Best VPNs for online gaming

Using a gaming VPN is a great way to improve your game-playing and hosting experience. Online gaming requires a fast and consistent connection. If your ISP is throttling your bandwidth, you’ll likely experience high ping, which makes for a frustrating gaming experience. Online gaming also comes with some security risks, such as DDoS attacks and swatting. The good news is that a VPN can help you bypass these issues to play online games without performance issues or security-related interruptions.

A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, works by routing your traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a server in your preferred location. The encryption of data prevents your ISP, hackers, and snoopers from intercepting data. Furthermore, your real IP address and location are hidden, which protects your privacy and helps prevent DDoS attacks. It also allows you to spoof your location – an easy way to access games unavailable in your location!

We extensively tested all the VPNs on the market that claim to be great for gaming and hosting, and we’ve put together this list of the ones we’ve found to be the best. In this article, we’ll review them for you and explain how to use them. We’ll start with a quick summary of their top features, but keep reading if you want more detailed reviews.

Best VPNs for online gaming:

  1. NordVPN: Our top recommended gaming VPN. Extremely fast, servers in 60+ countries, strong security and privacy standards. Prevents ISP throttling and lag. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. TIP In our testing we found that the cheapest NordVPN plan (Standard) works perfectly for gaming.
  2. Surfshark: Best budget alternative. Solid choice for gaming. Reliable servers, great multi-platform support, a wide range of privacy features, and no device limits.
  3. ExpressVPN: Operates reliable servers in 100+ countries. Fast connections and works with a wide range of devices. Quality customer support around the clock.
  4. CyberGhost: Beginner-friendly VPN. Solid provider with plenty of useful features for gaming online. Extensive server network in 100+ countries. Allows up to seven simultaneous connections.
  5. IPVanish: Fast servers in more than 75 locations. Tier 1 network. Allows unlimited simultaneous connections for gaming on multiple devices.
  6. PrivateVPN: Excellent speeds and strong privacy and security. Offers free remote help and installation and accepts anonymous payment in Bitcoin.
  7. PureVPN: Is the cheapest fast VPN for gaming. It has servers in 65+ countries and works to access all popular games.
  8. ProtonVPN: Is a secure VPN that is perfect for advanced users. Has a solid no-logs policy, AES encryption, a kill switch, and obfuscation.

WANT TO TRY THE TOP VPN RISK FREE?

NordVPN is offering a fully-featured, risk-free 30-day trial if you sign up at this page. You can use the VPN rated #1 for gaming with no restrictions for a monthgreat if you are going on a short trip or want to test it out before committing long term. 

There are no hidden termsjust contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn't right for you, and you'll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here.

How we selected the best gaming VPNs

Interested to know how we came up with our list of the best VPNs for online gaming? Our rigorous testing and analysis process helps us only to recommend the VPNs that provide the best service for online gaming and meet our speed, privacy, and security standards. In order to be selected, the VPNs had to fulfill the following criteria:

  • Fast and unthrottled VPN connections for low-ping online gaming
  • Servers in countries worldwide for bypassing blocks
  • Military-grade encryption to keep your data secure
  • Privacy protection with a strict no-logs policy
  • Live chat and email support around the clock
  • Money-back guarantee for a risk-free trial

If you’d like to know more about our testing and decision-making process, take a look at our methodology section below the full VPN reviews.

The best VPNs for gaming: at a glance

We’ve compared the most important features of the top VPNs here. Prefer to read the in-depth reviews? Start with NordVPN – our #1 choice for gaming.

