Select Page

How a Gaming VPN Works & Why Every Gamer Should Consider Using One

Home » Gaming » How a Gaming VPN Works & Why Every Gamer Should Consider Using One


Using a gaming VPN can open up a world of opportunities for both the casual and hardcore gamer. Whether it’s gaming with friends across the world, browsing libraries of different regions, or simply securing your anonymity, they can add new experiences to your online gaming. 

Choosing a gaming VPN doesn’t have to be difficult, either. To help those of you who are unaware of how they work and what they can do, I’ve put together this in-depth guide to help usher you into the world of gaming VPNs and explain why every gamer should be using one.

What is a VPN?

A VPN, short for Virtual Private Network, is a form of programming that creates a secure, anonymous Internet connection. A VPN is one of the best means of ensuring your online data stays private and your activity anonymous. There are other benefits as well, including accessing censored material and geo-restricted content.

A VPN masks your IP address and encrypts all of your data, so your online activities are pretty much untraceable. The privacy and security that VPNs provide has led to a surge in popularity over recent years, and this dramatic increase in widespread usage shows no sign of slowing down yet. It’s estimated that 11 percent of the world’s online population use a VPN.


What is a Gaming VPN?


In short, a gaming VPN is a VPN that is optimized for gaming. They differ from a personal or business VPN by prioritizing speed over multiple layers of security, and as such, are more likely to provide the high connection speeds that online gaming requires. 

VPN services that are designed with gaming in mind often have servers with unlimited bandwidth, meaning you’ll never have to worry about exceeding data usage limits. 

Many gaming VPNs will also allow you to connect to P2P networks, meaning you can download large files, such as games or movies, without having to worry about drops in speed.


Are They Legal?


Yes, gaming VPNs are entirely legal. However, you’re still bound to your country’s laws when using a VPN. For example, accessing illegal content and breaching copyright laws is still a no-go.


How Does it Help Me?


A gaming VPN can help you to access content that may not be available in your country. It can also protect you against malicious individuals who are intent on making you the victim of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack. (More information on that later.)

Some game publishers restrict the releases of games or downloadable content to specific regions on specific dates. A VPN allows you to spoof your location, bypass any regional restrictions, and enjoy the latest content from your favorite developers as soon as it releases.

A VPN can also give you access to servers that you might not usually be able to play on. Have a friend in another continent that you really want to play with? Simply spoof your location to their region and party up with your friend.


How Much Do They Cost?


The average cost of a VPN that’s suitable for use while gaming is around $10 per month. It’s important to note that while there are free VPN services on the market, they often lack speed and security. 

Paying for a premium VPN service will ensure your data remains secure and that you have access to the high speeds that online gaming requires.

How Does a Gaming VPN Work?

A gaming VPN works by encrypting your Internet connection and routing your IP through a remotely located server. Your device is treated as if it’s located at that server and all of your activity is made anonymous. There are a host of benefits to this that we’ll go over in detail in this guide.


Is All of My Activity Secure?


The level of security is dependent on the quality of VPN service that you use. Free VPNs have been known to sell your data or not even encrypt your connection – which totally defeats the point of connecting to the Internet via their servers. 

While paid VPNs are generally more trustworthy than their free counterparts, users should conduct due diligence with all providers. There are hundreds of providers out there and many use different levels of encryption protocols and offer different security features.


Does a VPN Protect Against DDoS Attacks?


DDoS attacks are the bane of the gaming world. People use these attacks to gain a performance advantage over their competitors by slowing down their Internet connection or kick them from the server. Some players do it just to be spiteful.

When you’re the target of a DDoS attack, multiple computers attempt to flood your IP address with data to overwhelm your network and make your Internet connection suffer as a result. While even the best VPN server isn’t 100% DDoS proof, they are able to handle a lot more traffic than your usual connection would. 

As a VPN hides your device’s IP address and some premium services offer you the ability to switch between various IP addresses, you’re infinitely more protected than you would be without using a gaming VPN.


Can I Play With Friends Who Aren’t Using a VPN?


Yes, you can still play with your friends even if they aren’t using a VPN. In fact, using a VPN will allow you to play with people that you wouldn’t normally be able to. 

If you’re playing a game that has region-locked servers, using a VPN will enable you to bypass this restriction. This is an invaluable feature if you’re part of a gaming community with international members.


I’m a Console Gamer, Can I Use a VPN?


Xbox, Playstation, and Switch gamers can use a VPN, but there isn’t a native app like most devices have. Instead, there are two main ways to make your connection secure. 

The first option is to connect your console to your desktop or laptop that is running your chosen VPN, with an Ethernet cable. Ensure that your PC is sharing Internet with your console in the device settings, and you’re good to go. 

The second option is to install a VPN on your router – if it’s compatible – so that your entire WiFi network is encrypted. This option can be beneficial in more ways than one as it means that every device in your home network will automatically connect to the Internet via a VPN.

Does a Gaming VPN Affect Ping (Latency)?

Generally, using a VPN means having to deal with slightly slower connection speeds. It’s important to find a provider that offers high bandwidth servers specifically optimized for online gaming. 

In some instances, you’ll find that connecting to a VPN server that’s situated physically closer to the gaming server can, in fact, lower your ping. In addition, if you suffer from ISP throttling, a VPN will mask that you are using high amounts of bandwidth from your service provider.


