While it might seem slightly unusual, a gaming VPN can be a very useful part of any player's arsenal – and, as a bonus, they can help improve the all-round security of your machine. no matter what you use it for.
First of all, using a gaming VPN will ensure that your gameplay is never disrupted by DDoS attacks launched by disgruntled opponents or cybercriminals. As well as this, it’ll also encrypt personal information like credit card details.
But VPNs aren’t just good for adding more security to your gaming experience. Thanks to their ability to circumvent geo restrictions, you’ll be able to download the latest games and access international gaming servers. And, if you use your PC or console for streaming, you can watch all the TV shows and movies you want that are blocked without a VPN. Plus, VPNs improve the performance of gaming by eradicating bandwidth throttling.
However you look at it, gaming VPNs are perfect for anyone who spends a significant amount of time glued to a screen. Which provider should you go for, though? In this article, we compare the best gaming VPNs of 2021 to help you pick a provider that suits your needs.
1. ExpressVPN – the best gaming VPN on the market
If you’re looking for the best gaming VPN, you can't go wrong with ExpressVPN. It offers fast speeds, an easy-to-install router app, over 3,000 international servers, class-leading privacy and a huge amount of additional features. The best bit? T3 readers can claim three months free on an annual plan.View Deal
2. NordVPN – excellent security meets great connection speeds
Gamers face a ton of cyber risks, so downloading a super-secure VPN like NordVPN isn't a bad idea. It’ll protect you from DDoS attacks and other threats thanks to a plethora of advanced security and privacy features. There’s a huge network of over 5,000 servers to use, and plans start at £2.86/$3.71 a month.View Deal
3. IPVanish – US-based stalwart is excellent for gaming
IPVanish is perfect for any gamer who loves their tech, because it’s one of the most advanced VPN services available. We particularly love the ability to choose the best servers based on ping, which is great for flawless gaming. In the current sale, plans start at just $2.92 per month.View Deal
The best gaming VPN in 2021:
Considering that ExpressVPN is the best overall VPN and continues to reach the summit in almost all of our VPN guides, it’s no surprise that the British Virgin Island-based provider is also the best VPN for gaming.
What makes ExpressVPN the best gaming VPN is its blazingly connections, which are important as you don’t want to suffer from slow gameplay. When we reviewed the provider, its top speed was 250MB via a 600MB connection, which should be more than enough for any hardened player.
Although consoles don't natively support VPN connections, you can easily use ExpressVPN on PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch by installing the service on your router. This will improve the security of your console and prevent bandwidth throttling if you spend lots of your time gaming – plus anything else connected to you Wi-Fi will be protected, too.
By using ExpressVPN on your console, you’ll also be able to unblock geo-restricted movies, TV shows, sports and other types of content. ExpressVPN works with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and tons more, and thanks to its 3,000+ servers, you’ll be able to access the international libraries of your favorite streaming sites.
The biggest downside is that you’re restricted to only being able to connect five devices on your plan, but you can solve this particular issue by using the router app. If you struggle with getting set up or experience any other issues, you can use the 24/7 live chat and have a month to get your cash back.
Out of the many VPNs available on the market, NordVPN comes the closest to beating ExpressVPN to the title of the best gaming VPN because it offers so many great features for gaming diehards.
Something that stands out straight away with NordVPN is that it offers a humongous 5,000+ servers, and they’re very fast. Having such a large number of servers at your disposal means you’ll be able to access international games and streaming platforms on your console. What’s more, if you become the unfortunate victim of a DDoS attack, you can easily connect to different servers.
Your games console isn’t immune to cybercrime, but NordVPN will certainly make it more secure thanks to features like strong encryption, a no-logs policy, IP masking, double VPN, malware protection and a DNS leak test.
Sadly, you can only connect up to six devices with NordVPN. However, like ExpressVPN, you can install it on your router to use the service on not just your console but all your devices – but the process is a little trickier thanks to the fact Nord doesn't offer a dedicated router app like Express does.
On the plus side, though, you’ll be able to unblock the latest and greatest content on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and other streaming providers.
If you’d describe yourself as a hardcore techy, then you’re going to love IPVanish. It’s one of the more advanced VPN services out there and is a great option for gamers.
One of the things that impresses us about IPVanish is the steps that it has taken to ensure gamers enjoy the best possible performance. For instance, you can choose servers based on categories like ping, which essentially means you won’t experience any delay when gaming.
While IPVanish has a smaller server network than Express and Nord (around 1,500 in total), it’s certainly capable of taking them on when it comes to speed. In fact, it performs particularly well in the US, where we tested speeds of 200MB on average.
On the whole, IPVanish is an excellent VPN service. and Its top features include unlimited connections, unlimited bandwidth, a variety of VPN protocols, 256-bit encryption, a SOCKS5 web proxy, 250GB of absolutely free SugarSync encrypted storage, access to Netflix and other streaming sites and 24/7 support.
If you’re looking to save some cash when signing up for a premium VPN, your best choice is Surfshark. Costing around £2/$2.50 per month, it’s a ridiculously cheap VPN service that provides an amazing service - and that also goes for gaming.
Surfshark offers plenty of value, including a highly capable network of 1,700 servers and decent speeds. But what’s probably the best thing about this provider is the fact that it offers unlimited connections, meaning you can use it on every one of your devices.
Another thing that we highly rate is that Surfshark has some very impressive security features. Firstly, it’ll protect you from malware, phishing, adverts and trackers when you’re gaming, but there’s also a no-logging policy, a kill switch, 256-bit encryption and secure protocols. The cherry on the cake is access to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus and other popular streaming platforms.
Do you only care about speed when choosing a gaming VPN? Then you’re definitely well suited to Hotspot Shield, which is one of the fastest services around.
Thanks to its very own powerful protocol called Catapult Hydra, Hotspot Shield is twice as fast as the competition. As well as this, there aren’t any data caps, so you’ll be getting a great gaming experience.
While it’s certainly fast, Hotspot Shield does have a few cons. Namely, you can’t use the more popular OpenVPN protocol, and its logging policy isn’t nearly as strict as it should be. It collects information like the type of device you’re using, used bandwidth and the length of time you use this for.
But if you don’t mind these flaws, you’d still be getting an excellent gaming VPN. And you can also test it out for yourself before paying for a premium subscription thanks to a free version of the app.
What makes a good gaming VPN?
If you’re looking to improve the way you play games by investing in a premium VPN, you’re going to want a service that provides fast speeds and doesn’t limit the amount of data you can use.
The best gaming VPNs also have plenty of servers around the world, as these are essential for accessing games that are made unavailable because of geo restrictions. A large selection of servers will also allow you to access streaming platforms internationally.
Another thing that defines the best gaming VPNs is how easy they are to set up on games consoles. While most VPNs don’t have dedicated apps for gamers, they will give you the option to use it on all your devices if you install the service on a router - and this should be as easy as possible. In this guide, only ExpressVPN delivers a dedicated router app.
Will a gaming VPN slow my connection down?
VPNs can sometimes slow down your connection, especially when you connect to servers that are far away or if your internet service provider discovers that you’re using one of these services (the best VPNs will have your back and help to stop this, though).
However, if you game regularly, your ISP may purposely slow down your connection if it classes this as a bandwidth-intensive activity. But by using a VPN, ISPs won’t have the ability to track your IP address and will effectively block the possibility of bandwidth throttling. So, really, a VPN can speed up your connection when you use it for gaming.
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