best vpn for gaming

At first glance, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) might not seem like a good idea for gamers. The reason is because it slows down internet speeds to some extent. Some VPNs even affect connections so much that it becomes almost impossible to do anything online.

Unbeknownst to many, VPNs actually provide gamers with a plethora of benefits. And yes, lots of these extend beyond the realm of online security. In fact, having the right VPN can give you a tremendous competitive edge.

What Is The Best VPN For Gaming In 2021?

Lots of services claim to be the best for VPN gaming. However, only a handful are actually good for the job. These are our top choices:

  1. ExpressVPN
  2. NordVPN
  3. Surfshark
  4. CyberGhost
  5. Private Internet Access

While each of these VPNs is great, each has its downsides. As such, it’s essential to go into the details.

1. ExpressVPN

logo expressvpn

Credit: ExpressVPN.com

ExpressVPN is undoubtedly the best VPN service for gaming. It emphasizes security but does not put a compromise on speed. The service is also compatible with nearly every device that accesses the internet. On top of that, it has an extensive online knowledge base and excellent customer support.

The security of ExpressVPN is unmatched largely because it maintains a massive RAM-based server network. Additionally, it uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption. Every mainstream protocol is supported by the service. Due to that, you’ll have no problems with optimizing it.

Unfortunately, you won’t get an extensive set of features with ExpressVPN. Although it has a kill switch and split tunneling, the service lacks a malware blocker of its own. That means you should install another piece of software if you wish to have one.

My tests have proven that ExpressVPN is among the fastest VPNs available. No matter what server is utilized, you’ll have a stable connection. If anything, this is great because there’ll be no frame drops or issues with lag when you’re gaming. Furthermore, general web browsing, downloading, and streaming will be buttery smooth.

ExpressVPN is great for torrenting. The service’s entire network is P2P enabled, meaning that all of its servers can be used for the job. You won’t have to go through the trouble of manually picking one before downloading. From a convenience standpoint, this is awesome.

All leading operating systems have native ExpressVPN applications. Also, browser extensions exist for Google Chrome as well as Firefox. If you’re wondering, yes, the VPN can indeed be used with every popular gaming console. Sad to say, the only way to do so is via a router.

The prices of ExpressVPN aren’t competitive. For a 1-month subscription, you’ll need to shell out $12.95. Meanwhile, the service’s lowest price is $6.67 per month for a 15-month plan. On the bright side, a decent refund policy is in place. After making a purchase, there is a 30-day window to get your money back.

2. NordVPN

logo nordvpn

Credit: NordVPN.com

NordVPN has long been a leader in the industry. It’s highly recommended for gamers because it is currently the fastest service available. With it, you can rest assured that you’ll have a superb gaming experience regardless of the platform you’re using. Lagging and frame drop problems shall be almost nonexistent.

Don’t think that NordVPN sacrifices speed for security. On the contrary, the service is one of the safest around. Like all top-tier VPNs, it uses AES 256-bit encryption and supports each common protocol, including WireGuard. Apart from that, it also has a broad range of great features, including a malware blocker, double VPN, and a kill switch.

Not all of NordVPN’s 5000+ servers are P2P enabled. Be that as it may, the VPN still remains to be an excellent option for torrenting. It detects downloading activity then automatically connects you to a suitable location. Everything is seamless and hassle-free.

You can download NordVPN’s apps on Windows, Linux, Chromebook OS, Android, iOS, and macOS. As expected, there are also browser extensions for Firefox along with Chrome. To utilize the service on consoles, it must be installed on a compatible router. Thankfully, its developers have made sure to make the setup process beyond simple.

I’ve had nothing but good experiences with NordVPN’s customer service. Each representative that I spoke to was cordial and well-trained. All of them were also quick in delivering their responses. Thus, troubleshooting the VPN wasn’t inconvenient or difficult.

Budget most likely won’t be a dilemma if you’re planning to get NordVPN. That’s because the service isn’t priced beyond the reach of average consumers like yourself. It can be bought for the low price of $3.49 per month. Also, there is a 30-day money-back policy you may avail of.

3. Surfshark

logo surfshark

Credit: Surfshark.com

Surfshark is the newest VPN on this list. Despite that, it has managed to become one of the most coveted VPNs in the industry. The main reason for this is because of the sheer level of quality and value that it offers. Although it isn’t the cheapest, it’s undoubtedly the best bargain.

