How To Use NordVPN on PS4

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Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio

NordVPN works well on PS4. It’s one of the best VPN services around and can be used to improve gaming, streaming, and browsing on your PlayStation. Find out how to set up NordVPN on your PS4 in this complete guide.

illustration of a PlayStation remote with the NordVPN logo on, and a TV screen connected to the internet

Connecting your PlayStation 4 (PS4) to a good virtual private network (VPN) can improve gaming performance and let you access geo-restricted streaming content.

It will also hide your IP address from potential attackers and protect your connection against ISP throttling.

NordVPN works well on PS4. It’s fast, very secure, and a great all-round VPN.

To use a VPN on a desktop or mobile device, you just need to install an app. It’s not so simple on games consoles, though.

The PlayStation Store doesn’t contain any VPN apps. So, to set up NordVPN on PS4, you have three options:

  1. Use NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature
  2. Connect your PlayStation to the internet through your PC
  3. Install NordVPN on your router

Here’s how a quick summary of how these methods compare:

Smart DNS Connect via a PC Install on router
Set-up Difficulty Easy Medium Hard
Location Spoofing Yes Yes Yes
Works with Netflix Yes Yes Yes
Encrypts Your Data No Yes Yes
Hides Your IP No Yes Yes
Speed Very Fast Fast Fast

NOTE: NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature only recently started unblocking Netflix, after a long period of failing to do so. We’ll continue to closely monitor the situation to see if this success continues, but for the time being NordVPN’s Smart DNS works well with Netflix US.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through them one-by-one and explain, in simple terms, exactly how to set them up and which option is best for you.

We’ll also describe in greater detail how using a VPN improves your PlayStation experience, and discuss whether NordVPN is a good choice for PS4. We’ll then introduce some possible VPN alternatives that also work well on PS4.

How to Use NordVPN Smart DNS on PS4

screenshot of the Network settings menu on the PlayStation 4

NordVPN’s recently-added Smart DNS feature is the easiest way to get the VPN working on your PS4.

You don’t need to install any VPN software for it. Instead, you simply re-route your connection requests through NordVPN’s DNS servers rather than through your ISP’s.

This makes it seem as if you’re located in a different country and therefore lets you unblock features that aren’t available in your location, such as international streaming libraries and censored websites.

To set up NordVPN’s Smart DNS on your PS4:

  1. Create a NordVPN account: All of NordVPN’s Smart DNS and VPN services are paid-for, but you can get a subscription for as little as $3.71 a month.
  2. Find your public IP address: Your IP address uniquely identifies your internet connection and is provided by your ISP. Check your IP address here.
  3. Give NordVPN your IP address: You need to give NordVPN your IP address so that it can whitelist you to use the Smart DNS service. Do this by selecting “activate your IP address for Smart DNS” on your account profile.
  4. On your PS4, go to Settings: The icon looks like a toolbox.
  5. Select ‘Network’ then ‘Set up internet connection’.
  6. Choose ‘Custom’ to customize your connection.
  7. Enter the connection details:
    • Choose WiFi or LAN, depending on whether you have a wireless (WiFi) or wired (LAN) connection.
    • Choose ‘automatic’ for your IP address.
    • Choose ‘do not specify’ for the DHCP Host Name.
    • Choose ‘manual’ for the DNS settings.
    • Set the primary DNS to 103.86.99.103.
    • Set the secondary DNS to 103.86.96.103.

The Smart DNS feature is useful for spoofing your location on games consoles, smart TVs and streaming devices, but it won’t encrypt your data like a full VPN does. It won’t mask your true IP address and all of your activity remains visible to your ISP and other third-parties.

For this reason, you shouldn’t use Smart DNS for anything involving personal or sensitive information. It also won’t protect you against ISP throttling when gaming or streaming.

You can use NordVPN’s Smart DNS change region on several streaming services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and Disney+.

How to Set Up NordVPN on PS4 Using a PC

NordVPN app

By sharing your computer’s internet connection with your PlayStation, you can set up NordVPN on your PS4.

This method essentially involves routing your PS4 traffic through your desktop PC or laptop, where NordVPN is already installed and running. You can then encrypt your PlayStation activity and control which specific server location you want to connect through by using the VPN app on your computer.

