When it comes to computing, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is an essential piece of software that will guarantee you have extra privacy and security online. VPNs encrypt our internet data, ensuring that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and hackers can’t see what we’re up to. For some people, it seems unusual that a VPN would be necessary for gaming. However, using a VPN can actually improve your gaming experience.
There’s an idea amongst the gaming community that VPNs can be detrimental to gameplay. They can cause lagging and give you low latency, which can make your in-game connection less responsive. This is bad for games such as PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite, where the slightest lag can have bad consequences for the player.
However, there are many benefits to using a VPN for gaming, and some VPNs can even lower ping and increase overall speeds. For more access to geo-blocked games and protection from online threats, a VPN is a multi-functional tool that will assist you during your gameplay.
With so many VPN services claiming to have the best speeds, we’ve tested several in order to determine which are the best for gaming. Here’s our guide to the best VPN for gaming in 2021.
A lot of gamers are skeptical of VPNs for gaming, and will ask, do you really need one? The answer is no, you don’t need a VPN. However, it’s a good idea to get one as the pros of a gaming VPN far outweigh the cons. Here are some reasons why a VPN can actually improve your gaming experience:
Taking into consideration several factors including speed, ping, device connections, and server locations amongst many others, here at VPNSurfers we have compiled a list of the best VPNs for gaming. Whether you’re a casual gamer or gaming is your life, all of the following VPNs will be suitable for your gaming needs.
A VPN provider that is unrivaled when it comes to speed, NordVPN is one of the best if you’re looking for fantastic connection speeds and low ping.
NordVPN tops our list due to its lightning-fast download speeds that won’t give you any dreaded lagging during gameplay. How does Nord do it? Thanks to its new NordLynx protocol, which combines state-of-the-art encryption with exceptional speeds, other VPN providers have been left trailing behind NordVPN.
Not only does NordVPN provide speed, but it will protect you against DDoS attacks. Nord’s servers are able to take a lot of attacks without affecting your gameplay. Although no server is immune from DDoS attacks, Nord has some of the best to deal with them.
NordVPN is also one of the best VPN services when it comes to bypassing geo-blocks. With a large server network that covers almost 60 countries, you’ll be able to access newly released games before they reach the country you’re in. Should you travel, you can also ensure that you’re still able to play your favorite games abroad by connecting to a VPN server in your home country.
Although NordVPN works best with Windows, Mac, and phone devices, if you use consoles to play online games, then you can still benefit from this VPN’s protections. By connecting the VPN to your internet router, all devices connected to your internet network will automatically be protected and enjoy more internet freedom.
What’s more, NordVPN has a strict no-logs policy, which means that anything you do while using the VPN won’t be stored by the provider. Although privacy reasons are probably not the main reason why a gamer is looking for a VPN, it’s good to know that you’ll have complete anonymity while using this VPN.
So, if you’re looking for low ping and a decent connection speed during gaming, NordVPN is the best VPN option. With extra security features and military-grade AES-256 bit encryption, there’s so much that Nord can offer you.
A multi-functional VPN that has fast speeds and first-rate security will ensure your gameplay is free from lags and any third-party attacks.
With a large server network, ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN providers for online gaming. We tested ExpressVPN and were very impressed with its fast download speeds and low ping. Since there are so many server options to choose from, gamers can connect to one that is close to the game server as this helps to reduce latency.
ExpressVPN uses several protocols from which gamers can choose. Depending on whether speed or security is more important to you, you can use OpenVPN or a faster option like PPTP. ExpressVPN uses industry-standard encryption which means all of your internet activity is tunneled and private while gaming.
Since ExpressVPN has servers around the world, you can tap into different games or new releases before they reach your country. You can enjoy restricted maps and skins on games, that you wouldn’t ordinarily have access to. ExpressVPN works with all devices, making it great if you’re a PC gamer. However, it can also be connected to your router if you use a Playstation or Xbox.
Like NordVPN, ExpressVPN is great at defending your device from DDoS attacks. On the topic of security, ExpressVPN doesn’t log user data and stores all data on RAM memory, which is wiped after each and every session. You can game in peace knowing that your online activity is fully private.
One of the more expensive gaming VPNs, ExpressVPN has a 30-day money-back guarantee. This means you can try it out and if you’re not impressed, cancel your subscription before the end of 30 days to get a full refund.
SurfShark is one of the best gaming VPN services due to its low prices, unlimited connections, and decent speeds.
SurfShark has taken the VPN world by storm in recent years. Its extremely low-priced yearly and two-year plans give all other providers a run for their money. What’s more, it offers users unlimited device connections. Whether you want to use the VPN to protect 5 or 20 devices, you can do so with SurfShark at no extra cost.
If you want continuous low ping during your gameplay then SurfShark is the VPN for you. We found that it rivaled our latency without a VPN, which is pretty impressive. What’s more, its upload speeds are fairly decent, which means that it is also great for gamers who like to stream. You’ll be able to access loads of streaming sites such as Netflix with this VPN.
