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Best VPN for Gaming

Illustration of games console controller
Simon Migliano Head of Research at Top10VPN

Simon is a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio

Online gaming exposes you to several challenges and risks, unless you’re using a fast and secure VPN,

By assigning you a new anonymous IP address, the best gaming VPNs will in fact protect you against ISP throttling and DDoS attacks. They will also allow you to bypass IP bans and unlock geo-restricted online games, as well as in-game features.

At Top10VPN we care about gaming (I’ve been a PC gamer since the mid-90s), so we tested 70 VPNs on various PC, smartphone and console games to find the very best gaming VPNs.

The VPNs we recommend in this guide recorded fast speeds, low ping times, and they bypassed known geo-restrictions. Our two top picks, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost, even come with SmartDNS functionality for easier compatibility with gaming consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

With fast VPN servers around the world, 24/7 customer support and long money-back guarantees, you can try any of these gaming VPNs with piece of mind.

Top Gaming VPN Features

  1. Fast & reliable speeds
  2. Low ping times
  3. Servers all over the world
  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 VPNs for Gaming

1. ExpressVPN

The best VPN for online gaming, especially on gaming consoles.

  1. Very fast local downloads
  2. Best recorded ping time of 8ms
  3. SmartDNS feature for gaming consoles
  4. Virtually no-logs with no IP leaks
  5. Easy setup on all devices
  6. 24/7 live chat support
  1. Price could be lower on shorter plans
  2. Fire Stick TV app needs a fresher design
  • 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

Ranked #1 out of 71 VPNs for Gaming

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest and most secure VPN services we’ve tested, and currently our #1 VPN for online gaming. 

It has 3,000 VPN servers across 94 countries and we recorded very fast same-country download speeds and very low latency. We also experienced fast speeds connecting to far-away servers, once again with very low ping times and no lag.

ExpressVPN is undoubtedly one of the most user-friendly and versatile VPN services with custom apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and FireTV devices. The mobile apps are particularly easy to use, ideal for fans of mobile games like Mobile Legends. 

In addition, ExpressVPN is by far the best VPN to use with gaming consoles like PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, thanks to its MediaStreamer (SmartDNS) feature. All you need to do to connect to an ExpressVPN server is change your gaming console DNS settings, as shown in this step-by-step video.

And if you’re based in a highly censored nation like China or Turkey, ExpressVPN is the most effective VPN at bypassing aggressive online censors.

If you run into difficulties using ExpressVPN, we suggest you contact its 24/7 live support team, which is responsive and knowledgeable. ExpressVPN also comes with a risk-free money-back guarantee of 30 days so you can try it without worrying about losing your money.

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

2. CyberGhost

Fast 'budget' VPN with SmartDNS ideal for PS4 and Xbox One gaming.

  1. Fast same-country download speeds
  2. Ping times as low as 8ms
  3. My Smart DNS tool for gaming consoles
  4. Virtually no-logs policy
  5. Highest number of servers: 6,400
  6. User-friendly apps for all platforms
  1. High latency on handful of servers
  2. Doesn't work in high censorship countries
  • 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, 6,400+ servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

Ranked #2 out of 71 VPNs for Gaming

CyberGhost is a great gaming VPN for people on a budget, but this takes nothing away from its quality as a premium VPN.

While ExpressVPN is faster, CyberGhost is also very fast VPN especially across shorter distances. In fact, there was only a minimal drop off in speed when we connected to a nearby server.

CyberGhost’s server park is very extensive, with over 6,400 secure servers in 90 countries. That’s currently the highest number of servers on offer by any VPN provider. However, we did experience some higher than ideal latency on a few servers, particularly on longer distance connections.

Just like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN also comes with its own SmartDNS funcionality. Its My Smart DNS feature allows you to connect to CyberGhost’s servers on your gaming console by simply adjusting your DNS settings.

Unfortunately, CyberGhost has one big issue: if you’re currently located or travelling to a high censorship country like China, CyberGhost is unlikely to work and you should use ExpressVPN instead.

Thankfully, its generous 45-day money-back guarantee means you can thoroughly test CyberGhost before fully committing.

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

3. IPVanish

Fast and secure VPN with over 40,000 anonymous IP addresses.