How to connect your PS4 to your computer varies depending on which OS you have and whether you prefer a wired or wireless connection. Follow the links below for a set up guide tailored to your chosen device:

To connect your PlayStation to your Windows PC over ethernet:

  1. Download and install NordVPN: If you haven’t already, sign up for NordVPN. Then download the Windows app and install it on your computer.
  2. Connect your PC to the router and your PS4 to your PC: You’ll need two Ethernet ports to connect both the router and the PS4 to your PC. If your PC only has one, you’ll need to buy an internet connection card or use WiFi to connect to the router.
  3. Disconnect from NordVPN if it is running.
  4. Go to the ‘Network and Sharing Center’: You can find it in the Control Panel.
  5. Select ‘Change Adapter Settings’: It’s on the left.
  6. Right-click the NordVPN adapter and choose ‘Properties’.
  7. Open the Sharing tab.
  8. Select ‘Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection’.
  9. Under ‘Home Networking Connection’, choose your PlayStation connection and click OK.
  10. Run NordVPN on your PC and connect to a VPN server.
  11. On the PlayStation, go to Settings > ‘Network’ > ‘Connect to the Internet’ > ‘Use a LAN cable’.
  12. Select the ‘Easy’ connection method to automatically set up the ethernet connection: If asked, select ‘Do not use a proxy server’.

If you encounter any problems, you can find some helpful troubleshooting tactics here.

To connect your PlayStation to your Windows PC over WiFi:

  1. Download and install NordVPN: If you haven’t already, sign up for NordVPN. Then download the Windows app and install it on your computer.
  2. Ensure your PC’s WiFi connection is established. And disconnect from NordVPN if it is running.
  3. Open the command prompt as administrator: Search for ‘cmd’ and then right-click the Command Prompt icon. Choose ‘Run as administrator’.
  4. Confirm the command prompt can make changes to your computer: A prompt should appear asking you to confirm this.
  5. Check you’re able to share your WiFi: At the command prompt, type in exactly this:
    netsh wlan show drivers
    Where it says ‘Hosted network supported’, it should say ‘Yes’. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to upgrade your adapter drivers or potentially even your wireless card.
  6. Configure the WiFi sharing: At the command prompt enter exactly this:
    netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=NetworkName key=NetworkPassword
    The network name and password you provide here will be used by other devices (including your PS4) to connect to your PC. Pick a strong password to protect your connection. You should see a message that confirms the hosted network mode has been set to ‘allow’.
  7. Begin WiFi sharing: At the command prompt, enter exactly this:
    netsh wlan start hostednetwork
    You should see a message that confirms the hosted network has started. You’ve finished with the command prompt window now. Next, we need to set the VPN to share, too.
  8. Go to the ‘Network and Sharing Center’ in Windows: You can find it in the Control Panel.
  9. Select ‘Change Adapter Settings’: You’ll find it on the left.
  10. Find the NordVPN TAP Adapter: It was set up when you installed NordVPN. Right-click it and choose ‘Properties’.
  11. Open the Sharing tab.
  12. Select ‘Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection’.
  13. Under ‘Home Networking Connection’, choose ‘Local Area Connection’ and click OK.
  14. Run NordVPN and connect to a server. Now, any device that connects through your PC will use the VPN.
  15. On the PlayStation, go to Settings > ‘Network’ > ‘Set Up Internet Connection’ > ‘Use WiFi’: Set up the new connection using the network name and password you created in step 6.

Another option is to set up a hotspot from your Windows PC and connect your PS4 to it. Here’s a detailed guide explaining how this can be done.

To connect your PlayStation to your Mac over ethernet or WiFi:

  1. Download and install NordVPN: You can download NordVPN’s MacOS app here and use this installation guide to set it up.
  2. Ensure your Mac’s internet connection is working: Disconnect from NordVPN.
  3. If you’re not using WiFi, use the Ethernet cable to connect your PlayStation to your Mac.
  4. On your Mac, go to System Preferences > Sharing > Internet Sharing.
  5. Under ‘Share your connection from’, choose your Mac’s internet connection: For example, if your Mac is connected to the internet over WiFi, choose ‘Wireless’.
  6. Under ‘To computers using’, choose ethernet or WiFi: Again, this depends on how you’re connecting your PlayStation to your Mac.
  7. For WiFi users, click ‘WiFi Options’ and enter a network name.
  8. In the Security menu, choose WPA2 Personal and enter a password: Click OK.
  9. Select the checkbox next to ‘Internet Sharing’: This will enable sharing and a green Internet Sharing icon should appear to confirm it is working.
  10. Open the NordVPN app and choose a VPN server.
  11. On the PlayStation, go to Settings > Network > Set Up Internet Connection.
  12. Choose ‘Use Wi-Fi’, if connecting through WiFi. Or Use a LAN Cable > Easy, if using ethernet: Select ‘Do not use a proxy server’, if asked.

How to Set Up NordVPN on Your Router for PS4

Installing NordVPN on your router will protect every device in your local network, including your games consoles. You can then use NordVPN’s blazing-fast speeds to game, stream and browse on your PS4.

