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Best VPNs for gaming in 2023

A VPN for gamers can up your online gaming experience, helping avoid cyberattacks as well as improve performance.

The best gaming VPN will offer your quality protection against DDoS and other cyberattacks and malware. By changing your IP address, you’ll also be able to hop through game servers, get better match-ups, and even access geo-restricted games. In some cases, a quality VPN will also improve your ping and overall connection speed, especially if you’re being throttled by your ISP.

To make choosing a little easier, we compiled a comprehensive list of the best VPNs for gaming. Take a look, get familiar, and choose the one that suits your gaming needs the best.

Top 5 best VPNs for gamers

  1. NordVPN – best VPN for gaming overall
  2. Surfshark – inexpensive VPN for gaming on multiple devices
  3. IPVanish – security-guaranteeing gaming VPN
  4. ExpressVPN – ultra secure VPN for gaming
  5. CyberGhost– a gaming VPN with excellent speed

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 for gaming with fast speeds is a must. Since all VPNs slow down your speed, you should choose the one that does this the least and doesn’t mess up the FPS ratio. It’s a good idea to pick a service with fast tunneling protocols like WireGuard.
  • Compatibility. A good gaming VPN should have quality applications for lots of different desktop and mobile devices. And in case you’re using a gaming console or 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 in very few locations, they may become overcrowded, which results in slow speeds and high ping. Thus, it’s best to look for a service that offers a lot of servers worldwide.
  • Extra features. Features such as proxy servers add privacy without compromising the performance, while port forwarding or similar features can make hosting servers possible with a VPN. Split tunneling is also important, as the possibility to route only the traffic of a particular app – or game – through a VPN tunnel is always handy.

The best VPNs for gaming 2023 – our detailed list:

When picking a gamer VPN, it’s important to look at speed impact, server fleet size, privacy to avoid attacks and ISP throttling, and other factors. So we filtered out services that can provide you with the best gaming experience. Here’s what made the cut:

1. NordVPN – best gaming VPN for exceptional performance

NordVPN banner
Based in:Panama
Servers/countries:5500+ servers in 60 countries
Simultaneous connections:6
Current deal:🔥 Get NordVPN with 63% OFF 🔥

NordVPN is the best gaming VPN for various reasons. For starters, its lightning-fast speeds will make it barely visible that you’re using a VPN while playing games. Plus, you’re loaded with robust security features that will help you be safe from DDoS attacks. All that for $3.49/month.

Speed: NordVPN has a wide array of tunneling protocols like NordLynx, OpenVPN, and IKEv2. Its in-house developed NordLynx protocol is where the excellence lies. During our tests, it retained up to 84% of initial connection speeds, making the VPN one of the fastest services on the market.

Servers and apps: the convenient map-based interface will make things very easy. You can pick from over 5500+ servers in 60 countries and simply click on it. There are apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. But if you set the VPN up on your router, you can even use it on gaming consoles, including your fresh PS5.

Features: NordVPN’s Threat Protection feature will make sure you don’t encounter intrusive ads. Our tests revealed that it blocks most of the interruptions thrown its way, including YouTube ads. You can also find specialized servers, such as P2P which are excellent for torrenting. Moreover, the meshnet feature will let you enjoy a never-ending remote LAN party with your gaming bros from all over the world.

Security and privacy: NordVPN’s privacy policy has been evaluated by independent audits, guaranteeing online anonymity. Additionally, the app itself uses next-generation encryption and you can enable a kill switch for an unexpected VPN connection loss.

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

2. Surfshark – affordable VPN for gaming on multiple devices

Surfshark banner
Based in:The Netherlands
Servers/countries:3200+ servers in 100 countries
Simultaneous connections:Unlimited
Current deal:🔥 Get 82% OFF Surfshark + 2 months FREE 🔥

Surfshark is another contender for the crown of the best gaming VPN. That is due to its great arsenal of features and competitive speeds for a very low price of $2.30/month.

Speed: with WireGuard, ShadowSocks, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 tunneling protocols, Surfshark covers all the bases. WireGuard speeds aren't that different from your initial connection – it averaged at around 81% when we tested it. We found a slightly bigger drop when playing Warzone but other games showed excellent results. The latency gains aren't dramatic either, especially if you're connecting to a nearby server.

