Online gaming is arguably one of the most popular online activities today. As of 2016, more than 2.5 billion players competed in video games.
The video games market was worth nearly $78.61 billion in 2017. It is expected to be worth more than $90 billion by 2020.
Downloadable content (DLC) was worth 20% of revenue in 2011, increasing to 54% in 2017. Online games developed for PCs are expected to account for 47% of 2019 global PC and console gaming revenues.
Unfortunately, not all online gaming and its associated DLC is available to online players. Game publishers sometimes either restrict the release of a particular game or DLC to a specific region or release the game or DLC early in certain areas of the globe.
Thankfully, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) has the ability to open access to international gaming arenas and downloadable content via its location-spoofing abilities.
A VPN user can log into a server located in a different country, making it appear they are located in that country. This provides access to the games and DLC available in that country.
In addition to providing access to geo-blocked gaming content, a VPN also provides several privacy advantages. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, protecting your online travels from observation by third parties, including your ISP, the government and hackers.
When you’re searching for a VPN to enhance your online gaming sessions, always consider the following factors: connection speed, global server coverage, multi-platform support and privacy and security protection.
Best Gaming VPNs
I tested all of my favorite VPN providers, and the results showed that the following 6 VPNs worked best to enhance online gaming sessions:
- NordVPN: My #1 pick for gaming. Provides fast connections and excellent privacy and security protections, as well as native app support for the top 4 device platforms and more.
- Surfshark: Great budget-priced option. Excels in security, privacy and multi-platform support, and offers an unlimited concurrent connections allowance.
- ExpressVPN: Provides speedy connections that are well protected with military-level encryption. The provider has an extensive server network, well spread out around the globe.
- CyberGhost: The provider’s easy-to-use apps and fast speeds make it a good choice for gamers. No bandwidth or data caps here, so binge on your favorite game all you want.
- IPVanish: One of the most secure VPN operations around thanks to owning and operating all of its own servers around the globe. Fast connections are found here, along with app support for the top 4 platforms.
- VyprVPN: This provider also owns its VPN servers and keeps no logs whatsoever of its users’ online travels. However, its lack of a private, cryptocurrency payment option hurts its privacy ranking.
I evaluated and ranked the top 6 VPNs for online gaming by the following criteria:
- The speed of their connections
- Their global server coverage
- Their native app support
- How well they protect their users’ privacy and security
Here’s my list of the top 6 VPNs for online gaming.
If this were a round of Mortal Kombat, with NordVPN against Privacy Threats and Content Blocks, NordVPN would be the player instructed to “Finish Him!” It’s the best choice for protecting and enhancing your online gaming connections.
This provider’s swift connection speeds, the fastest I’ve ever measured, deliver plenty of bandwidth for even the fastest-moving online action.
NordVPN offers 5,500 servers in 59 countries, with all of your favorite gaming hotspots covered.
The service has most of the major gaming platforms covered, including iOS, Android, Windows and macOS. (There are also apps for Linux, Amazon Fire and Android TV.)
This provider allows up to 6 simultaneous connections using the same login credentials, allowing everyone in your gaming party to protect their connection.
The provider protects your online travels from prying eyes thanks to military-level encryption and kill switch protection. It also has you covered in the privacy department thanks to a strict no-logs policy and a Bitcoin payment option.
- Lightning-fast connection speeds
- Excellent multi-app support
- Low price
- Servers in 59 countries
- Solid security and privacy protections
- Servers are listed only by country, not by city
BEST VPN FOR ONLINE GAMING:NordVPN is my #1 pick for a VPN to enhance online gaming. The provider offers fast connection speeds and server access to popular gaming hotspots. Extensive multi-platform support and router support mean your favorite gaming platform is covered. 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it risk-free.
Read our full review of NordVPN.
Surfshark ranks in at #2 in this gaming VPN roundup thanks to its low price, fast connections, strong security and privacy features, and unlimited simultaneous connections allowance.
Surfshark’s connection speeds are quite fast, enabling you to have a no-lag gaming experience.
With 65+ countries covered in 3,200+ servers, you’ll have no problem finding a connection to your favorite gaming locations.
There are native apps for iOS, Android, Windows and macOS, as well as the Linux and Amazon Fire device platforms. You can protect gaming consoles with the Surfshark-compatible routers (of which there are plenty), and in-browser gaming can be protected with a Chrome or Firefox extension.
Surfshark offers an unusual unlimited simultaneous connections policy, allowing you to connect as many devices (or friends) to the provider’s servers as you want on one account.