Surfshark takes security very seriously. The service has a 100% RAM-based network. As such, it’s incapable of keeping logs, making it extremely trustworthy.

As you’ve probably guessed, it is possible to match Surfshark’s AES-256 encryption with every major protocol. Besides that, there are a wide array of security features in place. For maximum protection, make sure to use the service’s kill switch, malware blocker, and double VPN.

Surfshark’s speed capabilities are great. In fact, only NordVPN and ExpressVPN can effectively compete with it. During my time with the service, I’ve never had any trouble with my internet connection. Everything from playing games to streaming content was effortless.

You won’t have trouble getting around censorship measures and geoblocks with Surfshark. The VPN grants access to Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and every other well-known streaming website. It also leaps over the Great Firewall of China with amazing consistency.

Frequent torrenters will enjoy Surfshark. How come? It has many optimized P2P servers that are perfect for the job. Connecting to them is easy because it automatically detects torrenting activity then pairs you. You won’t need to go through an inconvenient selection process at all.

Surfshark has native apps for all prominent operating systems, streaming devices, and smart TVs. It also has browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. Moreover, the VPN may get installed on select routers. When that’s done, you can use it alongside your console.

I do not recommend buying a 1-month Surfshark subscription. Instead, purchase a 2-year plan since it gives phenomenal value for money. For a mere $2.49 a month, you’ll be getting one of the best deals in the VPN industry. With that said, if you ever want your money back, there’s a window of 30 days to get a refund after buying it.

4. CyberGhost

logo cyberghost

Credit: CyberGhostVPN.com

CyberGhost boasts the largest server network of any VPN and a solid zero-logs policy that makes it very secure. Furthermore, the service is rather speedy. While it is not the fastest option, you are guaranteed to have a decent connection.

Unlike other services, CyberGhost’s support of protocols is limited. Because of that, you shall be limited by the platform you’re using. Despite that, you shouldn’t worry. The VPN still offers a high degree of optimization. On top of that, it uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption.

Many features come with a basic CyberGhost subscription. Among these is a malware blocker, kill switch, and split tunneling. Additionally, there’s also a password manager along with a dedicated IP address creator that you can avail of. Sadly, they are not free to use.

You should know that CyberGhost’s speed performance varies significantly by the server. For that reason, you should mark all the fast servers you come across as favorites. When that’s done, gaining access to them will be easy and convenient.

A great thing about CyberGhost is that it’s applications list down what servers are suitable for torrenting and streaming. Thus, you’ll not have to go through the trouble of guessing where to connect. If anything, the service makes everything a breeze on your end.

CyberGhost is compatible with Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS. You can also install the service on several routers. Apart from that, browser extensions exist for Chrome and Firefox. To use the VPN with consoles, you’ll have to connect them to a router.

Those who don’t have much cash to spend are certain to like CyberGhost. After all, it is one of the most affordable. Its lowest price is a mere $2.76 per month. What’s better is that there’s a free trial you can take advantage of. Finally, an awesome money-back policy exists. Depending on the plan, you have 15 or 45 days to get a refund.

5. Private Internet Access (PIA)

logo pia vpn

Credit: PrivateInternetAccess.com

Private Internet Access or PIA doesn’t skimp around when it comes to security. Despite being based in the United States, it’s considered by many to be safe. This is because it has never given up private user information despite being requested by the authorities on several occasions. Besides that, the VPN has not once been hacked.

Do not expect PIA to give you a blazingly fast connection. While it isn’t slow by any means, it doesn’t match all of its major competitors. Nevertheless, the service is still more than suitable for all your gaming needs. When using it, you can expect to have no issues with lag.

The streaming capabilities of Private Internet Access are nothing special. During my tests, I was only able to successfully unblock one Netflix library. If in China, you won't have found success with this VPN. Only rarely will it be able to bypass the country’s censorship measures.

A large group of experts claims that PIA is the best VPN for torrenting. That’s because its large server network is fully P2P enabled. For that reason, you’ll remain completely secured each time you have a downloading session.

Each one of PIA’s apps was created to be extremely user-friendly. In addition, they’re also highly configurable. You can have options to customize everything from their looks to what protocols are enabled. With them, you’ll surely have a good user experience.