The easiest way to set up NordVPN on your router is to buy a pre-flashed router with the VPN already installed. It’ll cost you a minimum of $150, but it’s far simpler than manually setting up a VPN router yourself.

Not every router supports NordVPN, however. You’ll need one that fully supports the OpenVPN protocol as a client. Older routers that only support L2TP/IPsec or PPTP won’t work because NordVPN is no longer compatible with them.

Most Asus routers support OpenVPN out of the box, while other routers may require you to change the firmware on the router, to something like DD-WRT or OpenWRT. This isn’t easy and it doesn’t always work.

Here’s a list of routers that are supported by NordVPN, as well as the specific models it recommends and some examples of unsupported routers:

Unsupported (with native firmware) Recommended Supported by NordVPN
  • Arris
  • Belkin
  • Cisco
  • D-Link
  • Huawei
  • TP-Link
  • TRENDnet
  • Tenda
  • TotoLink
  • Ubee
Works out of the box:

  • Asus RT-N18U
  • Asus RT-AC66U
  • Asus RT-AC68U
  • Asus RT-AC87U
  • Asus RT-AC3200

Works with custom firmware (DD-WRT):

  • D-Link DIR-885L
  • D-Link DIR-895L
  • Linksys EA8500
  • Linksys WRT1900ACS
  • Linksys WRT3200ACM
  • Netgear R7500
  • Netgear R7800
  • Netgear R8500
  • Netgear R9000
  • ASUS WRT
  • ASUS Merlin
  • DD-WRT
  • Gl.iNET
  • Mikrotik
  • NetDUMA
  • OPNsense
  • OpenWRT
  • Padavan
  • pfSense
  • Portal
  • Sabai
  • Tomato

However you choose to install NordVPN on your router, the end result will be that all of your internet traffic goes through the VPN. As long as it is connected to your router, your PS4 activity will be automatically protected without you having to make any extra changes.

EXPERT TIP: Installing NordVPN on your router is a handy way to overcome the service’s multi-device restrictions. Normally, one subscription can be shared between a maximum of six devices. However, by setting the VPN up at router-level, you can connect an unlimited number of devices and NordVPN will still only register it as one active connection (i.e. the router).

PlayStation Is Better with a VPN

A Sony PlayStation DualShock controller

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 PS4 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 on your PS4, 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 so you’ll need to use a VPN that is known to work. In 2020, only the very best VPN services are capable of unblocking Netflix and even fewer are able to do it on PlayStation.

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.

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 your PS4.

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 PS4 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, either. 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:

  1. 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 everytime you create a new account in order to access a new PS Store region, you essentially have to start a brand new gaming profile.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

SUMMARY

A VPN improves gaming on the PS4 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.

Is NordVPN a Good Choice for PS4?

NordVPN is a great choice for accessing geo-blocked content on PlayStation 4, hiding your IP address from other gamers, and preventing your ISP from throttling your activity. It’s an extremely fast VPN that you can trust to keep you private and secure online.

NordVPN is easily one of the best VPN services around and is excellent for gaming, streaming, and browsing on the PS4.

We’ll now take an in-depth look at why NordVPN is such a good PS4 VPN. Alternatively, you can check out these alternative options or read our full NordVPN review.

Very Fast Connection Speeds

Speed is one of the top priorities when choosing a VPN for online gaming. There are two measurements that are important to consider:

  1. Ping time: how long it takes data to travel from your device to the gaming server and back again. You need a low ping time to ensure the game experience is snappy, and you’re not outmaneuvered by someone with a more responsive connection. Ping times are measured in milliseconds (ms). A ping time over 100ms will feel slow and laggy.

  2. Download speed: how quickly data travels from the gaming server to your computer. Download speeds are measured in megabits per second (Mbps).

We regularly test over 70 VPNs on a wide range of features, including connection speed. Based on our latest round of tests, NordVPN is one of the fastest VPNs on the market.

We saw a ping time of just 8ms when connecting within our home country (the UK) – compared to 4ms without the VPN enabled. Download speeds fell by an average of 2% on local, same-country connections, from 94Mbps to 92Mbps.

As you would expect, global download speeds are slower. Here’s how NordVPN fared in our manual tests when connecting to a different servers around the world:

Country Avg. Download Speed Avg. Speed Loss
Germany 83Mbps 12%
USA 74Mbps 21%
Singapore 63Mbps 33%
Australia 56Mbps 40%

Put simply, NordVPN’s international connection speeds are industry-leading. As our automated speed test tool shows, NordVPN consistently outperforms even its fastest competitors when it comes to download speeds.

