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Best VPNs for Gaming in 2022


Finding a good VPN for gaming isn't easy. You'll need a service that doesn't ruin your speed and doesn't jack up your latency. So, there's quite a lot that you have to take into consideration while choosing the one and only. You want a service that can confidently protect you against throttling and DDoS attacks.

Thankfully, you don't have to go through that all by yourself. We've already compiled a list of the best VPNs for gaming. With all of these services, you'll be able to jump into the action even if the game is banned in your country, or you want to be matched with players from other continents.

5 Best VPNs for gaming:

Is your squad already waiting in the lobby, and you don't have the time to read everything? Here's a rundown of the best VPNs for online gaming:

  1. NordVPN – best VPN for gaming
  2. Surfshark – best VPN for value hunters
  3. IPVanish – one of the fastest VPNs for gamers
  4. PureVPN – budget-friendly VPN for gamers
  5. ProtonVPN – large VPN server list

How to choose the best VPN for gaming?

With so many different VPNs on the market, it is difficult to pick the right one. Here are some tips on how to choose the right VPN for gaming:

  • Speeds. If you’re a gamer, a VPN with fast speeds is a must. Since all VPNs slow down your speed, you should choose the one that does this the least. It’s a good idea to pick a service with fast tunneling protocols like WireGuard.
  • Compatibility. A good VPN should have quality applications for lots of different desktop and mobile devices. And in case you’re using a device that doesn’t support VPN connections, look for a VPN that offers SmartDNS or has an app for routers.
  • Large server fleet. If a VPN has an insufficient number of servers, they may become overcrowded. Thus, it’s best to look for a service with many servers and a wide country selection.
  • Extra features. Not all VPNs have the same features. For example, only a bunch of them allow port forwarding. Similarly, not all VPNs offer many servers that support torrenting. Check out the list of features before subscribing to a VPN service.

The best gaming VPNs - our detailed list:

Whether a VPN is good or bad for gaming doesn't depend only on latency. The overall impact on speed, the number of servers, and other aspects can be significant. I filtered out the services that can provide only the highest degree of performance necessary for a comfortable gaming experience. Here are the ones that made the cut.

1. NordVPN – best VPN for gaming

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:5400+ servers in 60 countries
Has router setup guides:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get NordVPN with 68% OFF! 🔥

If you go around forums looking for the best gaming VPN, NordVPN is a frequent recommendation. It's no coincidence that it's also our #1 pick in this top list.

They have a wide array of tunneling protocols like NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. You can even find guides on how to set up OpenVPN and IKEv2 on a router, so if you're a game console user, you'll have the path laid out in front of you. Plus, connecting to a nearby location will make your latency increase minimal.

NordVPN is one of the fastest VPN services on the market. This is partially due to their awesome NordLynx tunneling protocol, which is their custom-made version of WireGuard.

PC gamers, and those playing on mobile devices or tablets, can use NordVPN apps. The convenient map-based interface will make things very easy - just click on a country and you'll automatically connect to the fastest server in that country. Of course, finding the best VPN server for specific online games (especially multiplayer games) and game servers can take more time.

NordVPN, as the service provider, guarantees that your anonymity is the highest priority. Even their privacy policy claims have been evaluated by the independent audits.

To find out more, check out our full NordVPN review.

2. Surfshark – best VPN for value hunters

Surfshark banner
Based in:The Netherlands
Servers/countries:3200+ servers in 95 countries
Has router setup guides:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get 82% OFF Surfshark + Antivirus & 2 months FREE 🔥

Surfshark is a strong contender for the crown of the best VPN for gaming. Not only is it available at a very attractive price, but it also offers as many features as the most expensive providers.

With WireGuard, ShadowSocks, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 tunneling protocols, Surfshark covers all the bases. WireGuard download speeds aren't that different from your connection without a VPN, so downloading that huge new patch won't make you bang your head on the keyboard. The latency gains aren't dramatic either, especially if you're connecting to a nearby server.

