Not all VPNs work well for gaming; in order to get the right VPN for online gaming, you need to understand the term “latency” — it refers to the delay typically incurred in the processing of network data. A low-latency network connection is one that experiences small delay times, while a high-latency connection suffers from long delays.
What you want to get is a VPN with low latency so that every character in the game moves in real-time. Also, you need a VPN that delivers fast download and upload speeds; and, as noted above, not every VPN is well suited for this task.
No reason to worry as we have tested many, many different VPNs to find the one that is best suited for every situation, online gaming included. That being said, you’ll still want to get a VPN that is also capable of delivering other capabilities — such as buffer-free streaming, torrenting and so on. With that in mind, here are the best VPNs for online gaming, that are also good for other purposes:
- 5,000+ servers in the network
- Easy to use - install it and forget it
- One license is good for up to 6 devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Chrome extension is just a proxy
- You can't pay with PayPal
Its network includes more than 5,000 servers spread across 60 countries, which directly translates into faster speeds. NordVPN is also very secure, relying on the strong 256-bit encryption combined with secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2/IPSec). But as a user, you get a seamless experience with all this technology "doing its thing" in the background.
NordVPN is well suited to pretty much every task you throw at it — whether it's online gaming, accessing a banned site from some country that filters out the internet, torrenting, accessing streaming services, or just wanting to keep a low profile on the web. It also doesn't keep any logs.
We highly recommend NordVPN to anyone looking for reliable service.
- Feature-rich yet easy to use
- One of the best VPNs around
- Strong no-logging policy
- Reliable support you can reach 24/7
- Limited number of servers in Africa and the Middle East
- Kinda pricey
ExpressVPN has great desktop apps for Windows and Mac, mobile apps and browser extensions. Also, it is well suited for video streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer and others.
However, what makes it stand out is its ease of use. We can't emphasize this enough. One could tell a lot of time has been spent making sure even the advanced features are easily accessible. And we love it for that. Plus, let's not forget ExpressVPN's speed which tends to leave other services in the dust.
- It's super fast!
- Works with Netflix, BBC and others
- Easy to use apps, browser extensions
- You can try it for free!
- Some advanced features are not configurable
- Not the best for high-censorship countries
Furthermore, thanks to the availability of browser extensions - Hotspot Shield is also one of our top choices for Chrome and Firefox VPNs.
Your privacy is equally well protected, with the software only collecting some anonymized that help continually improve its service.
As that's typically the case with most VPN services out there, the longer you commit - the better deal you get. However, what makes Hotspot Shield even better is the fact that it offers a 7-day free trial of its service. A few other top VPN providers do the same. Plus, its money-back guarantee lasts for 45 days, making for a risk-free purchase. Cause, you can always get your money back. Sweet and just the way we like it.
- One the best VPNs for torrenting
- Works well with Netflix
- Simple setup on all popular devices
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Doesn't work with BBC iPlayer
- Doesn't work in China
Its desktop apps are not among the prettiest ones, but they get the job done. The important thing is that installation is easy and straightforward, and that no logs are kept by the company.
When it comes to pricing, IPVanish is somewhere in the middle — it's not the most affordable option but also not the most expensive one. The VPN will be most appreciated by heavy BitTorrent users, and — related — Kodi fans. As well as "heavy gamers."
- Reliable download and upload speeds
- Works with Netflix and BBC iPlayer
- Strict zero-logs policy
- Lets you use it on unlimited number of devices
- Low number of servers in Africa and Australia
You can rely on it for online gaming, streaming and torrenting, with included extra features like CleanWeb and MultiHop, delivering a that much better — and more secure — experience.
Surfshark, the company, is based in the British Virgin Islands and with its zero-logs policy makes for a powerful combo to anyone looking to keep its web whereabouts under the radar.
The service is easy to use and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Online gaming 101
As you probably already know, an online game is a video game that is either partially or primarily played through the Internet or any other computer network. Online games are ubiquitous on modern gaming platforms — such as PCs, consoles and mobile devices — and span many genres, including first-person shooters, strategy games and massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG). Online games are also big business with global revenues reaching $16.9 billion in 2019 — $4.2 billion of which came from China and $3.5 billion from the United States.
Most online games feature components such as leaderboards and online communities, which in some cases, can integrate the players’ existing real-life communities.
