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Best VPN for Gaming

By Simon Migliano | Updated March 6, 2020

Illustration of games console controller

Gamers are sometimes too busy playing online to realise they’re exposing themselves to online risks, unless they’re already using a top gaming VPN.

The best VPNs for gaming protect you against DDoS attacks, allow you to bypass IP bans, and unlock geo-restricted online games (and in-game features).

In addition, a VPN also prevents your ISP from slowing down your connection and lagging out your game. ISPs are renowned for doing that if they deem you to be using too much data.

But with the VPN market becoming overcrowded, what is the best VPN for gaming?

At Top10VPN.com we care about gaming (I’ve been a PC gamer since the mid-90s), so we carefully analyzed 72 VPN services to find the best gaming VPN for 2020. Using our in-house speed-test tool we identified the fastest VPNs with the lowest ping times.

No matter where you are in the world, you can’t go wrong with one of the gaming VPNs below. And with 24/7 customer support and lengthy money-back guarantees, you can try one of these VPNs with extra piece of mind.

Gaming VPN Requirements

  1. Servers all over the world
  2. Reliable, fast speeds
  3. Low ping times
  4. No (or minimal) logs & no IP leaks
  5. Compatible with gaming consoles
  6. Advanced security features

Wondering why you should trust our reviews?
See How We Review VPNs.

5 Best Gaming VPNs

1. ExpressVPN

Ranked #1 out of 72 VPNs for Gaming

  1. Very fast local downloads
  2. Low ping times
  3. Easy setup on all devices
  4. Connect securely to 3,000 servers
  5. Compatible with consoles
  6. 24/7 livechat support
  1. Price could be lower on shorter plans
  • Best Price

    $6.67/mo over 15 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    85Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    94 countries, 3,000+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

ExpressVPN is the fastest all-round VPN service we’ve tested. This makes it a great VPN for gaming. 

Local download speeds are particularly fast and it has 3,000 servers across the globe. 

You can connect to any of these servers and play video games through them, experimenting to see if you even get a lower ping than what you usually get and avoid lag. 

It’s also a VPN service that works on all popular devices, whether Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android. This is good if you’re a fan of mobile games like Mobile Legends and other platform-exclusive titles. 

It’s also compatible with gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, meaning you’ve got all your gaming bases covered. You’ll have to install the app at router level, though. 

What’s very important when it comes to a VPN for gaming is low ping, or latency. A high ping is the main cause of lag when you’re gaming. And no one wants that. ExpressVPN has extremely good latency, low across global locations. 

More than that, it has top privacy for secure, risk-free gaming. Whether you want to keep your save files or sensitive information like payment details safe, ExpressVPN will do the job.

You also won’t have any problem with the app; it has a super quick, foolproof setup. Download, install and you will be gaming safely in no time.

Even if you do come across difficulties when using ExpressVPN, it offers very efficient 24/7 live chat customer support. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full ExpressVPN review.

2. IPVanish

Ranked #2 out of 72 VPNs for Gaming

  1. Very fast local downloads
  2. Consistently low latency
  3. Simple setup on popular devices
  4. 40,000+ shared IP addresses in 50 countries
  5. Genuine zero-logs policy
  6. Reliable 24/7 live chat support
  1. Clunky desktop app
  2. 7-day refund period could be longer
  • Best Price

    $3.25/mo over 12 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    50 countries, 1,300 servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

IPVanish is a super-fast provider.

With lightning-fast local download speeds and consistently low latencies, this VPN offers a slick gaming experience. 

Performance is less reliable internationally, but it still picks up decent speeds in the USA (we test from London).

IPVanish is a very strong VPN for gaming as it has over 40,000 available IP addresses, a great number to experiment with to find the best server connection for gaming. More servers decreases the chance of server congestion, keeping speeds smooth and reliable. 

You can also jump out of your usual country and play online live multiplayer in countries you never have before, or access DLC content that may be restricted in your home region. 

