Playing online through your Xbox One takes the experience to the next level. The whole world is available to you if you know how to connect to the right game servers. We explain how to use a VPN with your Xbox One to access international servers and protect your privacy.
Connecting your Xbox One to the internet also introduces security risks. Once you get known out there and you become a threat to other teams, they can hit back at you through DDoS attacks or SWATTING.
Unfortunately, you can’t install a VPN on the Xbox One console. Instead, you can set it up on your wifi router. Another option is to create a virtual router using a laptop. You can check out our tutorials on this topic for Macs and Windows to get more information on this trick.
We cover each provider we recommend in detail below, but if you can’t stick around through to the end of this post, here is our summary list of the best VPNs for Xbox One.
Best VPNs for Xbox One:
- NordVPN Our top pick for Xbox One. Huge network of very fast servers. Great security offering. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark Budget provider that lets you protect every device you own. Doesn’t compromise on speed or security.
- ExpressVPN Hundreds of superfast servers around the world. Fantastic security and privacy credentials. Unblocks plenty of major services abroad.
- CyberGhost Equipped with plenty of gaming-optimized servers. Easy to use apps.
- IPVanish Super fast servers can be chosen according to best ping speed. Straightforward setup.
- PrivateVPN Operates plenty of servers that are fast enough for a good gaming experience.
Best VPNs for Xbox One
Not every VPN is suitable for the Xbox One and some can actually harm your chances of winning online. You need to look out for VPNs with the following features (we explain these in more detail later):
- High speeds, low latency
- A large number of servers
- Servers optimized for gaming
- DDoS protection
- Multiple connection allowances
- Router compatibility
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Without further ado, here’s a list of the best VPNs for Xbox One:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is an excellent choice for anyone looking to protect their router. The website has detailed instructions to install the system on 29 different types of routers. In total, you are allowed six concurrent connections to the service and the router install will count as just one of those.
The company operates servers in more than 5,400 locations across 60 countries. The server list in the app has a ping test facility so that you can tell which is going to give you the fastest connection. Connection options include DDoS protection and you can also order a dedicated IP address if you want to run your own games server. Further, with the fastest speeds we’ve seen from any major VPN, you shouldn’t have any issues, even with particularly data-hungry games.
- Hundreds of low-latency servers around the globe, ideal for gaming
- Tops our list of the fastest VPNs
- Round-the-clock chat support can help connect to the best gaming servers
- Offers dedicated IP addresses for running your own games server
- Use up to six devices simultaneously
- Isn’t primed for novice users
BEST VPN FOR XBOX ONE:NordVPN is our #1 choice. A good all-rounder that works well with Xbox One. Exceptional speeds. Solid security and privacy features and accommodates up to 6 devices. Includes a risk-free 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark has over 1,700 servers in 60+ countries, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding a high-speed, low-latency connection. While there’s no official Xbox app, you can install it on your router to protect all of your devices automatically, or configure the Xbox to use Surfshark’s Smart DNS service if you’re only interested in unblocking certain apps. Unlike most other VPNs on the market, Surfshark has no connection limit.
This service helps keep you safe using a kill switch, 256-bit AES encryption, and protection against WebRTC, IPv6, and DNS leaks. There’s also an ad-blocker, malware-scanner, and split tunneling functionality. Surfshark doesn’t log any data that could be used to identify you but if you’d like another layer of protection, you can pay in cryptocurrency (Ripple, Ethereum, or Bitcoin). If you run into difficulty, you can reach support 24/7 over live chat.
Surfshark provides apps for iOS, Windows, MacOS, Android, and Linux. It can also be manually configured to work with supported internet routers.
- Connect as many devices as you like
- Great unblocking ability
- Strong security and privacy credentials
- Fairly small (but expanding) network
- Some slow speeds
Read our full review of Surfshark here.
