Best VPNs for PC Gaming - Should you use one?

Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for PC gaming has, for a long time, been considered a good way to tank your ping and overall in-game experience. But the truth is that using the right VPN will not only help you stay safe online, but can even improve your in-game ping.

In this guide we will explain why you should use a VPN, and which ones to consider for gaming on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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The best VPNs for PC gaming

Check out our top five VPN recommendations for PC gaming below. For a more in-depth look at each provider, check out our in-depth reviews.

ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPNs around, making it perfect for PC gaming.

  • Pricing

    From  $6.67 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

ExpressVPN is one of the best PC gaming VPNs, with over 160 locations across 94 countries and strong DDoS protection.


Encryption comes thanks to the OpenVPN protocol, allowing users to choose between TCP and UDP connections. UDP is preferred when gaming, however, both should do the job just fine. And when you finally Alt+F4, you can continue using ExpressVPN to unblock Netflix US, hulu, BBC iPlayer, and almost any other streaming platform you're interested in.


Although ExpressVPN is a little on the pricier side of things, its robust feature set and 24/7 customer support reflect the premium you would be paying for. You can also try it for yourself using its no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee.


 

Surfshark can cover every single device you own, including your gaming PC.

  • Pricing

    From  $1.94 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

Based in the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark is a fan-favorite VPN provider with a strong no logs policy that protects user privacy. After uncapping its device limit, users can not only protect their gaming PC, but each and every device in their household. Of course, it's a policy that Surfshark hopes won't be abused, but it can be used for larger families that want to protect their devices.


Surfshark has servers in 63 different countries, with some unblocking sought after services like Netflix US, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, and more thanks to obfuscation technology. Torrenting is also permitted on certain servers, with a kill switch to protect your traffic. Needless to say, this is all wrapped up in a price that boasts great value for money. But instead of taking our word for it, why don't you try before you buy with Surfshark's 30-day money-back guarantee?

Private Internet Access is one of very few providers that has proven its no-logs claim in court.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.69 - $11.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

Despite being based in the United States, a place known for its troublesome stance on privacy, Private Internet Access had its no logs claims tested in court - something no other provider on this list can boast. No logs means your traffic cannot trace back to you, regardless of whether you are gaming on your PC, unblocking Netflix US or BBC iPlayer, torrenting, or doing something else entirely.


Private Internet Access can be used on up to 10 devices at once, each protected with OpenVPN encryption (except iOS). Customer service is a little lacking compared to other providers on this list, forgoing a live chat in favor of an email contact form, but the representatives answering your queries are quite reliable. If you aren't happy with the service, you can get a refund any time within the first 30 days.

CyberGhost offers up to a 45-day money-back guarantee, the longest on this list.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.75 - $12.99
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

CyberGhost has a simplified approach to VPNs, making sure its app is easy to use while keeping your PC (or other devices) secure. Up to 7 people can use a single subscription at the same time, unblocking Netflix, hulu, and Disney+. Unfortunately, the service tends to struggle with BBC iPlayer, meaning it's worth checking with the provider before making your choice if this is a platform you want to watch.


With 112 locations in over 90 countries, there are plenty of places you can game in. And if you run into any trouble, the customer support team is available via live chat 24/7. CyberGhost offers a 14-day money-back guarantee if you opt for the 1-month plan, but subscribing for anything more than that will grant you a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.


 

VyprVPN's own network infrastructure makes it a consistently fast VPN.

  • Pricing

    From  $2.50 - $12.95
  • Available on

    • Windows
    • macOS
    • iOS
    • Android
    • Linux
  • Unblocks

    • Netflix
    • iPlayer
    • Hulu

VyprVPN is a consistently speedy service thanks to the outright control it has over its own network infrastructure, which makes it a perfect VPN for low-latency gaming and streaming in HD. With easy-to-use apps for all the main platforms and 5 simultaneous connections, you should be able to protect all your main devices with a single subscription.


VyprVPN offers great value for money, being particularly good at unblocking streaming services. With servers in 63 countries, this means VyprVPN can give you access to Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, YouTube, Crunchyroll, and plenty more from across the world. With its proprietary Chameleon obfuscation (stealth) technology, it's great for gaming in countries with mass surveillance and censorship. If there are any discrepancies, you can always get in touch with its 24/7 live chat or opt to use your 30-day money-back guarantee.

Why do I need a VPN for gaming on a PC?

Using a gaming VPN has a variety of benefits. Firstly, it gives you privacy online and encrypts web traffic traveling to and from your device. This can stop your Internet Service Providers (ISPs), local network admins, governments, websites, and third parties from tracking and identifying you online.

On top of this, a VPN can also protect you from hackers and other players that you may come across in-game. For example, hiding your IP address can prevent someone from hitting you with a Denial of Service (DoS) attack, where someone spams your IP address with fake requests to cause lag or disconnect you from the game.

A VPN also allows you to bypass censorship and regional content restrictions, meaning that you can access games that aren’t available in your region, and even get games for cheaper!

For example, some games may be on sale or be available at a lower price in a different country; by setting your VPN’s region to that country and revisiting the store, you will be recognized as a customer from that locale, and the offer will be available to you. Geo-spoofing can be a handy way to save money on your favorite games.

Check out our guide on why you should use a VPN for gaming to find out more information. 

Please note

You may have to log out of your account, creating a new one and purchasing the game as a gift for this to work. Some retailers have also blacklisted known VPN IP addresses because of this.

Occasionally, we have known VPNs to reduce ISP bandwidth throttling and provide superior routing when gaming, resulting in a decreased ping. However, this doesn’t mean that using a VPN will give you a faster internet connection. VPNs have to route your data through a server to encrypt and decrypt traffic, meaning that this security comes at the cost of a small amount of download and upload speed.

As well as unblocking games and accessing lower prices, using a VPN can also help you access content on streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, and more. Using the same regional settings can unblock content that would otherwise be unavailable to you when you access these platforms.

Can I get a free VPN for PC gaming

You can get free VPN services, but they are not recommended for PC gaming. This is because they are often far too slow, or have data caps imposed (and in some cases, both). It’s completely understandable that you might not want to incur the extra cost of a VPN, but if you want to game online, the only choice is a paid VPN.

For example, hide.me offers connection speeds of up to 80Mbps, but is still capped at 10GB of data per month. The speed is good, but the data cap (despite being larger than many of its competitors) will cause problems down the line. Overall, we recommend avoiding free VPN services for online PC gaming, and any VPNs with slow data speeds.

Conclusion

When choosing a VPN or gaming, it's important to consider which servers are available, and how fast the VPN is. Using a fast, local VPN server will give you a better overall experience than using a slow VPN server halfway across the world. If you want to increase your security and privacy online, while getting the most out of gaming (and buying games), then a VPN is the way forward. Here's a quick reminder of our top picks for gaming VPNs:

  1. ExpressVPN - The best all-round VPN for PC gaming
  2. Surfshark - An incredibly fast VPN with lots of features
  3. Private Internet Access - One of the most trusted VPN services in the industry
  4. CyberGhost VPN - Offers an easy to use service that is great value for money
  5. VyprVPN - A fully audited and feature-rich service

Written by: Andreas Theodorou

Andreas is a Technology Writer at ProPrivacy.com. Having graduated with a first class BA (Hons) in English, he completed a Master of Research degree at Liverpool John Moores University and has continued to pursue research at every opportunity. An experienced writer, editor, and artist, he is currently studying video-games and popular culture in his spare time.

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