Recommended VPNs for Gaming 2020

How to use a VPN for gaming

Online gaming is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world, with millions of players worldwide using the internet to play interactive games.

The online gaming experience is safer and better with a VPN service provider. Virtual Private Networks are online encryption tools that give customers privacy and anonymity by hiding their IP addresses and shared traffic. By sending this information through remote servers, away from hackers, governmental agencies, Internet Service Providers, and prying eyes on the web, online gamers can enjoy a secure internet experience.

It is crucial for the gaming experience to choose a VPN that does not cause slower internet connections. You will want to maintain your competitive advantage by choosing a fast VPN.

If you want to be sure that your VPN protects you while you play and maintains your speed and response time, then you should consider one of the best VPN for gaming in our recommendations list.

Why do gamers need VPNs?

If you are participating in multi-player gaming event in titles such as PUBG, Overwatch, Warcraft, Call of Duty, and CS:GO, just to name a few, you may want to use a VPN service. It will enhance your privacy and security when playing online games, an activity that could leave you exposed to several threats if you leave your IP address and traffic unprotected.

You may make the mistake of thinking that a VPN service is detrimental to your gaming experience because it involves traffic encryption and routing to a remote server, a process that, if done by a poor provider, may affect your performance. However, this is not true for every VPN option. Depending on which VPN provider you select, you may experience high ping time and a slower connection, but some do stand out in this area and can offer you top performance.

Some VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN, PureVPN, NordVPN, Buffered VPN, and TunnelBear, are equipped with the server infrastructure and global resources to maintain or even improve gaming performance, reducing latency times to a minimum.

Ping and Latency

In the gamer world, ping and latency are synonyms. They refer to the response time after your gadget or device sends out a request. For players, the lower the ping time (or latency), the better, because it means that the game responds quickly to commands, enhancing overall performance.

In battle or fighting games, a high latency or ping time will be the difference between life and death in most cases. That is because gamers are often looking to improve their machines, devices, processing power, and internet connection.

Benefits of using a VPN for gaming

One reason why gamers benefit from a VPN is unrestricted access. VPN technology gives users access to games and servers around the world.

People who love online games can also benefit from using a VPN because of the general data security that it adds to the experience, making the user less susceptible to hacker attacks and government spying.

On top of all that, a VPN may help users avoid DDoS attacks, which are Distributed Denial of Service. This is a standard weapon that some dirty players use, as it involves making the rival’s machine or network unavailable by taking it down with multiple simultaneous requests that overload the system.

If you enjoy playing games like Battlefield, Fifa 18, PES 2018, Wonderputt, Frog Fractions, Game of Bombs, Die 2 Nite, Samorost, Polycraft, Tanki Online, Superhot, Overwatch, League of Legends, Minecraft and numerous more, you should use a VPN for its added safety, privacy, anonymity, and a high chance of lower ping times.

A reliable VPN connection will also be helpful in dealing with unsecured hotspots and public wifi networks, especially when your gamer account links to your credit card or other personal information. You want to avoid leaving that information within a hacker’s reach at all costs.

How to choose a VPN for gaming

If you truly want to enhance your gaming experience and take it to a whole new level, then a VPN is the perfect solution for you. However, not every client in the market is best for gaming purposes or trustworthy. You need to know how to select the right VPN for you.

One of the major factors you need to consider before deciding which VPN service to purchase is its global server coverage. Options with more servers are better because they allow you to switch in search of the perfect speed and performance. Also, a client with the ability to connect to various countries is more convenient, since you will gain access to more international titles outside of those available in your nation.

Of course, another crucial factor in deciding on your top VPN options is the connection speed. Numerous services and pages allow you to conduct speed tests, so you should choose a VPN that can maintain or improve the rates for your online gaming sessions. Your best options should to be lightning fast and reduce ping/latency to minimum levels.

Privacy and security should also be near the top of your priorities when selecting a VPN for online gaming. There are hackers all over the internet, your opponents can perform damaging DDoS attacks on your system, and you are vulnerable to more viruses than the average internet user. For those reasons, a VPN can only benefit you in reaching satisfactory levels in your gaming sessions.