No valueNordVPNSurfsharkExpressVPNCyberGhostIPVanishPrivateVPNPureVPNProton VPN
WebsiteNordVPN.comSurfshark.comExpressVPN.comCyberghost.comIPVanish.comPrivateVPN.comPureVPN.comprotonvpn.com
Ranking for gaming12345678
Streaming reliabilityExcellentExcellentExcellentGoodGoodGood
Avg Speed (Mbps)100+ Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps100+ Mbps39 Mbps400 Mbps100+ Mbps
Total number of servers6,000+3,200Undisclosed11,000+2,200+200+6,500+3,800
Activity logsNoneNoneNo identifying dataNo identifying dataNo logs storedNone
Devices SupportedWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TVWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, RoutersWindows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TVWindows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Chromebook, RoutersWindows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android, Chrome, Firefox, Chromebook
Best deal (per month)$3.09
Up to 74% off + 3 months FREE
$2.19
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free
$6.67
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free
$2.19
SAVE 83% on the 2 year plan + 2 months free!
$2.99
SAVE 76% on the 2 yr plan
$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free
$2.11
Up to 82% off the 2-yr standard plan + free months
$3.59
Up to 64% off a 2-year plan

Best VPNs for online gaming

At Comparitech, we understand the key elements of a gaming VPN are speed, server locations, and security. So we looked for providers that didn’t compromise on those fronts. The below reviews are based on our first-hand experiences using and testing those VPNs.

Here’s our list of the best VPNs for gaming:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN May 2024

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.NordVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is our first choice for a gaming VPN. It boasts more than 6,000 servers in 60 countries, including some optimized for additional privacy. We found it to have some of the fastest speeds we’ve tested, and with no bandwidth limits whatsoever, this VPN is ideal for games where a fast connection is essential.

Next to each server listed in the app is the server load and the number of miles between yourself and the server, which should give you some indication of ping time. You can “favorite” a server to find it quickly later on. NordVPN supports split tunneling on Chrome and Firefox browser extensions and on mobile apps.

Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire TV. If you want to connect to a game console, NordVPN’s website includes dozens of tutorials on setting up the VPN on several types of Wi-Fi router. Browser extensions are offered for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.

NordVPN speed test data

No valueNordVPN
WebsiteNordVPN.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)354 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)262 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)284 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$3.09
Up to 74% off + 3 months FREE

Pros:

  • Fast, low-latency servers
  • Operates a network of more than 6,000 servers in 60+ countries
  • Server loads and distances are indicated for ping time estimation
  • You can save favorite servers when you find a reliable one
  • Offers router installation tutorials for PS and Xbox users
  • Customer service available via 24/7 live chat

Cons:

  • Can choose server locations but are not able to choose specific servers

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST VPN FOR GAMERS:NordVPN is our #1 choice. With a vast range of servers dotted around the globe, including dedicated gaming servers, NordVPN sets the standard for gamers. Also hard to beat on privacy and security features. Allows up to six simultaneous connections from one account. Includes a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try them risk-free.

Read our full NordVPN review or check out our video review below.

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2. Surfshark

Surfshark

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Surfshark.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

Surfshark is a low-cost provider that offers a premium service. This great value provider operates more than 3,200 servers in a whopping 100+ countries, which means you’re effectively guaranteed a low-latency connection wherever you are in the world. It also allows you to automatically connect to the fastest available server and to see each server’s current load at a glance. You can also connect unlimited devices simultaneously.

With decent speeds and plenty of security features (including 256-bit encryption, DNS and IPv6 leak protection, and a kill switch), this VPN is well worth your time. Note that Surfshark also operates a strict no-logs policy, so your privacy is very much protected.

Surfshark comes with apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and Fire TV. Looking to use a VPN on your game console? Surfshark’s website even offers step-by-step guides to installing its software on your home router. Chrome and Firefox extensions are also available.

Surfshark speed test data

No valueSurfshark
WebsiteSurfshark.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)521 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)702 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)561 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.19
Save 86% on a 2 year Starter plan + 3 months free

Pros:

  • High enough speeds for lag-free gaming
  • Large network of low-latency servers
  • Strong on security and privacy
  • Accepts Bitcoin
  • Allows unlimited connections

Cons:

  • Some servers are much faster than others

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

BEST BUDGET GAMING VPN:Surfshark lets you connect as many devices as you like, which means you can game, browse, or stream safe in the knowledge that no one is watching. This security-conscious VPN keeps no logs and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full Surfshark review.

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3. ExpressVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.ExpressVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN operates over 3,000 servers in 100+ countries around the world. The VPN consistently scores well in our speed tests, offering more than enough bandwidth to keep up with opponents online. Split tunneling is available on Windows, Mac, Android, and ExpressVPN’s router firmware.