The provider protects your connection with bank-grade encryption, a kill switch, and an ad blocking feature. You can add even more security by using the provider’s “MultiHop” feature, which will route your connection through two VPN servers instead of just one.
As for privacy, Surfshark never saves any logs of your online usage and welcomes Bitcoin as a private payment method.
- Budget-friendly price
- Gaming-worthy connection speeds
- Unlimited concurrent connections
- Comprehensive security and privacy
- More advanced options would be nice
BEST FOR BUDGET:Budget-minded gamers will appreciate Surfshark’s low price. Fast connections and good multi-platform support make it a great way to keep your gaming sessions running smoothly, and the unlimited simultaneous connections policy is a nice bonus. A 30-day money-back guarantee makes it a risk-free proposition.
Read my full review of Surfshark.
This provider’s extensive global server coverage, fast connections and excellent multi-platform support make it a great choice for enhancing your online gaming action.
ExpressVPN has 3,000+ VPN servers located in 94 countries. That means the provider has most of the world covered, enhancing your gaming options, no matter where you’re located.
ExpressVPN’s speedy connections are perfect for online gaming, providing plenty of bandwidth, with no data caps of any kind.
Those connections are protected using 256-bit encryption, and the provider’s self-imposed no-logs policy and acceptance of Bitcoin for subscription payments means the provider has your security and privacy covered.
Online gaming is supported on most popular device platforms, and ExpressVPN has you covered there, with native app support for macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android devices. There are browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari.
ExpressVPN offers 5 simultaneous connections on a single account. If you need more, ExpressVPN is compatible with a large number of routers, allowing you to protect all of the connected devices in your home via a single Wi-Fi access point.
- Global server coverage has the major gaming hotspots covered
- Speedy connections support fast-moving action
- Top-notch multi-platform support
- Excellent privacy and security protections
- More expensive than other providers on this list
- Only 5 concurrent connections allowed
STRONG ALL-AROUND:ExpressVPN is an excellent choice if you want a VPN that is well-rounded in its offerings. The provider’s solid security and privacy protections, fast speeds, great multi-platform support and wide-ranging server coverage are enticing. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of ExpressVPN.
My #4 provider in the online gaming arena is CyberGhost, due to its being a valid choice for first-time online gamers and VPN users.
CyberGhost offers 6,700 servers in 90+ countries, giving you above-average access to international gaming servers and content.
CyberGhost’s connection speeds are more than enough for smooth online gaming. Plus, those connections are protected with 256-bit encryption and a kill switch.
Privacy protection is not a worry thanks to CyberGhost’s self-imposed no-logs policy, and they happily accept Bitcoin, so your payment information is also kept private.
The provider offers good multi-platform support, covering the iOS, Android, Windows and macOS platforms. The provider’s apps are easy to use and provide one-click protection.
Up to 7 gamers can be connected at once to the provider via the same login. If you’re trying to protect an entire LAN party, you can use the provider’s handy router support to protect every player on your network.
- Connection speeds good for gaming
- Easy-to-use apps offer excellent protection
- No logs and accepts Bitcoin
- Top-notch security protections
- Doesn’t work in China
- Doesn’t unblock some streaming sites
BEST FOR FIRST-TIMERS:CyberGhost is the best option for users new to VPNs and new to the online gaming arena. The provider gets users connected to the action quickly and conveniently. A 45-day no-risk money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of CyberGhost.
IPVanish offers the type of security that only one other provider on this list can provide thanks to its owning and operating all of its VPN servers.
While IPVanish’s connection speeds may not be the fastest in this lineup, they are up to the requirement of most any online game I can think of.
Many VPN providers lease their servers, meaning other parties have access to the servers and take care of issues as they arise. IPVanish owns their servers, meaning only they have access to your information, and they can respond quickly when there’s an issue. (They don’t keep logs of your activities, either.)
While the provider’s server coverage (with servers in 60+ countries around the globe) is average, the gaming hotspots are present and accounted for.
IPVanish offers native apps for all of the major platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and even the Amazon Fire Stick.
An unlimited number of gamers can connect to their favorite battle arena at once on a single login. You can also cover all your devices thanks to IPVanish’s wide router compatibility.
A kill switch and military-grade encryption protect your connection. Plus, an obfuscation feature disguises your VPN traffic as normal web traffic. IPVanish keeps no logs of your online activities.
- VPN servers owned and operated by IPVanish
- Easy-to-use native apps for popular platforms
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- No browser extensions
- Privacy protections lacking due to no cryptocurrency payment options
PROTECTS ALL GAMERS AT ONCE:IPVanish delivers secure connections on an unlimited number of devices at once, all on the most popular device platforms. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of IPVanish.
