The best VPN for gaming means letting yourself manage your internet connection-nowadays, this is both important and rare. VPN may not be your first consideration in gaming. A good VPN has many benefits. Many provide a low-impact virtual network that will not interrupt your game, which means you can connect to the game’s server through another location.
We have passed and tested seven top VPN services-from general purpose to online gaming-to see how they affect your PC gaming experience. You need to choose carefully to decide which feature set best suits your lifestyle.
Price may be an important factor. To get the best VPN experience, you need to change hands a little money. But the VPNs in this list can be subscribed on a monthly (or yearly) basis, so the total number of them does not have to be too many. There are a range of options that vary in cost, performance, and functionality. Take a look.
Remember, unless you are completely sure about how and where your data is going, be wary of free VPNs.
Surfshark is my child. For me, it is the best gaming VPN we have tested, and it provides a combination of lower ping and relatively lower overall download speed than my non-VPN connection. It’s a little bit more burden on uploading than NordVPN, which ranks among the best in this score, but it’s not enough to disappoint me. For streaming media, you may want to prioritize upload speed, making NordVPN your first choice. However, as a host, you may prefer to always have all the bandwidth available…
The application is very simple. There are even some neat features, such as an optional kill switch (disable your internet connection if the VPN is disconnected for any reason) and a whitelist that allows banking applications etc. to pass through the VPN block. The company offers a strict no-logs policy, which seems very reliable in this regard.
Surfshark is also the only tested service that can access unlimited devices from a single account. This is impressive considering the relatively low cost compared to some of its peers.
The only problem I encountered is that it doesn’t seem to be suitable for downloading torrents. I have a hard time getting anything to work, so if this is a spoiler for you, then you might want to check out Nord.
It is close between Surfshark and NordVPN, but because of its unlimited devices, lower price and lower ping, it almost wins. However, if download and upload speed is the ultimate goal of your PC experience, NordVPN is a high-performance option. Compared to the untouched connection and the absolute highest upload speed, it provides one of the highest relative download speeds in my tests.
This seems to be where many VPN services fail because of the extent to which they disrupt your upload connection. My upload speed is already 10 times slower than the download speed, so I can’t lose any more. But NordVPN still provides about 85% of connections, while private Internet access actually drops to 35%.
If you find a torrent of the preferred methods of accessing content online, this is also your best choice. In my experience, Surfshark seems to stop everything and make Nord the next best thing.
The service also provides impressive ping performance, approaching my unconstrained ping score and consistently exceeding my gaming ping score. NordVPN uses the latest WireGuard VPN protocol, which is called NordLynx. According to reports, it is the fastest, and seems to help it consistently run well.
IPVanish is one of the most affordable VPN services we have tested, but that doesn’t mean you missed it. It may not have the full feature set of Surfshark or NordVPN, but you can get 250GB of SugarSync encrypted storage and backups for free with a new subscription, which can give you more peace of mind for more sensitive documents.
Its performance is also very good. The impact on my upload and download speed is very small, and in most cases, it can also reduce the in-game ping when I play online. There is a small spike in CS: GO, but there is nothing to worry about, and the packet loss rate is still lower than my standard connection.
If you want to run a high-quality VPN service on your game console, and possibly on nine other devices at the same time, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, then IPVanish is a great alternative to the first two on our list.
The second most expensive service on our list is also the most extensive service worldwide. With servers in an amazing 94 countries/regions, if you want to play with friends abroad, or find yourself traveling a lot, then ExpressVPN may be your best choice for a stable, secure, and relatively fast connection.
ExpressVPN is not bad in my tests of in-game ping performance, often giving me lower milliseconds than my standard connection in Battlefield V. Nevertheless, it sometimes struggles in CS: GO. However, it is the weakest in terms of download speed-not to say that 94% of my regular connections are broken-but the upload hit rate is second only to the terrible performance of private Internet access.
Among the top four, it also allows the least number of devices to be used at the same time, but on five devices, you can still share the load among PCs, laptops, mobile phones, and other important devices. But ExpressVPN is still a high-quality and reliable service. It may not have the top performance that I have measured from some other services, but it is still a good choice for PC gamers.
Other VPNs tested
Private internet access
Best VPN FAQ
How is a good gaming VPN possible?
The historical consensus is that you should not use a VPN when playing online because it may affect your connection and slow down your speed. Yes, you may be able to bypass the bane of geoblocking, but many people complain about the terrible delay and subsequent game failures.
This is still the case if you use bandwidth-constrained free services (such as Hola or the basic TunnelBear package), but if you choose wisely, you can find the best VPN for gaming, which can actually improve your online performance.
It sounds like we are pulling your chain. But it is true. A good VPN service not only keeps you safe and reliable behind the scenes, but also can actually improve your ping results in the game. Now, it’s not that some strange magic can suddenly turn a slow Internet connection into a lightning fast connection. However, the best VPN for gaming usually has superior routing compared to your current Internet Service Provider (ISP). This means you will find that fewer packets are lost through the VPN, and you may even see a lower ping, making your connection more responsive in the game.
I run a generally reliable 100Mbit+ fiber connection at home, but I still experience some packet loss when I put on my boots in Battlefield V. My ping is not bad, but hey, it can always be better, right? However, running a VPN does reduce your overall download and upload speed, but it may not be as much as you think. Choosing the best VPN for the game will minimize this impact.
Why should I bother with VPN?
The other reason you might want to run a VPN on your PC might be online security. If you don’t want the network to track your every move, the best way to avoid using a virtual private network is to avoid this situation. The best VPNs run a “no logs” policy, which means they don’t store data about you or your activities, helping you stay safe in the face of any data breach. Likewise, it will also help you bypass geoblocking. Suppose you want to unlock new games in advance or want to subscribe to services that are only available in other countries/regions, no problem.
How to test VPN?
Testing a VPN is a fun game, and every time you uninstall a VPN and install another one, it doesn’t always brick your Internet connection. honestly. In any case, not every time… We have searched for accounts for each service and tested them on the same 100Mbit connection on the same day and at the same time to ensure a fair reflection of the performance of each service.
Obviously, there are free VPNs and some free-level VPN services, but you won’t find them particularly suitable for connecting during online games. They almost always delay your experience and severely affect the overall performance of the network connection.
This is why we did not include any free options in this list, such as Hola or TunnelBear. If you are trying to bypass geo-restricted services (such as video streaming), they may not necessarily be effective options, as you may still find them restricted.
As for testing, first, I took Speedtest.net measurements on my standard, unconstrained Internet connection and used it as a benchmark for testing each of the different services. Then I installed each VPN and tested it in turn, then uninstalled it to add a new VPN.