Best Steam Deck VPN providers in 2023
Dive into the gaming revolution with Steam Deck, a powerful handheld computer designed to cater to your gaming needs on the go. Imagine eagerly awaiting the release of a specific game, only to discover it’s unavailable in your region. Or finding yourself abroad, unable to access your cherished game library. Here’s where a Steam Deck VPN emerges as your ultimate savior.
By masking your IP address, a VPN on Steam Deck liberates your gaming experience, ensuring unrestricted access regardless of geographical boundaries. The ideal Steam Deck VPN should offer a seamless blend of fast connection speeds, robust security features, and a user-friendly interface tailored to the Steam Deck’s unique gaming system.
This article will navigate you through the vast amount of VPN options, providing hands-on experiences and meticulous reviews of various VPN services. We’ve rigorously tested and shortlisted the top 5 Steam Deck VPN providers, empowering you to make an informed decision and elevate your gaming experience to new heights.
5 best Steam Deck VPNs for 2023
- NordVPN – the best Steam Deck VPN in 2023 overall
- Surfshark – VPN with unlimited simultaneous connections
- Atlas VPN – affordable VPN for Steam Deck anywhere
- ExpressVPN – secure and seamless gaming VPN
- CyberGhost – solid all-rounder VPN with gaming-optimized servers
Why do you need a VPN for Steam Deck?
Steam Deck transforms your gaming experience, making it portable and more accessible, therefore it's a popular choice for gamers who want the freedom to play their favorite PC games on the go. Despite its versatility, users may encounter regional restrictions, limited game availability, and potential security risks on public networks. This is where a reliable VPN becomes indispensable.
A VPN masks your actual IP address, making geo-restricted games and content accessible, regardless of your physical location. It's a game-changer for travelers and those in regions with limited game releases. Furthermore, a VPN provides an additional layer of security, especially crucial when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, safeguarding your personal data and gaming account details from potential threats.
Leveraging a VPN can also contribute to a smoother gaming experience, circumventing ISP throttling issues that might hinder your gameplay. It opens up opportunities to connect to different gaming servers worldwide, potentially reducing latency and ping times. In essence, a VPN for Steam Deck is not just a luxury but a necessity for gamers seeking unrestricted access, enhanced security, and an optimal gaming experience.
Best VPNs for Steam Deck – our detailed list:
After rigorously testing 42 VPN services, we’ve considered the crucial criteria of speed, security, compatibility, and user-friendliness to bring you the definitive list of our top VPNs for Steam Deck. While taking into consideration the unique needs of gamers to ensure an unparalleled gaming experience, we curated this list to strengthen your security and guarantee optimal performance. Here are the top 5 Steam Deck VPNs:
1. NordVPN – best VPN for Steam Deck
|Servers/countries:||5,900+ servers in 60 countries|
|Current deal:||🔥Holiday Deal! Get NordVPN with 69% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥|
NordVPN stands out as the best choice for Steam Deck users, delivering unmatched speeds and robust security tailored for gaming. With its seamless performance, you’ll forget you’re connected to a VPN even during the most intense gaming sessions.
Speed. During our in-house tests NordVPN came out as one of the fastest VPNs on the market, retaining around 90% of the baseline speeds. With the advanced and proprietary tunneling protocol NordLynx, NordVPN ensures your gaming is swift and smooth, eliminating lag and ping issues.
Servers. NordVPN is a true global player, allowing you to choose from over 5,900 RAM-only servers across 60 countries, all physically located in their advertised locations for reliable performance.
Features. We like NordVPN’s unique Meshnet feature, which enables virtual LAN gaming parties, connecting you with friends worldwide. The Threat Protection tool enhances browser gaming by blocking ads and speeding up page loads. Plus, double-kill switches add an extra layer of security.
Pricing. At just $2.99/month, we believe NordVPN is a steal, and you can even try it risk-free with a 7-day free trial from the Google Play Store or a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Dive into our comprehensive NordVPN assessment for an in-depth look.
2. Surfshark – rapid VPN for all your devices
|Servers/countries:||3,200+ servers in 100 countries|
|Current deal:||🔥Holiday deal! Get 82% OFF Surfshark + 4 months FREE🔥|
Surfshark VPN distinguishes itself as an excellent option for Steam Deck gaming, thanks to its fast performance and unlimited device connections under a single subscription. Some gamers might even prefer it over NordVPN for its versatility and impressive feature set.
