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Best Gaming VPN 2024: No more Buffering and Lag

If you’ve been searching for the best VPN for gaming, this article will provide you with everything you need to know. Whether it’s bypassing an IP ban, beating ISP throttling or defying DDoS attacks, a VPN can be used for these issues and more. We’ll narrow down the crowded VPN market to the best providers for gamers who demand the perfect mix of privacy, performance, and cost.

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Our expert team has rated and compared 30+ VPNs over a decade. As technology advances, we update our rigorous testing and scoring methodologies to match it and stay relevant.

Privacy and anonymity are usually the top concerns when people shop for a VPN. Gamers, on the other hand, are in the market for speed. VPNs have a reputation for being slower than the average local internet service provider, making it seem counter-productive to pair them with online gaming.

Defeat throttling, unblock foreign servers, and dodge DDoS attacks with these gaming VPNs:

  1. NordVPNBest Gaming VPN – You might say with a great deal of accuracy that NordVPN is literally made for gaming. With dedicated anti-DDoS servers and the NordLynx protocol, you have a cybersecurity tool geared for speed and security.
  2. Surfshark – A processor-light app that offers some serious utility for gamers. Zero logs, automatic obfuscation, and more.
  3. ExpressVPN – One of the best choices for beating throttling, with insanely fast network speeds.
  4. PureVPN – Want access to more foreign servers? This provider’s network encompasses more than 140.
  5. IPVanish – Trusted for years by gamers, torrenters, and streamers.
  6. VyprVPN – Manages to maintain great speeds while punching through the world’s toughest censorship.

The practical benefits of using a VPN for gaming far outweigh the possibility of reducing your ping. Worldwide server availability makes it easy to access geo-restricted game servers otherwise inaccessible in your country. You can also use a VPN’s variable location to snag games hours or even weeks ahead of release in your region, as well as gain a layer of protection against DDoS attacks.

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Evaluating VPN Providers

When looking for a good VPN to use for games, speed is the number one priority. Nothing kills online gaming like a laggy connection. If you can’t keep the latency down, you might as well just go offline and play solo. Using a VPN can cause a 10-20% reduction in your overall connection speed, which just isn’t acceptable for online gaming. To keep that sacrifice at a minimum, we made sure the providers below kept speed as a number one priority.

  • Upload and download speeds: Speed tests with VPNs will produce a wide variety of results depending on your location and the location of the server you’re testing. Raw upload and download numbers still matter, of course, so we sifted through the data to find VPN providers with the best overall speeds on the market.
  • Bandwidth and traffic caps: A fast connection won’t do you any good if you’ve reached your bandwidth allocation for the month. Even though the practice is losing popularity, some VPNs insist on throttling connections after a certain threshold has been met. The providers below all feature unlimited bandwidth with no caps or limiters in place, period.
  • Server availability: The farther your data has to travel, the greater your lag. Although it can be nice routing everything through servers on the other side of the world, this will have a noticeable impact on your connection speed. We picked VPN providers with a Speed tests with VPNs, ensuring you won’t be short of choices when looking for a closer, faster connection.
  • Simultaneous connections: An often overlooked limitation of VPN providers is the number of devices that can be connected at once. If your PC, phone, tablet, gaming laptop, and gaming console all share a connection, you might not be able to go online with them at the same time. This usually doesn’t cause problems for gamers themselves, mostly just other people who share the household internet. The providers we selected allow between three and six simultaneous connections, and several have options to increase that number through software upgrades or plan boosters.
  • Blocked file types: Some VPNs will block certain types of traffic, including P2P and torrents. While this won’t directly affect most of your online gaming, it can severely impact related activities as well as the time spent downloading the games themselves.
  • Logging policy: Speed is number one, but there’s no sense in giving up your right to privacy in the process. Local internet service providers have the ability to collect and even sell unencrypted data to third parties, all without your consent. VPNs employ deep encryption to keep that information scrambled. An important side feature of that encryption is a strict zero-logging policy. If a VPN doesn’t keep data on file, they can’t give it to third parties, end of story. You should never use a VPN that doesn’t detail a no-logging policy right up front.

What is the Best VPN for Gaming?

With the above factors in consideration, we tested out all the major VPN providers on the market. Our research was conclusive, showing the following recommendations to be the very best VPNs for gaming:

1. NordVPN

NordVPN - Editors choice

NordVPN is not only our top choice for gamers, but it’s the top dog in the VPN industry overall  The standard quality marks of unlimited bandwidth, no traffic caps, and no file type restrictions are all here, along with NordVPN’s signature double encryption for the best in online security. Zero-logging and an automatic kill switch round out its privacy features, making it one of the sturdiest general use VPNs around. They’ve also recently rolled out proprietary NordLynx encryption, which is based on the super-fast WireGuard protocol. It’s insanely efficient, breaking down barriers to internet freedom without all the usual slowdown normally associated with the toughest encryption.

