac Website Jan 17

Pros
  • Very fast servers
  • Run by security professionals
  • Less utilised servers
  • Good range of apps
Cons
  • 7-day money back guarantee
  • Fewer server locations

If you want something a bit different from the norm, then VPN.ac is where you should look.

They don't have the server numbers that the other providers have, which means they won't be suitable for everyone. You'll need to check out their server locations first to see if that matches your gaming habits.

If they do, you'll find an excellent little VPN service that is lesser known than other providers. What this means is you'll find their servers are less congested than some other providers giving you fast speeds.

The only downside is their 7-day money-back guarantee is pretty short compared to the other best VPNs for Steam.

For gaming, you'll get better latency, shaving ms off your ping and excellent security provisions (like a kill switch). Not only is it a great VPN for Steam gaming, but it'll also protect your privacy at the same time.

If you're looking for one of the best VPNs for Steam, then VPN.ac is a great choice.

6. Surfshark

Surfshark Website screengrab

Pros
  • Apps very simple
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Great for streaming
  • 30-day money back guarantee
Cons
  • Unaudited no log policy
  • Newer unproven provider

Next, there is Surfshark, which is another excellent choice when it comes to speed.

This VPN is fast enough for HD streaming, which means that it will definitely be good enough for gaming via Steam. It offers an extensive server network, with more than 1,700 servers in 63 different countries.

Apps are available for all major devices, including your Steam gaming platforms like Windows and Mac.

One of their standout features is the ability to have unlimited simultaneous connections. So aside from protecting your gaming, you can unblock Netflix, stay secure online and much more on any device type.

This Steam VPN has great features such as a double VPN, kill switch, no logs policy, and Camouflage mode, so even your internet service provider won't pick up on your VPN usage.

Like most VPN providers, they have a 30-day money-back guarantee so that you can try them without risk.

All of the above makes Surfshark one of the best VPNs for Steam.

7. VyprVPN

VyprVPN website

Pros
  • Owns all server infrastructure
  • Reliable connections
  • Good app range
  • Registered in Switzerland
  • Audited no log policy
Cons
  • Not the fastest
  • Package prices confusing

Lastly, there is VyprVPN, a service that offers a large server network that spans over 70 different countries.

In total, it features more than 200,000 individual IP addresses, so you will always be able to unblock whatever you need in most parts of the world.

This is ideal for gaming because it means there is unlikely to be many users using the same IP Address, and you can sneakily avoid most in-game IP bans.

VyprVPN is also lightning fast and one of the best ways of combating internet censorship. It'll help you access geo-blocked games on Steam so you can play whatever game you want.

There's the industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee available, so like the other services, you can try it without any risk.

VyprVPN is one of the best VPNs for Steam.

What to consider when choosing a VPN for Steam

Choosing a VPN for any purpose is difficult enough, but when you throw in the Steam factor, it's made even more challenging.

Essential features to consider when choosing a VPN for Steam gaming are:

  • Speed
  • Server Locations
  • Latency
  • Ping impact
  • Congestion

Everything to do with multiplayer gaming rests on speed. Choose a slow provider, and you'll be plagued with a poor connection that will result in more deaths or more delayed reactions to the game.

For this reason, it's critical you choose a provider with fast speeds and a lengthy money-back guarantee such as ExpressVPN or NordVPN.

You'll be able to check how their speeds impact your Steam gaming over a long period of time and if you're unhappy with the result, get a refund.

Why use a VPN with Steam?

There are several good reasons why you might want to consider using a VPN while playing games via Steam, such as:

1. Mask your IP Address

When you play online games or do anything else online, your IP address can be visible to servers and sometimes even other players.

This does not only expose you, but it also makes you vulnerable to DDoS attacks, which are often targeted at gamers forcing you offline. Pretty annoying when you're on a winning streak!

The best way to protect yourself is to use a VPN. This will hide your real IP address and use the one tied to a server owned by the VPN service.

If anyone tries to target you, they will target the VPN's server instead. This will leave you connected without issues.

2. Unlock games early

Despite the fact that buying games cheaper by connecting to different regions (e.g. using a Russian VPN server) can, in fact, get you banned, this is not the case when you want to access games in different regions early.

Many new releases will emerge in New Zealand first, while elsewhere in the world, they can be late by 24 hours, or maybe even more.

You can get ahead of others and unblock games an entire day before most other people get to play it in your country by activating early using a VPN to connect to foreign game servers.

3. Improve route/ping

VPN is also a great method of improving your internet connection if you have issues between you and Steam or you and the game's server.