Speed. Surfshark’s integration of WireGuard, OpenVPN, and IKEv2 protocols ensures comprehensive coverage for all your gaming needs, providing minimal lag even in high-intensity games. We did a comprehensive speed test which revealed a 86% initial speed retention.
Servers. Boasting over 3,200 RAM-only servers across 100 countries, Surfshark offers an extensive variety of regions to connect to. But be mindful, we checked, and it appears that some server locations are virtual, which could potentially affect connection speeds.
Features. Windows and Android gamers can benefit from the Bypasser function, routing specific games through the VPN for optimized performance. Additionally, Android users can take advantage of the GPS spoofing feature, ideal for location-based games like Pokemon Go.
Pricing. At an affordable $1.99/month and with both 7-day free trial and 30-day money-back guarantee options, Surfshark provides ample opportunity for testing before commitment.
Dive deeper into this provider's capabilities in our extensive Surfshark VPN review.
3. Atlas VPN – easy-to-navigate VPN for Steam Deck
|Servers/countries:||1,000+ servers in 42 countries|
|Current deal:||🔥Holiday deal! Get Atlas VPN, now 86% OFF + 6 months FREE!🔥|
Atlas VPN stands out for its user-friendly interface and robust security features, making it a solid choice for Steam Deck gaming. Gamers will appreciate the ability to connect an unlimited number of devices, perfect for those who wish to share their VPN benefits with friends or family.
Speed. What we love about Atlas VPN is that it has gaming-optimized servers, which, combined with the modern WireGuard protocol, ensure a smooth and uninterrupted gaming experience on your Steam Deck. Besides, our comprehensive analysis showed a decent speed retention rate of 80%.
Servers. With a network of over 1,000 servers across 42 countries, Atlas VPN ensures you can bypass geo-restrictions with ease, giving you access to a wide array of gaming content.
Features. While Atlas VPN does offer an impressive free version, it is somewhat limited, providing access to only four server locations, allowing two simultaneous connections, and capping data usage at 5GB per month. We really like the premium plan, which offers features like Shield, to prevent trackers, and split tunneling for extra protection.
Pricing. Starting at just $1.64/month, Atlas VPN is an affordable option, and with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can try it risk-free.
Check out our comprehensive Atlas VPN analysis for more insights.
4. ExpressVPN – fast VPN with formidable security measures
|Servers/countries:||3,000+ servers in 105 countries|
|Current deal:||🔥Holiday deal! Get ExpressVPN, now 49% OFF + 3 months FREE!🔥|
ExpressVPN earns its place on our top VPNs list for Steam Deck gaming, thanks to its impressive speed, unparalleled security, and a variety of features that enhance your online experience. With apps available for numerous devices, ExpressVPN caters to a broad audience.
Speed. ExpressVPN impressed us with its ultrafast and proprietary Lightway protocol, ensuring a low-latency gaming experience. While this is great, it’s worth noting that NordVPN outpaces it slightly in the speed retention rate. Our in-depth tests showed that ExpressVPN retains 77% of initial speeds.
Servers. ExpressVPN offers an extensive global network, spanning 105 countries. Though the total number of servers remains undisclosed, thousands of unique IP addresses are available with this provider.
Features. We really like ExpressVPN’s feature called MediaStreamer, akin to Smart DNS, designed to bypass geo-blocks and enable unrestricted access to games on many devices. For those residing in regions with stringent internet censorship, ExpressVPN offers obfuscated servers to conceal your VPN usage and ensure seamless connectivity on your Steam Deck.
Pricing. We dislike that ExpressVPN sits at the higher end of the spectrum, coming in at $6.67/month. However, it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to test its capabilities risk-free.
For a detailed analysis, check out our in-depth review of ExpressVPN.
5. CyberGhost – comprehensive VPN for gamers
|Servers/countries:||10,200+ servers in 100 countries|
|Current deal:||🔥Holiday deal! Get CyberGhost VPN, now 84% + 4 months FREE!🔥|
CyberGhost stands out as both a dependable and cost-effective solution for gamers using Steam Deck. This provider delivers impressive speeds combined with an extensive server network to ensure an optimal online gaming experience.
Speed. CyberGhost aims to be a low-ping VPN, offering the fast WireGuard protocol. Alternatively, users can also opt for other protocols, such as OpenVPN and IKEv2. We have done the testing, which revealed CyberGhost retains an impressive 86% of the baseline speeds.