If you’re a console gamer using a PlayStation or Xbox that doesn’t support VPN apps, ExpressVPN sells pre-configured routers and makes free router firmware for certain models that will let you route all the traffic connected to them through the VPN. This is far more user-friendly than trying to flash an open-source firmware like DD-WRT or Tomato onto your router and manually configuring a VPN, which is also a pain whenever you need to switch servers.

ExpressVPN apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux Fire TV, and certain wifi routers. It also has browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

ExpressVPN speed test data

No valueExpressVPN
WebsiteExpressVPN.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)319 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)303 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)278 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$6.67
SAVE: 49% + 3 months free

Pros:

  • Built-in speed tester for lowest ping time determination
  • Fast, low-latency servers are great for gaming
  • PS and Xbox users can install software on certain routers or get pre-configured ones
  • Live customer support around the clock
  • Servers in over 100+ countries

Cons:

  • Not the cheapest provider here
  • Limited advanced features in apps for power-users

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

TICKS ALL THE BOXES:ExpressVPN is a strong choice for gamers. A fast and reliable VPN for playing. Great privacy features and keeps no logs. Pricier than others on this list. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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4. CyberGhost

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.Cyberghost.com

Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost is an easy-to-use VPN that comes packed with all sorts of features that can help you tailor the service to your gaming needs. Our speed tests show CyberGhost is among the fastest VPNs out there. It’s reliable, too, offering stable connections to over 10,000 servers in over 100+ countries.

All of the servers available on CyberGhost’s network are DDoS-protected, and a NAT firewall comes built-in. You can toggle on useful settings like extra speed and data compression. 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection ensure your data is secure. There’s also a strict no-logs policy.

Apps are available for Windows, Linux, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Fire TV. Split tunneling is available on Windows and Android. Chrome and Firefox browser extensions can also be downloaded.

CyberGhost speed test data

No valueCyberGhost
WebsiteCyberghost.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)449 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)269 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)167 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.19
SAVE 83% on the 2 year plan + 2 months free!

Pros:

  • Vast global network of over 10,000 servers
  • Hundreds of low-latency speedy servers, some of the fastest in our tests
  • DDoS-protected, and a NAT firewall comes built-in on the apps
  • Apps are easy to install and use and are highly configurable for your gaming
  • 45-day money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Power users would prefer more control over advanced features
  • No option for local networking

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

GREAT FOR BEGINNERS:CyberGhost is easy to use. and excellent value for money. Vast server network in 100+ countries is perfect for gaming. Stores no logs and works to stream HD video platforms, including Netflix and Hulu, reliably. Generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full CyberGhost review.

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5. IPVanish

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.IPVanish.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

IPVanish runs approximately 2,000 servers in over 50 countries and exclusively uses Tier 1 servers. It’s one of the very few providers that actually owns its servers rather than renting them. It also provides WireGuard in all of its apps. So, if your priority is to play on a VPN without lag, IPVanish is an excellent choice.

The IPVanish apps allow you to see the current load and ping time of each server and even filter by ping time, protocol, and country. The service includes a NAT firewall. The Android app supports split tunneling. With just one account, you’ll have an unlimited simultaneous connection allowance.

IPVanish apps are available for Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and Fire TV. IPVanish can also be configured on Wi-Fi routers, which will cover your game console.

IPVanish speed test data

No valueIPVanish
WebsiteIPVanish.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)277 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)237 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)352 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.99
SAVE 76% on the 2 yr plan

Pros:

  • Owns and operates all the servers on their network, providing good speeds
  • Can filter, rank, and choose servers according to their protocol type, ping time, and by country
  • Apps automatically connect to low-latency servers
  • Impressive speeds and reliable connections

Cons:

  • Look elsewhere if you need to use apps in China
  • Based in the US – a Five Eyes member

Our score:

4 out of 5

GREAT GAMING VPN:IPVanish has a large network of servers which makes it solid for gaming. An uncongested network that achieves good speeds. Strong security and privacy features. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full IPVanish review.