Private Internet Access is available on all leading operating systems and browser extensions, including Opera. It also works on a handful of smart TVs as well as streaming devices. Lastly, the VPN may be used with popular gaming consoles via a router.

The one thing PIA is most famous for its affordability. You can avail of a 1-month subscription for just $9.95. Due to that, it’s a no-brainer for individuals who do not have much to spend. Still, if you ever have regrets after buying the service, it’s always possible to get a refund because there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Why Use A VPN For Gaming?

Why Use A VPN For Gaming

The primary reason why you should use a VPN for gaming is to remain protected. Using an able service will prevent malicious third parties from tracking, collecting, and using your private data against you. It shall also keep government monitors and ISPs from your back.

VPNs also maintain your anonymity when gaming. By using them, others won't be able to know who you are. If anything, this is great for parents whose aim is to keep their children under the radar. Online predators lurking shall not have an opportunity to find another victim.

Lots of VPNs can also stabilize internet connections. They achieve this by getting their users off bandwidth throttling imposed by their ISPs. 

For those who do not know, it’s standard practice for internet service providers to intentionally slow down their subscribers’ connection. This is done to prevent their networks from becoming too congested.

A VPN can also give you access to exclusive content. Having the right service allows you to get the latest updates that are regionally locked. It’s even possible to download entire games that aren’t available worldwide. You’ll not have to wait for your anticipated title to release locally.

Finally, you may utilize a VPN to play with more gamers. Simply connect to a server in a country where you want to game in, and you’ll get to match with people from there. 

Will A VPN Improve My Gaming Experience?

Will A VPN Improve My Gaming Experience

Source

Yes. Using a capable VPN will definitely improve your gaming experience. For one, it’ll give you a more stable internet connection. Consequently, lagging and frame drops get drastically reduced or even eliminated altogether.

However, it is essential to know that this isn’t always the case. The large majority of services never improve connection speeds. In fact, even those that do are not consistent. Hence, it’s best not to expect much as you might just end up disappointed.

As mentioned earlier, VPNs also let you game with more people. How? By replacing your IP address with one of a server. In doing so, you get allowed into foreign gaming servers that would otherwise be inaccessible with your base online connection.

How To Choose A VPN For Gaming?

How To Choose A VPN For Gaming

Source

No two services are created equally. For that reason, it is essential to have a lengthy screening process before finally purchasing one. Here are some important things to consider when you’re on the hunt for a gaming VPN:

  • Amazingly Fast Speeds

A slow VPN service will only leave you frustrated. Gaming will be impossible because it’s certain there’ll be frame drops and lag. Besides that, it shall take forever to download updates, add-on content, and anything else. Last of all, you won’t be able to stream to your audience.

Be sure to look at reviews and testimonies. Don’t believe the claims made by the service itself as chances are, they might be false. In doing both things, it’s guaranteed you’ll end up with a VPN that’s got decent speed capabilities.

  • Unparalleled Security

The main job of all VPNs is to keep you safe. As such, it’s best to choose a service that’s got an excellent track record. It should have never given up private user information to the authorities or been hacked. Additionally, it would be better if your VPN doesn’t fall under Five, Nine, and Fourteen Eyes Alliance jurisdiction.

When it comes to features, a service must have a kill switch and malware blocker. Moreover, it should utilize AES-256 encryption as well as support every mainstream protocol.

  • Large Network Size

Services with larger networks are more capable of maintaining your anonymity. On top of that, they give you greater options in regards to connectivity. You’ll get to tap into more gaming servers, and therefore, access a larger player base.

  • Wide Compatibility

You should always opt for a VPN that’s compatible with your preferred gaming device. When this isn’t done, you’ll find the service to be utterly useless.

Remember that desktop and mobile applications aren’t enough. The service you select must also be compatible with a wide range of routers. Why? So that it can be used with gaming consoles along with other devices like digital cameras and smart appliances.

  • Easy-To-Use Applications

Never settle for a service that has unsightly native apps. In addition, make sure you’re getting something that has highly configurable applications. That way, it’ll be possible to optimize them to suit your specific needs as a user.

  • Reasonable Pricing

As a general rule, never pick out the cheapest VPN available. Instead, opt for the one that offers the most value for money. Furthermore, make sure the service you buy has a decent refund policy in place. After all, you never know if you’ll want a refund after making a purchase.

