Want to get the most out of your gaming console? Pairing a good VPN service with your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 can help unlock features you never knew you were missing. How does region-free gaming sound? Access to games banned in your country, or Netflix videos from around the world? How about DDoS protection? All it takes is a little time and the right VPN service and you’ll be set up and ready to go. Read on to see some of the best VPNs to use with Xbox One or PS4!
What are the Best VPNs for Xbox One/PS4?
- Subscribe to one of the VPNs in this guide.
- Download and install the VPN’s client software.
- Connect to the VPN no matter where you’re located.
- Now you can enjoy unrestricted access to any websites.
- 1 Why Use a VPN on Xbox One or PlayStation 4?
- 2 How to Choose the Best VPN for Xbox One and PS4
- 3 Recommended VPNs for PS4 and Xbox
- 4 How to Use a VPN with Xbox One and PS4
- 5 Conclusion
Why Use a VPN on Xbox One or PlayStation 4?
Most people think of their consoles as nothing more than pieces of hardware that play games. You use them for a lot more than Destiny and Horizon Zero Dawn, however, especially if you have apps like Netflix installed. Pairing a VPN with your console can eliminate common gaming issues while opening up a new world of content, ready to stream.
Unblock Restricted Games
Despite the persistent march of globalization, some content providers still can’t serve games to every region without restriction. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 marketplaces follow this practice, blocking certain game downloads based on your country of origin or preventing you from connecting to online servers unless you have a certain IP range. VPNs can help fix both of these issues. By connecting to a VPN’s worldwide server network, you can set your console’s IP address to any country you like.
Get Games Early
Big games scheduled for worldwide release often roll out in a staggered pattern. Each region gets to download the title at a specific time, such as midnight, and not a moment sooner. Because midnight comes earlier in some time zones, you can use that to your advantage. Switching on a VPN and connecting to a time zone further east can let you skip ahead a few hours to grab games before your local neighbors.
Private Video Streaming
Concerned about your ISP monitoring your online activities? How about mass surveillance recording everything you do? Internet traffic includes videos you watch and games you play on your consoles. VPNs help keep them safe from prying eyes, all thanks to packet encryption.
DDoS (direct denial of service) attacks are increasingly common these days. They work by bombarding the servers a user is connected to with an overwhelming amount of data, causing a ton of lag or shutting them down altogether. If you snipe the wrong person from across the map, there’s always the chance they try rolling out a DDoS attack to get their revenge. DDoS uses IP addresses to target the attack. If you’re using a VPN, it’s likely they have robust anti-DDoS measure in place, keeping your connection safe from malicious opponents.
Break through Region Blocks
Tired of being confined to Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu videos that are only available in your country? With a VPN you can break through geo-restricted content barriers and watch movies from around the world. All you have to do is connect to a VPN server located in the area of your choice, then fire up the streaming app on your console.
Easy On, Easy Off
Even if you don’t engage in a lot of video streaming or heavy online gaming, you might want to switch the VPN off from time to time. You can always switch off your PS4/Xbox One service with just a few clicks.
How to Choose the Best VPN for Xbox One and PS4
Knowing why you need a VPN is important, but finding the right one for your console is another matter entirely. There’s a lot of new information to digest, everything from encryption strengths to server networks and privacy policies. You also have to consider installation, as not all VPNs are made to work with each console in the same way.
It’s worth noting that VPNs generally don’t offer one-click installation support for either Xbox One or PlayStation 4. In other words, you can’t just hop on the console marketplaces and download your favorite VPN software. That’s where tricks like router-based VPNs, connection sharing via Windows/Mac, and DNS streaming come into play. Note that all methods aren’t supported or discussed by every VPN, and you might need a Tomato or DD-WRT router to get things done. We discuss each service’s installation methods in our recommendations below.
Our VPN Selection Criteria
Choosing the best VPN for PS4 or Xbox means weighing a lot of variables, the most important of which is straight-up compatibility. In selecting our recommendations below, we used the following criteria to narrow down the list.
- Download speeds – Speed is everything when it comes to online games. Since VPNs can slow things down due to encryption overhead, we chose only the fastest providers available.
- Software – How a VPN functions with your console makes a huge difference. Does it require a lengthy install process? Is it easy to use? Will it slow down your connection? All of these factors are vital to your online gaming experience.
- Unlimited bandwidth – Bandwidth limitations will end your streaming and gaming in an instant. We chose only VPNs with unlimited bandwidth for all devices.
- Zero-logging – If a VPN keeps detailed activity logs, you’re never guaranteed true privacy.
Recommended VPNs for PS4 and Xbox
After researching and comparing all of the features above, we settled on a few of the best VPNs to use with your gaming console.
ExpressVPN is fast, friendly, easy to use, and has one of the best installation processes for protecting your Xbox One and PS4 traffic. ExpressVPN sets the foundation for sturdy online privacy with 256-bit AES encryption on all data, a zero-logging policy that covers traffic and DNS requests, and both kill switch and DNS leak protection on most platforms. ExpressVPN’s server network covers over 140 locations in 94 different countries, too, which gives you tons of options for selecting non-local IP addresses to break through geo-restriction barriers.
ExpressVPN is one of the few mainstream VPN providers that offers both router-based installs and a direct DNS-based connection method for consoles. To use it with your PS4 or Xbox One, all you have to do is sign up for a free Dynu account, set up ExpressVPN to use this hostname, then configure your gaming console to use this connection as a proxy. ExpressVPN guides you through the entire process, step by step. It’s actually much easier than it sounds, too!
More great ExpressVPN features:
- Extra privacy features include an automatic kill switch and DNS leak protection on several versions of their custom apps.
- Supports both Tomato and DD-WRT router firmware to easily protect your gaming console connections.