Servers and apps: Surfshark VPN apps are some of the most intuitive programs we’ve ever laid hands on. Thanks to over 3200 servers in 100 countries, you’ll find plenty of non-overcrowded ones. You can get Surfshark on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android, or you can install the VPN on your router.

Features: 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. The GPS spoofing, traffic obfuscation, and IP rotator features will help you to stay invisible online.

Security and privacy: Surfshark VPN keeps no logs about your activities and uses the industry-standard AES-256 encryption. Plus, you get an unlimited amount of simultaneous connections to cover all of your devices.

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

3. IPVanish – secure and private VPN for gaming

IPVanish banner
Based in:United States
Servers/countries:2000+ servers in 50 countries
Simultaneous connections:Unlimited
Current deal:🔥 Get 66% OFF IPVanish! 🔥

IPVanish is a reliable gaming VPN that offers fast connection speeds, a large server fleet, useful security features, and user-friendly apps. All that for the price of $3.99/month.

Speed: IPVanish supports the WireGuard tunneling protocol, so the VPN retained up to 79% of initial connection speeds in our test results. Not as fast as NordVPN and its 84% speed retention but as stable. Not to mention that the speeds remain stable, so you’ll be able to enjoy uninterrupted gameplay whenever.

Servers and apps: although the interface of IPVanish apps may look more difficult to navigate compared to Surfshark, don’t get scared off. It’s actually just as simple to use and provides you with 2000+ servers in 50 countries.

Features: IPVanish servers support P2P connections, and you also get the split tunneling feature. This way, it’s possible to use an encrypted VPN connection on specific apps only. Not to mention the rest, like traffic obfuscation, SOCKS5 proxy, and more.

Security and privacy: With IPVanish, your traffic and data are encrypted using the AES-256 cipher which cannot be cracked via brute-force attacks. The application has also been independently audited by Leviathan Security Group. Plus, you get unlimited simultaneous connections, so you can use it for gaming and security on as many devices as you need.

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

4. ExpressVPN – security-minded solution for gaming

ExpressVPN banner
Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries: 3000+ servers in 94 countries
Simultaneous connections:
Current deal:🔥 Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF the 1-year plan! 🔥

ExpressVPN made it to our list of best VPNs for gaming for its efficient speed, excellent security, and plenty of features to boost your browsing experience. You can get a VPN app for any device, 5 simultaneous connections, split tunneling, and many other benefits for $6.67/month.

Speed: ExpressVPN has three protocols: Lightway, IKEv2, and OpenVPN. While Lightway is ExpressVPN’s fastest protocol, it is not as fast as, some other premium providers. According to our tests, the speed retention rates averaged around 77%, which is not bad but could be faster.

Servers and apps: ExpressVPN allows you to choose from thousands of servers scattered in 94 countries worldwide. There’s also a wide variety of apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, and mobile devices.

Features: One of the best features the provider offers is split tunneling. With this feature, you can send only the gaming traffic through the VPN tunnel. Additionally, ExpressVPN offers 5 simultaneous connections and an option to set the VPN on your router.

Security and privacy: ExpressVPN is a secure and privacy-minded provider. It comes with the AES 256-GCM cipher, a kill switch, and an independently audited and court-proven no-logs policy.

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

5. CyberGhost – secure gaming VPN with impressive speed

CyberGhost VPN banner
Based in:Romania
Servers/countries: 9700+ servers in 91 countries
Simultaneous connections:
Current deal:🔥Get CyberGhost VPN, now 83% OFF + 2 months FREE🔥

CyberGhost is both a reliable and affordable VPN. The provider combines excellent speed with a large fleet of servers to provide the best experience for online gaming. Plus, it is budget-friendly. You can get it only for $2.19/month.

Speed: CyberGhost, which supports WireGuard protocol, delivers excellent speed. Our tests showed that the provider retains 84% average speed and offers a stable connection.

Servers and apps: CyberGhost improves the gaming experience by offering specialized gaming servers with low latency. On top of that, the whole fleet is very solid — the provider offers more than 9700 servers in 91 countries worldwide. App selection is just as wide. You can try out Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. You can even set it up on a router.

Features: CyberGhost has a handy feature — Smart Rules. It allows you to automate the app according to your needs. For instance, you specify a particular country or server to which CyberGhost should automatically connect. Or you can automate which programs automatically start when CyberGhost initiates a connection.

