Ever since Blizzard Entertainment released Overwatch in 2016, the game has rapidly developed into a near-cult status. Legions of fans swear by its gameplay – the game boasted over 10 million users even while it was in beta – propelling it into the list of the top 10 most popular games in 2016.
When playing online a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a handy tool to have. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic preventing anyone from seeing your online activities. This is useful to protect yourself against hackers and it can prevent your ISP from throttling your bandwidth. You can also use a VPN to gain a new IP address in a country of your choice, allowing you to stream content from abroad.
We get into more detail on each VPN that made this list, but in case you don’t have time to read the whole post, below is a summary list of the best VPNs for Overwatch.
Best VPNs for Overwatch:
- NordVPN The one to beat. Very large server network of superfast low-latency servers and good speeds. Privacy and security features are paramount. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- Surfshark A great budget choice. Reliable network of servers that are ideal for gaming, streaming, and VoIP. Strong privacy and security.
- ExpressVPN Low-latency servers in all regions of the globe. Security and privacy are high-grade. Easy to install and use.
- CyberGhost Some of the lowest-latency and speediest servers we’ve tested. Apps are beginner-friendly.
- IPVanish Scores top-marks for speed. Also popular with torrenters and Kodi users.
- VyprVPN Allows for user selection of server locations. Good speeds but a little pricey.
Part of the game’s popularity is its focus on teamplay – two teams of six people each work together to focus on aspects of offense, defense, tank, and support. You start off by choosing one of 24 predefined ‘heroes’, each with its own set of unique characteristics and abilities.
A critical part of the game is voice chat – it’s needed to communicate with your team members and prepare the best strategy. Unfortunately many countries around the globe block Voice over IP (VoIP), making it difficult for gamers to glean the best user experience. It also puts them at a disadvantage when ranked with other teams – without voice chat it’s almost impossible to outsmart your opponent.
Where is Overwatch voice chat inaccessible?
Here’s a list of countries that have blocked or continue to block VoIP services. Please note that restrictions are constantly changing and hence this shouldn’t be viewed as an exhaustive list. It’s possible for countries to be added or removed with the passage of time and evolving regulatory environments.
- Saudi Arabia
How do I unblock Overwatch voice chat?
Using a VPN is a sure shot method of accessing VoIP services regardless of the filters that your country or ISP may impose on you. Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts all the traffic flowing to and from your device and tunnels it via a server of your choice. Hence it appears that you’re accessing the web from a location outside your current city/town.
If, for example, you live in the UAE and don’t have access to voice chat all you have to do is sign up for a VPN and choose a server outside your country i.e. the UK. Once the connection is established, the option will now be available to you.
The best VPNs for Overwatch
We based our selections on the following factors:
- Speed and stability of service so there’s minimal lag or drops in latency
- Strong encryption parameters so it’s impossible to pin your true location
- Large number of server locations
- Ease of use
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
NordVPN is a service that’s been around for over 10 years which is a testament to the impressive product that it offers. There’s speed, stability, ease of use, and strong encryption combined in one.
It’s also another VPN provider that declines to store any customer data. There’s no traffic or sessions logs of any kind. The company has in the past received multiple requests for user information but there was nothing it could hand over to the authorities. In one case it also had its servers confiscated but there just simply wasn’t anything stored on them.
All internet traffic is encrypted via 256-bit AES and 2,048-bit DH keys. DNS Leak protection is enabled.
Servers are optimized for incredible speeds and there are more than 5,000 of them in 60 countries across the globe. It’s also possible to select them for things like anti-DDoS (super stable connection), and video streaming. Gamers should experience minimal lag if using Nord.
- Vast network of superfast, low-latency servers
- Operates a network of more than 5,000 servers in 63 countries
- Personal data is protected as it keeps no logs
- 24/7 live chat support available
- Isn’t primed for novice users
BEST VPN FOR OVERWATCH:NordVPN is our top pick. A great value option which works well with Overwatch. Allows up to 6 simultaneous connected devices. Great privacy and security credentials. A 30-day money-back guarantee makes this option risk-free.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
Surfshark is a wallet-friendly provider that offers easy-to-use apps and a great overall experience. It operates more than 3,000 servers in over 60 countries and unblocks most restricted sites we’ve tested it with.
