Many gamers are now aware that VPN services can unlock a list of options and benefits to them, including improved speeds, latency and lag. What? A VPN make my internet connection faster? That probably sounds a little backwards to many of you, and you’re right to think so. In most cases, connecting through a VPN server will slow down your connection due to a few important factors – mostly due to encapsulating and encrypting each data packet, and also relatively affected by the distance between your actual location, and the server you’re connecting to.
In most cases, this is still true, using an encrypted server will most likely increase instead of reduce lag. Most users seeking VPN services, mainly do so in order to secure and privatize their online data, P2P torrents, access geo-blocked websites such as Netflix or YouTube, or even sporting events. But, in the same manner, gamers have been using proxies and VPN services to access geo-blocked gaming servers for MMO & MMORPG game titles that are often never released or accessible internationally, notably from Japan, US, UK, and often popular Asian game markets.
VPN providers haven’t always offered speed advantages for gamers. Nowadays, some have grown large enough tier-1 networks, and successfully shortened routes between subscribers and gaming servers to the point of beating our traditional routes used by internet service providers, meaning that even if you’re not connecting from far, you can still find better, faster routes by VPN, than directly from your home internet’s IP connection. Beforehand, hardcore gamers we’re left to setup their own VPN servers to create access to those sought after ping times. Although still an option, providers now have an upper hand. Some of the large providers strategically placed servers in proximity to as many major global gaming servers as possible from various publishers. Many users reported effectively reducing ping times and lag, and VPN popularity boomed. Gaining just a few milliseconds can be the difference between winning an FPS deathmatch, and going home empty handed in a professional competition.
Now, using VPN servers across esports events has become very popular among professional game players all over the world. Not only can it help with speeds during international tournaments, but it adds a very effective layer of protection against attacks, IP booting, or ever growing DDoS attacks during games. DDoS trolls are becoming an ever growing problem for competitive online gaming as a whole, and esports tournaments have seen their share DDoS attacks used as yet another form of cheating, or simply to disrupt scheduled events.
Advantages of Using a VPN Service for Online Gaming
- Unblock geo-locked MMO & MMORPG games, DLC content, or access Xbox Live and PSN exclusives.
- Play early access game titles by accessing countries with earlier launch dates.
- Access gaming servers from anywhere in the world while travelling, without dealing with horrible ping times.
- Encrypt and privatize your data, effectively securing our online traffic and accounts.
- Protect against DDoS attacks – becoming more frequent during esport tournaments.
- Shorter routes between you and gaming servers with possibility of reducing ping times and overall lag. It remains critical to only depend on this if you select a premium speed rated VPN service provider that focuses on gaming server location nodes, such as the ones suggested below. Otherwise, you risk getting an unwanted, opposite effect on speed and latency.
For Console Gamers, make sure to check out our usage specific posts;
How to setup a VPN on your console
Please Note: If you plan to use a VPN over an Xbox, Playstation, Wii U, or any console hardware, you need to setup the server connection on a DD-WRT router, and connect your console through that router in order to access the console’s network through the VPN connection. DD-WRT is just an example, but any of the major flashed router firmware platforms handle VPN server connections.
VPN for Gaming – Top Picks:
ExpressVPN Full Review
ExpressVPN is no slouch when it comes to gaming. Not only do they provide specialized SmartDNS services for console gamers, but their fast network provides great gaming experiences for people abroad various regions. The encryption and DDOS protection is a plus, but the large network with low-load servers really helps to keep good ping times, and low lag when connecting to servers located far away. Using a tier-1 network, ExpressVPN is able to upkeep respectable response time for even the most hardcore FPS gamers.
VyprVPN – Full Review
VyprVPN is another provider with a very large private tier-1 network, also claiming to have the fastest routes and servers, Vypr caters to gamers all around the world by advertising their service as having the best ping times for online game server locations. Roughnex ESports Organization has teamed up with VyprVPN, making them their official provider for esports competitions. By locating servers in proximity of major game server spots, they have successfully reduced ping and optimized speed for low lag gaming, giving a competitive edge to professional players. Roughnex’s pro team also needed a solution against DDoS attacks during esport events, and now use VyprVPN to protect against attacks. To ensure you get the speeds and results you need, you can try the service risk-free for 3 days before committing.
IPVanish – Full Review
IPVanish’s is comprised of a tier-1 network built for speed. They heavily promote themselves as having one of the fastest services around, and I can confirm that they are at a minimum on par with the best competition out there. With shorter routes across many key locations, the service is has done well for gaming on my end. And with such a large network, there’s plenty of servers to pick from. I personally get the best ping times with IPVanish, but it just works out best for the servers I use, but just in case you have different results, IPVanish offers a 7-Day money back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to test gaming servers before committing to anything.
Private Internet Access – Full Review
Private Internet Access is one of the most practical solutions to overcome restrictions and make the most out of your gaming experience. It is reasonably priced and it comes with all the features that you need to get access to the best gaming servers and avoid lag. Private Internet Access has thousands of servers in over 30 countries and it supports advanced features like Kill Switch and SOCKS5 proxy, which is a good alternative to enjoy faster speeds. The affordability of the plans, along with the high encryption and the no logs policy make PIA an appealing choice for gamers.
NordVPN – Full Review
NordVPN is a highly secure solution that doesn’t keep any logs and it also supports Tor over VPN and double VPN. You can connect to over 5000 servers in more then 50 countries, and in many of these servers, NordVPN includes obfuscation, support for P2P and more. NordVPN is a good solution for gaming thanks to the ultra-fast servers available in its network and the high quality software. The guides will help you to set up the VPN and you will be able to protect your traffic against DDoS attacks and other threats.
Surfshark – Full Review
Surfshark is another solution that lets you overcome restrictions and protect your gaming traffic. Thanks to the high security that Surfshark provides, you will be able to keep your data protected. Bypassing restrictions is also easy with the powerful unblocking technology, which includes a No Borders mode and a Camouflage mode, that disguises your VPN traffic to make it appear as it it was standard traffic. Surfshark is fast and it doesn’t keep logs of your activities.
Best Online Multi-Player Games in 2019
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
- Rocket League
- Left 4 Dead 2
- League of Legends
- Team Fortress 2
- Unreal Tournament
- The Division
- Call of Duty
- DOTA 2
- Quake III Arena
- Rainbow Six: Siege
- Battlefield 4
- Diablo 3
- Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5)
- Mortal Kombat X
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