The 5 Best VPNs for Online Gaming

In a nutshell:

1. ExpressVPN: No logs & specialized anti-DDoS protection for gamers

2. VyprVPN: Specialized gaming servers in more than 50 locations

3. PureVPN:  Exclusive network of dedicated gaming servers in 141 countries

4. IPVanishUnlimited bandwidth and no speed caps

5. NordVPN: Up to 6 simultaneous connections - great for online gaming tournaments


Whether you’re an avid online gamer or just play once in awhile, you should be using a VPN. A virtual private network - or VPN - has several benefits, least of which is the peace of mind that comes with knowing your most sensitive data is protected.

That said, not just any VPN will do. You probably know that online games use up a lot of bandwidth; and a fast and stable connection is essential if you want to make the get the most out of your action-packed battles.

So what should you look for in a VPN for online games? And which is the best VPN for gaming on the market today?

Let’s have a look.

Why Do I Need a VPN for Online Games?

There are three main reasons you should use a VPN for online gaming: 1) security; 2) performance; and 3) to bypass geographic restrictions.

VPN for Gaming and Security

Most online games these days work on a subscription model. You need to create an online account, join or be a member of an online community or otherwise provide some form of online verification. Whichever the case, you’ll have to provide sensitive data, including your credit card details, in order to play.

Unfortunately, online gaming accounts are appealing to cyber criminals. Not only do they contain financial and other personal information, they’re also relatively easy to hack. Throw in an unsecured WiFi connection; and it’s almost as if you’re opening the door and inviting them in.

A VPN encrypts your data and passes it through a secure private server. This makes it much harder for hackers to gain access. It also shields you from DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

VPN for Gaming Performance

A slow connection not only makes gameplay incredibly frustrating, it can also be the difference between completing a mission successfully or not.

In the past, online gamers avoided VPNs precisely because of the adverse effect they could have on performance. However, these days, VPNs have improved by leaps and bounds. Many VPNs now have features specifically designed to improve your connection’s speed and overall performance.

Using a VPN can significantly enhance gameplay. In particular, switching to a server that’s closer to the game’s main server decreases the amount of time needed for data transfers, which minimizes lag and other speed issues.

Some VPNs also have features designed to bypass your internet service provider’s speed restrictions. This ensures your online gaming experience remains smooth, irrespective of how much bandwidth you’re using.

Geographic Restrictions

Many online games have geo-restricted features, which means you can only access them if you live in a certain location. Some games (Battlefield 4, for instance) are even banned completely in some countries.

A good VPN allows you to bypass these restrictions by switching to a server in a different country. You can also get additional benefits, including early bird access to new features that are as yet unavailable where you live.

What Should I Look for In a VPN for Gaming?

There are three features you should consider above all else in a VPN for online gaming: 1) security; 2) speed and reliability; and 3) the number of servers.

Security

The best VPNs for online games have strong security features which shield your sensitive information and protect you from hacking attempts. In particular, you should look out for the following:

  • strong encryption (256-bit encryption is the gold standard);
  • OpenVPN support; and
  • a strict no logging policy, which means the VPN doesn’t collect data about your internet usage. Reputable VPN providers should detail their logging policy in their terms and conditions, so read them carefully.

Speed and Reliability

For starters, you’ll want unlimited bandwidth and no speed caps. Online gaming uses up a lot of bandwidth, so VPNs with speed and bandwidth caps or traffic management policies just won’t cut it. You’ll also want a VPN whose servers guarantee at least 99.99% uptime. This greatly reduces the chances of the server crashing during a crucial section of gameplay.

Number of Servers

The more servers available in different countries, the greater your geo-unblocking options. It also makes it easier for you to shorten the distance between your location and the game’s main server, which reduces lag and other connection problems.

The 5 Best VPNs for Online Gaming

OK. It’s crunch time! Now that you know why you need a VPN for gaming and which features to look out for, it’s time to have a look at our top picks. Here’s our list of the top five VPNs and why we think they’re the best VPN for gaming.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is an ideal choice for gamers; and here’s why:

  • no logs;
  • over 100 servers in 78 different countries;
  • OpenVPN at 256-bit encryption;
  • no bandwidth or speed caps;
  • 99.99% server uptime; and
  • specialized anti-DDoS protection for gamers.

VyprVPN

VyprVPN is endorsed by Roughnex, a professional online gaming organization. If it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for you too. Its features include:

  • specialized gaming servers in more than 50 locations;
  • exclusive Chameleon security protocol, built in-house and optimized to defeat ISP blocking and speed throttling;
  • purpose-built, zero-logging DNS servers;
  • NAT (network address translation) firewall is standard on some plans and adds a further layer of security; and
  • 99.99% server uptime, unlimited bandwidth and no speed caps.

All features and extras offered by VyprVPN

PureVPN

PureVPN is another great choice for gamers. It boasts:

  • an exclusive network of dedicated gaming servers in 141 countries;
  • unlimited bandwidth and no speed caps;
  • 99.99% server uptime;
  • 256-bit encryption and OpenVPN support;
  • zero logging; and
  • anti-DDoS protection.

IPVanish

An online privacy veteran, IPVanish has more than 400 servers worldwide. It also includes the following great online gaming features:

  • OpenVPN at 256-bit encryption;
  • circumvents deep packet inspection, so you can avoid your ISP’s traffic management policy;
  • 99.99% server uptime; and
  • unlimited bandwidth and no speed caps. 

All features and extras offered by IPVanish

NordVPN

Last but not least, here’s how NordVPN ensures a smooth online gaming experience:

  • zero logs;
  • OpenVPN at 2048-bit encryption - one of the strongest on the market;
  • specially-configured anti-DDoS servers;
  • no bandwidth or speed caps; and
  • up to 6 simultaneous connections - great if you like having friends over for online gaming tournaments.

Still not sure which VPN to go for to make the most of your online gaming experience? Click here to read our in-depth expert reviews of the best VPNs on the market today.

 

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