But, it has to be said, IPVanish is bit of a clunky app. This may put off those looking for as simple a VPN experience as possible. 

IPVanish is not a good VPN for undercutting Chinese censorship though. So if you are a gamer in China looking for unlimited access, or any other censoring nation, you need to consider another of the VPNs on our list. 

With a strict-zero logs policy, as well as strong protection against DNS leaks, this robust privacy goes a long way to making up for jurisdiction in the privacy-unfriendly US. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full IPVanish review.

3. PrivateVPN

Ranked #3 out of 72 VPNs for Gaming

  1. Super-fast local download speeds
  2. Incredibly low latency in popular locations
  3. Easy setup on popular devices
  4. Generous six device connection limit
  5. Connect securely to 59 countries
  6. Strict zero-logs policy
  1. Could offer more individual servers
  2. Live chat support is inconsistent
  • Best Price

    $1.89/mo over 2 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    86Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    59 countries, 150+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

PrivateVPN is a great choice for VPN newbies looking to game safely, but also want to stick to a budget. 

It has very impressive speeds and super-low latencies (as little as 5ms) – perfect for gaming. 

It’s also very stable and consistent when it comes to speed performance, so there’s less chance of sudden interruptions to your gaming. 

PrivateVPN comes in third place due to the low number of individual servers – just 150 spread over 59 countries, which is much less than IPVanish.

This makes it harder if you want a wide selection of countries to play online multiplayer in.

When it comes to gaming, a large worldwide server list is best to get the most out of the experience and test which server is the optimal one for your needs. 

Still, PrivateVPN is true to its name: this is a strictly private zero-logs VPN service. 

It also features a whole host of privacy extras, like TCP Port 443 and Tor over VPN. 

The desktop app is great but if you play games on your mobile know that the mobile app lacks advanced options. 

Support could also do with improvement. We found the live chat inconsistent, but you may find what you want in the helpful online resources. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full PrivateVPN review.

4. CyberGhost

Ranked #4 out of 72 VPNs for Gaming

  1. Super fast local download speeds
  2. Simple setup on popular devices
  3. Connect securely to 60 countries
  4. Advanced security features, such as split tunneling
  5. Strict zero-logs policy
  6. Quick and friendly 24/7 customer support
  1. Latency very laggy in some locations
  2. Could offer more IP addresses
  • Best Price

    $2.75/mo over 3 years

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    87Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    90 countries, 7,100+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

CyberGhost is another budget VPN service, but this takes nothing away from its quality. 

CyberGhost is a strict no-logs VPN with extra security features and very fast speeds. 

CyberGhost is especially fast on same-country speeds, with a minimal drop off when using a server near to your actual location.

When playing a game with a VPN, it’s important to have great local speeds to avoid lag – and CyberGhost delivers. 

It also offers a good number of individual servers – just over 3,000 in total – but latency can be laggier than other picks.

Thankfully, the generous 45-day money-back guarantee means you can thoroughly test the CyberGhost VPN out – see if it fits your gaming needs before you commit.

For a more in-depth look, read our full CyberGhost review.

5. Private Internet Access

Ranked #5 out of 72 VPNs for Gaming

  1. Excellent speeds
  2. Safe and secure
  3. Low ping times
  4. Router-level installation
  1. Small server network
  • Best Price

    $3.33/mo over 12 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    89Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    31 countries, 3,200+ servers

  • Compatible with

    • Windows logoWindows
    • Mac logoMac
    • iOS logoiOS
    • Android logoAndroid
    • Linux logoLinux

The Bottom Line

Private Internet Access is a VPN service guaranteed to deliver top speeds.

When connecting to same-country connections we experienced barely any loss of speed.

It’s latency score is often low too, although not on the lowest on the list. You shouldn’t have many problems using PIA, getting all of the benefits with hardly any downside. 

Crucially, it has a router-level installation process that will protect your PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo

If you’re in a high-censorship region you can even expect PIA to grant you access to video game content otherwise forbidden. That’s if you don’t live in China, at least – it’s far less reliable there. 