Surfshark has guides on how to set up the service on a router with OpenVPN or IKEv2. So, if you're using a router that supports at least one of these protocols, your setup will be much easier. That's great news for game console users who can't install VPN clients directly on their devices.

If you're on PC or mobile, there's a handy Whitelister function. With it, you'll be able to route your favorite games through a VPN. This won't affect your other online activities, and you won't have to switch back and forth.

The service itself is dead-set on protecting your privacy. Surfshark VPN keep no logs about your activities. Plus, you get an unlimited amount of simultaneous connections to cover all your devices.

To find out more, take a look at our in-depth Surfshark VPN review.

3. IPVanish – one of the fastest VPNs for gamers

IPVanish banner
Based in:United States
Servers/countries:2000 servers in 50 countries
Has router setup guides:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get up to 69% OFF IPVanish + an Antivirus! 🔥

IPVanish offers fast VPN services that are useful when gaming. It has a large server fleet and supports the WireGuard tunneling protocol, so you can expect a speedy and secure connection from anywhere.

What’s even better is that all IPVanish servers support P2P connections and you get a split tunneling feature. This way, it’s possible to use an encrypted VPN connection on specific apps only.

Apart from that, you can set this VPN up on your router to protect your entire home network. Meaning that your gaming consoles would also use an encrypted VPN traffic when you play.

When it comes to security, IPVanish doesn’t disappoint either. Your traffic and data is encrypted using AES-256 cipher which cannot be cracked via Brute-force attacks. Also, you get unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can use it for gaming and security on as many devices as you need.

Even though this VPN is not the cheapest option with prices starting at $3.33/month, you can always get great discounts with our IPVanish coupon codes. If you change your mind about using the services, you can get a full refund with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our IPVanish review to find out more about its features.

4. PureVPN – budget-friendly VPN for gamers

purevpn
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:6500 servers in 78 countries
Has router setup guides:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get PureVPN 82% OFF + 3 months FREE! 🔥

With PureVPN, you can get the most affordable VPN services for gaming. This provider allows you to select from an impressive number of servers and many of them are P2P-compatible.

Also, if you want to secure your connection on gaming consoles, you can find detailed instructions on how to set up PureVPN on different routers on the official website. This way, you can protect an unlimited number of devices.

Additionally, this provider supports port forwarding which can be used to set up gaming servers. However, this feature comes at an extra cost. You can get it for less than a dollar a month.

What’s also worth mentioning is that a split tunneling feature is also available but only on Android. However, it’s great if you’re playing mobile games and want to use a VPN connection on the specific gaming app only.

Furthermore, in terms of security, PureVPN employs an industry standard AES 256-bit encryption. It’s also widely used by the military since this algorithm is nearly impossible to crack without a unique decryption key.

The pricing of this VPN is very wallet-friendly. It starts from $1.99/month for a subscription that includes a 31-day money-back guarantee and you can secure up to 10 devices at the same time. If you want even better discounts, check out our PureVPN coupons.

Read our detailed PureVPN review to learn more about its features.

5. ProtonVPN – large VPN server list

ProtonVPN banner
Based in:Switzerland
Locations:1700 servers in 63 countries
Has router setup guides:Yes
Current deal:🔥 Get up to 50% OFF ProtonVPN! 🔥

ProtonVPN is great for gamers as it has a large VPN server list that can help in various purposes, such as matchmaking or changing game servers. In fact, there are even P2P-optimized servers which are useful when playing multiplayer games online.

Apart from that, you can also enjoy one of the most advanced implementations of a split tunneling feature. You can not only include or exclude specific gaming apps but also IPs from using a VPN tunnel. It’s worth mentioning that all traffic is secured using an AES-256 encryption.

Furthermore, there’s a free ProtonVPN version. Even though it’s great for those you want to test the services, there are certain limitations. For example, you only get one VPN connection, servers in three countries, and medium speeds.

If you want to enjoy unlimited VPN perks, you should purchase a paid subscription – prices start at $4.99/month. Each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can always get your money back if you don’t like the service.

Check out our full ProtonVPN review to learn more about this provider.