Tips to Get the Fastest Speeds

  • Choose a provider that emphasizes the speed of their connections. They’ll have unlimited bandwidth servers and high download/upload speeds.
  • Some encryption protocols emphasize safety over speed and vice versa. When it comes to gaming, you’ll want to ensure you’re using a fast-tunneling protocol as this will provide you with the fastest speeds. Generally, the fastest VPN protocols are PPTP and IKEv2/IPSec.
  • Connecting to a dedicated gaming server means you’ll be getting the best quality connection for online gaming. Most popular VPN providers offer these.
  • If you aren’t trying to access regionally-restricted content, always attempt to connect to the server that’s closest to you. A closer server almost always means lower ping.
  • The least crowded servers will have the most bandwidth available. The less strain on a server, the more likely it is to deliver better performance.

Can a Gaming VPN Help Me Save Money?

There are several instances where a gaming VPN can save you money. Sure, you’ll be paying a subscription fee to your VPN provider, but if you’re an avid gamer, you’ll definitely reap some financial benefits. By connecting to the Internet from another country, you can purchase games at the local price and browse regional sales, giving you the chance to grab titles for much less than you’d pay in your country.

Other Benefits of Using a Gaming VPN

There are a number of other benefits to using a gaming VPN, including:

  • Play on servers in other countries. This is great if you want to play in a region-locked tournament, or with a friend on their home servers.
  • Avoid ISP throttling – the act of your ISP intentionally slowing down your Internet connection during high-bandwidth usage.
  • Play titles as soon as they’re released anywhere in the world. Nobody likes seeing spoilers before they’ve got to experience the game for themselves.
  • Play in foreign tournaments.
  • Hide your data from advertisers.
  • It’s not uncommon for people to be swatted while simply playing online. Using a VPN can enable you to avoid this potentially deadly practice.

How Do I Get a Gaming VPN?

Connecting to a VPN is usually as simple as downloading an application on your device and signing in. The difficult part is selecting a reliable provider that fits your specific needs.


VPN Service Providers


You should always compare and contrast gaming VPN providers before making a purchasing decision. Remember, it costs money to run a VPN service, so you should always choose a paid-for service. The best providers have a large server network, zero log policies, and an airtight history with no data breaches.


Avoid Free VPNs for Gaming


When a company isn’t getting money from its users, it’s getting it from somewhere else. With free VPN providers this usually means they’re selling your information to advertising firms – exactly what you don’t want your VPN provider to do.

Free services are often slow and insecure, and when you’re using a VPN for gaming, you want it to be as fast, secure, and reliable as possible. 


Buy and Download a VPN App Just Like Any Other Program


This is the simplest way of getting a gaming VPN and doesn’t involve making any changes to the hardware you have at home.


How to Connect Once Purchased


A paid VPN service will usually give you multiple licenses so you can connect to it on numerous devices. Easy to use applications allow you to install your VPN in just a few clicks. Once you’ve logged into the app, you’ll be automatically connected to the VPN server that’s closest to your location. 

If you wish to avoid using the app due to security concerns or other reasons, it’s possible for you to configure your device’s network settings and connect directly to the VPN service that way.

Can I Build My Own VPN for Gaming?

You can indeed build your own gaming VPN by using either a VPN router or a VPN server.


VPN Router


A VPN router allows you to connect to a VPN directly through your router and enjoy the privacy that it offers. VPN routers establish connections at the hardware level and remove the need for any software installations.


VPN Server


A VPN server can be either a physical or virtual server that’s been configured to provide VPN services to users who connect to it. You will need to use a combination of hardware and software to create a functioning VPN.


Drawbacks of Hosting Your Own VPN

  • While your data will be encrypted, you won’t be able to hide your IP address.
  • You won’t be able to spoof your location.
  • They require a decent amount of technical knowledge to configure properly.
  • Specific hardware is required.
  • It can be difficult to set up on multiple devices.

Features to Consider When Searching for a Gaming VPN Service

The most important questions that you should be asking yourself when you’re looking for the gaming VPN service that’s right for you are:

  • Speed: How fast is the service you’re looking at? Will you be able to play online games without experiencing high ping rates?
  • Security: Will the data you transmit be safe? Is your IP address protected from bad actors?
  • Zero Log Policy: Does the provider record your data or is it their policy to keep no logs at all?
  • Ease of Use: Is it easy to setup or will you struggle with the number of complex steps? Will your devices automatically reconnect or will you have to do it manually each time?
  • Customer Support: If something does go wrong, how easy will it be to rectify, will you be able to talk to somebody over the phone or online with relative ease?
  • Server Locations: Are their servers located close to you? Will the server locations impact my gaming experience?
  • Console/Device Compatibility: Will the VPN work with all of your devices? Are you able to connect everything to it at once?

Wrapping Up

Now that you’ve finished this comprehensive guide, you should have no doubts about how a VPN for gaming works and how using one can benefit you. Whether you’re simply looking to play with friends in other countries, grab games as soon as they’re released, or simply increase the cybersecurity of your devices, a VPN is a powerful tool. The hardest part is finding the right provider for you.

Luckily, has done the legwork for you. We’ve researched and tested over 900 VPN providers. Browse our data and see our top recommendations to start gaming securely and anonymously from anywhere in the world. Protection Status