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6. PrivateVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.PrivateVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PrivateVPN is a Swedish VPN that is fast enough for streaming, gaming, and torrenting. Servers are available in 63 different countries. Further, this VPN can provide secure access to around 20 different Netflix regions, Hulu, iPlayer, and just about any other international streaming platforms you can think of.

True to its name, PrivateVPN has a watertight no-logs policy. You can also expect military-grade encryption as well as a kill switch and DNS leak protection. It is also lightning-fast for playing multiplayer games and has everything you need to compete in tournaments without fear of DDoS attacks.

PrivateVPN apps can be downloaded and installed for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and Fire TV. It can also be manually configured to work with Linux as well as VPN-compatible routers for use with PlayStation and Xbox game consoles.

PrivateVPN speed test data

No valuePrivateVPN
WebsitePrivateVPN.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)94 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)57 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)62 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.00
Save 85% on a one year plan + 24-months free

Pros:

  • Uses Tier1 servers for low lag and high bandwidth connections, ideal for gaming
  • Provides reliable DDoS protection
  • Speeds are fast and stable

Cons:

  • Could have more servers in each country
  • Live chat is not available 24/7

Our score:

4.5 out of 5

USER-FRIENDLY:PrivateVPN has fast servers that are great for gaming. Solid privacy and security features. Servers are available in 60+ countries. Apps provide plenty of advanced features. 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full PrivateVPN review.

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7. PureVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux
  • Background FireTV

Website:  www.AtlasVPN.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

PureVPN is a highly effective VPN that is perfect for gamers on a budget. It is located in the British Virgin Islands – away from intrusive jurisdictions like the US and the UK. Its extensive network spans over 6000 servers in more than 65 countries, allowing gamers to change IP addresses to bypass geo-restrictions, access easier lobbies, reduce lag, and protect against DDoS attacks in tournaments.

Despite its low cost, PureVPN ensures robust privacy with features like a no-logs policy, AES encryption, and DNS leak protection. These are essential for gamers to avoid ISP throttling, bypass network restrictions, and secure their connections, especially on public wifi. It also means you can play games at work or on campus without being monitored

Gamers who stream will appreciate PureVPN’s compatibility with platforms like Netflix, Disney+, and Hulu. This adds value for those balancing gaming with streaming entertainment. In our tests, it worked to watch streaming providers in the US, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan – proving that this caters superbly to international users.

The additional cost for port forwarding may not be critical for gamers but is a great option for those who also seed regularly. Live chat support and a 30-day money-back guarantee allow you to test PureVPN with any of your games.

PureVPN speed test data

No valuePureVPN
WebsitePureVPN.com
Avg Speed (US)628 Mbps
Avg Speed (UK)324 Mbps
Avg Speed (Asia)246 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$2.11
Up to 82% off the 2-yr standard plan + free months

Pros:

  • Fast WireGuard for gaming and streaming
  • Servers in 65+ countries to access international game servers
  • No logs policy and reliable AES-256 encryption
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and more
  • Works with Netflix, Hulu, and more

Cons:

  • Customer support is a bit slow
  • Port forwarding costs extra

Our score:

4 out of 5

CHEAP GAMING:PureVPN is the cheapest fast VPN for gaming. It has servers in 65+ countries and works to access all popular games. Port forwarding is available for torrenting but at an extra cost. Works to access Netflix US, Hulu, HBO Max, and many other popular platforms. Has a fully audited no logging policy and strong AES encryption. 31-day money-back guarantee.

Find out more in our PureVPN review.

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8. ProtonVPN

Apps Available:

  • PC
  • Mac
  • IOS
  • Android
  • Linux

Website:  www.protonvpn.com

Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ProtonVPN is a service developed by the team behind Proton Mail in Switzerland. It is a highly trusted and advanced VPN that is suitable for a wide selection of tasks, including gaming, streaming, torrenting, and making private video calls.

The VPN has a solid no-logging policy and has completed security audits of all its apps and its network infrastructure. This makes it a hugely trustworthy service, based in a country with strong privacy laws.