How we selected and tested these VPNs

When looking for the best VPN for gaming, there isn't one test that will show you the winner. However, there are a few things you can look at:

  • Server number. More servers make it easier to keep your latency low. The further the server is, the longer the route for the packet to travel, adding up to lag, which can ruin your gaming experience.
  • Speed test scores. The better the speed test scores, the lower are the reductions to your baseline speeds. In some cases, this could mean even better speed improvements if your ISP is throttling your speed.
  • Additional features. Some additions like port forwarding or proxy servers can tip the favor of who makes the cut in the best VPN for gaming list. Proxy servers add privacy without severe performance cuts, while port forwarding can make hosting servers with a VPN possible. Split tunneling is also important - the ability to route a particular app's traffic through the VPN can come in handy.
  • Security. When choosing a VPN, you should never cut your nose off to spite your face. Security is paramount. If your VPN is leaking your IP address or using vulnerable tunneling protocols, you might as well be connecting directly. Have zero tolerance for flaws in this area.
  • Privacy. Strong security is only half the answer. The second part is a commitment to keeping your identity hidden. No-logs promises are fine, but they're even better when the service has third-party audits to show that they mean business. Previous court cases and refusal to collaborate with government agencies also earn you bonus points and our badge of honor.
  • Price. The last tickbox to check is pricing. In the VPN market, many services fit none of the mentioned criteria while charging a premium price. Yet, the opposite is also true – some services have packages that you can purchase without making a significant dent in your budget.

Why do I need a VPN for online gaming?

There are plenty of reasons gamers may need a VPN. Here are just a few of the many:

  • Preventing DDoS attacks. There are plenty of ways people can learn your IP address when you're gaming, which means they can (and will) DDoS you. A VPN can obfuscate your real IP, protecting you from these annoying situations
  • Accessing blocked games. Some games are blocked in certain countries -- unless you have a VPN, which can change your virtual location or hide what you're doing online. A VPN will also help you get new releases that aren't yet available in your country
  • Avoiding server bans. Got banned from your favorite community server? No worries - a changed IP can help you fix that
  • Server hopping. With a VPN, you can avoid location-based region locking - just change your virtual region and play with your friends overseas
  • Saving money on games. Online game marketplaces often use region-based price discrimination. For example, you may be able to get games cheaper in Russia than you would in the US. A VPN for gaming can help with that
  • Reducing lag. Although VPNs slow down your internet connection, in some cases, they can improve your ping times. In particular, a VPN may be able to solve inefficient routing to the game server

And now that you see why you need a VPN in the first place, it's time to find out how to set up one!

How to set up a VPN for gaming

One of the issues you might run into straight away is that neither Xbox nor PlayStation natively supports VPN apps. This already makes the setup more complicated than it would be on PC or mobile. This is still possible, but you'll have to look for workarounds. Installing a VPN on your router or sharing a connection from your PC to your gaming console are the only two possible solutions.

Set up a VPN on your router

Before you go about installing a VPN on your router, you must first check whether your router supports VPNs. You can find this in your user's manual. It might also be good to check the forums – maybe someone has already figured out a way to do it with the same model. Even if it doesn't support VPNs natively, you can install a third-party firmware to bypass all the restrictions, but that's a separate tutorial.

As you can probably guess, the instructions vary heavily depending on whether you're router natively supports VPNs or you're running custom firmware. However, the nuts and bolts look like this:

  1. Get a VPN service provider subscription. We recommend NordVPN.
  2. Connect to your router's configuration interface
  3. Once you're there, go to the VPN tab
  4. There, you're likely to have to upload settings and provide authentication
  5. Submit all the required settings and restart your router
  6. Check whether the displayed IP address has changed

This setup has the added benefit that it will count as a single VPN connection, so it will only reduce your cap by one device. This trick is a great way to bypass the maximum number of simultaneous connections.

