Unless you use a VPN while you’re gaming, you risk exposing yourself to a ton of potential privacy issues. This includes things such as DDoS attacks, which target individual IP addresses and cut off your internet connection – this could be particularly frustrating if you’re playing an online multiplayer game.
Using a VPN also means that your ISP and other third parties aren’t able to see what you’re up to online. The VPN market has become a crowded one as of late, so we’ve sourced the best VPNs for gaming to make your decision a little easier.
Our top VPN picks for gaming boast plenty of server choice and the most consistent speeds to ensure that your gaming experience remains silky smooth while your privacy and security stay protected. Our proprietary speed-testing technology means we can provide you with the most accurate VPN speed data across several global locations, so you can’t go wrong with one of our gaming picks.
The Most Important Factors When We Review a VPN for Gaming
- Global server locations
- Reliable and fast speeds
- Low latency
- Transparent, fair and privacy-focused policies
- Well-designed and easy to use apps
- High quality customer support
Wondering why you should trust our reviews? Take a look at How We Test VPNs
Read More Information on Our Top 5 Best VPN Services for Gaming
How We Picked the Best VPN for Gaming for 2019
Our top picks for gaming have a wide selection of global server locations and fast download speeds to give you the best gaming experience possible, without compromising on privacy or security. The highest-rated providers have super low latency and reliable connections for lag-free gaming.
We continually test the best VPNs for gaming on our site so we can keep our reviews as up-to-date as possible. Using our proprietary speed-testing tool, we update our reviews with the most accurate global speed test results and only recommend providers offering the highest levels of performance. We manually put each app through its paces so that we can let you know just how it is to use them.
Do I Need a VPN for Gaming?
Connecting to the internet without using a VPN is a risk to everyone, gamers included. But do you really need a VPN for gaming alone? In certain situations, we’d say yes:
- If you are into competitive online gaming and e-sports, using a VPN can protect you against DDoS attacks by masking your true IP address, making it virtually impossible for wannabe hackers to cut off your internet connection and ruin your chances of winning.
- Connecting to gaming servers far away from your true physical location means higher ping time and increased lag. A VPN hides your online activity from your ISP, so they won’t find any reason to slow down your connection.
- If you connect to gaming servers located far away from your physical location, ping time will increase and cause lag. Using a VPN allows you to experiment with connecting from different servers, making it possible to reduce latency and improve performance.
- If you want to encrypt your gaming traffic to ensure your personal data, such as financial details, and save files remain safe and private, then a VPN is a must-have.
In a nutshell, you should use a VPN while gaming if you want protection from DDoS attacks and ISP bandwidth throttling or if you want keep your gaming data and save files secure and private. If none of these apply to you and gaming isn’t the main reason you’re going to be using a VPN, we’d recommend checking out our roundup for the Best Overall VPNs.
How to Use a VPN for Gaming
Depending on the device you use, there are several simple ways to use a VPN while gaming. Most VPNs are compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, covering most of your desktop and mobile devices. You can also install most VPNs at router level, which is especially useful if you wish to use them with any games consoles. One major advantage of this is that every internet-connected device in your home will be protected by the VPN, however it does make switching between servers significantly more difficult.
If you want the fastest performance speeds and the smoothest gameplay, be sure to connect to the closest server to your physical location. Most providers will automatically do this for you, but if the one you have chosen doesn’t offer this feature, connecting to a server in the same country will do the job. This will also ensure the lowest possible latency so you don’t experience any lag.
For more information about using a VPN on your router, check out our user-friendly installation guide here. If your VPN isn’t configurable on a router, we also have a handy guide on how to use a VPN with your games console (we used Playstation as an example).
How to Choose a VPN for Gaming: 6 Tips
In order to have a lag-free, smooth gaming experience fast performance speeds and low latency are absolute musts. Our top picks boast low ping times (some of less than 1ms) and quick, consistent local download speeds, making them perfect for gamers. Check out our VPN speed test results for more detailed information on specific locations.
Generally, VPNs are compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. However, if you want to use a VPN on your favorite games console, your options become more limited. Our top pick, ExpressVPN, stands out with its MediaStreamer DNS service, offering a one-click solution for a wide range of consoles and streaming devices. Alternatively, you should look for a VPN that can be easily configured with your router as this will then protect all internet-connected devices in your household.
If you want to protect your (and your family’s) privacy on multiple devices and consoles, you need to look for a provider that offers a decent number of simultaneous connections, with the best providers offering a very generous connection limit of 10 devices.
Most providers will falsely claim to be completely zero-logs, however in the real world this is very rarely the case. In order to maintain a decent level of server performance across a global network, providers usually need to collect at least some basic customer connection metadata, and this isn’t a problem as long as it can’t be used to personally identify you. We read through all the privacy policies so you don’t have to- simply check out the logging policy section of our reviews for more info. Look for a provider that collects very minimal connection logs, or preferably no logs at all.
You could find an excellent VPN with loads of advanced features and brilliant performance, but this is no good if the apps are overly complex or clunky. Look for a VPN that offers a range of easy-to-use custom apps to ensure a smooth experience, and then you’re more likely to use it on a regular basis. You can find the low-down on each provider’s software in the Ease of Use section of our reviews, safe in the knowledge that we have thoroughly tested each and every one.
With the majority of VPN providers, you get better value for money if you sign up for a longer subscription. If you like to try before you buy, look for free trials or ‘no questions asked’ money-back guarantees. The majority of our top picks offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to test out the VPN service to your heart’s content, risk free.