Winning features of NordVPN include the company’s ever-growing list of servers: 5,600+ nodes covering 60 countries across every continent except Antarctica. All of these are available to users with unlimited switching. Furthermore, NordVPN configures its servers to optimize them for different tasks. Downloading something via BitTorrent? There’s a server for that, and the speed difference is noticeable.

Read our full NordVPN review.

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  • Most VPN servers with different IP addresses
  • DNS leak protection, kill switch
  • Strict zero logs policy on both traffic and metadata
  • Great customer service via chat.
  • Very little
  • Apps can sometime be slow to connect.
BEST FOR GAMING: NordVPN is by far the fastest and most secure VPN for gaming online. Get a huge 68% discount on the 2-year plan ($3.29/mo), backed by a hassle-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

2. Surfshark

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark delivers uncompromising security without sacrificing speed, making it easily one of the best gaming VPNs on the market. They make use of only the most advanced tunneling protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, WireGuard) in tandem with the highly efficient 256-AES-GCM cipher to lock down your connection while reducing latency from encryption overhead.

Additionally, their RAM-only server network encompasses 3200+ servers in 65 countries, ensuring you always have a nearby connection for optimal performance. These are built to withstand DDoS attacks, and the sheer number allows you to painlessly switch if you find your connection has taken too much abuse. To make your traffic even harder to target, Surfshark also includes blanket obfuscation on every server.

If you’re on a budget, Surfshark is an ideal gaming VPN since it allows for unlimited simultaneous connections (you can share with a friend and split the cost).

  • Break through harsh censorship to securely access social media and foreign news sites
  • Every server is a speciality server
  • Clean, dead-simple app interface makes constant security a no-brainer
  • VPN home jurisdiction in British Virgin Islands is ideal for privacy
  • Responsive customer support available 24/7.
  • Connection speeds won't impress users of other high-end VPNs
  • Relatively young VPN still has to prove itself trustworthy over the long haul.

Read our full Surfshark review.

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3. ExpressVPN


ExpressVPN is serious about speed, and they’re not afraid to show it. The biggest standout feature for this provider is the ability to run a speed test directly from their software. If you’re running the Windows, Mac, or Android versions of the ExpressVPN app, all you have to do is connect to a server, then choose “speed test” from the main menu. You’ll get a quick set of numbers that shows exactly how fast your connection is, complete with stats for latency, download speed, and overall index. It’s a great choice for gaming.

Outside of its built-in speed tests, ExpressVPN pushes the envelope by providing over 3,000 servers located in 94 different countries, a large number even among the main VPN providers. Unlimited speed, unlimited bandwidth, and no file type restrictions are also part of the package, as is a no-exceptions zero-logging policy.

A potential downside to ExpressVPN as a gaming VPN is the device limitation. The standard is just three simultaneous connections at a time, meaning a PC, a gaming console, a phone, and that’s it. Additional device licenses are available to expand that number if you need it, so at the end of the day it’s not much of a deal breaker.

Read our full ExpressVPN review.

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  • Reliable and fast connections
  • Supports ALL devices
  • Keeps no logs of personal data
  • 24/7 Customer Service.
  • Priced slightly higher.
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4. PureVPN


PureVPN aims for speed with a strong lean towards privacy. The service targets online gamers with some extremely attractive features, things like unlimited server switching, unlimited data, ISP throttling workarounds, and simultaneous connections for up to five devices. These options are spread out across 2,000 servers in 141 countries, huge numbers any VPN provider would be proud of.

PureVPN manages to deliver all this speed without sacrificing security. Encryption is a solid 256-bit AES, no exceptions, and it comes with a smart kill switch, IP leakage protection, and a great zero-logging policy. PureVPN is also one of the few VPN providers to offer software specifically made for gaming consoles.

Although speeds for the PureVPN network are high overall, they can vary greatly between servers. Users in the UK, Germany, France, and Canada enjoy some of the fastest download and upload speeds, while US users in cities like Atlanta and Chicago get the best of the group. These numbers change throughout the day and may not be the best for your country or location. The company’s other features make it well worth trying out, however.

Read our full PureVPN review.

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5. IPVanish


Dodging censorship and providing fast connection speeds are two of IPVanish‘s top priorities. The company has over 1,300 servers in 60 countries, all with 256-bit AES encryption, easy to use apps and software, and of course, a hefty zero-logging policy.