Security is top-notch with strong encryption, perfect forward secrecy, leak protection, and a kill switch in all apps. This is a true no-logs provider. Extra features include multi-hop servers, split tunneling, and automatic wifi protection.
A huge perk of Surfshark is it doesn’t impose a restriction on the number of devices you can connect at a time. There are no data caps or bandwidth limits.
- Good selection of servers
- Doesn’t keep logs
- Unlimited connections
- Live chat available 24/7
- Some servers were a bit slow in testing
BEST BUDGET VPN:Surfshark is a great low-cost alternative. It works reliably with most sites and boasts lots of security extras. Subscriptions include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of Surfshark.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is one of the most popular VPN services out there due to its commitment to solid speeds coupled with military grade encryption. The company provides customers access to over 3,000 servers spread across 94 countries.
Encryption standards are robust – ExpressVPN uses OpenVPN connections encrypted with 256-bit AES as default. 4,096-bit DHE-RSA keys are identified by a SHA-512 hashing algorithm. This means it’s placed in the top tier of VPNs. Your ISP won’t be able to uncover your true location by breaking through the encryption. ExpressVPN stores minimal logs and no user-identifying data.
A ‘network lock,’ known popularly as an internet kill switch, will keep your device secure even if the connection drops.
ExpressVPN also has an option of pre-configured routers which means you can flash the router app onto an existing compatible wifi router, or buy a pre-configured one directly from the company.
- Fast, low-latency servers are great for gaming
- User location remains hidden with high-grade encryption
- Operates over 3,000 servers in 94 countries
- Top-class security and privacy protection features
- Not as cheap as some other services
- Advanced features are limited
VERSATILE VPN:ExpressVPN has a vast network fine-tuned for high-speed connections. User-friendly apps for all operating systems. Tough to beat on privacy and security. Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here’s our review of ExpressVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
There’s no solid evidence of CyberGhost storing any data – the company also insists that’s against policy – but its recent acquisition by a UK firm may change the scenario. We’ll have to wait and see.
Other than that, the service ranks well on speed and encryption standards. There’s 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol, which is considered top-tier. And with approximately 3,787 servers in 60 countries, there’s enough choice when it comes activating VoIP.
- Operates plenty of low-latency, gaming specific servers
- Operates a network of more than 3,700 servers in 60 countries
- Keeps no logs
- Apps are easy to install and use – a good option for beginners
- Doesn’t unblock all major streaming sites
GREAT VALUE:CyberGhost is easy to use. Strong on privacy, fast speeds and reliable. We found it easy to set up and use. 45-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish continues in the same vein as ExpressVPN by opting not to store any customer data logs. It’s also fast and incorporates robust encryption parameters so users won’t have to worry about any potential data breaches.
IPVanish uses 256-bit encryption on the OpenVPN protocol by default, SHA512 authentication, and a DHE-RSA 2,048-bit key exchange with perfect forward secrecy. Hence even if hackers break into your account, it’ll be impossible for them to discover what your previous browsing sessions entailed.
There’s an internet kill switch included with your subscription – with the result that there’s no leakage of data if the connection drops. You’ll remain hidden.
There’s an option to choose between 1,300 servers spread across 75 locations around the globe. IPVanish also opts to operate its own servers rather than renting from external players. This means it’s in total control of the data flowing through the network – optimizing speed, stability, and privacy.
- Plenty of low-latency servers around the globe that work well for gaming
- Operates a network of more than 1,300 servers in 75+ countries
- Keeps no logs whatsoever
- Provides a secure, encrypted connection
- Apps don’t work in China
- No live customer support
GOOD SPEEDS:IPVanish has a large network of servers. Uncongested network achieves good speeds. Strong security and privacy features. Could do with having live customer support. 7-day money back guarantee.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
VyprVPN isn’t a completely logless VPN provider. The company states that it stores “the user’s source IP address, the VyprVPN IP address used by the user, connected start and stop time, and total number of bytes used.”
Most of those are fairly benign data points except for the user’s source IP which could potentially be used to identify their location. However, VyprVPN insists that all data is only stored for a period of 30 days and it’s used for troubleshooting purposes.
