There have not been many games, if any, that have been able to experience such a lengthy evolution. Since its early beta days, I was lucky enough to play through various updates which brought forth different game mechanics, NPCs, mobs, and endless terrain construction possibilities. In short, I was addicted for years and had the pleasure, and sometimes horror of hosting some of my own servers. Regardless if you’re a new player or a veteran, you might share the sentiment that only by playing Minecraft can one truly enjoy what this vast sandbox game delivers.
I decided to write this Minecraft VPN related article after finding myself needing a virtual private network service for my own Minecraft needs, and finding that much of the content and VPN suggestions really seemed random, or personal choices rather than specifically meeting user needs. There are various reasons why a player can be seeking the use of a VPN service. I will start by listing most of the scenarios, followed by suggesting the truly best VPN services for Minecraft and why.
Why use a VPN for Minecraft?
Restricted Networks – One of the main reasons people use a VPN in conjunction with Minecraft is because they want to play on a restricted or blocked access network. For example, if you’re at work, or on a school campus, there is a high chance that Minecraft is blocked. Employers don’t want workers to be playing on the clock, and schools want to avoid having their bandwidth sucked dry by gamers. It is also common for hotels or other travel lodgings to have limited access.
Using a VPN will allow you to play through any network, and in a very secure way. You may have heard of proxies before, and although they might work at unblocking the game on a restricted network, the traffic can be seen by administrators monitoring the server. With a VPN, all of the traffic is encrypted, and cannot be read by anyone. Although the administrators will be able to see there is a VPN tunnel connection, and how much traffic is being used, they will not be able to tell what it is. This secure and private method makes a VPN a much better choice when used for similar reasons.
Hosting Minecraft Servers and DDOS Attacks – Another way players utilize a VPN service is to create a private and secure server of your own. One of the downsides of the game is playing with strangers that might not fit your gameplay preference. Having months of work destroyed in seconds can be devastating. My solution was to setup my own private network where I only invited friends and acquaintances made during my years of play. Additionally, some ISPs will block the majority of incoming ports, making it difficult to host a server off your internet connection. By port forwarding with a VPN, you can ultimately bypass the blocked port limitation and send it over or forward the traffic to the private server’s port. If you plan on hosting, the official Wiki has all the tutorials needed to get you started. Although it is technical and intimidating to beginners, the experience is extremely rewarding and I suggest it to all.
DDOS attacks are generally rare, and I never had to deal with any myself. However, whether you host your own server, or rank among the most hardcore players, you can find yourself the target of a cheap and frustrating DDOS attack. This is when someone causes a flood of connection requests to your server or IP and cause it to crash. In simple terms, it is an attack that takes down your server until it stops or is blocked. Most VPN services specifically provide DDOS protection for gamers.
IP Bans – So, this one is self-explanatory. If you’re a destructive and undesirable player, server admins will certainly end up banning your ALT. A VPN service cannot get your ALT unblocked, however, if you continuously abuse a server with multiple ALTS, an IP ban will follow, and that is when a VPN service can be used since it also changes your IP. I want to make it clear that I don’t condone this type of activity, and find it to be a waste of time, which brings me to the next question.
Can VPNs or Proxies be blocked on Minecraft servers?
Yes, simply put, there are apps and software add-ons available to help thwart VPN abuse. If you continuously attack a specific server, there are chances they will employ services that attempt to block long ranges of known VPN IP addresses. This is an ongoing battle, and eventually abusers can still find a way in, but I guess for every good thing, there is some bad to be accepted.
How to Use a VPN for Minecraft
It’s really simple to setup. Once you have decided on and signed up for a VPN service, you install the app and simply connect to a server in the country of your choice, and you should now be able to join any Minecraft server without restrictions. In case a certain server is blocking VPN users, you can always try alternate VPN connection points or simply try a different Minecraft server. This is generally how VPNs are used for gaming.
- Sign up for a VPN service of your choice.
- Download and install the app for your platform. eg: Windows, iOS..
- Run the client and connect to a VPN server of your choice.
- Run Minecraft unrestricted, and privately encrypted.
VPNs for Minecraft – Top Picks:
Finally, this brings us to the best VPN choices for Minecraft players. I only selected a few providers for specific reasons in order to try and find the best solution for as many players as possible. Each service has been tested on the game for speed, and I provide different options regarding quality, cost and value, as well as DDOS protection for server hosting. To be clear, the best choice IMO to host a Minecraft server would be AirVPN. The other choices available mainly reflect a great option for unblocking the game and delivering fast speeds, but also have some features that could help with hosting.
ExpressVPN tops the list for having the best speeds and coverage of more than 130 cities in 87 countries. When you connect to a VPN, it will encrypt your data, causing your internet connection speeds to drop variably. With ExpressVPN, speed loss is minimal and they provide outstandingly reliable servers. Each account can use 3 simultaneous connections, and they even offer a network router app, as well as SmartDNS for gaming consoles. A bit more costly than the competition, but you pay for the best, and a 30-day money back guarantee allows you to test it risk free. It is suitable for unblocking games, as well as DDOS protection, but lacks integrated port forwarding settings. They do however provide free DDNS address hosting.
My next choice is the best value per dollar service. PIA has a tremendously cheap yearly plan, and each account allows up to 5 simultaneous connections. Although they don’t have as many server locations across the globe as ExpressVPN, but plenty of servers and fair speeds. Since Minecraft does not rely on excellent ping times, or nearly as demanding as graphically heavy FPS games, a little bit of speed loss is virtually unnoticeable when playing the game intensively. I tested various Private Internet Access servers with success, and even managed to host a server with good rates and automatic DDOS protection. Setup of port-forwarding is available in the app, but they lack dedicated IP through their shared IP system or DDNS support, making it harder to host a server with.
Another great choice, especially for hosting your own Minecraft server is AirVPN. A lesser known but very well respected service provider that has continuously received positive accolades and peer reviews. They are originally an Italian founded, and European based provider and which can be attractive to the home market, but for the past three years, I would say the service has grown considerably across boarders, and while they still only cover 16 countries, they do so by choice. All key locations are targeted, and high quality network infrastructure is deployed as needed. They control their network closely to ensure 0 logs are ever kept at any data center, and by avoiding quantity versus quality, the speeds and security as among the best VPNs out there today. Just as importantly, port forwarding and DDNS is supported for those needing it to host a Minecraft server, and they even have their own setup tutorial guide available.
Another great choice for Minecraft and gamers in general is NordVPN. They offer two dedicated IP servers in case you rather use static IPs across all devices, as well as specific Anti DDOS protection servers for gaming. They even offer additional specialized servers such as Ultra-Fast TV streaming, Tor over VPN, or even Double VPN servers. Each account allows up to 5 simultaneous devices, making it well worth the cost, and also includes a 30 day money back guarantee. Unfortunately, NordVPN does not currently offer built-in port forwarding capabilities.
There are multiple other VPN services that are well suited for Minecraft use, such as PureVPN, or TorGuard. The list goes on, as many services now offer port forwarding, great speeds, dozens of global server locations, and inherent DDOS protection. The top choices above reflect a balance between top quality and valuable affordability. Most VPNs work flawlessly at unblocking Minecraft on restricted networks, but at a minimum, all of the choices listed above have been tested and reported working. If you plan on hosting your own server, and wish to have the port forwarding option available versus configuring your router, make sure to choose a VPN that offers this option, and preferably either with dedicated IPs, or DDNS address redirection features available.