It also supports unlimited P2P connections, which can be important for online multiplayer games.

The problem with PIA that doesn’t put it at the top of this list is its relatively small server network, with just 33 countries available. This runs the risk of congestion, with too many users on a single server which slows speeds (and increases the odds that your country won’t be on the list).

If you’re in a European or North American location, this won’t present much of a problem, but if you’re in Africa, Central Asia, or Oceania you should consider another of the providers on this page. 

Private Internet Access remains one of the most advanced services on the market due to its water-tight security and array of security extras.

It’s about as safe as it gets, so if your top priority in a VPN for gaming is purely privacy, take a closer look at PIA. 

For a more in-depth look, read our full Private Internet Access review.

Gaming VPNs: Popular Questions

Do I Really Need a VPN for Gaming?

Gaming online without a VPN can pose many risks. Below are the main reasons for using a VPN when gaming online:

  1. If you’re into competitive online gaming and e-sports, using a VPN can protect you against DDoS attacks by masking your true IP address. This makes it virtually impossible for wannabe hackers to cut off your internet connection and ruin your chances of winning.
  2. If your IP has been banned from a game, you’ll need a VPN to get a new IP address to bypass the IP ban.
  3. Many games, and in-game features, are geo-blocked. That means that you can’t access them depending on where you are. Using a VPN with worldwide servers, you can unlock these games, and access exclusives before they’re released in your country.
  4. If your ISP throttles your internet connection when you play online, a VPN can mask your traffic and prevent your ISP from slowing down your speed. That’s because your ISP can no longer see that you’re gaming online.
  5. 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, improve performance, or simply play with friends who are in a different region to you.

How to Get the Most from a Gaming VPN

Depending on the device you use, there are several simple ways to use a VPN while gaming. 

Most VPNs are compatible with Windows, macOS, iOS and Android, covering the majority of 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 like the Xbox or the PlayStation. Or, you can change your DNS settings in your console, which is simpler, but it won’t provide the same level of security.

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 game play, 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.

Which VPN Has the Lowest Ping?

When you’re gaming online, the last thing you want is lag. This is especially the case if you’re a competitive gamer.

In order to have a lag-free gaming experience while using a VPN, you need a service with low latency (also known as ping), and fast speeds. 

We’ve taken all this into account with our top picks. Some services have ping times as low as <5ms, alongside quick, consistent local download speeds. You shouldn’t even notice a difference when these VPNs are running.

PrivateVPN, for example, has only 5ms on same-country connections – one of the lowest we’ve recorded.

Check out our VPN speed test results for more detailed information on specific locations. 

What's the Best Free VPN for Gaming?

Many of us want to protect ourselves when we are gaming. That’s sensible as you decrease the risk of DDoS attacks. More than that, you can prevent throttling from your ISP. 

However, bear in mind: when it comes to free VPNs, they present serious limitations to the gamer.

Free VPNs often feature minimal server lists and serious data caps. 10GB is as generous as it gets, which simply isn’t enough for gaming. You’ll run out of data fast. 

Worse than that, free VPNs often just don’t cut it when it comes to privacy and security. Some are actually more dangerous than not using one at all

If you want a VPN for gaming, we highly recommend a paid VPN. 

If you’ve never used a VPN before and want to get a feel for one before spending any money then you should read our list of the best free VPNs.

Best Gaming VPN for PC

Illustration of Microsoft Windows laptop computer and desktop computerIf you’re a PC gamer then we have good news. The VPNs in our list all have dedicated apps for Windows PCs. 

Whether you’re playing Fortnite, World of Warcraft, League of Legends, or any other game and you want a VPN, simply choose the best VPN for you from our list.

We also have a guide for the overall best VPNs for Windows that’s worth checking out if you spend a lot of time on your PC.

Best Gaming VPN for Mac

As with Windows, all of our picks have custom apps for MacOS.

There are some Mac-exclusive games that you may enjoy playing like European War or Sky Gamblers. 