BEST BUDGET OPTION:Surfshark gives you the speeds and security tools required to stream and game safely. What’s more, it puts major emphasis on privacy, has no connection limit, and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN can’t be loaded onto the Xbox One. However, it can be installed on routers. This is your best option because it gets all of the internet-enabled devices covered with one install. ExpressVPN is rare in the industry because it has an install wizard that will set up the provider’s custom firmware on your router for you — with others, you have to manually install third-party firmware.
The speeds of this service are very good and the company operates over 3,000 VPN servers in 94 countries, which should get you into games servers all over the world. The company doesn’t specifically provide DDoS protection. However, the cloaking service of its substitute IP address should be enough to get you out of being attacked. The customer service department of ExpressVPN is second to none. Techies are available online 24/7 via a live chat window at the ExpressVPN website.
- Hundreds of low-latency servers to choose from
- Good router connectivity options
- Leading security and privacy features turned on by default
- Staff are well trained and can assist in connecting to the best gaming servers
- Slightly more expensive than other providers
- Could provide more customizable options
SECURE AND VERSATILE:ExpressVPN is fast, secure, and versatile, making it ideal for gaming and streaming. Better still, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
CyberGhost offers really good speeds and it also offers servers optimized for gaming. You can reorder the server list so that it shows the fastest service for your location first. The app has a really great design featuring a friendly ghost. However, you will be more interested in the ability to install the service on a router, so you can get your Xbox covered.
The company operates over 5,700 servers in 90 countries, including the major gaming Meccas of the world. Apart from gaming, you can install the app on Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android devices. You get an allowance of seven simultaneous connections and there are a lot of extra privacy protection features for your computers and mobile devices.
- Some of the fastest gaming servers we’ve come across
- Apps are easy to install and use – a good option for beginners
- Solid privacy features including kill-switch
- Great value low-cost provider
- Doesn’t work in China, Turkey or the UAE
- Few advanced configuration options
BEGINNERS' CHOICE:CyberGhost is easy to set up. Works well with Xbox One. Good option if you are looking for a fast, reliable connection and an easy-to-use interface. 45-day money back guarantee.
Read our full CyberGhost review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish is one of the fastest VPN in the world. Speed is very important in online gaming and you can gain a winning edge if your opponents get slowed down because of their connection speed. The server list in the app can be reordered according to ping, which will give you an idea of the best server to connect to.
IPVanish has over 1,200 servers in 60 countries and it has a particularly large network in its home territory of the United States. The company has a total of 418 servers located in 17 US cities. You are allowed five simultaneous connections to the service and the system can be loaded onto compatible routers.
- Apps can be setup to automatically connect to low-latency servers
- Allow any number of simultaneous connections
- Connections, communications, and traffic remain encrypted and private at all times
- Operates in over 60 countries, great for unblocking geo-restricted content
- Claims 24/7 support, but tickets can take one or two days.
- Look elsewhere if you need to use apps in China
SECURE EVERY DEVICE:IPVanish has a large network of servers. Generally solid for gamers, torrenters, P2P & Kodi users. Adhere to the highest standard of privacy. Could do with having live support. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
PrivateVPN matches NordVPN’s generous allowance of six simultaneous connections. The service can also be installed on a compatible router, which only counts as one of your connections. The company is based in Sweden, but its support staff all speaks English. They are available via live chat on the website during European business hours and if you can’t follow their instructions they can take over your devices remotely and fix the problem for you.
You get good speeds with this VPN service and the company has servers in 55 countries. PrivateVPN was originally created to serve the torrenting community, so this is a good choice if you like to download as well as play games online.
- Above average speeds are great for gaming
- Also leads the way for torrenting and streaming
- Privacy and security are top-notch
- Support staff only operate during European business hours
- Newish provider is still expanding its server network, has fewer servers to choose from
- Works with Linux but requires manual configuration
GREAT SPEEDS:PrivateVPN is a good gaming. Speeds were surprisingly good at this end of the market. Could do with having more servers and lacks 24/7 support. 30-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of PrivateVPN.
