VPN services are sort of like changing your password every so often. Everyone has heard of them, everyone should do it, it can save you a ton of hurt, but few people actually puts this knowledge into practice.

Some consider it not necessary for them, they’re doing just fine without it, thanks. Others simply don’t want to bother with it, considering the setup to be too much hassle. Other still don’t feel like spending money on something like that. Whatever the reason, they are missing out, and we’re here to tell you why VPNs can be a gamer’s best friends.

1. VPN bypasses games’ regional exclusivity

If you are among the people basking in the glow if digital video game distribution, be it on PC-bound platforms, Xbox, or PlayStation, you might have encountered an legendary foe called “region locking”. What it means is that if you happen to live in a country where a particular game isn’t released (yet, or at all), you are out of luck, it won’t show up in a given store even if you specifically ask the search engine about it.
Unless you have a VPN, that is, because thanks to Virtual Private Networks we can get regional exclusives from virtually anywhere, it’s just a matter of picking a server in a country which has access to the game you’re interested in. It’s useful especially if you live in a country which doesn’t allow stores to sell games with very graphic violence or sexual content, and you just have to (HAVE TO) play Doom or GTA. Now you know how to do it. Just be aware, that it may break the terms of conditions of the store you’re trying to outsmart and result in a banned account. Most of the most popular digital distribution platforms have specific rules prohibiting ther use of VPNs. So, you know, it’s advised to read the terms of use before you fiddle around with your apparent location.

2. VPNs and regional servers

It’s no stunning revelation that online games are now possibly more popular than ever, but sometimes you just want to play with your friends overseas and for whatever reason you can only access servers in Europe. Or maybe you want to play an Asian MMO which never got a Western release (hello, Dragon’s Dogma Online). Of course VPNs will be of no help to you where language is concerned, but they will let you access servers normally unavailable to you from your normal location.
Sometimes regional versions even have more advanced builds. Take for example a half-forgotten F2P MMO Silkroad Online. Westerners have been stuck on the Chinese map for a long time, getting an European expansion long after the Korean players did. VPNs allow you to sidestep this limitation as well.

3. Access your accounts on the move

This one is likely to convince those of you who travel a lot outside of their home country. Digital distribution platforms determine your region based on the IP of your location. If you live in the UK, but move to the Australia, for example, you may wind up with a somewhat different store. It’s a bother, using a VPN bound to a server in your original location helps with that as well. And as a bonus helps you stay on your continent’s or country’s servers if you want to.

4. VPNs are good for online games

Depending on where you live and what server you choose to play, you may or may not experience a huge ping (server response time, more or less). If you’re from Europe, but instead of playing with other Europeans choose to pick US servers, your experience may change a lot, for the worse. The longer the route between your device and the server, the slower is the response.
But pick a VPN, pick a location closer to your chosen server and suddenly you may find that your ping improves a lot, because there are fewer gates to clear on the way.

5. VPN protects you against DoS attacks

A (Distributed) Denial of Service attack is one of the nastier things people can do to you on the Internet if they pick you as an enemy for various reasons. Maybe you play too well, maybe you play a hero unwelcome in a current meta, maybe you have an annoying username. Wherever the reason, during a DoS attack your connection if flooded with traffic of various kinds, as a result slowing to a crawl, or even completely.
And, once again, VPNs can come to your rescue. They are capable of blocking unwanted, abusive traffic. Whatever would be coming in your direction will hit your VPN’s servers first, and be filtered out with a very high degree of success.
Besides, if you want to be a bit more anonymous, VPNs and proxys are your best bet anyway.

6. VPN can bypass ISP throttles

Sometimes your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can limit your bandwidth if they notice increased use (for instance when you’re playing online). VPNs help you avoid this issue. If you use for instance a gaming VPN, your ISP doesn’t really see the data your sending and receiving, it’s all encrypted. As a result you don’t risk having your transfer throttled because of your activity. A decisive win!

Recommended VPNs

Picking the right Virtual Private Network service isn’t easy, especially if you’re working on a limited budget. Likewise, we can’t tell you specifically what’s the best free VPN for anonymous browsing, assuming one exists. What we can do, is give you a head start, listing several paid and free VPNs for you to start your search from.

Best paid VPN for gaming

  • CyberGhost – you can use it on up to 5 devices, has over 800 servers
  • Buffered – offers one of the best speeds among VPNs, but only works for Windows
  • NordVPN – you can pay in BitCoin, has double encryption and up to six connections, but can cost you a bit
  • HideMyAss – user-friendly, offers incognito mail service
  • ExpressVPN – has servers in over 100 countries, pretty user-friendly, but cost a pretty penny

Best free VPN for gaming

Free VPNs aren’t an ideal solution, unfortunately, and you’ll be hard-pressed to finds one that’s reliable, offers decent speed with reasonable limits, and doesn’t put you in even more risk of attack than not using it.
That said, if you are willing to use some additional precautions, there are some options you can check out.

  • Windscribe – over 50 server locations, offers an extension for Chrome
  • GOOSE VPN – user-friendly, solid encryption
  • hide.Me – has Androids and iOS apps, offers up to 5 connections at the same time
  • TunnelBear – solid OpenVPN encryption, servers in 20 countries, fast servers
  • SurfEasy – keeps minimal connection logs, good speed, servers in 16 countries

This is obviously just scratching the surface, the selection of VPNs and other privacy-protection services is larger than any non-dedicated website could possibly cover, but we hope that this will get you properly started on your search. Perchance you’ll decide that one of the services we’ve mentioned are sufficient for your purposes, in which case: splendid! Glad to be of help.