Best Protocols for Online or PC Gaming

  • PPTP – The Peer to Peer Tunneling Protocol is highly insecure and significantly slower than its competitors, thus making it inconvenient for online gaming.
  • L2TP/IPSec – The Layer to Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) works best with the Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) measure. It is highly secure but requires more overhead for the 256-bit encryption.
  • SSTP – The Secure Sockets Tunneling Protocol routes through the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, which uses TCP port 443. That makes it very good at bypassing firewalls and proxy servers, and as a result, it is far less likely that you will get blocked trying to access or play a game. However, it is almost entirely married to Windows devices.
  • IKEv2 – This means Internet Key Exchange, version 2. The IKEv2 protocol is fast, stable and secure, and it may be the best protocol for online gaming. It prioritizes low latency levels, a dream scenario for players around the world.
  • Cisco Anyconnect – While it is useful overall, at least more than the PPTP, it is not very user-friendly when it comes to the configuration for gaming.
  • OpenVPN – The OpenVPN is known as the most secure and efficient protocol for all purposes. However, you should know that OpenVPN TCP requires a lot of overhead, which reduces overall speed and makes it not entirely suitable for gaming. The OpenVPN UDP protocol may be better for gamers as it targets low latency.

How To Set-Up Your Gaming VPN

To show you how easy it is to get started with a VPN, we’ll use ExpressVPN as our example.

Set Up a VPN on iOS

  1. Sign up for an ExpressVPN subscription on its website
  2. Download and install the ExpressVPN app for iOS. It works for iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
  3. Connect to the server and country of your selection.
  4. Done! Now you can enjoy VPN encryption on your iOS devices.

Set Up a VPN on Android

  1. Register for an ExpressVPN subscription on its website.
  2. Download and install the ExpressVPN app for Android on your smartphone or tablet.
  3. Establish a connection with the server and country of your choice.
  4. Done! Now you can enjoy VPN encryption on your Android devices.

Set Up a VPN on Windows

  1. Go to the ExpressVPN website and subscribe.
  2. Download and install the ExpressVPN VPN app for Windows on your device.
  3. Connect to the server and country that you desire.
  4. Done! Now you can enjoy VPN encryption on your Windows devices.

What About Free VPNs?

By now, you know that VPNs are online services that offer you privacy, security, and the ability to work with international sites, no matter where you are. The most reliable options require you to pay for a service package: monthly, bi-annual, yearly, or every two or three years.

However, some sites and services offer VPN encryption for free. That may sound enticing, sure, but the reality is that free VPNs represent dangerous security hazards and will not fulfill your expectations.

For starters, to maintain a VPN service with servers and exciting features, it requires a massive investment. How do free VPNs afford it if they don’t charge you a dime? By subjecting you to annoying, dangerous ads that could infect your system and by collecting logs of your shared data and selling them around the Internet.

The worst part of all, at least for online gamers, is that free VPN services are substantially slower than paid alternatives. So, if you are looking for a VPN to play online, go with a reputable brand. They are not overly expensive, and they don’t come with any bandwidth limitations whatsoever!

Gaming VPN FAQs

Is a VPN for gaming safe?

Yes, primarily if you use a paid service. VPNs will create a virtual tunnel in which your information, IP address and shared data will travel securely, away from prying eyes, DDoS attacks, hackers, and other external agents.

Can a VPN for gamers improve multiplayer session speeds?

It is not common, but yes: a VPN can improve multiplayer session speeds for gamers. Better yet, some of the best clients in the world can reduce ping/latency and strengthen upload speed rates.

What is the fastest VPN for gaming?

NordVPN and ExpressVPN provide fast and stable VPN services that make them very suitable for gaming. With them, there will be virtually no buffering. Buffered VPN may be the better choice because if its low latency levels.

What is the most critical factor of speed for gaming VPNs?

The ping time, which equals the response time after you send a command or press a button, is arguably the most crucial aspect of a VPN service for gaming. We want to reduce latency and ping time, so if you find a VPN that does that, stick with it.

How can I test my gaming VPN?

Some VPN options let you test speed and latency, and some services and websites do, too. You need to conduct tests of your internet speed connection and ping time without the VPN connection and with it, and then compare the two.  Check the times with different brands and servers, identify the best and fastest option, and enjoy!

Conclusion

Contrary to what most people may believe, VPNs can work for online PC and mobile gaming, and it is not true that all brands increase latency or lag your connection speed. Virtual Private Networks can improve your privacy and security levels and protect you from hackers trying to get ahold of your online gaming accounts and credit card numbers, from DDoS attacks, and more.

If you want to enjoy the numerous benefits from a VPN in your PC gaming experience, then hire the services of PureVPN, ExpressVPN, NordVPN, Buffered VPN, or TunnelBear.

Written by: Graeme Messina
23 October 2018

Graeme is an IT professional with a special interest in computer forensics, security, and software. When not building networks and researching the latest software trends, he enjoys writing technical articles and blog posts.

Written by: Graeme Messina

Graeme is an IT professional with a special interest in computer forensics, security, and software. When not building networks and researching the latest software trends, he enjoys writing technical articles and blog posts.

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