Free VPNs for Xbox One
Don’t get caught up with the attraction of getting something for nothing. There is usually a good reason why a VPN is free and that reason is that, basically, the service is no good. Some excellent VPNs offer free versions. However, there is always a catch. Some of those free services will disconnect after a period and that could lose you the game. Many also have monthly data transfer quotas of speed limits — neither of which you want for online gaming.
VPNs that are straight-out free have sometimes been revealed to be dangerous. There are two examples of this category in the next section of this review.
VPNs to avoid
Hola is not really a VPN because it doesn’t offer any encryption. The company runs a parallel business that sells access to the VPN network. As this is a peer-to-peer system, that network is actually made up of the internet bandwidth of Hola users. The paid version of the system has very few controls, so your IP address could be used by hackers as a front for DDoS attacks and other unpleasant activities.
How to set-up a VPN on your router for Xbox One
Since we can’t install a VPN app directly on our Xbox, we’ll have to install it on our router instead. This approach ensures that any device that connects to our network is protected automatically and allows you to bypass VPN connection limits.
Here’s how to set-up a VPN for Xbox One:
- Start by logging into your router’s control panel. Most routers will have a sticker on the underside or back of the case that has an IP address on it. Enter this into your browser’s address bar and login. If there’s no sticker, you can often find the correct address by googling the name of the manufacturer and “control panel IP address”.
- Because there are so many different types of router firmware, there’s no “one size fits all guide” to installing a VPN. However, most major providers will have detailed installation instructions on their website. Find the instructions for your brand of router and keep this page open in a new tab.
- Carefully follow each step in the process. Don’t change anything that you aren’t told to since so many things can go wrong. When in doubt, contact support and ask them to walk you through it.
- Once the VPN has been installed, just connect your Xbox to the network as normal. Any device you connect should now have greatly enhanced privacy and security.
For more information on setting up a VPN on your home router check out our Ultimate Guide to VPNs for Routers.
Set up a VPN-protected wifi hotspot on a laptop
Alternatively, you can use a laptop to create a “virtual router” that broadcasts a wifi hotspot. Any device connected to that hotspot will send its traffic through the VPN server. Check out our instructions on how to set up a VPN-protected wifi hotspot on Windows and Mac.
Online attack risk
Once you become familiar with the Xbox One controls you will probably want to move onto more complicated concepts. Onlive games with Xbox Live beckon and team games are the next level. It is possible to coordinate a match in a teamplay game, and that team doesn’t all need to be sitting in the same room. Voice chat facilities are available to help you coordinate your team. However, you will soon find yourself using these chat systems to goad opponents and swap tips.
Unfortunately, those chat systems are not very secure, and that new friend you make on the other side of the world may just be using the conversation as a way to find out your IP address. There is a growing trend in online gaming of attacking the internet connections of opponents to lock them out of games at critical moments. Those attacks can lose you a match and so you need to guard against revealing your true IP address.
The viciously competitive nature of some player drives them to resort to dirty tricks. You need to protect yourself against these people and thrash them in a game on equal terms. The best system you can use for this online protection is called a VPN. This service will mask your real IP address and also absorb all the force of a message flood sent to block off your access to the internet — these are called DDoS attacks.
Those DDoS attacks are also launched against games servers. To protect their servers, games companies sometimes block out large ranges of IP addresses, which they suspect includes computers that have been attacking them. This can unfairly block out innocent gamers. VPNs can help you with this problem, too, because they give you a temporary IP address that replaces your own and gets you out of the banned address range.
Another trick of sabotage that opponents will sometimes try in order to pay you back for beating them in a game is called SWATTING. This involves creating a security panic that will draw a SWAT team to your home. This is a good reason to keep your identity and your location private when you are playing online. Even though the call out of the SWAT team is not your fault, the aftermath of this hazing can cause you serious grief. In one documented case, a neighbor of the target of the prank was killed by an overhyped police squad.
Keeping your identity a secret in online gaming is an advisable precaution against being targeted.