- Offers router purchases with pre-installed firmware and ExpressVPN service.
- Reliable access to Netflix through the website and mobile apps.
IPVanish is one of the best VPNs to use when you simply can’t sacrifice privacy in the name of speed. Most services have to downgrade encryption to make their networks faster, but with IPVanish, you get lightning fast speeds without losing anonymity. It starts with 256-bit AES encryption on all data, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch to keep your connection safe no matter what. A zero-logging policy on all traffic ensures your activity doesn’t stick around, and with 950 servers in 60 different countries, you’re practically guaranteed to find a fast connection no matter where you live.
IPVanish doesn’t offer any special software or installation methods for Xbox One or PS4. Instead, your best option is to install the VPN through your router. This ensures all devices that connect to your home network receive the benefits provided by the VPN, including gaming consoles, smartphones, and other streaming hardware.
Top features from IPVanish:
- Download torrents with full privacy and anonymity, keeping you safe from ISPs and surveillance programs.
- Offers up to five simultaneous device connections, perfect for anyone with multiple consoles or other hardware.
- Buy a ready-to-go router with the right firmware and IPVanish pre-configured.
- Easy manual installation for both Tomato and DD-WRT routers.
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NordVPN has a massive server network, quite possibly the largest in the industry. The list changes on a daily basis, but at the time of writing it sits at over 2,400 servers in 56 countries. That translates to plenty of connection options for your home console or portable device, no matter where you live, work, or travel. NordVPN uses this network to provide added features, as well, including DDoS protection and double encryption, making it a great choice for PS4 or Xbox One users. On top of that, you still get strong 256-bit AES encryption, kill switch and DNS leak protection, and a zero-logging policy that covers traffic, DNS requests, IP addresses, and time stamps.
As is the case with most VPNs, NordVPN doesn’t offer a dedicated piece of software for gaming console connections. Instead, the company recommends setting up your router to handle encrypted data, thereby protecting all devices in your home, both wired and wireless.
More of NordVPN’s best features:
- Support for six simultaneous device connections, the highest in the VPN marketplace.
- Easy install scripts and instructions for VPNs on Tomato and DD-WRT routers.
- Buy a router with compatible firmware and NordVPN service pre-installed.
- One of the few VPNs that maintains reliable access to Netflix.
VyprVPN has some amazing privacy features other services simply can’t beat. It starts with a network of over 700 servers in 70 different countries, a great distribution of hardware that’s owned and operated by VyprVPN themselves. This helps keep third parties out of the picture and ensures your data stays safe no matter what. Along with this you get 256-bit AES encryption, DNS leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and a zero-logging policy on traffic and DNS requests. Then there’s VyprVPN’s excellent Chameleon protocol, an exclusive feature that wraps metadata in an extra layer of encryption to defeat deep packet inspection and strict censorship blocks. If safety is your number one concern, VyprVPN is the way to go.
Router installs is the best way to use VyprVPN with your Xbox One or PlayStation 4. The company does mention connection sharing via Windows or Mac computers, though it also notes that the method isn’t officially supported by the VPN.
VyprVPN includes the following features:
- Unlimited bandwidth and no restriction on P2P traffic or torrent downloads.
- Easy, streamlined setup for both DD-WRT and Tomato router installations.
- Excellent privacy features no other VPN offers.
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PureVPN is easy to use and offers a full-featured security experience on a wide variety of devices. Ever wanted virus protection, malware shields, app blocking features, or DNS level website filtering? PureVPN has them all, and each one is neatly integrated into the main service for a truly seamless online security experience. Backing these features up is 256-bit AES encryption, a zero-logging policy on all traffic, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch, along with a network of over 750 servers in 140 different countries!
One drawback of the PureVPN experience is you can’t take advantage of some of these added security features on your gaming consoles. Router configuration is the best way to use PureVPN with your Xbox/PS4. Doing this means no anti-virus protection and no malware blocking, among others. You still get all the same encryption and anonymity features, however.
More of PureVPN’s features:
- Unlimited bandwidth, no speed caps, and no restrictions on torrent or P2P traffic.
- Lightweight apps that bring a host of great features to a wide variety of devices.
- Connect up to five devices simultaneously, all with unlimited server switching.
- Fast and easy configuration with both DD-WRT and Tomato-based routers.
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How to Use a VPN with Xbox One and PS4
Since VPNs can’t really be installed directly to a gaming console, we have to use clever workaround to ensure the connection remains secure. Most of the methods below simply push most of the actual encryption and routing work onto another device, allowing the console to work normally but still protecting your data before it leaves the network.
Router Installation Method
The most common method of protecting gaming consoles with VPN encryption is to set up your router to handle all the heavy lifting. The procedure for doing this varies depending on the VPN service and the router you own, but the basic process is simple enough and involves copying DNS and server information from your VPN over to the router’s configuration page. This transforms all traffic, both wired and wireless, into VPN-encrypted, anonymous traffic.
Windows and Mac Connection Sharing
Connection sharing is a little-used feature both Windows and Mac operating systems offer out of the box. The basic idea is to install your VPN’s software on your main computer, connect your Xbox or PlayStation directly to the same PC, change the configuration to allow network sharing, then switch console settings to use this connection instead of a wireless one. Performance can vary depending on your hardware and operating system, but it’s still a valid method of protecting your devices with VPN encryption.
Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles are powerhouses of online entertainment. They let us watch videos, stream movies, and play games with anyone in the world, all from our comfy couch and big screen TV. The limitation of not being able to directly install a VPN hasn’t prevented anyone from keeping their data safe through alternative methods. One quick router configuration is all it takes to encrypt your data. Got any other tips for using a VPN with a gaming console? Let us know in the comments below!