Online games have attracted players from a variety of ages, nationalities, and occupations. The online game content can also be studied in the scientific field, especially gamers’ interactions within virtual societies in relation to the behavior and social phenomena of everyday life. It has been argued that, since the players of an online game are strangers to each other and have limited communication, the individual player’s experience in an online game is not essentially different from playing with artificial intelligence players.
Different types of online games
There are a few different types of online games, including:
First-person shooter game (FPS)
The birth of this genre took place during the 1990s when online games started to move from a wide variety of LAN protocols and onto the Internet using the TCP/IP protocol. Doom popularized the concept of a deathmatch, where multiple players battle each other head-to-head, as a new form of an online game. Since Doom, many first-person shooter games contain online components to allow deathmatch or arena style play. As games became more realistic and competitive, an e-sports community was born. Games like Counter-Strike, Halo, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Quake Live and Unreal Tournament are popular with these tournaments. Also, the expansion of hero shooters, a subgenre of shooter games, happened in 2016 when several developers released or announced their hero shooter multiplayer online game (Battleborn, Overwatch, and Paladins).
Real-time strategy game (RTS)
Like FPS games, real-time strategies also started during the 1990s when the software was developed to allow players to tunnel the LAN protocols used by the games over the Internet. By the late 1990s, most RTS games had native Internet support, allowing players from all over the globe to play with each other. Popular RTS games with online communities have included Age of Empires, Sins of a Solar Empire, StarCraft and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War.
Massively multiplayer online game (MMO)
Massively multiplayer online games were made possible with the growth of broadband Internet access, using the Internet to allow hundreds of thousands of players to play the same game together. Many different styles of massively multiplayer games are available, such as MMORPG (Massively multiplayer online role-playing game), MMORTS (Massively multiplayer online real-time strategy), MMOFPS (Massively multiplayer online first-person shooter), and MMOSG (Massively multiplayer online social game).
Multiplayer online battle arena game (MOBA)
A specific subgenre of strategy video games referred to as multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) gained popularity in the 2010s as a form of electronic sports, encompassing games such as the Defense of the Ancients mod for Warcraft III, League of Legends, Dota 2, Smite, and Heroes of the Storm. Major esports professional tournaments are held in venues that can hold tens of thousands of spectators and are streamed online to millions more. A strong fanbase has opened up the opportunity for sponsorship and advertising, eventually leading the genre to become a global cultural phenomenon.
Battle Royale games
A battle royale game is a genre that blends the survival, exploration, and scavenging elements of a survival game with last-man-standing gameplay. Dozens to hundreds of players are involved in each match, with the winner being the last player or team alive. Some notable examples include PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Fortnite Battle Royale, Apex Legends, and Call of Duty: Warzone — each having received tens of millions of players within months of their releases. The genre is designed exclusively for multiplayer gameplay over the Internet.
MUD (multi-user dungeon)
MUDs are a class of multi-user real-time virtual worlds, usually but not exclusively text-based, with a history extending back to the creation of MUD1 by Richard Bartle in 1978. MUD were the direct predecessors of MMORPG.
Why do you need a VPN for online gaming?
It is rather simple – online gaming is banned in many places such as workplaces, schools, universities, and even some countries. Also, in order to participate in some online games (or tournaments), it could be required that you are connecting from a certain country/region.
But that’s not all, a good VPN will also protect your computer from unwittingly participating in or becoming a victim of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks — which can happen during the online tournaments, with tech-savvy gamers using DDoS for competitive advantage either to slow other users down or shut them out of the game completely.
In a DDoS attack, multiple computers start flooding your IP address with trash data to overwhelm your network. A good VPN can absorb a lot of attacks and if that doesn’t help, well – you simply connect to a different server.
Finally, with a VPN you get to avoid bandwidth throttling which can happen if your ISP doesn’t like online gaming. It will show the regular HTTPS traffic to the ISP which, in turn, will not be able to do much about it.
Get a VPN for everything
You (all of us, really) need a VPN for many things, not just for online gaming. A good VPN will:
- Protect your privacy from the government and big corporations
- Bypass restrictions imposed by the government or various organizations
- Change your IP address so you get unrestricted access to Netflix, Disney+, iPlayer, HULU, and other video streaming services
- Encrypt and protect private data from cybercriminals
- Download files with BitTorrent anonymously
The top contenders that check all these boxes — while also letting play games on the Internet — include the following: