Steam is a hugely popular platform among gamers and offers a broad selection of games for download. However, you may find that Steam is blocked by your network administrator, for example, at work or school. What’s more, if you’re traveling abroad, you may be disappointed to find that you can’t access your favorite game from back home. Not to worry; a VPN for Steam can help.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) routes all of your internet traffic (including that from applications such as Steam) through a secondary server in another location. The traffic is encrypted so its contents are unreadable to anyone, including your network administrator, internet service provider, or hackers. Plus, your IP address is replaced with one from a location of your choice, making it appear to Steam and other sites that you’re in that location.
If you don’t have time to read this full post, here’s a quick look at the best VPNs for Steam:
We found these to be the best VPNs for Steam:
- NordVPN: Our top recommendation for Steam. NordVPN boasts incredible speeds and an expansive network. It comes with excellent unblocking potential and lots of security extras. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark: Best budget pick. A provider known for its clean, modern apps and ability to circumvent blocks, Surfshark offers a sturdy VPN and doesn’t impose connection limits.
- ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN is fast and highly adept at bypassing blocks.
- CyberGhost: This provider boasts a huge server network, strong security, and a no-logs policy.
- IPVanish: This VPN offers easy-to-use apps that are ideal for gaming, and packs excellent security and privacy features.
- PrivateVPN: A small yet powerful provider, PrivateVPN offers lots of built-in security features and can evade the toughest of restriction measures.
- AtlasVPN: A fast VPN that is ideally suited to data-intensive tasks like gaming, torrenting, and streaming in HD.
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Even if a VPN works with Steam, it may not be up to standard in terms of other factors, such as speed, reliability, and security. Our selections of the best VPNs for Steam are based on the following criteria:
- Works with Steam from anywhere
- Excellent download speeds
- Stable connections with no lag or buffering
- Strong security and privacy features
- Easy-to-use apps for the major operating systems
- Solid customer support
The best VPNs for Steam – At a glance
We’ve compared the most important features for the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for Steam.
|Website||NordVPN.com||Surfshark.com||ExpressVPN.com||Cyberghost.com||IPVanish.com||PrivateVPN.com||atlasvpn.com||Ranking for Steam||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||Avg Speed (Mbps)||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||100+ Mbps||39 Mbps||100+ Mbps||Total number of servers||5,000+||3,200||Undisclosed||9,073||2,200+||200+||750+||Simultaneous Connections||6||Unlimited||5||7||Unlimited||10||Unlimited||Activity logs||None||None||No identifying data||No identifying data||No logs stored||No logs stored|
|Best deal (per month)||$3.29|
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SAVE: 49% on the annual plan
SAVE 84% on the 2 year plan + 3 months FREE
SAVE 72% on the 2 year plan
SAVE 85% on the three year plan
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Best VPNs for Steam
Here’s our list of the best VPNs for Steam:
Jun 2023 unblocks steamTested Jun 2023
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is our first choice for a Steam VPN. It’s the fastest VPN we’ve tested and it operates a huge server network with more than 5,000 in over 60 countries. It will allow you to play all your favorite games such as Dota 2, Warframe, Rust, and Brawlhalla with no lag or buffering for a great gaming experience. It’s known for its ability to unblock content and it works in China and other countries where the government tries to block VPNs. Torrenting is allowed with specific servers recommended for P2P.
This is a true no-logs provider and comes with plenty of security features. These include 256-bit encryption alongside perfect forward secrecy, automatic wifi protection, a kill switch in most apps, and protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. If you want an extra layer of encryption, NordVPN offers double VPN on some servers.
Desktop clients are available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and you can download iOS and Android apps from their respective app stores. The VPN works with certain routers via manual configuration. NordVPN allows you to connect up to six devices at a time under each plan. Live-chat customer support is available around the clock. It’s the perfect all-around VPN for Steam users.
- Incredible speeds
- Plenty of server options
- Reliable, secure VPN
- Doesn’t keep any logs
- Easily bypasses blocks
- Knowledgeable customer support
- Can be a bit slow at times
BEST VPN FOR STEAM:NordVPN is our first choice. It’s super fast, has no shortage of servers, and packs lots of security features. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee for a risk-free deal.
Check out our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a great low-cost alternative. It has a similar size network to IPVanish with around 3,200 servers covering over 60 countries. This provider is known for its fair price and its ability to unblock streaming media sites and get around network blocks. It even works in China and other countries with strict internet censorship.
Surfshark continues to add items to its roster of security features. Aside from 256-bit encryption and perfect forward secrecy, you get a kill switch on all platforms, protection against DNS, IPv6, and WebRTC leaks, split tunneling, and automatic wifi protection. This provider never logs your data.
Apps are available for Linux, Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, and you can configure the VPN to work with select routers. Surfshark is the only provider on this list that doesn’t impose a connection limit so you can use it on as many devices as you like without having to purchase a second plan. Customer support representatives are available via live chat at all times.
- Unblocks sites from anywhere
- Lots of security features
- User-friendly apps
- Around-the-clock support
- Unlimited devices
- Some servers we tested were a bit slow
BEST BUDGET CHOICE:Surfshark is great at unblocking and provides you with stable connections backed by a ton of security features. Subscriptions include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
See our full review of Surfshark.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is fast and has more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries. Bandwidth and data are unlimited. ExpressVPN easily goes undetected so it can bypass office or school blocks, and it even works in countries with strict censorship such as China.
Security is a priority for this VPN. You know your information is in good hands with the use of 256-encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch in the desktop apps, and DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leak protection. EpxressVPN maintains very minimal metadata logs and stores no data that can be used to identify you.
Desktop clients are available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, and mobile apps can be downloaded for iOS and Android. You can configure the VPN with select routers if you’d like to protect every internet-connected device in your home, including those that don’t have native apps. ExpressvPN permits up to five simultaneous connections. Live-chat customer support representatives are on hand should you need any help with setup or troubleshooting.
- Bypasses blocks
- Solid speeds
- Tight security
- Unlimited data
- Priced a little higher than some rivals
SOLID GAMING VPN:ExpressVPN is another solid selection for use with Steam. It provides a stellar service including fast speeds, strong security, and excellent customer support. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Find out more in our ExpressVPN review.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost is a solid option for a Steam VPN, especially for users on a budget. This provider is expanding its server network and now has well over 7,000 server options in 90 countries. It offers fast speeds and is great at unblocking geo-restricted media.
CyberGhost comes with top security features, including military-grade encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch in all apps, and protection against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks. It also has a built-in NAT firewall which can help protect against hacking attempts. CyberGhost doesn’t log any user data.
Apps are available for Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android, and you can configure the VPN to work with select home routers. Up to seven simultaneous connections are allowed. 24/7 live chat is available.
- Fast speeds
- A huge network of servers
- Stable connections
- Easy-to-use apps
- Lacks some advanced features
SECURE AND RELIABLE:CyberGhost is a reliable option for use with Steam. This VPN is secure and reliable, plus provides fast speeds for downloading, streaming, and more. Plans include a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.
Read more in our in-depth CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish operates a medium-sized network of over 2000 servers in more than 50 countries. The company owns it servers, which is good from a security and reliability standpoint. It records fast speeds and doesn’t impose limits on data or bandwidth. IPVanish offers an Android APK that can be downloaded directly to compatible devices and apps are remote control-friendly.
This company never keeps logs of traffic or connection data and secures your information with 256-bit encryption, perfect forward secrecy, a kill switch in the desktop apps, and protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks. A NAT firewall is built-in.
You can download apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The VPN can be configured with Linux and some routers. IPVanish is even more generous than most rivals with its connection limit and allows you to use the VPN on an unlimited number of devices. 24/7 live chat support is available in case you need help with setup or troubleshooting.
- Owns all of its servers
- Fast speeds and reliable connections
- Connect all your devices
- Apps for all platforms
- Lots of advanced features
- Doesn’t work in China
SECURE AND PRIVATE:IPVanish takes your security and privacy very seriously and offers a fast, stable connection for gaming. Plans include a 7-day money-back guarantee.
Check out the full IPVanish review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN doesn’t have the expansive network that its competitors offer (it has around 150 in 60 countries), but it still performs extremely well. Speeds are great and PrivateVPN can unblock some of the most stubborn geo-restricted sites and streaming services. It works well in countries across the globe, including China.
This provider lives up to its name by keeping no logs whatsoever. It secures your data with military-grade encryption, perfect forward secrecy, protection against DNS, WebRTC, and IPv6 leaks, and a kill switch in the Windows app.
You can connect up to six devices at a time under one PrivateVPN plan. Desktop clients are available for Windows and macOS, and you can download mobile apps for iOS and Android. Live-chat support is available, although not at all times of the day.
- Fast, sturdy VPN
- Good at unblocking
- Keeps no logs
- Smaller network than most top-rated competitors
- Live chat support isn’t always available
PRIVACY-FOCUSED:PrivateVPN is a secure, fast service with a strict no-logs policy and great unblocking potential. You can try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Find out more in our complete review of PrivateVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
AtlasVPN was recently acquired by Nord Technologies (the parent company of our top pick for Steam). This means that the VPN is technically based in Panama, which is great in terms of privacy. It also means that you can expect this VPN to keep improving and become one of the best VPN services around.