Other than that slight concern, VyprVPN is actually a pretty decent choice when it comes to encryption standards and speed of service. It leverages the OpenVPN protocol, 256-bit AES encryption, 2,048-bit RSA keys without perfect forward secrecy, and SHA256 authentication. Those are fairly stringent protocols.
The provider is very popular in China because it’s one of the few solutions that’s able to bypass the Great Firewall. Certainly no mean feat and an achievement that puts it in the gold standard of VPNs.
A kill switch is included in the package so your connection will remain secure even if it drops out of the blue. Users can, for an extra fee, avail the “Chameleon” protocol which scrambles OpenVPN metadata so deep packet inspection cannot recognize it.
VyprVPN owns and manages entire datacenters around the world as opposed to renting from third parties. That’s impressive and well worth the price users pay to sign up. And with over 700 servers present on every continent except Antarctica, you won’t have a problem finding a solid connection.
- Plenty of low-latency servers in high-traffic areas
- Fast secure and private connections
- Utilizes AES-256 encryption, kill switch and DNS leak protection
- Could have more options for advanced configuration
- Not the cheapest option here
- We found the two-tier pricing structure a bit confusing
Large server network:VyprVPN is easy to set up and get started. Stores no logs, offers great security and unblocks most restricted and blocked services. More pricey than some others higher on this list. 30-day money-back guarantee.
Read our full review of VyprVPN.
Should I use a free VPN?
Free VPNs are not in short supply and some services spend an inordinate amount of marketing dollars so they can be discovered.
But therein lies the quandary. If a service is free why would it spend hard cash to advertise? The obvious answer is that it does monetize, just not the way normal VPNs do.
Supposedly free VPNs are known to inject tracking cookies in your browser, mine that data, and sell it to third-party advertisers. If you use one for too long you also run the risk of contracting a malware infection. That could render your device invalid.
Free VPNs also enforce things like bandwidth caps, speed throttling, and data limits. So if it’s gaming and low latency speeds you’re after, forget about it.
Our recommendation is to avoid free VPNs unless you don’t mind the shoddy service and tons of invasive advertisements that’ll inevitably pop up.
How to fix high Ping in Overwatch
Although certain heroes are more forgiving than others, by and large, Overwatch is a game of split-second decision-making. Depending on your location, internet service provider, and a host of other variables, though, you could find yourself with high connection latency (sometimes called ping), which can result in you lagging too much to be truly effective. In these situations, it’s possible a VPN could help by simplifying the route your internet traffic takes.
How do I use a VPN on my Xbox One or PlayStation 4?
Console gamers playing Overwatch on an Xbox One or PlayStation 4 will know that it’s not easy to setup a VPN on these devices. There’s no native app that’ll do the trick like it does for Windows.
If you want to enable Overwatch voicechat on your Xbox One or PlayStation 4, we recommend that you set up a Windows virtual router that’ll apply VPN parameters directly on your wifi hotspot.
This is possible because computers are capable of beaming their own wifi hotspots. That’s similar to how you enable wifi hotspots on your smartphone. Hence, a virtual router allows you to share your internet connection with other devices in range, and use the VPN app on that computer to route all the traffic.
If you don’t have a Windows PC at home and prefer to use MacOS, here’s our guide for Apple devices.
What steps do I need to take to unblock Overwatch?
Follow this specific process to enable voice chat on Overwatch via a VPN:
- Buy Overwatch for your preferred device – Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or Windows
- Install the game and restart your machine
- Choose one of the VPNs we’ve recommended in this guide. Once that’s done, sign up and pay for your preferred plan
- If you’re running Windows then all you have to do is open the companion VPN app, choose a server outside your current country, and click ‘connect’
- Play Overwatch like you normally would – to check whether voice chat is working press “P” during the game
- The process is slightly different if you’re planning on playing Overwatch on a console. You’ll have to set up a VPN on a wifi router or virtual wifi router first (follow the link to the guide in the previous subhead).
- Once the router is secured, open your console and connect to the internet like you normally would
- Play Overwatch
See also: Best VPNs for gaming