VyprVPN squeaked into 6th place thanks to its self-owned and well-positioned servers in 70+ countries, as well as its fast connections.
Sadly, while this provider doesn’t keep any logs related to your online antics, they also don’t accept Bitcoin or any other encrypted form of payment, leaving your payment info exposed.
VyprVPN owns and operates all of its VPN servers, keeping your information safe from third-party server operators and providing quick response times when issues arise.
Gamers on the macOS, Windows, iOS and Android platforms can keep their gaming sessions protected thanks to VyprVPN’s comprehensive multi-platform support. All of the apps provide military-grade encryption to keep things undercover.
The provider’s simultaneous connections allowance is below average, at 3 connections at once. However, users with a large number of gamers in the house can protect them all thanks to the provider’s above-average router support.
- Fast connections
- Self-owned and -operated VPN servers
- No logs
- No Bitcoin payment option available
- Higher price than comparable VPNs
OWNS ITS SERVERS:VyprVPN offers a fast and easy way to enhance your favorite online gaming action. The provider’s self-owned servers ensure quick reactions to issues and protection from third-party snooping. A 30-day money-back guarantee is available.
Read our full review of VyprVPN.
How to Use a VPN to Protect Your Online Gaming
Online gamers who are looking to enhance their gaming sessions are advised to follow these 6 simple steps:
- Select and subscribe to a Virtual Private Network. (I recommend NordVPN.)
- Download the app(s) for your device(s).
- Log into the VPN.
- Select a VPN server located near the gaming server to which you’ll be connecting.
- Connect to the gaming server.
- Fire away!
Everything should rock and roll from here on.
Is a Free VPN a Good Option For Online Gaming?
One-word answer: “NO!”
While I’m not going to say that a free VPN won’t work for online gaming, I will say that you will not be satisfied with your final score if you try it.
“Free” VPNs are well known for placing data caps and bandwidth limitations on their users. Nothing in that sentence bodes well for online gaming.
In addition to the limitations above, you may be forced to sit in line before being allowed to connect to a VPN server. Then, once you’re allowed to connect, you’ll likely be limited to a small selection of servers, which will limit your gaming options.
I once heard that “if you’re getting something for free on the web, then you’re the product being sold.” That adage is never truer than when you’re dealing with a “free” VPN.
VPN providers (even “free” VPNs) need to keep the lights on. Even if they’re not charging you, well – they’re selling something to someone.
That “something” is likely info about your online activities. “Free” providers may sell that info to advertisers and other parties. Plus, they may inject unwanted ads and tracking cookies into your browsing sessions.
While the final judgment call is yours when it comes to using a free VPN for online gaming, I’m willing to bet you’ll find that it’s a losing proposition.
Gaming VPN FAQs
What Is the Best Free VPN for Gaming?
There are no good free VPNs for gaming. Free VPNs are known for throttling bandwidth and imposing data caps, and you don't want your game to stutter or your connection to be interrupted in the middle of the action. Not only that, but free VPNs make users wait in a queue and sell their private data to advertisers. For the best gaming and security experience, stick to a paid provider.
What Is the Fastest VPN for Gaming?
NordVPN offers the fastest connection speeds on the market today. No matter what your regular connection speeds, NordVPN won't slow them down by much, ensuring a smooth gaming experience.
What Is the Best VPN for PC Gaming?
Specifically for PCs, NordVPN is your best bet. It offers native apps for the Windows, macOS and Linux platforms. Those apps provide fast connection speeds and access to servers all over the world, making your gaming experience a fast and global one.
By using a VPN, gamers can both open up access to previously blocked content and gaming arenas, as well as protect their connections against monitoring and online attacks.
We’ve taken a look at 6 excellent gaming VPNs in this article. However, only one stands head and shoulders above the rest.
NordVPN offers the best way to protect and enhance your online gaming sessions. The provider’s download speeds are more than adequate for online gaming and downloading new games, updates and in-game content. In addition, the provider offers excellent protection against the perils of online life.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit NordVPN’s website.
- Best Gaming VPNs
- 1. NordVPN
- 2. Surfshark
- 3. ExpressVPN
- 4. CyberGhost
- 5. IPVanish
- 6. VyprVPN
- How to Use a VPN to Protect Your Online Gaming
- Is a Free VPN a Good Option For Online Gaming?
- Gaming VPN FAQs
- What Is the Best Free VPN for Gaming?
- What Is the Fastest VPN for Gaming?
- What Is the Best VPN for PC Gaming?