The VPNs on our list are great options for those of you who enjoy these games – all of which have good MacOS apps available.

We think ExpressVPN provides the simplest and most attractive app for Mac, but Private Internet Access and CyberGhost are strong contenders too. 

Best Gaming VPN for PS4

Your games consoles can have a lot of personal and sensitive information on them, like your payment details, so they certainly benefit from the added protection of a VPN. 

Our choices for the best VPNs for gaming are available to use with game consoles, including the PlayStation 4. You can do this by connecting a VPN at router level, but it also protects all of the devices connected to the router. 

Best Gaming VPN for Xbox One

Xbox One

Like with PlayStation, you can use a VPN for your Xbox One by connecting it at the router level.

All of the VPNs on this list are compatible with router installation, so you simply need to consider which of these VPNs is best for your needs before using it with your Xbox.

We recommend a VPN with low-ping, fast local connections and are P2P compatible. 

Best Gaming VPN in China

Illustration Depicting a VPN Circumventing the Great Firewall of ChinaChina puts a lot of restrictions on the web. It’s unsurprising, therefore, that it doesn’t like the idea of Chinese gamers talking and communicating through online video games. 

A VPN bypasses geo-restrictions and undermines what’s called the Great Firewall of China – or the good ones do, at least. 

ExpressVPN and PrivateVPN are two of the best at this: they are featured on both this list of VPNs for gaming and our list of the best VPNs for China.

These are the best choices when it comes to VPNs for gaming in China, capable of getting around the Great Firewall and offering plenty of benefits to the gamer outside of that.

Should I Use a VPN on Fortnite?

Fortnite LogoIf you’re a gamer, you’ve heard of Fortnite. It’s a cultural phenomenon. Fortnite Battle Royale attracted 125 million players in its first 12 months and now has a steady 250 million players playing per year.

But Fortnite’s popularity has lead to some problems.

We undertook research that showed as many as 50% of unofficial Fortnite apps available are loaded with spyware, adware or malware. In other words, they are designed to monitor, track and spy. 

Fortnite has proven to be a privacy and security nightmare. 

It even suffered a data leak due to a login flaw and was a target of a data-stealing malware campaign.

Naturally, we think you should use a VPN when playing Fortnite. It adds layers of security and privacy otherwise not available. It protects you against malware and will go some way to protecting you against these scams, and we also strongly advise you only ever download the game from the official Fortnite website. 

More than this, Fortnite is susceptible to getting banned. It has been banned in China, Jordan and Iraq. Even in the UK, Prince Harry expressed his desire to see the game banned.  

To regain access to Fortnite within censored countries and protect yourself in case your country is next, we recommend ExpressVPN – a reliable service at bypassing censorship and keeping its users secure.

Best Gaming VPN for Steam

Steam is a platform buying, downloading and playing games on PC, Mac, and Linux. Some users wonder whether you can use a VPN with Steam.

This is because Steam has strict download limitations determined by geo-restrictions, just like movies and TV shows on Netflix.

Some users want a gaming VPN to access content otherwise restricted to them. It can also allows you to access content launched earlier in other countries. 

Many report no problems when using a VPN with Steam. The problem is using a VPN is against the Steam Subscriber Agreement – we’ve screenshot the relevant part here:

Using a VPN runs the risk of having your account terminated. We wouldn’t recommend it, and if you do so then it’s at your own risk.

Best Gaming VPN for PUBG

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, popularly known as PUBG, is an almost equally popular online game. In Japan, it is the most popular video game in the country, while the majority of its market sales come from China.

But people want to play rest assured that they are safe and private when playing an online video game.

A VPN is the solution to this, keeping you secure and also protecting you against DDoS attacks.

When it comes to PUBG, a VPN is particularly useful. 

That’s because PUBG has been banned in some countries, including Iraq, Jordan and Nepal as well as parts of India and Indonesia. 

A VPN empowers you to play whatever games you want again by bypassing any national or regional censorship. 