Apart from its speed, IPVanish offers several features gamers will definitely appreciate. Unlimited bandwidth, P2P traffic, and torrenting are at the top of that list, as is unlimited server switching. Up to five simultaneous devices can connect to your IPVanish network at a time, which should be plenty for your gaming console, PC, phones, and other hardware.

IPVanish’s speed tests produce some impressive numbers. Users in Atlanta, Chicago, Toronto, and Los Angeles routinely get a sturdy 60 Mbps download rate, while other major cities clock in at roughly half that. Overall the speeds are higher than your average VPN, with a greater difference between the highest and lowest cities on the list

Read our full IPVanish review.

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6. VyprVPN


VyprVPN is something of a favorite among gamers. The company owns and operates its entire server network, over 700 in all with 70+ locations represented. This means the encrypted data that passes through their servers is never seen by an outside company, which is perfect for privacy conscious users out there. Sweetening the deal for gamers is unlimited bandwidth, no traffic or file type blocks, no logging, and ISP throttling workarounds using the company’s own Chameleon technology.

VyprVPN consistently ranks in the top five fastest VPN services in the world, delivering connections well above the 50 Mbps benchmark to a number of cities. Part of the reason they achieve this is due to owning and operating their own server network. All hardware and all code has been designed from the ground-up with speed in mind.

Gamer specific bonuses of VyprVPN over other providers includes its NAT Firewall protection, a clever measure put into place to stop DDoS attacks before they kill your connection. The service also smartly handles network congestion to bypass slow networks, keeping your lag at an absolute minimum.

Read our full VyprVPN review.

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Are VPNs Really That Slow?

VPNs are rapidly becoming indespensible tools for the modern internet user, but that added privacy, location variability, and anonymity comes at a cost: speed. Depending on your current connection and the quality of the VPN provider’s servers, your internet speed may drop between 10-20% when using a VPN. Even assuming variables such as port throttling and traffic congestion are equal, a speed deficit will still be present, no matter what.

The top factor in VPN connection speed is location. Your home and the server you’re connecting to may be on opposite sides of the globe, forcing data to travel a greater distance to accomplish the same task. Switching servers usually mitigates this problem, and you can often use VPN servers located in your own city for maximum benefits. But to get the most out of a VPN you’ll be switching countries on occasion, and that inevitably slows things down.

Encryption is the second factor of slow VPN speeds. Encrypting information eats up processing power and adds data, increasing the size of the packets your computer sends by 20-50% even for basic tasks such as browsing the web. The stronger the encryption the larger the packet size, and more data traveling those greater distances adds up to some serious lag.

It’s also worth noting that, for the most part, a VPN can only be as fast as your own internet connection. If your local service provider doesn’t deliver good speeds there’s very little a VPN can do to remedy that. Before blaming the VPN provider, run speed tests on your connection without the VPN software active, then compare the numbers.

How to Speed up a Slow VPN Connection

Even with the fastest VPN providers on the market, you’re bound to encounter a slow connection from time to time. Fortunately there are a number of easy workaround that can boost your speed or eliminate the lag entirely.

Switch Servers

Server location is the number one cause of slow VPN speed. Data has to travel back and forth between your computer or gaming console and the VPN’s server, and if that server is on the other side of the globe, lag is inevitable. Switching servers can provide an immediate speed boost. Even if your gaming requires servers in a certain country, most VPNs have redundant locations in the same IP range, so you won’t have to give up your virtual location to snag a bit of speed.

Use a Wired Connection

Wi-Fi isn’t the most reliable way to connect to the internet. Crowded channels or physical obstacles can make a connection slow or spotty, both of which can be subverted by simply plugging your computer or console directly into a router.

Wait an Hour

It’s not the answer anyone wants to hear, but waiting it out is often the best way to fix a slow connection. Server congestion can happen when a high number of people try to connect at once. Even if it’s the middle of the night at your home, the server you’re using might be experiencing a swarm of users on their lunch break. Wait a few minutes, then try again.

Disable Your Security Software

If you’re gaming on a PC, you might have a firewall and antivirus software running in the background. These programs scan incoming packets for signs of suspicious activity, which can create lag. Disable them while you’re gaming to see if that provides a boost in speed.

Change Ports

VPNs use specific ports to connect to the internet. Some ISPs throttle these ports without your knowledge, restricting your speed each time you activate the VPN. To fix this, check your VPN software’s options and look for a place to change ports.

