Sony PlayStation fans have been benefiting from media center features early on, and they arguably have the better console both in hardware specs and media entertainment features. With the latest PS4, there have been arguments that it does not have as great media capabilities as the PS3, and this has been true regarding streaming local media content in certain formats, or having the possibility of using uPnP streams from your computer. However, the same is said about the new Xbox One, and when you compare the two, PS4 seems to slightly come on top, again. For one, Xbox One requires a cable set-top box in order to play TV through the console, and although PS3 and Xbox 360 are both more capable in terms of local content, Sony delivered more features than Microsoft did, with better overall machine specs. But in the end, the difference is marginal and really does not matter in real life application.
With that little rant out of the way, if you’re looking to use a VPN with your PS4, or PS3, you should know that VPN service providers do not officially support it. Gaming consoles do not provide connection protocols to allow you to setup encrypted server connections. Instead, you need to use a VPN router, or share your computer’s internet connection to the PlayStation. I wrote a guide to help you setup VPN on a PS4, PS3, or any gaming console in general.
Using a VPN on your Sony PlayStation 4 or 3, can unlock blocked content by region for streaming services like US Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, as well as giving you access to sports streams across the world. Entertainment on the web can be completely unlocked for your enjoyment, but it’s good to know that all your traffic is encrypted. Sony PlayStation Network has had its’ share of attacks and account hijacking. Having a good password is the first step, but encrypting your web data ensures outsiders cannot snoop your packets and collect your personal details.
In some cases, a VPN can improve speeds and ping times for gaming on your PS4. This is done by providing a shorter route to a regional server. For example, if you’re in the UK, and want to play on US servers, the regional server you select can possibly shorten the route used to transfer data, as opposed to the traditional routes used by your ISP, reducing the amount of hops, and you get the point! faster ping response! This is not to be expected all the time, but is worth using when you want to play in overseas regions. Many users have already started using Virtual Private Network services since PS3, and if you have one collecting dust, a VPN can revive your past generation console and turn it into a media station for the living room.
Choosing a VPN for PS4 or PS3 is no different. Speed, server access, reliability, security and customer service are the main consideration points. Below I have selected my favorite providers for PlayStation and quickly detail the service options.
ExpressVPN – Full Review
On top of my list for PS3 & PS4 is ExpressVPN. For one, they have great customer service, and software clients for all platforms that work extremely well. The servers are fast, and cover 78 countries. But something really cool, is ExpressVPN’s SmartDNS for PlayStation. They do not advertise it yet, but you can easily setup SmartDNS in a scenario where you do not have a VPN router yet, and don’t want to use computer network sharing. SmartDNS allows to change your region, but does not encrypt your data, making it a solution for media and entertainment, but not for security. You can also use both, and have more control over the console region settings.
Service is a little pricier than competitors, but the 30-day guarantee is their way of standing by the quality of service. One account allows 1 VPN router, 1 mobile phone/tablet, 1 computer and 1 SmartDNS connection to connect at the same time.
Unblock-Us SmartDNS – Full Review
Staying on the SmartDNS topic, if all you really want is to unlock streaming content, using a smartDNS instead can be better for speed, but you do lose out on all the added security and privacy benefits. With that said, Unblock-Us can be amazing for PlayStation users. For pretty much all devices, PS3, PS4 and even PSP and Vita users can access any worldwide region for Netflix through the website, and automatically have dynamic DNS when browsing to other regional broadcasters, which are neatly organized and listed on their portal for you to enjoy hours of TV on end.
They also provide a VPN service, therefore you can opt for the best of both worlds if you wanted to, but the cost of the SmartDNS alone is similar to most VPN providers.
IPVanish – Full Review
Another very large, and always growing network of high speed VPN servers is provided by IPVanish, covering more than 60 countries, the service is really focused on speed above all. They have simple layouts for the software, minimal fluff, and aim at trying to provide fast routes, ping times, and as little bandwidth loss as possible. Each account allows for 2 simultaneous connections, and also a little pricier than some, but still remains very affordable for a quality service.
PlayStation users would most likely need to take the VPN router setup option in order to really benefit from better speeds, but for video streaming, Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) with your Windows or Mac OS computer should be sufficient.
Overplay – Full Review
Sister company of IPVanish, OverPlay runs on the same servers, but provides less server locations in exchange for SmartDNS instead. The service works great for unblocking regional content, and you can order either/or to save on costs. The online portal has a great selection of listed broadcasters all over the world for easy browsing through your PlayStation. For a lower cost, the SmartDNS function alone is great, but if you need both, you can now expect to have the same great speeds that IPVanish is capable of providing, a huge improvement from OverPlay’s earlier performance tests.
Another great choice for PS4, or earlier models, allowing you to turn the device into a proper media streaming solution.
PureVPN – Full Review
If you need more server locations, Pure covers over 100 countries with 450+ servers. Speeds are usually very good, and the service provides a very big discount on yearly plans, costing only $4 per month on average. You can also connect 5 devices of any kind per account, making it very value friendly for families or connecting all your tech toys at once.
Once you have selected a provider, setting up the VPN on your PlayStation can be a daunting task. As mentioned, providers prefer to not officially support VPN on gaming consoles due to not having native support and suggest using VPN on your router instead. Head to my guide on how to setup VPN on PS4 or PS3 to get a good idea of what your options are, and what they require.