It has apps for all major platforms that are packed with strong privacy features, including AES encryption, multiple protocols, stealth VPN, a system-level kill switch, obfuscation, and multi-hop connections. It also has split tunneling and port forwarding for torrenting.

Servers are available in 85+ countries to access foreign game servers and to let you purchase games cheaper or if they are released earlier. The VPN’s fast speeds and robust encryption mean that you can feel free to play games at work or on campus without being tracked.

The only drawback is that it is more expensive than some of its competitors. However, if you need a VPN for a short vacation, it is actually cheaper – making it a no-brainer.

In our tests it worked to access major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney Plus, making it a great companion for gamers who also enjoy streaming. Gamers can use its 30-day money-back guarantee to try it out with any game or console.

ProtonVPN speed test data

No valueProton VPN
Websiteprotonvpn.com
Average Connection Speed - North America (USA)390 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Europe (UK)306 Mbps
Average Connection Speed - Asia (Hong Kong)295 Mbps
Best deal (per month)$3.59
Up to 64% off a 2-year plan

Pros:

  • Access to servers in 85+ countries
  • Works with Netflix and other popular streaming services
  • Port forwarding feature is perfect for seeding torrents
  • Fast speeds for gaming
  • Many advanced security features, including Tor over VPN

Cons:

  • A touch expensive
  • Advanced features may confuse beginners

Our score:

4 out of 5

SECURE AND PRIVATE:ProtonVPN is a secure VPN that is perfect for advanced users. Has a solid no-logs policy, AES encryption, a kill switch, and obfuscation. Works to get an IP address in more than 85 countries. A 30-day money-back guarantee lets you test it with any game.

Find out more in our ProtonVPN review.

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Finding the best VPNs for gaming: Our methodology

Deciding which VPN to use for gaming can be tricky. The choices are almost limitless, with new providers popping up all of the time, and they don’t all offer the same features or quality of service. To determine which VPNs are best, we need first to identify which aspects have the biggest impact on gaming and then set a base standard for each. Here are the criteria we used to separate the best from the rest:

  • Speed: The most important consideration for a gaming VPN. Low speeds often result in lag, stuttering, and sporadic disconnections. To prevent this, all of the services we recommend must provide above-average speeds in our most recent speed tests.
  • Network size: Generally, the closer your chosen server is, the lower your latency (although other factors impact this as well). It’s important that a gaming VPN has solid global coverage so that you always have access to a nearby server. Our recommendations all cover at least 40 countries.
  • Security features: Gamers come up against all kinds of threats, from DDoS attacks to targeted harassment (including particularly dangerous types such as SWATTING). The best VPNs for gaming must include a variety of tools (like encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection) designed to keep your true identity and location anonymous.
  • Bandwidth limit: Some services restrict the amount of data you can use each month. Others reduce your speeds after a certain allowance. To ensure you can game as much as you like, our top VPNs for gaming must offer unlimited bandwidth and must not throttle your speeds under any circumstances.
  • Logging policy: For maximum anonymity, these services must not log any data that could identify you. Ideally, they’d keep no logs at all since this prevents them from divulging any user info at any time. Find out more about each VPN’s logging policy here.
  • Unblocking ability: If your game isn’t available worldwide, doesn’t let you switch regions manually, or holds region-exclusive events, you may have to bypass its geographic restrictions using a VPN. Our top VPNs must be able to evade detection to reduce the chance of any consequences, such as a temporary ban.
  • Ease of use: You shouldn’t have to be a tech whizz to protect yourself online. We look for providers that have intuitive, easy-to-use apps and a knowledgeable customer service team on hand should you need them.
  • Value for money: Some VPNs cost the earth yet don’t provide a quality service. We ensure that the providers we recommend offer great bang for your buck. We look for VPNs that offer free trials, money-back guarantees, and long-term subscription deals. Plus, we include our discount coupons to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal.

Of course, this is just the first step. These tests form part of the VPN testing and analysis our team performs as part of our wider research process.