Talking of unblocking regional sites, SurfShark can help players to access different games and enjoy various add-ons within said games. By connecting to overseas servers, you have a wider range of possibilities at your fingertips which makes gameplay a lot more fun
There is a split tunneling option that users can employ to encrypt only their gameplay and tunnel the rest of their internet data through their regular network. This isn’t a necessity in a VPN, but it is a nice touch, especially if you only want a VPN connection for gaming sessions.
If you game on your computer or phone, then you’ll love SurfShark’s easy to use dedicated clients and apps. One of our favorite things about SurfShark is that it provides a great VPN service to users, but is also easy to understand and use. If this is your first time trying out a VPN, SurfShark is definitely one to consider.
A great VPN for gamers who also enjoy a spot of torrenting, IPVanish has dedicated gaming features to heighten your gaming experience.
IPVanish claims it is the best VPN for gaming. We’d have to agree that it’s definitely one of the best especially when it comes to providing players with a strong and stable internet connection. Tired of your ISP throttling your bandwidth? With IPVanish you can say goodbye to this and enjoy a smoother connection.
With relatively good speeds and ping, IPVanish is a great option for players who don’t want a VPN that will affect their in-game reaction speed. While IPVanish did provide lower download and upload speeds than others on the list, the speeds weren’t abysmal.
IPVanish has fantastic security features. A major concern of gamers is hackers stealing your information through fake cheats from online video games. By using IPVanish, you’ll get a VPN that protects your data and makes it virtually impossible for a hacker to decipher it, should one get past the stealthy encryption.
When it comes to customer service, IPVanish provides users with a 24/7 live chat option on its website. Should you have any concerns about how to use a VPN or are having issues with one of IPVanish’s servers, there is plenty of customer support online.
With an incredible number of proxy and VPN servers, gamers have access to over 96 server locations with Private Internet Access (PIA).
Private Internet Access deserves a place on the list of best VPNs for gaming, if only for its incredible server network that is over 16,000. Gamers can delight at the fact that they can access an abundance of geo-blocked content thanks to the high number of VPN and proxy servers available. This means that not only will new releases be readily available, but gamers can switch to different servers and purchase games at cheaper prices by changing their location on online stores.
PIA has pretty good speeds which bode well for latency concerns. What’s more, if your ISP is constantly throttling your bandwidth, then you can use the PIA VPN and enjoy a smooth and consistent connection.
Although PIA has clients and apps for all major platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, the dedicated mobile apps are a selling point of this VPN. They are great for users who game on their mobile devices and make it easy for users to access a host of features. The split tunneling option is particularly handy and allows users to only encrypt certain apps.
With 10 simultaneous connections available, PIA provides a good VPN service to gamers. It also can help you to bypass regional blocks, which means you can enjoy foreign Netflix libraries if you’re into streaming. With a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can make sure you are happy with the services offered before committing to a subscription.
With a host of free VPNs on the market, you may ask why anyone would pay for a Virtual Private Network. However, if you compare it to a product you’d buy in a store, there’s often a reason why some things are free, and others not.
When you pay for something, you’re paying for quality and a service that will work. With free VPNs, there is no guarantee that what you’re getting is quality. Some dangers of free VPN services are:
Although at VPNSurfers we believe it’s best to pay if you want to use a VPN, here are a couple of providers that offer free services.
Hotspot Shield: Hotspot Shield has a free and paid-for version of its VPN. Unlike some free providers, its encryption standards are good. However, for gaming, it might be better to look at Hotspot Shield’s paid plan. This is because the free version only has access to one US server.
What’s more, there is a daily data limit of 500MB, which is not enough to cover extreme gameplay, and will give you an extremely slow connection speed. If you want to try out this VPN service, we recommend downloading the free version to make sure that you like it, before switching over to the paid plan.
ProtonVPN: ProtonVPN is probably your best option if you want to use a safe and reliable VPN without paying a dime. Proton offers four plans and its free plan is the most limited. On the free plan, you get access to three servers.
However, users can enjoy unlimited bandwidth, which is good for gamers. The speed is slow, and the connection is not as strong as some paid VPNs, but overall it can support some gameplay. What’s more, you’ll have complete online privacy with ProtonVPN thanks to its strong encryption.
PUBG or PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds is one of the most popular, albeit controversial, online games. Banned in certain countries like China and Iraq, this game has caused a lot of debate about its seemingly dangerous content.
If you’re a fan of PUBG but want to protect your online activity, you’ll need a VPN that works well with it. A VPN that can bypass strict geo-blocks, and also one that doesn’t cause lag or latency, is a necessity. Our top picks for PUBG are:
1. NordVPN: Fast speeds, obfuscated servers, and the ability to bypass China’s firewall. This is the best choice if you want to access banned games.
2. ExpressVPN: Secure browsing and the ability to unlock a whole host of in-game features. ExpressVPN is one of the best VPNs for playing PUBG and its great speeds won’t cause any packet loss.
3. SurfShark: Not only will you pay less for a high-quality service but with SurfShark you can enjoy playing PUBG on several devices and enjoy split tunneling as you do so.