5 Reasons to Use a VPN While Gaming

Slow connection speeds? Lots of lag? Game banned in your country? There are plenty of reasons to use a VPN while gaming online. We’ve selected five of the most important ones below.

Use a VPN while Gaming 3 - Kids playing online

Reason 1 – Better, Cheaper Regional Availability

Region restrictions are a source of endless frustration for gamers, especially those who play MOBAs or MMORPGs with large groups of randomly distributed users. Some servers are locked to a certain range of IPs, restricting who can connect and play at any given time. Others censor or cut out content based on the IP address of the person connecting.

With a VPN, both of those restrictions can be neatly averted. If a server only allows clients from certain countries to play, all you have to do is set your VPN location to match that country. It really is as simple as that. Experiment with foreign servers to find the fastest connection, then continue your online gaming as normal.

Another common issue with video games is publishers charge more money for releases depending on the region – Australian players know what we mean. A quick and effective way to fix this is to log out of your marketplace account, switch VPN servers to a new country, then log back in. The prices should instantly update to reflect your virtual location. Region locks prevent people from downloading games and DLC packs on a daily basis.

If you don’t think the artificially inflated prices are a fair deal, well, you need to use a VPN! By connecting to servers located in different countries, you can essentially fool marketplaces and online games into thinking you’ve moved to a different part of the world. It’s the perfect solution if a game is banned in your country or only offers restricted access. If you’re met with a connection error, simply change your VPN server, reload, and start playing.

Reason 2 – Stay Safe from DDoS Attacks

Few things are scarier to online gamers than a direct denial of service (DDoS) attack. While they may not be as common as urban legends would have you think, they do still happen, especially in competitive matches for high profile games such as Dota 2, Hearthstone, or League of Legends. A DDoS attack can be targeted at players or at game servers, but a VPN can help protect you from the former. Getting hit by a DDoS can instantly ruin your evening. DDoS works by overwhelming your connection with small packets of information, blocking data from reaching the server, and kicking you out of the game. The attacks are based on your IP address, allowing users to target you directly, all without your knowledge.

Just about anyone can launch a DDoS attack, especially those young punks you just trampled during the last round. Most ISPs have rudimentary DDoS protection in place, but they pale in comparison to what a VPN can offer. The right virtual private network can keep you safe from DDoS attacks by shutting them down the moment they begin. Rapid-fire packets are detected and rejected before they can kick you from the game, allowing you to frag and forget with abandon.

Reason 3 – Cut through Speed Barriers

Gamers fear the speed throttle. ISPs have been known to artificially slow down user connections if they detect a high amount of traffic passing through their servers. This happens when streaming HD movies, downloading files through BitTorrent, or even playing online games. Speeds start off fine but slowly shrink as the day goes by. And when it happens, there’s nothing you can do about it, just sit and stare at the loading screen a little longer.

VPNs offer up a quick and easy method for bypassing ISP throttles. Encryption provides a good first wave defense, making it more difficult for service providers to separate gaming traffic from standard packets. Failing that, a good VPN can switch which port you’re using, bypassing throttling techniques in an instant. Oftentimes you don’t even have to do anything to break through these speed barriers. The VPN simply takes care of it for you in the background.

Reason 4 – Keep Your Identity a Secret

Let’s say you’re playing a nice online mobile game with a few players. We’ll call them swansong8117 and x1-mega-otis. You make a particularly good play that angers these two fine players. You win the round, you collect your prizes, and you go on with your day. But swansong8117 and x1-mega-otis, they’re not too pleased with losing. They decide to exact some revenge by grabbing your IP address, looking up your location, and engaging in a little social engineering to find out your real name. Before you know it, all of your social media accounts are bombarded with insults and nasty memes. You can’t even check Facebook without wading through all the garbage. And all of this happened because you won a silly little round of a silly little game.

Having your identity compromised in an online game isn’t all that common. After all, most players lack the tools and the software necessary to pull something like this off. It does happen, though, and unless you have a reliable VPN in place, there’s very little standing in their way. VPNs obscure your IP address by replacing it with a separate, non-local IP. Even if someone did try to find your real name or location, all they would get is the server operated by your VPN.

Reason 5 – Early Release Games

A nice, often overlooked benefit of using a VPN is the ability to download certain games and content updates before they’re released in your country. Publishers usually stagger releases in different regions, pushing games out in North America and Japan first, followed by Europe, Australia, and the rest of the world. If you’re not keen on waiting in line for no reason, a good VPN can help you bypass this restriction and download a game the moment it’s ready.

To get a game before its release in your area, simply change your VPN’s virtual location to a server in the release region. If it’s out in the U.S., for example, and you live in the UK, just use a U.S. server, reload the marketplace, and enjoy.