The VPN is ideal for unblocking Steam and playing games thanks to its super-fast Wireguard implementation. Its fast servers and apps for all devices make it an ideal Steam VPN for any user who wants to play popular games on their desktop computer or laptop. Or wants to watch a lot of streaming videos. Best of all, this VPN excels at providing access to streaming platforms like Netflix US, iPlayer, Hulu, Disney Plus, Prime Video, and HBO Max.
Although this VPN was only launched in 2019, it has an impressive feature set. Apps are available for all platforms and come with a kill-switch, DNS leak protection, malware filtering, and split tunneling. IKEv2 with robust AES-256 encryption is available in addition to the WireGuard protocol.
- Fast WireGuard protocol for streaming and gaming on BlueStacks
- Solid AES 256 encryption (IKEv2 protocol) and a kill switch
- No logs policy
- Works with most popular streaming platforms, including Netflix
- Easy to use
- Fewer advanced features than our other recommendations
- Servers in just over 30 countries
FANTASTIC CONNECTION SPEEDS:AtlasVPN is a low-cost option ideal for playing games, streaming, and torrenting. The VPN is cheap and it lets you connect to its servers using an unlimited number of devices. Apps for all platforms. Fast WireGuard protocol for playing multiplayer games like WoW, CoD, and Fortnite. Has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Find out more in our AtlasVPN review.
How we found the best VPNs for Steam: Our methodology
There are literally hundreds of VPNs to choose from, many of which are unsuitable for use with Steam. Having tested plenty of VPNs with Steam, we know what to look for and which of them work best. Below, we review our methodology for finding the best VPNs for Steam:
- Servers worldwide: It may be that Steam is blocked on your network or that you’re traveling abroad and can no longer access your home library. You’ll want a VPN that offers servers in dozens of countries worldwide so you can get around this. We found VPNs with the largest server networks, most of which consist of thousands of servers.
- Speed: Whether you’re downloading a game or playing online, fast server speeds are required. Without high-speed connections, you’re likely to suffer from slow downloads and excessive lag when gaming. Fortunately, we’ve found the fastest VPNs for Steam, all of which offer unlimited bandwidth.
- Unblocking: While a VPN may work with Steam, you may find it struggles with other websites and services. In order to save you some time, we’ve tested all of the best VPNs for Steam with the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. That way, you can be sure that you’re getting a VPN with strong unblocking ability.
- Security: A VPN should encrypt your data and protect it from cybercriminals. However, connecting to a VPN also protects you from DDoS attacks. After all, the VPN can simply change the server’s IP address if affected (or you can switch servers yourself!). This makes VPNs highly suitable for secure online gaming.
- Privacy: While many VPNs claim to operate a no-logs policy, this isn’t always the case. To separate fact from fiction, we studied 140 VPN logging policies. The best VPNs for Steam all have something in common: none of them keep any identifying logs of their users. This means you can stay anonymous online.
- Ease of use: Nobody wants to spend all their free time trying to figure out how to use a VPN. By using a VPN listed in this post, you can be sure you’re getting one with user-friendly apps so you can start gaming straight away. And if you encounter an issue and need a quick fix, 24/7 live chat and email support are at hand in all cases.
- Value for money: With so many VPNs competing for your custom, there are plenty of great deals to be found. Here, you’ll find the VPNs that offer all of the above features while remaining affordable. Each VPN includes a money-back guarantee of at least 30 days. We also provide discount coupons for each so you can get an even better deal.
Thanks to our VPN testing methodology, we’ve been able to find the best VPNs for Steam so that you can game securely and with minimal lag.
How to unblock Steam with a VPN
If you find that your office, school, or college has blocked access to Steam, not to worry, as circumventing those blocks is quick and simple. Below are the steps to quickly set up your VPN and access Steam.
Here’s how to unblock Steam with a VPN:
- Subscribe to your chosen VPN provider. We particularly recommend NordVPN.
- Install the relevant app on your device. Desktop clients can be downloaded from the provider’s website.
- Connect to a VPN server. The location shouldn’t matter for bypassing these types of blocks, but geographically close servers tend to give you faster speeds. Some VPNs will automatically connect you to the fastest server or list ping times to give you an idea of latency for each server.
- Open the Steam application and you should find you can play your games with no issues.
If you are having problems, you may need to contact your VPN provider support team for help with troubleshooting.
How to change Stream region with a VPN
As mentioned, you may wish to change your store country within Steam. Your store country is set to the location where you first made a Steam purchase. If you move and want to change to your new location you can follow the steps below.