Security and privacy: When it comes to protection, the provider encrypts your traffic with advanced AES-256 encryption. For further security, CyberGhost offers a solid kill switch feature that secures your IP when a VPN connection drops.

Learn more about the provider’s features in our Cyberghost review.

6. PureVPN – budget-friendly VPN with plenty of features

Based in:British Virgin Islands
Servers/countries:6500+ servers in 78 countries
Simultaneous connections:10
Current deal:🔥 Get PureVPN, now 87% OFF 🔥

PureVPN is an affordable VPN for online gaming that allows you to select from an impressive number of over 6500 servers in 78 countries. Our tests revealed that it manages to score great connection speeds and has very intuitive apps with prices starting from $1.49/month.

Speed: PureVPN’s WireGuard protocol works just as well as you would expect it to. During our speed testing, the speed retention rates averaged at around 67%, which is much lower than, for instance, Surfhark’s 81%.

Servers and apps: with loads of servers and P2P supported on nearly all of them, PureVPN stands as a solid gaming VPN. The minimalist applications allow easily navigating between servers and security features.

Features: this provider supports port forwarding which can be used to set up gaming servers. What’s also worth noting is that a split tunneling feature is also available but only on Android and Windows. However, it’s great if you’re playing mobile games and want to use a VPN connection on the specific gaming app only.

Security and privacy: 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 VPN provider is also one of the few ones that are always on-audit.

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

7. Proton VPN – a gaming VPN for preventing DDoS attacks

ProtonVPN banner
Based in:Switzerland
Locations:1800+ servers in 66 countries
Simultaneous connections:10
Current deal:🔥 Get up to 50% OFF Proton VPN! 🔥

Proton VPN is one more great VPN for gamers with a large server list, a free version, and features that are excellent for gaming. This includes such extras as a VPN accelerator and advanced split tunneling implementation. The subscription prices start from $4.99/month.

Speed: Proton VPN uses the very best WireGuard tunneling protocol which makes it retain around 74% of initial connection speeds. Also, you can change the protocol to IKEv2 or OpenVPN, which provides pretty good speeds as well.

Servers and apps: perhaps Proton VPN’s server fleet doesn’t seem like the most extraordinary one with over 1800 servers in 66 countries. But it’s definitely enough not to bump into an overcrowded server. And the app itself is very clearly organized, allowing you to find the server you need in the way most convenient for you.

Features: with Proton VPN, you can enjoy 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. There’s also a VPN accelerator for boosting your connection speed and more features to benefit from.

Security and privacy: All traffic is secured using AES-256 encryption. This means that your data becomes a tough nut to crack for the most advanced intruder. Additionally, Proton VPN relies on an independently audited strict no-logs policy.

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

How we selected and tested these gaming VPNs

We tested more than a dozen VPN providers, and these are the questions we asked when choosing which of them will get to be on our list of the best VPNs for gaming:

  • Server network. Not enough VPN servers mean overcrowding and less optimal locations, which results in reduced connection speed, high ping, and lag. We made sure that each VPN on our list has thousands of servers in the most convenient locations.
  • Speed retention rates. We tested these best gaming VPNs with various video games that require fast speeds and chose only the ones which slowed down the baseline speed the least and had the lowest latency. You can take a look at the VPN speed comparison table below.
  • Additional features. We chose those VPNs which have features that make gaming with a VPN easier, smoother, and overall more enjoyable. Examples of such features include meshnet, port forwarding, split tunneling, and the fastest tunneling protocols.
  • Privacy and security. We tested all the gaming VPNs on our list for DNS and IP leaks, as well as their encryption protocols. We also took care to include those VPNs which have had their privacy policies independently audited and approved.
  • Price. We made sure that all of the VPNs for gaming are also good for your wallet. Free versions, free trials, and money-back guarantees are all very desirable, and make VPNs much more affordable without compromising on security, speed, or features.

Why do I need a VPN for gaming?

You might think that a gaming VPN will just hinder your gaming experience. But we have reasons to say otherwise.

For starters, VPNs help prevent DDoS attacks. These attacks are fairly common among gamers, and a VPN for games will help you play in peace. It will hide your IP address and make you invincible when faced with the great evil that is DDoSing.

Another benefit is that VPNs can help access games that are blocked in certain parts of the world. Plus, if you get kicked out of your favorite community server, a gaming VPN will help bypass bans. All you need to do is change your virtual location.