This early release trick also works across time zones. If a game releases worldwide at midnight on a certain day, you can start downloading hours early simply by switching VPN locations. You support game developers by purchasing titles upon release, and you don’t have to be a victim of region restrictions.

It’s important to note that this method isn’t 100% effective. Some marketplaces base your location on payment details, not IP address. Steam is one of the biggest sticklers for region-based content locking, so it may be more difficult to grab early titles using this method. For other stores, though, it’s fair game.

FULL GUIDE: Save money on Steam games by changing your location with a VPN

Reason 6 – Bypass IP Bans with a VPN

Most gamers at least know someone who has been banned on a temporary or permanent basis. In most cases, well-meaning moderators and admins levy bans to discourage poor or abusive behavior and to enforce the rules, but sometimes innocent players can be unjustly targeted by overzealous individuals or faulty algorithms.

All bans are not created equal, but in a large number of cases they target individual IP addresses (Fortnite is a high-profile example). In such cases, it can be useful to swap out your IP address for a different one using a VPN. By masking your IP with a false one, you can effectively let yourself back into the game unhindered. Just be sure to observe the rules and terms of service once you’re there!

Using a VPN on Consoles and Mobile Devices

Use a VPN while Gaming 4 - Wii and PS4 controllers

Online games aren’t just for PC owners anymore. An increasing number of mobile titles feature heavy online components, everything from daily content updates to competitive multiplayer, all in the palm of your hand. Gaming consoles, too, are turning to internet connectivity to enhance our playing experience. And the good news for us is that VPNs support all the above platforms for complete security no matter where you game.

Gaming VPNs on Mobile Devices

Mobile devices are prime targets for data theft. They go wherever we go, and they access all kinds of public networks, everything from Wi-Fi in cafes to hotel internet. It’s easy to get caught off guard when using your phone with an unknown connection, especially if you’re just accessing it for a quick round of Ragewar or MapleStory Blitz.

When you install a VPN for a mobile device and connect to a server, it automatically runs in the background, securing every piece of data that leaves the phone. This includes web browsing, file downloads, and online games, and it even ensures your identity remains hidden on public hotspots.

VPNs for Gaming Consoles

Few people think about using a VPN when connecting through an Xbox One or PlayStation 4. They’re just as useful here as they are on your PC or smartphone, however. Our recommended VPN service above works extremely well with online games on home consoles. You can install it on your router or access DNS-based protection to route Xbox and PS4 connections through that way. No matter which method you choose, using a VPN with your console games provides all the benefits listed above, and more.

VPNs Aren’t Foolproof

Just because you have a VPN active doesn’t mean you’re invincible. Even strong encryption and impenetrable server networks have their vulnerabilities. It’s important to keep this in mind as you play online games. Don’t let running a VPN be your excuse for acting like a jerk. You also need to remember that VPNs won’t always be able to bypass region locks and fix content prices. If a marketplace or gaming company blocks VPNs, you could be out of luck.


Gamers have enough to worry about without getting bogged down in inferior connections. Whether your ISP is throttling your gaming binges, you’re the target of a DDoS attack, or you live in a place with unfair e-store prices for your favorite titles, a VPN can help. Today we covered the basics of speeding up your connection while locking down your privacy, plus recommended a few of our favorite VPN providers for gaming.

Are you a gaming enthusiast looking to enhance your online gaming experience? We have specific guides on how to use a VPN for various popular games.

Whether you’re a fan of the fast-paced action in Overwatch, the building and survival in Fortnite, or the creative world of Minecraft, our detailed guides will help you get the most out of your gaming experience. For the sports gamers out there, our FIFA VPN guide will help you get the best connection for your matches. We also have guides for MMORPGs, including World of Warcraft and League of Legends to ensure you have the best connection for your raids and matches. So, what are you waiting for? Dive in and discover how a VPN can take your gaming to the next level! 

What are you currently playing online? Do you use a VPN? What are your ideal settings? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

How to get a FREE VPN for 30 days

If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. NordVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.


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  2. you’re right privacy, location variability, and anonymity coming at the cost of speed. but being a gamer myself, it’s more about finding new horizons. like often times, i’d like to configure ivacy vpn and change my region to uk just so i can get a connection to their servers so i can check out how fierce and intense the competition is there in first person shooters. when you’re connecting to the other end of the world, the response can never be as fast but it’s just an occasional thing as far as gaming is concerned.

  3. +1 for ExpressVPN. The 3-device policy may not be as good as other services but I think their apps are far superior.

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