Best VPNs for hosting games online

Now you know which VPNs to choose from if all you want to do is play a game online. But if you want to host one? That requires a couple more criteria to consider:

  • Port forwarding. Games often only operate on certain ports. Game servers and older LAN games will require a VPN equipped with port forwarding. This allows other gamers to find and connect to your public IP address through the forwarded port. Note that it’s not necessary or even recommended to port forward your router and the VPN at the same time. Only the VPN requires port forwarding, or else risk opening yourself up to attack.
  • Static IP addresses are also sometimes referred to as dedicated IPs, though the two differ slightly. A static IP address will allow you to run a reliable game server that won’t change IPs all the time. They can also allow friends to connect to your host computer via LAN apps like Hamachi and Evolve without constantly updating your IP address.

With those criteria in mind, here are a few VPNs for hosting online games:

  • NordVPN: Offers a handful of static IP servers at no extra cost. Port forwarding is not yet supported, but the company says it plans to implement it in a forthcoming update.
  • AirVPN: Each Air VPN server has one static exit-IP address with which clients connected to that server are “visible” on the internet. No specific setup is necessary. Users may forward up to 20 ports simultaneously from the client area dashboard on AirVPN’s website. Private dedicated IPs are available and can be requested by contacting AirVPN.
  • TorGuard: You can add dedicated server IPs to a list in the TorGuard app in the settings menu under the Servers tab. It will then appear at the top of the server selection list on the main client. To set up port forwarding, you’ll need to request it on the TorGuard website. Processing is usually instant. Go to My Services > View Details >> Management Actions >> Port Management.

Why you should use a VPN for online gaming

A VPN service encrypts a device’s internet connection and routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. The encryption and re-routing process can slow down connections and increase lag. Since online gamers want the fastest connection to a game server they can get, it might seem counter-intuitive at first to use a VPN, but there are benefits.

Why you should use a VPN for gaming:

  • Access geo-locked games inaccessible from your country of residence. Is your favorite game limited to South Korea or Japan? No problem! Just connect to a VPN server in those countries and brush up on your language skills.
  • Bypass IP bans. Did you get unjustly IP banned from a game that you love? A VPN will change your IP address so you can get back in the action.
  • Access to Steam and other marketplaces when traveling abroad. Steam and other online game stores may not accept payment if your IP address does not match up with the country in your profile. A VPN can help you get around this.
  • Protection from DDoS attacks. If you’re a competitive gamer and the other team is using dirty tactics to target your IP address with a denial-of-service attack, many VPNs have built-in protections against that.
  • Protection from hackers and snoops. Leaving your connection open to a game for long periods of time can be a security risk. The encryption and IP masking a VPN offers will help keep you safe.
  • Play games not yet released in your country. If you live in Europe and want to get your hands on a game only available in the US, a VPN can help you get earlier access. Just make sure you’re not breaking any terms of service.
  • Access to other regions’ game servers. If you have a friend in another country you want to play with, but the game’s servers are split up by region, a VPN can let you play together.
  • Unblock Discord. Discord is blocked in some countries and certain environments. All of the VPNs we recommend support split tunneling, which allows users to choose which apps use the VPN and which don’t. You can unblock Discord with a VPN while at the same time using a direct connection for games.
  • Access to game streaming services. Game streaming services like Google Stadia and XCloud are only available in certain countries. You can unblock them with a VPN.

Note: some online gaming VPNs will claim they can also lower ping time and lag. However, we recommend you take this claim with a grain of salt. In some cases, a VPN will give you access to a game server that’s performing better or even find a faster route between you and the game server. However, in the vast majority of cases, the encryption and re-routing process VPNs use will increase your ping time.

VPNs that gamers should avoid

BolehVPN

We like BolehVPN on the whole, but not for gaming. We’re only singling it out here because we’ve seen multiple other sites claiming that BolehVPN offers gaming-optimized servers and game-hosting services. In fact, it never offered gaming-optimized servers and has since quit selling game hosting services. With only 14 countries to choose from, it’s just not great for gaming.

Free VPNs

Free VPNs usually have a limited number of servers, cap data transfers, require queueing to connect, and throttle bandwidth. They also tend to have worse security and privacy policies compared to paid VPN services. All in all, they’re just not suitable for gaming.