Servers. CyberGhost enhances gaming performance with dedicated gaming servers designed to minimize latency. Boasting the largest server network on our list with over 10,200 RAM-only servers across 100 countries, it offers unparalleled server diversity.
Features. We love one of CyberGhost’s unique offerings – the Smart Rules feature, enabling users to tailor the app's behavior to their preferences. For those seeking an additional layer of privacy during gaming sessions, NoSpy servers are available.
Pricing. As one of the most affordable gaming VPNs, CyberGhost’s plans start at just $2.04/month. Make use of the free trial option, as well as a generous 45-day money-back guarantee for risk-free testing.
To delve deeper into what this provider has to offer, check out our comprehensive CyberGhost review.
Best Steam Deck VPNs compared
|Server network||5,900+ servers in 60 countries||3,200+ servers in 100 countries||1,000+ servers in 42 countries||3,000+ servers in 105 countries||10,200+ servers in 100 countries|
|Special features||Meshnet, Threat Protection||Bypasser, GPS Spoofing||Impressive but limited free version||MediaStreamer, obfuscated servers||Smart Rules, NoSpy servers|
|Pricing||From $2.99/month||From $1.99/month||From $1.64/month||From $6.67/month||From $2.04/month|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days||30 days||30 days||45 days|
How we tested VPNs for Steam Deck
To determine the best VPNs for Steam Deck, we adopted a systematic approach to evaluate and compare different services based on factors crucial for an exceptional gaming experience. Here are the criteria we followed:
- Speed and performance. We conducted speed tests to measure the impact of each VPN on connection speeds, ensuring that they offer fast and stable performance for uninterrupted gaming.
- Server network. We examined the server distribution and total number of servers, prioritizing VPNs with a vast and diverse network to provide users with more options for optimal connections.
- Security and privacy. We assessed the security features, encryption standards, and privacy policies of each VPN to ensure they provide robust protection against threats and uphold user privacy.
- Gaming-specific features. We looked for features tailored to enhance the gaming experience on Steam Deck, such as low latency servers, DDoS protection, and the ability to bypass geo-restrictions.
- Device compatibility. We verified that the VPNs are compatible with Steam Deck and checked for additional support on other platforms and devices.
- Customer support. We tested the responsiveness and effectiveness of the customer support provided by each VPN service.
- Pricing and value. We compared the pricing plans, money-back guarantee policies, and overall value for money of each VPN to ensure users get the best deal for their needs.
- User reviews and feedback. We considered user reviews and feedback to gain insights into the real-world performance and reliability of each VPN from the gamer’s perspective.
How to use a VPN on Steam Deck?
Using a VPN on your Steam Deck provides additional security and access to geo-restricted content. Below you’ll find step-by-step guides on how to configure your Steam Deck first, and then set up a VPN.
Step 1: set up the Decky and TunnelDeck
This step is important as you won’t be able to set up the VPN connection without first configuring your Steam Deck.
- Dock your Steam Deck and connect a keyboard with a mouse
- Switch to Desktop Mode and open a browser
- Look for Decky Loader and download it from GitHub
- Install the Decky by clicking on the downloaded file
- After installation, switch to the Gaming Mode and click the QAM button (three dots button on the right side of the console)
- Go to the Plug icon, select Settings (cog wheel), click on Decky, and install an update if prompted. Here you should see a little icon that represents the Plugin store
- Go to the store and look for TunnelDeck, download it, and install it. You should see the TunnelDeck option in the Deck menu
Step 2: set up the VPN connection
After setting up the Decky and TunnelDeck on your Steam Deck, you can now install the VPN on it.