ExpressVPN is a particularly good VPN at undermining censorship, and so you can bet it’s going to be a good choice in case any more countries decide to implement a ban.

Best Gaming VPN for Overwatch

Overwatch LogoAnother big-name FPS, many gamers ask: is it worth getting a VPN for an online game like Overwatch?

Well, it’s not uncommon for gamers to experience bandwidth throttling by their ISP due to what it considers to be overly extensive data usage. This causes a gamer grief by enforcing slow internet connections. 

The use of VPN can avoid this. With a VPN, ISPs cannot tell the difference between regular web browsing and Overwatch traffic.

If you’re a competitive gamer, a VPN also protects you against DDoS attacks. 

ExpressVPN, first on this list, is a VPN that offers connections designed against DDoS attacks, which is a real advantage for competitive gamers. 

We say ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Overwatch.

Best Gaming VPN for Mobile Legends

Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is a mobile battle arena game that’s particularly popular in Asia. It was the most-downloaded game on the iPhone in 2017 and there are even competitive tournaments held.

With competitive games when the stakes are high, the risk of DDoS attacks is increased. But not when you have a VPN, which helps protect against this. 

It’s important to note that a VPN is almost sure to increase your ping, sometimes called latency. This leads to lag, which can ruin any online game. 

A small increase isn’t a cause for concern, but just bear in mind that you want a gaming VPN to increase your ping as little as possible. 

In this case, we’d say the best VPN for a game like Mobile Legends is ExpressVPN – it has a low latency across global locations and very fast speeds. 

The mobile app is also very nice and comes with all the same features as the desktop version. ExpressVPN is the perfect VPN for Mobile Legends.

Best VPN for The Elder Scrolls Online (ESO)

The Elder Scrolls OnlineThe Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) is an online multiplayer game, originally released for PC and Mac followed by consoles a year later. It currently has 2.5 million monthly active players. 

Among those 2.5 million playing ESO, many want to access geo-restricted content. Mostly, though, they want to protect their privacy and secure themselves online. 

When you enter the fantasy world of Tamriel, you want to know that your information and privacy remains secure in the real world.

Many question whether the benefits of a VPN is worth it, considering the likelihood of an increasing ping score. However, ESO players report positive results when playing with a VPN, as you can see:

Screenshot of ESO Gamers Response to Using a VPN

Some even report a decrease in ping from their usual average:

Screenshot of ESO Player Response to Using a VPN

We recommend a VPN least likely to add to your ping when playing ESO, like ExpressVPN, IPVanish, or PrivateVPN. 

It has been reported that ESO have servers in Texas, Maryland, and Frankfurt. ExpressVPN has servers in or near all of these locations, making it ideally suited to use when playing ESO. 

It also happens to be our #1 VPN, featuring very fast speeds and reliable connections – great for gamers. 

We have seen at least one testimony suggest that CyberGhost is not a good VPN for ESO, so be cautious if you were interested in this VPN for this purpose. 

It’s definitely worth scrolling up and checking out our list to see which one best suits your Elder Scrolls needs.

Best Gaming VPN for Final Fantasy XIV

Like The Elders Scrolls Online, Final Fantasy XIV is a massively online multiplayer game, and a very popular one at that. 

But it’s a game that has a lot of restrictions based on where in the world you happen to be. Thailand, for example, has a regional version while other countries don’t want players communicating across borders too much.

Customer service is only available in certain regions, too. 

Those who want the uncompromised gaming experience become interested in the benefits of a VPN.  

The VPNs included in the above list we consider to be the best and definitive choices for gamers. It’s unlikely that you will encounter problems when using ExpressVPN to bypass blocks. 

It’s also a good choice at keeping the risk of increased ping as much at bay as possible, featuring very fast speeds and stable connections.

About the Author

  • Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

    Simon Migliano

    Simon is our Head of Research and has tested hundreds of VPNs since 2016. His research has been covered by the BBC, The New York Times, CNet, Wired, and more. Read full bio