How to change location on Xbox One
You might not know this, but different Xbox apps are available in different countries. Additionally, some (like Netflix) change their content depending on where you are. Luckily, changing your location is easy with a VPN.
Here’s how to change your location on Xbox One:
- First, sign up for one of the VPNs above (we recommend NordVPN).
- Next, install it on your router. This can get pretty complicated, so feel free to ask your VPN’s customer support team for help if you get stuck.
- During the setup process, you’ll be asked to enter the details of the server you’d like to use. To change location, just choose a server that’s in a different country.
- Finally, start up your Xbox One and connect to the router. You should now be able to access new apps and watch content that was previously inaccessible.
Methodology: How we found the best VPNs for Xbox One
If you want to use a VPN with your Xbox One, you’ll need one that is router-compatible. However, there are many more factors to be considered, as outlined in our methodology which helped us identify the best VPNs for Xbox One:
- Servers worldwide: It may be that you want to unblock a particular Xbox app that isn’t available in your country. Alternatively, you might wish to connect to a server close to your physical location for faster speeds. The best VPNs for Xbox One offer servers in dozens of countries, allowing you to do all this with ease.
- Speed: Whether you’re using your Xbox One for online gaming or streaming, you’ll want high-speed servers so you can do so without interruption. Our speed tests have identified the fastest VPNs for use with Xbox One, all of which offer unlimited bandwidth. This is particularly important if you’re suffering from ISP throttling.
- Unblocking: If you travel abroad, you may no longer be able to access a particular Xbox app. Alternatively, it may be that the content you do see via a particular app is different due to geographic restrictions. That’s why it’s important you use a VPN with strong unblocking ability so you can continue to access your favorite content.
- Security: There are some security risks that come with using your Xbox One online. This includes DDoS attacks and swatting. You can protect yourself from this by using a VPN which encrypts your data and hides your IP address and physical location. All of the VPNs we’ve covered include DNS leak protection and a kill switch.
- Privacy: While it’s essential that any VPN you use encrypts your data, it’s equally important that no identifying logs are kept. Many VPNs claim to operate no-logs policies but we’ve found this isn’t always the case. We’ve analyzed some 140 VPN logging policies in order to determine which best protect your privacy.
- Ease of use: Unfortunately, using a VPN with Xbox One requires having to manually configure it with your wifi router. The good news is that the best VPNs for Xbox One make this easier than others thanks to the manual setup instructions provided for games consoles. Need help? 24/7 live chat and email support are at hand.
- Value for money: Despite offering all of the above, the best VPNs for Xbox One often work out to be more affordable than VPNs that lack these features. This is in part thanks to the VPN discount coupons we’ve provided. Note that each VPN also includes a money-back guarantee of at least 30 days so you can try it risk-free.
Our VPN testing methodology involves the hands-on testing of each VPN in an effort to find out whether it offers the above (such as speed and security) and to what extent.
Best VPNs for Xbox FAQ
Does using a VPN for Xbox One boost gaming speeds?
If you’re currently suffering from slow internet speeds, it may be because your ISP is throttling your connection. You can bypass bandwidth throttling and potentially enjoy faster speeds for gaming with a VPN, providing it offers unlimited bandwidth. Remember also that the closer the server to your location, the faster it’s likely to be. So yes, it may be that using a VPN for Xbox One boosts your gaming speeds.
Will using a VPN with my Xbox One protect my identity?
Yes, using a VPN with your Xbox One ensures your identity is protected. First, there’s 256-bit AES encryption which makes it near-impossible for hackers to access your personal data. Second, any high-quality VPN will have a strict no-logs policy (no collecting or sharing of your data). By using a VPN, you’re hiding your real IP address and location so you can game anonymously on Xbox One without having to worry about DDoS attacks.
Can you get banned for using a VPN on Xbox One?
No, you’re not going to get banned for using a VPN with your Xbox One. There are no rules against this and it’s a perfectly good (and legal) way to avoid ISP throttling as well as protect your identity online.