Using PPTP for a faster connection

Normally we never recommend PPTP ahead of other protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, SSTP, or L2TP. If those options are too slow, however, you may consider using the PPTP protocol when gaming. PPTP tends to be faster than many other options and is still widely supported both by VPN providers and operating systems.

Be warned, however, that you shouldn’t depend on a PPTP VPN connection to keep you secure. The protocol has known security vulnerabilities. This means you shouldn’t use it for any privacy-critical tasks. If you want fast speeds and privacy, your best bet is to use the WireGuard protocol. Most of our recommended gaming VPNs are now offering this protocol.

SOCKS5 proxy for gaming

If all you want to do is access a game that’s geo-blocked in your area, consider using a SOCKS5 proxy. Because SOCKS5 proxies don’t encrypt traffic by default, they tend to be faster than VPNs (not the overloaded free ones, mind you).

Bear in mind, however, that SOCKS5 proxies don’t come with any of the security bonuses of VPNs. The provider can mine your traffic for personal data and inject malware or advertisements. You won’t get a NAT firewall or DDoS protection.

NordVPN subscriptions come with free SOCKS5 proxies and plenty of locations to choose from. The company maintains a strict no-logs policy, so you don’t have to worry about them abusing your data.

How to keep kids safe when gaming online

Privacy and security are just as important when you game as when you browse the internet. Kids who game online can put themselves at risk of a range of threats, including cyber harassment, malware infection, SWATTING, invasion of privacy, and generally conversing with strangers that you’d rather them not communicate with.

Here are a few precautions you can implement to keep your kids safe online while gaming:

  • Always use a VPN. This will mask your home’s real IP address and replace it with that of the VPN server, making it much more difficult for any third party to track your location or identify your device
  • Keep your devices and software up to date. Don’t sit on security updates for your computers, smartphones, and game consoles. Likewise, update apps and games as soon as updates are available
  • Avoid pirating games and only download games from reputable sites and vendors
  • Use the parental controls and filtering built into your game console or Steam to steer kids away from mature content
  • Wipe personal details and other data from unused devices
  • Disable the voice chat on games that use public matchmaking to team up with strangers
  • Don’t use a webcam when streaming on Twitch
  • Don’t use a real photo as an avatar
  • Don’t use your real name in your gamer handle or profile. In fact, don’t fill out any non-essential information in your profile.
  • Configure your account settings so that your child cannot spend money on games or microtransactions without your permission

While all that can help protect your child online, the best protection is awareness. Talk to your child about the risks of divulging personal information to strangers. Here are a few guidelines for kids:

  • Never reveal your real age, name, school, or location
  • Never arrange to meet someone you met in the game in real life
  • If you are bullied or made to feel uncomfortable, tell an adult. Kids should not be punished for confiding in their parents
  • Don’t believe what strangers tell you online
  • Don’t be a troll

Using a VPN for gaming: FAQs

Does a VPN reduce ping time and lag, or will it slow down my connection?

A VPN sends your data through an intermediary server, which is typically slower than a direct connection. On top of that, all the data must be encrypted and decrypted between your device and the VPN server, further increasing lag and ping time. A few exceptions do exist, such as when the VPN allows the player to bypass congested bottlenecks between their device and the game server. But this largely depends on the player’s environment, the game’s servers, and their locations.

The good news is that a VPN can make your internet speeds faster if your ISP is throttling your bandwidth. Some ISPs actively monitor internet use and throttle people when they connect to game servers to stop them from eating up bandwidth. By using a VPN, you encrypt your data and prevent your ISP from knowing you are playing a game. So, it’s always worth making use of VPNs’ free trials and money-back guarantees to test if it helps your internet speeds while gaming.

Can I play games from other regions with a VPN?

Yes, a VPN changes your IP address, which is how most games will determine your location. If you want to play a game that’s only available in Japan, for example, just connect to a VPN server in Japan. Likewise, many online games segregate players by region, forcing them onto region-specific servers. A VPN can get you onto servers from any region where it operates servers. Bear in mind that you might also require a local payment method and a local game account.