Plus, the best gamer VPN will help you reduce lag caused by ISP throttling, and improve your gaming experience a significant amount.

Another thing worth noting is that online game marketplaces often use region-based price discrimination. So you may find better game deals with a VPN. For example, some games are cheaper in Brazil than in the US, so just connect to a server in Brazil and get cheaper offers.

Lastly, some VPNs have features that allow users to connect to LAN (local area network) remotely, without having to be in the same place physically. This creates a perfect opportunity for online gaming gigs with your friends from all over the world.

How use a VPN for gaming

Setting up a gaming VPN is easier than you might think. The process may vary depending on what device you’re using, but generally, everything is pretty straightforward. Just follow the steps below:

  1. Head to your chosen VPN provider’s website or find it on App Store or Google Play Store. We recommend NordVPN as the best gaming VPN, now 63% OFF.
  2. Register for a free trial or purchase a subscription.
  3. Download and install the VPN client app.
  4. Launch the app and log into your account.
  5. Choose the fastest tunneling protocol.
  6. Connect to a VPN server in your chosen location.
  7. Launch your game and start playing.
NordVPN for Fortnite

Which VPN location is best for gaming?

Even if you invest in the very best VPN for gamers, your experience may slightly differ depending on the server you connect to. The best locations for gaming depend on the game you're playing and the location of its dedicated servers.

The server shouldn’t be too far away from you as you’re risking increasing latency. Your distance from the server also matters, so try finding the middle ground.

Here are the best VPN locations for some popular online games that we’ve researched:

GameBest server locations
Overwatch 2Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Paris, London, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco
Warzone (COD)US servers, Egypt, Singapore
Apex LegendsAustralia, UK, US, Japan, Germany, Belgium
CS:GOSingapore, Poland, US, Brazil
MinecraftUK, US, France

Can a VPN reduce ping for gaming?

Yes, a gaming VPN can reduce ping in certain situations when your internet connection speed is being throttled. This can be the fault of your ISP, or some other restrictions and/or issues.

However, under normal circumstances, a VPN will inevitably slow down your connection speed and increase ping. That’s why it’s important to choose the best VPN for gaming that slows down your internet speed the least. For example, NordVPN is currently regarded as the fastest VPN on the market, largely thanks to its custom NordLynx tunneling protocol.

Another way to avoid a huge increase in ping while gaming with a VPN is to choose a VPN server that is the closest to your actual location.

Fastest VPNs for gaming compared

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: 1ms ping/462 Mbps download/437 Mbps upload
ProviderNordVPNSurfsharkIPVanishPureVPNProton VPN
Ping101 ms
118 ms
121 ms
115 ms
106 ms
Avg. download speed389 Mbps372 Mbps369 Mbps308 Mbps344 Mbps
Avg. upload speed288 Mbps246 Mbps200 Mbps228 Mbps253 Mbps
Prices start from$3.49$2.30$3.99$1.49$4.99

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

If you want to see the live speeds of these VPN providers, be sure to check out our VPN speed test tool.

Can I use a free VPN for gaming?

Yes, you can use a free VPN for gaming, but we don’t recommend it.

Many VPNs which offer free services often make money through in-app ads, as well as by collecting and selling user data to third parties. They also tend to have much fewer features than paid providers and allow only a limited amount of data usage. Besides, free VPN speeds are often very slow, which is not ideal for gaming.

However, there are VPNs that have free versions, and also offer paid subscriptions. Some of the best freemium VPNs are Atlas VPN and Proton VPN. They won’t log your data, and if you want more features, you can always upgrade to a paid plan.

But for the best gaming experience, we strongly suggest giving paid gamer VPNs a chance. They have much more features, stronger security, and blazing fast speeds. What’s more, the best VPNs such as NordVPN or Surfshark also have free trials and 30-day money-back guarantees, so you can try them out for free, risk-free.

Is a VPN good for gaming?

Gaming with a VPN 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.

And if you manage to choose the best gaming VPN, like our favorite NordVPN, only the best things come. Outstanding server fleet and the improved WireGuard tunneling protocol for the best connection speed on the market. Plus, next-gen security features and intuitive apps for durable protection and flawless experience.

So, 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.

4.9 /5
Special deal
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4.7 /5
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