Unless you’re new to the net, you have probably heard of a virtual private network. VPNs are a great way to stay anonymous online, and the best VPN for gaming can help you get around regional roadblocks as well. It can also prevent your ISP from throttling your bandwidth for gaming and possibly improve your ping.
If you’re looking for an awesome VPN for your favorite online game, you’ve come to the right place as we compiled a list of the top options available. We’ve also put together a buying guide to help you navigate the scene if you’re new to the world of virtual private networks.
The Gamers Guide to VPNs
One of the obvious areas you’ll need to consider with VPNs is pricing although most are affordable and some are free to an extent. While it’s true, you can lose some speed when you route data through another server; the pros tend to outweigh the cons if you’re a “restricted” gamer or travel.
Have you ever tried to play a game and were told it wasn’t available in your region? Whether it’s a locked server or an app in the Play Store, the best VPN for online gaming will handle that with ease.
They are also ideal if you travel as nothing is worse than being stuck in overseas without access to your favorite games. A VPN can get around those problems, but you still need to consider…
The number of servers a VPN provider offers is critical if you want a good experience. You shouldn’t be blown away by numbers however as most have over 500 servers and several exceed 1000. If you’re trying to play one of those cool MMOs from the Far East, there is something else to consider.
The server location is more important in terms of speed and if you plan on traveling. It’s also where ping comes into play. You can actually increase ping by in some cases by getting a fast server closer to the game server although it varies by VPN provider.
Do you game on your PC or mobile? If you’re like most gamers these days, the answer is probably both. Well, that could be an issue if you choose the wrong VPN as some limit the number of connected devices at one time.
Some VPNs don’t have proper mobile apps, so consider your gaming needs and the devices you need to protect. All of our picks will support Windows and Macs, but Linux is hit or miss so keep that in mind as well.
Best VPNs for Gaming
An Excellent All-Around VPN
Our top option for the best VPN for gaming comes from the minds behind NordVPN. The company has received rave reviews over the years and offer more connections than anyone else. Whether you need to unblock a game from another region or prefer not to leave an online footprint, Nord has you covered.
While the all-around service provided by NordVPN is top-notch, the real draw for gamers are the servers. The company has over 5,000 of them… just let that sink in for a minute. Most are located in the states and Europe, but the Asia Pacific region is represented well with over 450 servers. What you get from each location varies, so while the U.S. has P2P, Double VPNs and dedicated IPs, New Zealand access only provides you with P2P.
Having servers located across the world may give you a better ping, but security is another reason we love NordVPN. The company keeps your data safe with AES-256 and utilizes newer encryption like IKEv1/IPsec as well. P2P is an option, speeds are excellent, and you’ll get access on up to six devices simultaneously through their service.
If there is a downside to this VPN, it would be the pricing. It’s not expensive considering what you’re getting, but may be overkill for some depending on how you plan to use the VPN. It’s $11.95 by the month, but drops down considerably if you are willing to commit to a plan for multiple years. Nord is compatible with all the major operating systems including Linux along with Android and iOS.
- 5000+ servers
- 6 simultaneous devices
- Onion over VPN
- No logs policy
- Double VPN
- The monthly tier is pricey
Private Internet Access
The Best Budget-Friendly VPN
Private Internet Access is one of the more popular VPN providers and one we think you’ll be thrilled with depending on your needs. They offer some of the most competitive pricing in the industry and are ideal if you plan on using P2P services when you take a break from your gaming PC.
This VPN is packed full of features and provides unlimited bandwidth and a SOCKS5 proxy. Online trolls will not stand a chance of finding out your identity when you smash them in a match. It can also block ads and malware while you browse and is compatible with every operating system under the sun. That includes Linux, Mac, and Windows along Android and iOS devices.
As for access, PIA has over 3000 servers in more than 30 countries and offers 5 simultaneous connections. That’s impressive, and the speeds are solid as long as you don’t try to connect halfway across the globe. It’s also among the easiest VPN’s to use. The mobile apps are great if you need to download a regional game while PC access gives you total control over your settings and security.
PIA doesn’t offer a free trial like some of the options on our list, but they are affordable, and you’ll get a 7-day money back guarantee. The monthly rate is $6.95 and drops to $3.33 for a year or $2.91 for 2 years. You’ll have to pay upfront for that price, but it’s well worth it if you like what you see after a week.
- Excellent overall performance
- No logging
- Sweet price point
- Based in the USA
- Random usernames
A Lag-Killing VPN for Gamers
Want to lower your ping and increase your efficiency in your favorite online game? If you answered yes to either of those questions, ExitLag may be the perfect program for you. It’s not a traditional VPN, but does share some similarities with those services and allows you to set a VPN for a variety of games.
If you’ve ever had an online game freeze up due to a connection issue or a sudden spike in the middle of the action, we feel your pain. It’s common more often than not, and sometimes the cause is on your end – not the servers. That’s where software like ExitLag can lend a helping hand by providing access to game servers in regions outside of your own.
As a result, your ping will decrease and a tool called an FPS Boost can kick things up a notch as well. This feature can increase the framerate and give you a boost by managing your system’s resources without tinkering with your GPU. Their lineup should have something for everyone to choose from with a mix of over 70 games including Black Desert, Fortnite, Lineage 2, DOTA 2, Revelation and Royal Quest.
ExitLag is something you’ll want to consider if ping or regional access are issues when you game online. They offer a 3-day trial, but after that you’ll need to pay monthly, quarterly or every 6 months. Prices start at $6.50 per month and you can request new games through customer support if they are missing your favorite title. Unfortunately, you’ll need to have a PC running a version of Windows higher than Vista as this one is not compatible with the Mac OS.