Can I use a free VPN for gaming?

Not really. As mentioned above, Free VPNs tend to be much slower and less reliable than paid VPNs. On top of that, they offer fewer server locations, which limits your region-unblocking options. Due to slow speeds caused by server congestion – from all the free users – it is almost impossible to enjoy gaming on a free VPN.

Free VPNs are also less secure and often harvest your personal data to make money from targeted advertising. They suffer from data leaks and even have spyware in their apps.

How does a VPN protect me when gaming?

If someone launches a DDoS or other attack against your IP address while gaming, that attack will hit the VPN servers instead of your device. This will shield you from attack and hide your real IP address. A VPN will also prevent any third parties on your local network from snooping on your connection.

Is it legal to use a VPN for gaming?

Generally, yes. Some games might prohibit the use of VPNs and other proxies in their terms of service. However, even in cases where that is true, it would be difficult for game administrators to detect whether or not you’re using a VPN.

Can I use a VPN to access Steam/Xbox Live/PlayStation Network while abroad?

If you’re in a country where your preferred game network is blocked, then a VPN can unblock it. In China, for example, many game networks like Xbox Live and PlayStation Network are censored. Just make sure to use a VPN that works in China. A VPN can also help in purchasing situations when you’re traveling abroad. A game might not be available on Steam in certain regions, or you might require a local form of payment, for example. A VPN can help you access your local version of Steam so you can purchase games normally.

What should my VPN settings be for gaming?

Typically the default settings on your VPN app should work just fine. All you need to do is select a server location where you can access the games you want to play. Servers that are geographically closest tend to offer the best ping times. Most VPN protocols offer roughly the same speed. If your VPN allows it, use lower-strength encryption and disable extra privacy features like modulating IP addresses and traffic obfuscation.

Can I unblock games at school or work?

Yes, a VPN should allow you to unblock games that are normally filtered by firewalls at offices and schools. Your internet connection is completely private while connected to a VPN, so no third parties can see the websites your visit or the games you play.

Can you use a VPN with a Nintendo Switch?

Yes, it is possible to use a VPN with your Nintendo Switch. In order to do this, you’ll need to install the VPN on your wifi router. All major VPNs are compatible with select routers and provide manual setup instructions to make the process easier. Note that if your router isn’t VPN-compatible, you can actually purchase a VPN router — one that is already installed with VPN software.

Can you get banned for using a VPN when playing Warzone or Fortnite?

No, you won’t be banned for using a VPN when playing Call of Duty: Warzone or Fortnite. Using a VPN doesn’t go against the Call of Duty: Warzone Security and Enforcement Policy. Many people choose to use a VPN when playing Warzone in order to reduce lag and ping. Others do so in order to hide their true IP address and location and protect themselves from DDoS attacks as well as swatting attempts.

Its also unlikely you’ll get banned for using a VPN when playing Fortnite. However, Epic Games has implemented various anti-cheating measures over time. If it’s suspected that a VPN is being used in order to cheat or bypass an existing ban, this may result in a ban or, at the very least, the VPN user being kicked from the game. The IP address in question may also be added to a blacklist in order to prevent it from being used again.

Can I use a VPN for streaming games on Twitch?

Yes, you can use a VPN for streaming games on Twitch. Not only does this help keep your online activity secure, but it also allows you to access Twitch from anywhere. However, not all VPNs are suitable for use with Twitch. In particular, they may throttle your bandwidth and be too slow for streaming games or lack the essential security features required to stream safely. That’s why it’s important to stick with the best VPNs for gaming, as listed in this post.

What else can I do with a VPN?

VPNs are extremely versatile, so they’re good for more than just gaming with friends from other regions. For instance, you can use them to regain access to your favorite streaming services while traveling abroad.

Alternatively, you could connect to one before using public wifi — this keeps your activities hidden from snoopers and allows you to bypass any content restrictions that the hotspot owner has set up.

You may also want to connect to a VPN when streaming games to an audience since several titles display information like your IP address on screen. Without a VPN, this could be used to determine your location and service provider, which could escalate to SWATTING.