Xbox VPN Reviews
VPN Providers for Xbox
What is a VPN for Xbox?
Whether you’re 360-no-scoping n00bs with an M16 or throwing a nade across the map, it’s important to always keep your connection protected from hackers who might try to use your internet against you the next time you log into Xbox Live.
A VPN for Xbox is a service that can help you do everything from game faster in specific regions, to unblock content while you’re streaming in geoblocked countries. It works by taking your normal, unprotected network traffic and secures it behind a wall of encryption that can vary in strength depending on the service you’ve signed up with.
Currently no version of Xbox, from the 360 up to the One X, natively supports VPNs, but there is still an option to use them through third-party solutions like your wireless router, or even another PC!
There are many types of VPNs that cover different use cases, and we’ve only featured VPNs on this list that can work with your Xbox through either one of these two methods. Every piece of data in our spreadsheet was gathered by a team of experts in the field, so you know the next time you go to frag out in Halo 5: Guardians that your information will be safe from the troubles of the web!
Why use a VPN with Xbox?
The hackers attack
In this section, we feel it’s necessary to distinguish between the two main types of hacks you’ll find in the Counter Strike online gaming community. The first are actual in-game hacks which give an advantage to the player who’s using them at any given time. These include cracks like auto-aim assist (which automatically snap your cursor to someone’s head as soon as it sees them turn a corner), or “wallhacks” which allow the user to see what’s going on around the map without any walls in the way of their vision.
These hacks are watched and monitored by Steam’s VAC system, and for the most part they only last a few days to a couple weeks before they’re discovered and any players caught using it on their account are banned outright.
This type of hack, while annoying to play against (especially when you’re trying to rank up), isn’t particularly malicious in any way, and won’t leave your computer or your identity crippled the next time you sign on for a match.
Increased security for your real identity
The second type of hack is much more insidious, however, and it’s the main issue you should be concerned about whenever you’re considering using a VPN for your next match.
It’s an issue of when “trolling goes too far”, really.Though pranks like these from YouTuber VirtuallyVain are obviously just a bit of innocent fun in practice, they show just how easy it is for someone to use just your in-game name to track down your real information and use it against you. Vain himself has gone on record to say that he can find a name by "researching their gamertag (a nickname you use for online multiplayer games) or their username in different avenues that might provide more information".
Once the gamertag is exposed and other accounts are found, then your information can be cross-referenced with other aspects of your online life (like social media accounts) to reveal your true identity. After your information is out in the wild, it’s open season for anyone who might want to make your day a little harder, perhaps after you popped them with a perfect headshot and they have a bad case of “sore loserdom”.
Finally, there are several common attacks that many popular CS: GO streamers face is being “DDoSed”, “doxxed” or “swatted”, none of which are nearly as fun as they sound.
Once their identifying information like their IP is made vulnerable, hackers will then overload their network node with thousands of requests a second, essentially slowing their connection down to a crawl or even shutting it down completely.
How Can a VPN Help?
A VPN works to protect your connection, your IP address, and your identity all while ensuring that you get the absolute lowest ping possible the next time you’re booting up your favorite console.
So to start on this topic, there are a few different terms we need to discuss about how a gaming connection works, and what a VPN can do to help (or potentially harm, if setup incorrectly) your gaming experience on Xbox.
Reduce perceived latency
When you’re playing a game online, your actions are communicated to a game server at the same time that server is receiving instructions from all the other players in the match. The faster the server is able to read your inputs, the faster your reaction to the action will be processed by the game itself. The speed of this connection is called “ping”, often represented by the number you see in your game menu shown below:
Ping will often also be referred to as “latency” (expressed in ms, or the number of milliseconds it takes for one packet to make a round trip), though for the sake of argument in Xbox games it’s better just to call it ping. Ping can be affected by a myriad of different factors when gaming online: the speed of your connection, how far you are from the originating server, and whether you have any other programs using your internet connection in the background at the same time.
The lower your ping, the faster you’ll be able to react the next time you get into a firefight. So how does a VPN fit into this equation?
For example, I myself actually play quite a bit of Counter Strike, and in order to get the best speeds possible in Portland, Oregon, I connect to an available server in Seattle. Then, by joining a server in Counter Strike that is as near as possible to Seattle (many custom servers run one in each major city center worldwide), I can be sure that my ping never spikes thanks to the close proximity of the server, my computer, and the VPN node in the middle of both.
Why is this important? Well, oftentimes games or server owners will automatically kick you if your ping is above a certain number. This is called “ping-locking”, and it’s terrible if you ever want to be able to game with your friends who live across the country or even in another part of the world.
So, whether you’re rushing to defuse the bomb on B or camping catwalk to get a perfectly lined up AWP shot through double-doors, there’s a VPN that has a server that’s close enough to you with the encryption you need to keep your ping low the next time you’re gaming online.
As more and more people flood into the gates of the Xbox Live ecosystem every day, it’s becoming more and more complicated for companies like Microsoft to keep every country happy when it comes to what games get featured on their download stores and which don’t.
For example, last year the mega-hit battle royale title PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds had to face a tenuous battle with Chinese authorities after the country ruled it didn’t adhere to their “no-gore” standards. It also apparently didn’t “promote [the country’s] core socialist values”, being that only one player or team ultimately wins a contest between 99 other losers.
This meant that unless PUBG found a way to remove the blood and add new game modes (the 96v4 custom zombie mode seems to fall in a category the Chinese government is okay with), the game would be banned to play in the country on Xbox.
In a scenario like this a VPN will allow Chinese gamers to enjoy games that their government may disapprove of, no matter where they are trying to connect from in the world.
Enjoy limitless streaming
Of course this is just one of several scenarios where un-geoblocking your system makes sense. For millions of Xbox owners, their console isn’t just where they do their gaming, it’s also where they handle most of the living room streaming too.
From Netflix to Hulu, BBC iPlayer to Youtube, adding a VPN tunnel to your Xbox streaming experience means you’ll never be stuck behind a geo-wall because you’re trying to watch Planet Earth II in 4K from the US (to date there are still no services that offer it stateside).
Who needs a VPN for Xbox?
Any competitive Xbox gamers or Xbox streamers should absolutely consider employing the services of a VPN in order to protect themselves against DDOS attacks.