  1. Very fast local downloads
  2. Fastest ping time of 7ms
  3. Genuine no-logs policy & no IP leaks
  4. 40,000+ shared IP addresses in 50 countries
  5. Router-level compatibility
  6. 10 simultaneous connections allowed
  1. No SmartDNS functionality
  2. Won't work in China, Turkey or UAE
  3. Live support is not 24/7
  • Best Price

    $5.20 over 12 months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    84Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    57 countries, 1,400+ servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

Ranked #3 out of 71 VPNs for Gaming

IPVanish is a super-fast VPN provider with impressive local download speeds and consistently low latencies.

However, unlike ExpressVPN, IPVanish doesn’t perform as well internationally, though. We still saw decent speeds from the UK to the US, though.

While IPVanish has ‘only’ 1,400 servers, it does come with over 40,000 anonymous IP addresses. This makes IPVanish ideal for gamers that are subject to unfair IP bans or frequent DDoS attacks.

It also doesn’t have any SmartDNS funcionality, which isn’t ideal for gaming console players, but at least you can install IPVanish at router level. This allows you to connect your gaming console (or any other device) to the VPN via your home router.

But, just like CyberGhost, IPVanish is not good at circumventing Chinese, Turkish or any other form of aggressive online censorship.

Overall, IPVanish is a very fast and secure VPN with some of the lowest latencies we’ve seen. You can also use it on up to 10 devices at once, which is much higher than ExpressVPN’s five.

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

4. PrivateVPN

Very fast VPN with the lowest latency we recorded in our tests.

  1. Very quick local download speeds
  2. Fastest recorded ping time of 5ms
  3. Strict zero-logs policy
  4. Easy setup on popular devices
  5. Router-level setup available
  1. SmartDNS not available
  2. Very small server network
  3. Won't work in highly censored nations
  4. 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

Ranked #4 out of 71 VPNs for Gaming

PrivateVPN is a solid choice for VPN beginners looking to game safely, but who also want to stick to a budget. 

What stood out when we tested PrivateVPN is its impressive speeds and  amazingly low latencies. Ping times were as little as 5ms, which are the fastest we’ve seen so far from our top gaming VPNs. It’s also a very stable and consistent VPN, so the chances of sudden interruptions or unexpected lag are remote.

There’s two main problems with PrivateVPN that keep it from rising higher in our rankings for gaming.

Firstly, it doesn’t have come with an option to use SmartDNS, which means you can only use it on gaming consoles by installing on your home router.

Secondly, PrivateVPN has a scaringly low number of servers: just 150 servers in 59 countries. Why it doesn’t suffer from server congestion and slower speeds is probably because it’s not as popular as other top VPNs. There’s a risk that PrivateVPN’s speeds slow down in the future if its customer base grows, but it doesn’t invest in its server infrastructure.

What’s more, PrivateVPN won’t work in high censorship countries, just like most of the other gaming VPNs in this guide. We also found live chat support inconsistent, although the online resources are helpful. 

Overall, PrivateVPN is a good VPN for gaming that could aim even higher with some improvements.

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

5. Private Internet Access

The fastest VPN we've tested with a wide range of security features.

  1. Excellent speeds worldwide
  2. Average ping time of 13ms
  3. No logs & no IP address leaks
  4. Revamped apps for popular devices
  5. Router-level compatibility
  6. Advanced security settings
  1. No SmartDNS functionality
  2. Doesn't work consistently in China
  3. Live support is not 24/7
  • Best Price

    $2.69/mo over 26 Months

    See all plans

  • Top Speedi

    89Mbps same city speed

    Based on a 100Mbps test connection

  • Servers

    44 countries, 3,395 servers

  • Compatible with

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

The Bottom Line

Ranked #5 out of 71 VPNs for Gaming

Private Internet Access is a VPN that will deliver top speeds across its entire server network. When connecting to same-country connections we experienced barely any loss of speed. That’s why PIA VPN is our fastest VPN for 2020.

Also, it’s latency is often low although it’s certainly not as low as IPVanish or PrivateVPN’s ping times. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t have many lag problems when gaming with PIA VPN.

Crucially, PIA VPN does come with router-level support so it will work with your PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch. However, it is a shame PIA doesn’t have a SmartDNS tool, which is by far the best way to connect a gaming console to a VPN server.

Another drawback of using PIA VPN is that it’s unlikely to work in China – it often can’t beat Chinese web censors. It does work better in other countries like Turkey and the UAE, though.

With a newly upgraded server park of over 3,300 servers across 44 countries, a 30-day refund period and almost 24/7 live support, PIA is definitely a VPN to consider for your gaming needs.

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

Gaming VPNs FAQ

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 a recognized world expert in VPNs. He's tested hundreds of VPN services and his research has featured on the BBC, The New York Times, CNet and more. Read full bio