Here’s how to change the Steam region with a VPN:
- Log in to your Steam account.
- Click your username in the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select Account Details.
- Click Update store country and click the arrow for the dropdown menu. You should see your current location as an option.
Once you’ve changed countries, subsequent purchases will need to be made using a payment method from that country.
As mentioned, it’s possible to spoof your current location using a VPN. However, it’s worth mentioning again that this is against Steam rules and you could end up having your account blocked.
VPN for Steam FAQs
Can I use a free VPN with Steam?
Using a free VPN with Steam is not a good idea. Free VPNs usually don’t perform well when it comes to tasks such as unblocking restricted sites as they’re easily detected and blocked.
Even if you do manage to access Steam with one, free VPNs aren’t a good solution for playing online games. These services tend to have slow, unreliable connections. You’ll likely have to deal with lag and may find your connection drops partway through a game.
Free VPNs also disappoint when it comes to privacy and security. Unlike paid providers that make it a priority to respect your privacy, many free VPNs are looking to profit off your information. They’ll track your online activity and sell the resulting profile to advertisers.
In addition, with low budgets, free VPNs cut security corners. Some only use weak encryption, while others don’t bother to encrypt your data at all. As if all that’s not bad enough, one free VPN was found to be stealing a user’s idle bandwidth for use in a botnet.
It just makes sense to pay a small fee for the peace of mind provided by a reputable provider.
Can I use a VPN to bypass Steam region restrictions?
Yes and no. Most games available for purchase on Steam have no region restrictions. However, some gift and third-party purchases may be subject to restrictions. If there is a restriction on a game, it will be marked on the product page. For example, games purchased in Russia can only be played in a handful of countries, including Russia, Armenia, and Latvia. The person receiving the gift will also be able to clearly see where the game can be played.
Technically, it’s possible to bypass Steam’s region restrictions using a VPN. All you have to do is connect to a server in a location in which the game you want to download may be played and change your store country (we explain how to do this in the next section).
However, as per the Steam Subscriber Agreement, the company prohibits the use of a VPN for this purpose:
You agree that you will not use IP proxying or other methods to disguise the place of your residence, whether to circumvent geographical restrictions on game content, to purchase at pricing not applicable to your geography, or for any other purpose. If you do this, Valve may terminate your access to your Account.
As such, if you’re caught doing this, you may have your account access revoked.
In an FAQ, the company hints at how it detects VPN use. It appears it simply compares your location with the one you usually use to access the platform.
If you attempt to redeem a region restricted game and your location is inconsistent with your past Steam activity, a warning will appear […]
In some cases, you may not need to use a VPN at all. For example, if you’ve purchased a game at home and want to play it abroad, you should be able to do so. If you’re seeing region restrictions when trying to play the game, it’s possible you just need to change your store country setting.
Is using a VPN against Steam Terms of Service?
The Steam Subscriber Agreement does make reference to “IP proxying” and makes it clear that using a VPN to bypass the geographic restrictions on game content or to purchase via another country’s store may result in Valve terminating your account. However, it’s not against Steam’s Terms of Service to use a VPN while playing a game. So as long as you’re not using a VPN to access geo-blocked content or to get a cheaper deal, you don’t have to worry about a ban.
Are Steam games cheaper in other countries?
Yes, Steam games are often cheaper in other countries. The reason for this is because Valve (the company behind Steam) charges different prices for different countries based on that country's economic conditions and the popularity of Steam in that country.
Will using a VPN with Steam slow down my internet connection?
You can expect your internet connection to be slowed down somewhat when you use a VPN with Steam. However, as long as you use one of the best VPNs for Steam, the difference should be minimal and unnoticeable as a result. That’s because these VPNs offer unlimited bandwidth and use fast protocols such as WireGuard. As such, you should be able to play online games on Steam with no lag. We can’t say the same for many other VPNs, particularly free VPNs which are prone to engage in bandwidth throttling.
Do VPNs impact ping?
Yes. When you connect to a VPN server your data must be routed to the remote location of the VPN server on its way to the game server, and on the way back. This additional routing can cause lag and increase your ping.
Fortunately, there are some occasions when using a VPN may actually be able to route your traffic to a game server more quickly. This can actually help to reduce your ping.
We recommend that you try connecting to a VPN server that is closer to the game server, or in a location that is between where you are and the location of the game server. Alternatively, try connecting to a VPN server near your home.
Testing these different possibilities may allow you to route your internet differently, which could help to reduce your ping. Most of the time, however, it is unlikely that a VPN will reduce rather than increase your ping.
To find out more about how a VPN can affect your ping follow the link.
See also: Best VPNs for gaming