How To Use A VPN For Gaming?

How To Use A VPN For Gaming

Source

It’s beyond easy to use a VPN for gaming. Mobile and desktop users simply need to download their services app, login, select a server, and then connect to it. Following that, they should be all set to reap from the benefits of their service as they play.

The process isn’t as simple for console players. They must install their VPN on a compatible router. Oftentimes, this process is rather tedious and not suitable for individuals who aren’t tech-savvy. Luckily, many services offer pre-configured routers for an easy out-of-the-box experience. In most cases, you can purchase these routers from their websites.

If you’ve already got a VPN installed on your router, all you need to do is connect your console to it. After that, you’ll be ready to play safely and without limitations.

Summary

Before wrapping up, let’s have a quick recap of the five VPNs we talked about earlier. Even if all of them are great for gaming, each has its downsides that may serve as dealbreakers.

  1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is, hands-down, the best gaming VPN. It’s compatible with almost any device that accesses the internet and is extremely secure. Moreover, the service has amazing speed capabilities. With it, you can be sure that you won’t experience lag or frame drops.

What’s unfortunate about ExpressVPN is that it’s way more expensive than its competitors. In addition, the service also lacks key features that most modern VPNs have.

  1. NordVPN

NordVPN will definitely provide you with the smoothest gaming experience. Why? Because it’s the fastest service on the market. However, as stated earlier, it doesn’t skimp on security. By choosing it, you can rest assured that you’ll remain protected no matter what.

Sad to say, NordVPN doesn’t always unblock streaming services or work around China's Great Firewall. It occasionally experiences downtime, which is why some people deem it unreliable.

  1. Surfshark

Surfshark offers the greatest value for money of any VPN service. No other competitor that’s as high-ranking allows for unlimited simultaneous connections. Additionally, few rivals can match its speed and security capabilities.

The one downside of Surfshark is that it doesn’t have a large server network. As such, by going with it, you’ll have limited connectivity options.

  1. CyberGhost

CyberGhost is a massive VPN that operates more servers than any other. Because of that, it excels at upholding the privacy of its users. Furthermore, the service’s applications are very user-friendly. They provide a seamless and convenient experience anyone would love.

Unfortunately, the security of CyberGhost could be better. That’s because it doesn’t support all major protocols and every platform it’s compatible with.

  1. Private Internet Access (PIA)

PIA is a no-frills VPN that prioritizes security over anything else. When using it, you will not need to worry about hackers or other third parties compromising you. Aside from that, the service has the lowest prices of any top-tier VPN. Hence, it’s an excellent choice if you’re looking to save.

The main drawback of PIA is that it can’t bypass streaming website geoblocks. Moreover, it’s not capable of working in China.

VPNWhy Is It Good for Gaming?PricesLink
logo expressvpnTopnotch security,
Highly-optimized apps,
Fast speeds,
Great unblocking capabilities,
Easy-to-use apps,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$9.99/Month (6 Months)
$6.67/Month (15 Months)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo nordvpnGreat unlocking capabilities,
Blazingly fast speeds,
Works in China,
Excellent apps
$11.99/Month
$6.99/Month (1-Year)
$4.99/Month (2-Year)
$3.49/Month (3-Year)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo surfsharkEasy-to-use apps,
Fast speeds,
Excellent security features,
Unlimited simultaneous connections,
Great unblocking capabilities,
Works in China
$12.95/Month
$6.49/Month (6 Months)
$2.49/Month (2 Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price
logo cyberghostUser-friendly apps,
Reasonable prices,
Decent security,
Lots of servers
$12.99/Month

14-Day Money-Back Guarantee

$7.99/Month (6-Months)
$2.76/Month (18-Months)

45-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Click for BEST Price
logo pia vpnGreat security,
Awesome prices,
Simple apps
$9.95 (1 Month)
$3.33/Month (1-Year)
$2.69/Month (2-Years)

30-Day Money-Back Guarantee For All Subscriptions
Click for BEST Price

About the author 

Erwin Caniba

Erwin, our Chief Editor, has an established career in digital marketing. Since 2012, he’s always used a VPN. As such, it came to his mind to share his experience with every VPN that he’s used. And so, VPN Thrive was born.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>