TL; DR – These are the best VPNs for gaming
Best VPN for Gaming
If you’re trying to play with a VPN, you need to be sure that it doesn’t add excessive latency to your connection. We tested ExpressVPN (read our review), and it handles incredibly low latency while gaming as well as high bandwidth (just make sure you don’t choose a server that increases the distance between you and a game’s servers). When it comes to a VPN for gaming, that should be enough to make ExpressVPN a winning choice. But it goes further than that.
ExpressVPN is reasonably priced for what it offers and lets you connect up to five devices at a time. You’ll also find substantial platform support with everything from laptops and mobile devices to consoles and media players covered. All your connected devices will benefit from the possibility of connecting to more than 160 server sites in 94 countries with no bandwidth limit. Additionally, ExpressVPN is a secure option with encrypted connections and a zero logging policy. This will allow you to play quickly and in private.
Best budget VPN for gaming
You’re probably already paying for a bunch of different subscriptions. Maybe you have half a dozen video subscriptions, maybe Xbox Game Pass an MMORPG subscription or two. So adding extra charges for a VPN just to access these services without your ISP monitoring you can make you feel like the feather that broke the camel’s back. But, at just over $ 2 per month, Surfshark (read our review) provides an affordable VPN that is much easier to support on a modest budget.
Its low price shouldn’t worry you, however. In our testing, Surfshark provided the low latency and high connection speeds required for video streaming and online gaming. With a strong internet connection, we were able to see download speeds of over 100Mbps which combines well with Surfshark’s multiple Netflix libraries to access content from different regions. And, since Surfshark supports an unlimited number of devices, you can configure it on your Gaming pc, smartphone, and even some consoles to make every penny worth it.
Best Freemium VPN for Gaming
TunnelBear (read our review) might lag behind the competition in terms of download speed, but it offers something that most other VPN services lack: a free VPN package for users on a budget. You will be limited to 500MB per month but with no usage charges, it acts as an unlimited free trial and a great solution if you only need a VPN on rare occasions.
In addition, TunnelBear supports a Teams pricing package that is aimed at businesses that need to secure multiple employees. This service makes managing multiple VPN users both cheaper and easier thanks to TunnelBear’s management interface and unified billing. Each device is also encrypted with TunnelBear’s AES-256-bit encryption to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
Best VPN for Streaming
Have you ever heard someone talk about a cool new show or movie only to find out it’s not available in your area? Don’t worry, because CyberGhost (read our review) is actively working to facilitate access to this content by maintaining a selection of servers optimized for Netflix.
What is it: Did you think watching UK content was as easy as selecting a UK server? Not so fast. Streaming services learned how to use VPNs to bypass region locks and systematically block access to these servers. CyberGhost takes the hassle out of finding a working server and simply tells you which one has been optimized to work with the streaming giant.
CyberGhost also has the distinction of offering the largest number of servers in our entire collection with 6400 options in more than 89 regions.
Best VPN for game streaming
IPVanish (read our review) wasn’t the best when it came to download speeds, but when it came to downloading it was a top of the chart. During off-peak hours, it offered a download advantage of almost 1 Mbps over its closest competitor. However, when other VPNs started to struggle during the congested evening hours on the network, IPVanish stayed consistent and increased their lead, delivering higher download speeds than without a VPN at all!
Taken as a whole, IPVanish covers most of the bases. Its app is a bit overwhelming, but it offers 256-bit encryption and no logging to keep your connection secure. It also supports up to 10 simultaneous connections with no bandwidth limit. It’s one of the main candidates for latency in games, which helps to make up for its poor download speed.
Best VPN for privacy
NordVPN (read our review) is perhaps the most well-known private network thanks to its strong presence on YouTube. Fortunately, that’s not all the hype as this VPN performed well in our latency and download tests. It’s not at the top of the charts when it comes to speed (although it’s always been one of the top performers), but it does become a great value when you take a closer look at its features.
NordVPN offers the standard encryption and zero logging policy, but it takes this a step further with Double VPN IP masking. In essence, this service changes your IP address twice to make it even harder to track. Conversely, if you prefer to have a static IP address through its network, you can do that as well. To prevent leaks of sensitive data, enable VPN Killswitch and perform the DNS leak test. If downloading is more your style, you will be happy to know that it is P2P optimized.
What to look for in a VPN
Finding a VPN can be daunting. While many of them are very easy to set up and use, almost all of them give you intimidating network terminology while providing the same basic service. Here’s how to choose the right VPN for you.
Security: The most important thing you should look for in a VPN is its security. Anonymity is the reason for using the service in the first place, so only choose a provider that guarantees absolutely zero logging. Once you find one, google different reviews to see what types of vulnerabilities may have appeared. Speaking of which, don’t use a free VPN if you care about your anonymity. While many will claim to be 100% sure, remember that something that sounds too good to be true probably is. As they say, if the service is free, you (and your data) are probably the product.
A bit related to this, always look for stories related to controversies the company may have been involved in. These can often reveal situations you are uncomfortable with, such as parent companies, or cases where it has not been fair in the past.
Connection quality at different times of the day: Many people avoid VPNs because they fear it will leave them with a delayed connection. While it’s true that any VPN is an intermediary and can theoretically slow down your game, many are fast enough to have no impact. Read sites like ours to see the quality of the connection at different times of the day. Beware of any exam that doesn’t reveal the time of day their test was performed, as network congestion can have a big impact on your ping.
Additional features: Many VPNs offer additional features to differentiate themselves from the competition. Make sure to look at what additional security features, if any, the VPN offers to earn your subscription. Private internet access, for example, includes a Killswitch VPN that interrupts your network if you suddenly disconnect, ensuring your activity doesn’t go away by accident. NordVPN allows you to test for DNS leaks. These features can improve your peace of mind and provide additional value with your monthly subscription.
Does it accomplish what you are looking for? Before choosing a VPN, think about everything you would like to do with it. If your goal is to stream video content from different countries, you will need to make sure that the VPN of your choice will make it easier for you. If it’s to connect your whole house through your router, you should make sure that the developer supports this service and has the documentation to help you install. Not all VPNs are created equal, and often it’s worth sacrificing in one domain to make sure it works in the area you need.
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Chris Coke is a tech critic who cares too much about mechanical keyboards. Find out on IGN, MMORPG.com or PC Perspective. Follow him on twitter @gamebynight.