- Easy to use
- FPS Boost tool
- Large catalog of games
- Performs as advertised!
- Windows only
The Best VPN for Torrents
A few names tend to stand out in the VPN world, and IPVanish is one of them. You’ve probably seen their ads plastered across the internet, and for a good reason. The service is packed full of great features and an excellent VPN for torrenting as well.
This speedy VPN provides you with access to over 1,100 VPN servers in more than 60 countries. There are 40,000 shared IPs and unlimited bandwidth with 256-bit AES encryption. Concerned about torrents? Don’t be as IPVanish has a zero logs traffic policy and they don’t throttle your connection if you stream, game or download.
Customer support is top-tier with IPVanish, something newcomers will be thankful for. Techies will appreciate the additional protocols like OpenVPN and IKEv2 along with the ability to connect with 10 devices. You can cover every connected gadget in your arsenal with this service, even if there are a few slight drawbacks.
IPVanish is one of the more expensive VPNs at $10 per month although they frequently run promotions like the rest of the pack. The price drops considerably if you’re willing to sign up for a year however and there’s a 7-day trial to boot. If you plan to download as much as you game, this one is well worth it a look although they are US-based.
- Zero log policy
- Over 1,000 servers
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Multiple protocols
- Kill switch
- Cheaper options available
The Best VPN for Gamers on the Go
Looking for a VPN that can do it all and has more servers than other services? If so, ExpressVPN may be the solution for you, and it’s our choice for the best VPN for online gaming. It’s one of the simpler virtual private networks for beginners to use as well and works on every system from Linux and iPads to routers.
This is one of the speedier VPNs due to the sheer amount of access points. That’s great news if your game and their Speed Index allows you to mark the quickest servers for your needs. Any programs you’re regionally locked out of will work as well including Netflix, Facebook, HBO Go, BBC and more. Encryption is solid across the board with AES-256 and various VPN protocols.
By the numbers, ExpressVPN has servers in 148 cities located in 94 countries from North America to Kenya and Vietnam. Wherever you roam, you’ll be protected as they have over 2000 servers worldwide. You’re in the clear with P2P and torrents as well with unlimited bandwidth, stable speeds and a no-log policy. They are also located in the Virgin Islands in case you need some additional piece of mind.
You’ll get a 30-day money back guarantee with ExpressVPN which is ample time to try before you buy. That’s a good thing, as this VPN service will set you back $12.95 per month unless you opt for a 6 or 12-month plan at a slight discount. It’s also important to note you can only have 3 simultaneous connections although you can install the program on an unlimited number of devices.
- Over 2000 servers
- Excellent encryption
- System compatibility
- Split tunneling
- Kill Switch
- It’s expensive
- Limited simultaneous connections
Pay As You Go Gaming
MUDFISH is another gaming acceleration service that uses various techniques to optimize your performance online. The ability to increase your headshot count is something any gamer would be interested in, but it’s not the only reason folks love MUDFISH.
Whether you need to use a VPN for a specific game or just want to boost your UDP or TCP connection, MUDFISH is an interesting solution. As you’d expect, you can access games not normally available sans a VPN, but you’ll also get access to their DNS client and SOCKS proxies. Each node supports SOCKS 3-5 although v5 is only available through a public IPv4 address.
Tech talk aside, browsing is covered as well through Chrome and Firefox through their browser extension. The interface is nothing to write home about, but there is a “basic” mode along with advanced settings for more experienced users. Gamers will also be thrilled with compatibility considering you can use MUDFISH with Mac and Linux as well as Windows.
Another area where this program stands out is its pricing model. They use credits, so you won’t pay by the month, but at a set rate depending on your region and package. If you reside in the states, $2.99 will get you 24 gigabytes while 10 bucks nets you 80 gigs. While it may not be the prettiest program around, MUDFISH delivers where it counts. The ability to pay for what you need is a huge bonus if you’re a budget-minded gamer or just need a VPN for a specific game.
- Solid library of games
- SOCKS proxies
- Pay-per-traffic system
- Credits don’t expire
- Credit system isn’t for everyone
- Not easy for beginners
A Great VPN for Streaming
VyperVPN is an interesting VPN from Golden Frog. While not the first name to spring to mind when shopping for a VPN, they offer a free version of their software to try and have several unique features that help them stand out.
This is another VPN that’s great for gamers on the go. The company’s 700 servers are spread out quite nicely at over 70 locations around the globe. Geo-blocked locations will unlock in seconds, and we’re pleased to say there are no download caps so you can stream, torrent or game until you lose consciousness.
This software is secure, and the company uses their own protocol dubbed Chameleon. It allows you to get around regions that block virtual private networks and there is a no logging policy in place as well. VyprVPN Cloud is also an option if you need a dedicated VPN server based in the cloud. That said, you will only find Cloud and Chameleon on the Premium tier which is one of the few drawbacks of this particular service.
Moreover, guys at Golden Frog launched an OGN (optimized gaming network) called OutFox so if you’re looking to reduce ping and lag, it’s worth giving a try as well.
There is a limited trial with this VPN service, but it’s capped, and you’re required to upgrade when the data runs out. The cheapest package is $9.95 per month or $3.95 if you opt for a full year in advance. Unfortunately, you only get 3 connection and need to upgrade to the Premium plan at $12.95 for 5 devices and the aforementioned extras. That tier drops to $5 per month with a full year although both go up in price once that first year is over.
- Great speeds
- 700 servers
- Server distribution
- Multiple encryption protocols
- NAT Firewall
- Limited devices
- Light on features
Regardless of which VPN provider you choose, remember you are bound to experience some latency issues along the way. Just keep your needs in mind along with your current connection as even the best VPN for gaming can’t improve poor speeds from your ISP.