- Switch to the Desktop mode once more. Download the config file from the VPN provider you chose. – you can simply type ‘NordVPN config files’ in your browser and go to the first prompt on NordVPN’s website
- There are different protocol modes (UDP and TCP) and countries. Choose whichever you like and download it
- Then, on your Steam Deck, go to the System Settings and navigate in the left-hand side menu to Network – Connections
- Here you’ll see networks you used previously or are connected to. Simply click the plus icon at the bottom, and, in a new window, scroll down and click on Import VPN connection…
- Find the VPN file you have downloaded from the provider, click on it, and confirm by clicking the Open button
- Click Yes when asked if you want to copy the certificates. You’ll see a new VPN connection in the VPN menu. Select the recently added one
- You’ll see Username and Password inputs. Type them in, you can find them in your VPN provider’s account menu
- After successfully setting everything up, go to the Gaming mode. Press the QAM button
- Navigate to the Decky menu and click on the TunnelDeck option
- In the TunnelDeck menu, you will see all the VPN connections. Toggle the one you want to connect to and that’s it. It might take a few seconds to establish a connection
Steam Deck VPN not working – troubleshooting
Occasionally, you might experience issues when using a VPN on your Steam Deck to access Steam's gaming library or other geo-restricted content. These issues can manifest in different ways, possibly hindering your gaming experience.
One of the potential causes could be that your true location and IP address are being revealed due to a weak VPN connection. Alternatively, you might have connected to a server in an unintended location. Your browser's cache and cookies could also be revealing your actual location. Lastly, it's possible that the VPN service you’re using isn't capable of bypassing the geo-restrictions put in place by certain games or content on Steam.
Below are some troubleshooting steps to help resolve these issues:
- Ensure that your VPN is properly connected and that your real location and IP address aren’t being leaked.
- Make sure you are connected to a server that corresponds with the region of the content you are trying to access.
- Your browser might be storing old location data. Clear the cache, cookies, and browsing history to remove this information.
- Some VPNs might be unable to bypass the geo-restrictions imposed by certain platforms. Ensure your VPN is capable of doing so.
- Update both your Steam Deck's operating system and your VPN software.
Best Steam Deck games
Steam Deck has quickly established itself as a powerhouse for on-the-go gaming, boasting an impressive library of titles for gamers to enjoy. From action-packed adventures to immersive RPGs, there's something for every type of gamer. However, it’s important to note that while many games are widely available, there are some regional restrictions in place.
|Game title||Available in|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hun||USA, UK, Canada, Germany, and more|
|DOOM Eternal||USA, UK, Canada, Germany, and more|
|Hades||USA, UK, Canada, Germany, and more|
|Cyberpunk 2077||USA, UK, Canada, Germany, and more|
|Elden Ring||USA, UK, Canada, Germany, and more|
If any of the games aren’t available in your region, ensure you’re using a reliable VPN, like NordVPN, to enhance your gaming experience and bypass any potential geo-restrictions.
It’s clear that using a VPN with Steam Deck enhances your gaming experience significantly. Not only does it secure your online activities, but it also opens up a world of content that might be restricted in your region.
Our extensive research and hands-on testing have led us to crown NordVPN as the top choice for Steam Deck users. Its unparalleled speed, vast server network, and robust security features stand out, ensuring a seamless and secure gaming experience.
Whether you are looking to access geo-restricted games, maintain anonymity, or simply enjoy a lag-free gaming session, equipping yourself with a trusted VPN, like NordVPN, becomes crucial. It not only meets but exceeds expectations, positioning itself as an indispensable asset for any avid gamer using Steam Deck.
Does VPN work on Steam Deck?
Yes, VPNs do work on Steam Deck, allowing users to access geo-restricted games and content, enhance privacy, and secure online connections. To ensure optimal performance, choose a reliable VPN, like NordVPN, which offers fast speeds and robust security features suited for gaming on Steam Deck.
How do I turn off VPN on Steam Deck?
To turn off the VPN on Steam Deck, click the QAM button, highlight the Plug icon, go to Decky, and select the TunnelDeck. You should find toggles near every VPN profile setup – simply toggle this button to turn it off, and the VPN will disconnect.
Is Steam Deck region-locked?
Steam Deck itself is not region-locked, meaning you can play games from any region on the device. However, the availability of games on the Steam Store can depend on your region, and some titles may be restricted in certain countries due to local regulations or licensing issues.
Can you play Valorant on Steam Deck?
Playing Valorant on Steam Deck is challenging due to the game's stringent anti-cheat system, which isn't compatible with the Steam Deck's Linux-based SteamOS. However, users have reported success by installing Windows on their Steam Deck, though this workaround may not be supported by Riot Games.
Is it worth buying a Steam Deck in 2023?
Yes, purchasing a Steam Deck in 2023 remains a worthwhile investment for gamers who value portability and versatility. With its capability to run a broad range of games and its continuous software updates, the Steam Deck provides a robust and flexible gaming experience.