Share a VPN from your Windows PC

You don't necessarily have to set up a VPN on your router. Sharing a connection from your PC is also possible:

  1. Choose a VPN service provider and create an account
  2. Once you install the software, launch it and connect to a VPN server
  3. Connect an Ethernet cable between your PC and Xbox/PlayStation
  4. Click the Windows icon and select the gear icon to go to the settings
  5. Once you're there, select Network & Internet
  6. From the menu, select VPN
  7. Under Related settings, choose Change adapter options
  8. Right-click on your VPN, and click Properties
  9. Go to Sharing tab and check to Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection
  10. Click on the Select a private network connection box
  11. From the opened list, select your console's Ethernet connection and click OK
  12. Fire up your console and make sure that you're connected via Ethernet.
  13. Now, all your traffic will be routed through a PC, which effectively shares your VPN connection.

It's worth mentioning that this method will work as long as you keep your PC on. It's also not limited to Windows. If you're using macOS, you can also share your connection. You also don't have to keep the connection wired, it's also possible to pull off wireless VPN sharing (but the performance will suffer).

Is a VPN good for gaming?

While a VPN may not make you a better player, it can significantly contribute to your gaming experience. Access to foreign servers, dodging IP bans, improving ping, and protection against DDoS attacks are the most notable benefits.

There is a flip side to this, though. If you're expecting to improve your ping by connecting to another side of the world, you probably should curb your expectations. A VPN isn't being run through a wormhole, and constraints like distance and your baseline connection speed are important factors. In other words, whether a VPN is good for gaming depends on the rest of your setup.

That said, it's possible to find a healthy balance by choosing an appropriate VPN service provider. The best-performing VPNs usually are suitable for gaming as well as other tasks.

Can a VPN reduce ping for gaming?

Even though a VPN will usually increase your ping, there are a couple situations where using a VPN can actually lower your ping.

For example, if you experience bandwidth throttling (when your ISP slows down your connection on purpose), a VPN is bound to fix this problem, reducing your ping as a result.

Also, your ping might get reduced if you connect to a VPN server located near the server that hosts your game. However, you won’t experience a significant latency decrease.

Fastest VPNs for gaming

The table below allows you to quickly compare the download and upload speeds of the VPNs featured on our list. It also includes ping, as it is an important factor for a smooth online gaming experience.

  • Baseline: 300 Mbps download/300 Mbps upload
VPN serviceAverage pingAverage download speedAverage upload speedCheapest monthly price
NordVPN148249 Mbps93 Mbps$3.30
Surfshark157263 Mbps198 Mbps$2.30
IPVanish171239 Mbps130 Mbps$3.75
PureVPN166200 Mbps210 Mbps$8.32
ProtonVPN169257 Mbps218 Mbps$3.29

For these tests, we used the fastest tunneling protocols available on each VPN service. For example, we tested NordLynx on NordVPN. Meanwhile, the fastest protocol for Surfshark, IPVanish, PureVPN, and ProtonVPN was WireGuard.

What is the best free VPN for gaming?

Since there are so many free VPN services, using one for gaming might seem like a good idea. The reality is a bit more complex, and a free VPN can be a double-edged sword. When talking about free VPNs, this might mean two entirely different things.

Some VPNs are completely free. You can't pay for them even if you wanted to. Usually, they're funded through ads, but not in all cases. There are many examples of such VPNs logging your data and then selling it afterwards to third parties. Their whole business model rests on profiting from their user's browsing habits. Finally, these VPNs rarely offer the best performance, so gamers should skip such VPNs altogether.

Other VPNs have paid versions but offer free versions on the side. Those are limited versions of their premium products and are usually intended to get a taste of how a complete edition would feel. Pretty often, they also have some monthly data caps, which means that there are limits on how much you can do. For this reason, these are usually not an ideal choice for gamers either.

Conclusion

Gaming with a VPN isn't as uncommon as you might think. It can be the only way to get particular matchups when playing online or fix the lag if your ISP is throttling traffic. Yet, this makes choosing the right VPN service all the more important.

Hopefully, our guide for choosing and recommendations for the best-in-class services will help you out. Stick to our tips, and you will drastically improve your gaming experience.


More VPN guides from CyberNews:


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