There are lots of reasons you might need a VPN for online gaming:
- Preventing DDoS attacks
- Bypassing IP bans
- Getting around geo-blocks
- Avoiding ISP throttling
- Bypassing local firewalls or content filters
It’s important to say upfront that, with some important exceptions, a VPN is unlikely to speed up your connection.
Here are the main ways a VPN can help you when online gaming:
Protection against DDoS attacks
If you’re into competitive online gaming or e-sports, a VPN can protect you against DDoS attacks on your IP address. A VPN replaces your true IP address with the anonymous IP address of the VPN server you connect to. This makes it virtually impossible to attack your true IP address.
Bypassing IP bans
Some online game ban lists use IP addresses. If this has happened to you, a VPN might help you get around the ban.
It will hide your banned IP address from the game and give you a VPN IP address instead. This won’t work for other kinds of bans, though, such as those connected to an email address or account.
Many online games include location-specific features, such as events and stores, and other games are totally geo-blocked. This means that you won’t be able to access part or all of the game depending on your location.
Using a VPN with worldwide servers, you can make it appear as though your location is different, and get access to exclusive content from outside your country.
Avoiding ISP throttling
Sometimes ISPs will throttle your internet connection when you’re gaming. If this is happening a VPN will hide what you are doing from your ISP, and stop it from throttling your connection.
Bypassing NAT firewalls
If your Network has a strict NAT firewall you might struggle to maintain a P2P gaming connection. Some games and consoles – the Nintendo Switch for example – rely largely on P2P and won’t work online if you have a strict NAT firewall.
A VPN routes your traffic past the firewall, and allows a P2P connection regardless of your router or network’s settings.