Of course, you may know that VPN does, in fact, slow down your internet a bit because it encrypts all of your traffic in real-time.

However, it can also stabilise your connection, eliminate throttling, and make your game run much smoother.

4. Stay secure outside Steam

Lastly, VPNs are likely one of the best security, privacy, and anonymity tools that exist right now. They can do wonders to protect you outside of Steam, as well.

For example, gamers often tend to connect for voice comms and alike while playing on apps outside of Steam.

However, it exposes you, and it might even allow some third party to grab your IP Address and again force you offline.

Use a VPN to protect all of your traffic and your IP address completely.

How do I set up a VPN on Steam?

If you're looking to set up a VPN on Steam, you'll need to follow the steps below.

I'll be using the best VPN for Steam (ExpressVPN) for demonstration purposes.

  1. Head to the ExpressVPN website and sign up for one of their premium VPN packages. My favourite is their 12-month package as it includes 3 free months and has a large discount of 49%.
  2. Download the ExpressVPN app to your device. This can be achieved through your device's app store or via the ExpressVPN website. Then log in using your email address and password.
  3. Next, connect to a VPN server of your choosing, such as a UK VPN server. Then click the Connect button; your connection will take around 10 seconds to establish.
  4. Now that your connection to a VPN server is established, you'll be able to open Steam and access all your favourite games securely.
  5. Enjoy playing video games online without any restrictions.

ExpressVPN app connecting to a US server

Can I get banned for using a VPN with Steam?

As a matter of fact, no.

The first thing that we should point out is that VPNs are entirely legal technology, and apart from a handful of countries, like China or Russia, you are perfectly free to use them anywhere in the world.

As for using a VPN with Steam, you can do so without problems, as well.

Steam does not prohibit VPNs, and you can use them for operating Steam or playing games.

Steam did warn, however, that this might affect your gameplay or even the Steam client. But, there is no guarantee that it will actually happen,

Lastly, if you try to purchase games or game content while you have VPN active, you might reach games that are not available in your area.

However, Steam noted that IP proxying and other methods of masking would, in fact, be a violation of its terms and Steam subscriber agreement, which is a good enough reason to ban you if you get caught doing so.

Steam VPN warning

Steam users, if you're trying to be sneaky and purchase games from cheaper regions, don't be surprised if the game gets revoked or you lose access to your entire Steam account.

Do Free VPNs for Steam work?

Free VPNs sound like a tempting offer, but most of them are very likely to fail you and won't help you circumvent geographical restrictions on game content.

If for nothing else, you and other Steam users should avoid them because they are extremely slow and overcrowded, with only a handful of servers and poor security features.

All of this will make your speed severely reduced, and if you end up playing FPS games where your reaction is critical, you won't have such a great time.

However, free VPNs are also bad for your devices and can cause many problems.

Free VPN services often record VPN users data (VPN traffic) and sell it to the highest bidder, including hackers or the government. Not to mention that there is a fair chance that hackers themselves set them up to steal your data in real-time.

In fact, as recently as 2020, seven ‘free' VPN services were found to have open logs available for anyone to access.

Free VPN services aren't worth it. Use a VPN from the list above instead, and you'll be able to bypass geographical restrictions on most online gaming platforms with ease.

Will VPN use affect my Steam gaming?

It's the million-dollar question and one that lousy guides will answer “no”.

The truth is that any VPN will introduce some speed loss, but by choosing the correct VPN, you can minimise that speed impact so it won't affect playing games online too much.

A VPN can, in specific circumstances, actually improve your gameplay.

If you suffer from poor routing, then it's possible by sending your data via a different route that you get an improved connection to the server you're playing on.

If you play Steam games that find you a victim of DDOS attacks, then a secure VPN will mask your IP Address when gaming to ensure no one can discover your true IP. This is especially useful when using VOIP services.

In Summary

Above I've rounded up my top seven VPN services for use with Steam.

There are somewhere in the region of 500 commercial VPNs, and the quality of them varies. I tested the seven above with all kinds of Steam games on online gaming platforms, PUBG to WoW and CS to L4D, plus everything else in between.

The best VPN for Steam is ExpressVPN, but others like NordVPN, CyberGhost VPN and the others listed all make great choices.

Now all you have to do is sign up and enjoy playing your favourite games using a secure VPN tunnel.

 

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  • Best in class
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What's your reason for using a VPN when gaming? I would love to know, so why not post in the comments section below?

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Author: Christopher Seward

After 25 years of using the internet, Christopher launched one of the very first VPN comparison websites in 2013. An expert in the field his reviews, testing and knowledge have helped thousands of users get the correct VPN for their needs.

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