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 the same games you would 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:
- ExpressVPN: Our top recommendation for Steam. ExpressVPN is extremely fast and highly adept at bypassing blocks. Plans include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- CyberGhost: Best budget VPN for Steam, this provider boasts a huge server network, strong security, and a no-logs policy.
- Surfshark: A provider known for its clean, modern apps and ability to circumvent blocks, Surfshark offers a sturdy VPN and doesn’t impose connection limits.
- NordVPN: Another provider with an expansive network, NordVPN comes with excellent unblocking potential and lots of security extras.
- Hotspot Shield: This is one of the fastest VPNs in the industry thanks to a proprietary protocol. It’s also secure and reliable.
- 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.
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
Best VPNs for Steam
Here’s our list of the best VPNs for Steam:
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
ExpressVPN is our top pick for the best VPN for Steam. This service is incredibly fast and has more than 3,000 servers in 94 countries. It will allow you to play all your favorite games such as Dota 2, Warframe, Rust, and Brawlhalla with no lag or buffering. 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.
- Superfast VPN
- Bypasses blocks
- Best-in-class security
- Unlimited data
- Knowledgeable customer support
- Priced a little higher than some rivals
BEST VPN FOR STEAM:ExpressVPN is our #1 selection for use with Steam. It provides a stellar service including fast speeds, strong security, and excellent customer support. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free with 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 5,000 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
BEST BUDGET STEAM VPN:CyberGhost is our top budget pick 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
Surfshark has a similar size network to IPVanish with around 1,000 servers covering over 60 countries. This provider is known for 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
- Use on all your devices
- Some servers we tested were a bit slow
- Fewer servers than many rivals
NO CONNECTION LIMIT: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
NordVPN is another solid budget VPN provider with a huge server network. It operates more than 5,000 in over 60 countries. This one is 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.
- Plenty of server options
- Reliable, secure VPN
- Doesn’t keep any logs
- Easily bypasses blocks
- Can be a bit slow
SOLID GAMING VPN:NordVPN has no shortage of servers and packs lots of security features. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Check out our full review of NordVPN.
Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS
Hotspot Shield uses a proprietary “Catapult Hydra” protocol that employs 256-bit encryption. This is in conjunction with perfect forward secrecy, and apps come with protection against DNS leaks. There’s a kill switch in the Windows app. Automatic wifi protection is a handy extra for staying secure while on the go. Hotspot Shield doesn’t keep any user-identifying logs past disconnection from the VPN.
This provider has apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. It is adding support for certain routers, too. You can use it on up to five devices at a time. If you need help, live-chat support is always available.
- Excellent speeds
- Secure, private service
- 45-day guarantee
- Support isn’t the most knowledgeable
SPEEDY VPN:Hotspot Shield gives you a super fast, stable connection, ideal for gaming. This company offers a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Find out more information in our Hotspot Shield review.
Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS
IPVanish operates a medium-sized network of over 1,000 servers in more than 60 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 up to 10 devices at a time. 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 10 devices at once
- 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. 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.
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 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.
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 ExpressVPN.
- Install the relevant app on your device. Desktop clients can be downloaded from the provider 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.
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.
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 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.
See also: Best VPNs for gaming