Here’s why you should consider using a VPN with your PlayStation:
1Protect yourself from DDoS attacks
You risk exposing your true IP address to malicious third-parties when you compete in e-sports and online games on your PlayStation.
This is because many games, including Call Of Duty, use P2P matchmaking to connect gamers. Much like with torrenting, this exposes your public IP address to everyone within the game.
Attackers can then use this information to flood your connection with spam traffic, which will slow down your internet speed and make it extremely difficult for you to compete effectively. This is known as a ‘Distributed Denial of Service’ (or DDoS) attack.
Your IP address can also reveal information about your personal identity, such as where you live and details about your web browsing activity.
It’s therefore best to use a VPN to hide your IP address from other gamers. When you connect to the VPN server, your personal IP address will become masked by the IP address of the server, meaning you’re safe from IP-based targeting.
2Improve connection speeds and overall performance
A VPN always slows your connection down to some degree, so you might be surprised to hear that using one can actually cut game latency and improve overall performance.
If you connect to a VPN server that is close to a gaming server, you can improve speed relative to your standard internet connection, which may take a less direct route to the server.
You can often find out where gaming servers are located by Googling for them. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), for example, has servers in Virginia (US), London (UK), and Sydney (Australia), among other places. Fortnite has servers in Ohio (US), Osaka (Japan), and Frankfurt (Germany), plus 13 other places.
Be aware that the connection between your PlayStation and the VPN server will take longer if it’s further away from you, though. So you’ll need to experiment to find the optimal end-to-end speed. You’ll also need to make sure you’re using a VPN with a low ping time.
3Unlock ‘hidden’ streaming content and blocked websites
If you’re someone who likes streaming movies and TV shows, then you’ll know that streaming services like Netflix offer different content catalogs depending on your location.
By masking your IP address and spoofing your location, a good-quality VPN lets you unblock the streaming content that isn’t normally available in your region.
Unfortunately, Netflix and other platforms are now very adept at identifying and blocking VPNs from accessing their site. In 2021, only the very best VPN services are capable of unblocking Netflix and even fewer can do it on PlayStation. Here’s a list of reliable VPNs for streaming.
A VPN can also help you browse more freely on your PlayStation. If there are websites that are blocked in your region, or you live in a country with high levels of censorship, a VPN can help you bypass the website blocks and access a more free and open internet.
For citizens of authoritarian governments, be sure to use a VPN with ultra-secure encryption and a zero-logs policy so that you can guarantee your activity isn’t being traced back to you. You can read more about these features in our beginner’s introduction to VPNs.
EXPERT TIP: You can use a VPN to overcome certain types of gaming or website ban. If it’s your IP address that has been blocked, a VPN will assign you a new one so that the block no longer applies.
4Avoid ISP throttling
Some ISPs will throttle high-bandwidth activity – such as gaming, streaming and torrenting – causing slower speeds and longer latency.
If you travel with your PlayStation, hotels or other public WiFi providers might also throttle your connection in an attempt to reduce bandwidth consumption.
With a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted, meaning your service provider cannot see what it is you’re doing. If they can’t determine your activity, they can’t throttle your connection. A VPN is therefore a great way to avoid ISP throttling and enjoy unrestricted speeds on PS4 and PS5.
Smart DNS doesn’t encrypt your traffic, so it won’t protect you. You’ll need to use a full VPN service with strong encryption, like NordVPN, to hide your traffic from service providers.
Can You Use a VPN to Get PS Games Cheaper & Earlier?
It’s often claimed that by spoofing your location with a VPN, you can change the region of your PlayStation Store and get access to early game releases, geo-restricted in-game content (DLC), and cheaper regional pricing. Unfortunately, this isn’t true.
You cannot use a VPN to change the PlayStation Store region of your PlayStation Network account.
The region of your PS Store is determined by the location and address you enter when creating your PlayStation Network (PSN) account. If you input the US as your location, then you’ll only ever be able to access the US PlayStation Store, no matter where you are in the world. The account’s region cannot be changed after it has been created.
Therefore the only way to gain access to early game releases and cheaper store prices is to create a new PSN account and register it in your desired region.
For instance, games tend to be released first in the Asia-Pacific region, because of its time zones. To be one of the first people in the world to play a new game, you’ll need to create a new PSN account and register your address as somewhere in Asia-Pacific. You’ll then be able to download the game from the PS Store.
This process doesn’t require a VPN. As long as you can supply an acceptable ZIP or postal code from your chosen region, PlayStation doesn’t appear to cross-reference this with the geo-location information supplied by your IP address – which means you don’t need to worry about hiding your IP with a VPN. Simply set up your new PSN account and enjoy access to the new region’s Store.
There are a few caveats that make changing your PlayStation region quite a complicated and impractical solution, though:
You cannot transfer any previously purchased games, downloaded in-game content, PS Store credits, friends lists, or trophies from your existing PSN account to the new one. This means that every time you create a new account in order to access a new PS Store region, you essentially have to start a brand-new gaming profile.
Purchases need to be made using a credit card or PayPal account that is registered in the same region as the store you’re accessing. One workaround for this is to use a gift card, but be sure to load the gift card with the appropriate currency because a gift card loaded with US Dollars will not work in the Japanese PS Store.
The PSN Terms Of Service do state that you must “give accurate information about yourself,” which presumably includes your true location. It also says that PlayStation may suspend your account “if you give [it] false information.” Although we’ve never seen it happen, it’s possible that your account will be banned if you’re found to have entered an incorrect location in order to change your PS Store region.
A VPN improves gaming on the PS4 and PS5 by hiding your identity from other gamers and, occasionally, improving speed and performance levels. It’ll also help you unblock streaming content and censored websites by reliably spoofing your location. A VPN won’t help you change the region of your PlayStation Store, though.