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, 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;
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.
PureVPN – Full Review
PureVPN calls out players and online gamers worlwide to take advantage of their massive tier-1 high speed network for a better MMO gaming experience. They promise to provide much shorter routers for global gamers dealing with slow ping times due to their location. Pure has Dedicated Game Servers, strategically placed and built for speed, with nothing but gamer traffic passing through them. Everything is optimized to provide consistent bandwidth, with the lowest possibly response times. In case you need a dedicated IP for Blizzard games, where changing IPs can be problematic, you can get it added at extra cost. With the sheer size of Pure’s network, you should be able to take advantage of using VPN services across all your other online needs, but you can always count on having a list of dedicated gaming VPN servers waiting to up your game. You can try the service risk-free thanks to their 3-Day money back guarantee, to ensure you get the performance needed before you commit – but be warned that a strict 500mb policy is in place, therefore limit yourself to testing speed and games, until you confirm the results you need.
TorGuard – Full Review
TorGuard also claims to provide superior speeds for online gamers wanting to take advantage of their global tier-1 network. Similar to the competition, they promise to unblock geo-locked MMO and MMORPG servers for you, while reducing ping response and lag times. For those who are familiar with Viscocity – ‘arguably the best OpenVPN build’ – you will be pleased to know that a free license is included with TorGuard VPN service. With hundreds of servers across more than 30 countries, and up to 5 simultaneous connections, TorGuard offers a great all round service, as well as being a solid contender for online game services. With a 7 day money back trial period, you have plenty of time to put your lag radar to the test.