VPN Speed Performance Comparison Chart

In terms of ping time, NordVPN also performs very well versus its competitors. It may be less dominant, but NordVPN still delivers a consistently short ping time (~3ms) while other VPN services experience periods of fluctuation (e.g. CyberGhost).

VPN Speed Performance Comparison Chart

In short, NordVPN’s connection speeds are more than fast enough to game on your PS4 without lag and stream without buffering.

Over 5,000 Servers Spread Across 59 Countries

NordVPN has one of the biggest server networks we’ve seen. It operates a network of 5,438 servers which are distributed across 59 countries.

This allows you to unblock a wide range of geo-blocked gaming content on your PlayStation, with 673 servers located in Asia Pacific, 122 in Africa, the Middle East and India, 2,168 in Europe, and 2,468 in the Americas.

You’ll also have your pick of international streaming libraries to unblock.

Top-Tier Encryption and Security Features

NordVPN uses the ultra-secure AES-256 encryption cipher with a 2048-bit Diffie-Hellman key, which is currently considered to be unbreakable.

It also supports our favorite VPN protocol, OpenVPN, so you can trust that your gaming traffic is safe from ISP throttling and the prying eyes of attackers.

In our latest tests, we found absolutely no leaks when using NordVPN. You’ll comfortably be able to trick most service providers into thinking you’re in a different country, and so bypass geographical restrictions and gaming bans on your PS4.

NordVPN’s strong security also means your true IP address won’t be leaked to other gamers who may use it to carry out cyber attacks against you.

If, for whatever reason, your NordVPN connection does drop mid-game, the service comes with an automatic VPN kill switch that’ll block the connection until the VPN tunnel is restored. Although it is unlikely to happen, you may want to disable this feature if staying in the game is more important to you than the risk of exposing your true IP address.

Works Reasonably Well with Streaming Services

NordVPN unblocks ‘hidden’ content on a number of streaming platforms including Netflix, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, HBO Max, and Amazon Prime Video.

However, you’ll need to be going through the computer app or using the Smart DNS feature to see them. Right now, streaming services are blocked on router connections.

Our tests showed that NordVPN’s Smart DNS works better for streaming than even NordVPN themselves claim. The provider says that users can only use Smart DNS to unblock Netflix Originals, but we found that we could access the entire American Netflix library from our base in the UK.

The other streaming services NordVPN’s Smart DNS feature will unblock include:

  • ABC Go (US)
  • Amazon Prime Video (US)
  • BBC iPlayer (UK)
  • Discovery (US)
  • Disney+ (Germany)
  • Fox Now / Sports Go / News / Showtime (US)
  • HBO Now (US)
  • Hulu (US)

SUMMARY

NordVPN is a fantastic all-round VPN and a great option to use on PS4. It offers industry-leading security and incredibly fast speeds that make for safe gaming and excellent streaming.

NordVPN PS4 Alternatives: ExpressVPN & CyberGhost

We recommend NordVPN for gaming and for streaming, but you should also consider ExpressVPN and CyberGhost if you’re after a PlayStation VPN.

VPN Provider Smart DNS? Server Network Size Cheapest Monthly Cost Contract Period
CyberGhost Yes 6,100+ $2.75 36 Months See all Plans
ExpressVPN Yes 3,000+ $6.67 15 Months See all Plans
NordVPN Yes 5,000+ $3.71 24 Months See all Plans

ExpressVPN logoExpressVPN is our top ranked VPN for both gaming and Netflix. It’s fast, reliable and fully featured.

With 3,000 servers across 94 countries, you can unblock a huge range of geo-restricted content. It has a strong Smart DNS feature, called MediaStreamer, which allows you to set it up easily on your PlayStation.

Remember that Smart DNS is not a full VPN, so it won’t encrypt your traffic or protect your privacy. But it simplifies the unblocking of streaming services such as Netflix, HBO, and Hulu on your PlayStation.

ExpressVPN is the fastest VPN for long-distance connections, and has excellent customer support. Read our complete ExpressVPN review here.

CyberGhost Logo

CyberGhost has a network of 6,100 servers spread across 90 countries, including specific streaming-optimized servers. It is an excellent VPN for gaming and works well with Netflix.

Our most recent tests found that CyberGhost’s international download speeds and ping times were less consistent than ExpressVPN or NordVPN, but it does come with a Smart DNS feature that is the best we’ve seen.

It’s extremely easy to set up on your PlayStation and is the only Smart DNS service that is currently able to unblock both the US and UK Netflix libraries.

You can read our full CyberGhost review here.

About the Author


  • Callum Tennent

    Callum oversees how we test and review VPN services. He's a member of the IAPP, and his advice about VPNs has featured in Forbes and the Internet Society. Read full bio