Best VPN for gaming in 2023

Testing VPNs is a fun game and doesn’t always end up with you bricking your internet connection each time you uninstall one to install another. Honestly. Not every time, anyway… We’ve sourced accounts for each of the services and tested them all on the same 100Mbit connection at the same time of day to ensure a fair reflection of the performance of each of them.

The best VPNs for gaming

You can unblock games at work, access foreign game servers, bypass gaming blocks, and find cheaper game deals with the power of a gaming VPN. We explain how in this detailed guide.

Playing games online requires fast and consistent internet connection speeds. Ping issues can cause a headache, and when you travel abroad you may suddenly find that you can’t access your usual game servers.

By encrypting your internet connection and masking your IP address, a gaming VPN allows you to appear in a different country, making it easier to find matches in your preferred language or location. A gaming VPN also hides your home IP address from other users, which helps to prevent DDoS attacks and ensures uninterrupted gameplay during intense tournaments.

Some gamers rely on VPNs to improve ping and bypass ISP throttling. Others leverage them to buy cheaper games by exploring international stores like Steam, Microsoft, or PlayStation. You can even play games at work, in school, or on other restricted networks thanks to a VPN.

No matter which way you look at it, a gaming VPN can give you a whopping advantage. The only caveat is that not all VPNs are fast enough for gaming. In this guide, we have pinpointed the very best VPNs for gaming on popular platforms like Android, iOS, Windows, and consoles.

The list below gives you a quick look at the best VPNs for gaming. Our recommendations are ideal for gamers on Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox, Playstation, or even VR headsets like the Meta Quest. Keep scrolling for detailed summaries that will help you pick the right gaming VPN for your needs.

The best VPNs for gaming:

  1. NordVPN: The best VPN to unlock gaming worldwide. Fast servers, global coverage, and robust encryption for secure gaming. Apps for all platforms. Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. Surfshark: A budget-friendly gaming solution. Has user-friendly apps, unlimited connections, and strong encryption. Ideal for gaming on multiple platforms and has servers in 100+ countries to buy games cheaper.
  3. ExpressVPN: Reliable all-rounder. Fast proprietary protocols and servers in 94+ countries make this a reliable VPN for gaming. Router compatibility makes it easy to use with consoles.
  4. CyberGhost VPN: The best gaming VPN for beginners. With servers in 89+ countries and a user-friendly interface, you can access games or Netflix at work.
  5. ProtonVPN: An advanced and super-secure VPN for gaming. Port forwarding and split tunneling make this the best gaming VPN for people who like torrenting. Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux.
  6. IPVanish: Impressive speeds for gaming. Its proprietary network spans 50+ countries. No-logging policy and strong encryption. Works with fewer streaming services than our top choices.
  7. Atlas VPN: Fast WireGuard protocol is ideal for gaming. Has servers in 44+ countries. User-friendly apps include ad blocking, MultiHop, and split tunneling. Has a basic free plan.

Summary Table

No value TEST WINNER No value No value No value No value No value No value
No value NordVPN Surfshark ExpressVPN CyberGhost Proton VPN IPVanish Atlas VPN
Ranking 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Streaming reliability Excellent Excellent Excellent Good Good Good Good
Avg Speed (Mbps) 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps 100+ Mbps
Number of Servers 5,400 3,200 3,000 9,308+ 1,925 2,000+ 750
Devices Supported Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, Smart TVs, Routers Windows, MacOS, Linux (command line), iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux Android TV Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android Amazon Fire TV Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux Android TV, Amazon Fire TV
Logging Policy No identifying data No logs stored No identifying data No identifying data No logs stored No logs stored No logs stored
Best deal (per month) $3.29
SAVE 63% + FREE months
84% off 2yr plan
Save 49%
SAVE 83%
SAVE 50%
SAVE 77%
SAVE 83%

To assist our readers, we have devised a meticulous VPN testing and recommendation process. We prioritize privacy and security; catering to users who want to protect their digital footprint, prevent ISP and government snooping, safeguard against hacking on public WiFi, and access game servers, streaming platforms, social media, VOIP apps, and other region-locked services safely.

We have included some of the criteria we used to select the best gaming VPNs below. You can scroll down for additional information about each VPN and for details about our recommendation methods.

  • Robust security: Our priority is VPNs that offer strong encryption, support multiple protocols, include a kill switch, and protect against DNS leaks. These measures ensure your online activities remain secure and private while gaming or accessing other restricted services.
  • No-logs policy: Our recommended VPNs adhere to trustworthy no-logging policies, meaning they don’t track or share your personal data such as your home IP address, server connections, or browsing habits.
  • Fast speeds: Optimal performance is crucial for tasks such as streaming, gaming, and VoIP communication during gaming sessions. Our recommended VPNs employ fast protocols and servers to support these data-intensive activities.
  • Large server network: We selected VPNs with extensive server networks spanning multiple regions worldwide. This allows you to bypass restrictions and obtain an IP address from virtually anywhere for a seamless gaming experience.
  • User-friendly apps: We evaluated VPNs based on their ease of use and reliability across smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Our recommendations offer compatibility with Windows, macOS, Android, Firestick, and routers. They can also be used with consoles by setting up a VPN-protected virtual hotspot.
  • Reliable customer support: We focused on VPNs that provide excellent customer support via live chat, email assistance, comprehensive guides, FAQs, and other useful resources.

Get a risk free trial

NordVPN offers a risk-free 30-day trial so you can sign up here with zero risk. You can use the VPN rated #1 on this list with no restrictions for a full month.

There are no hidden terms – just contact support within 30 days if you decide NordVPN isn’t right for you and you’ll get a full refund. Start your NordVPN trial here .

Best VPN for gaming

The gaming VPNs we have recommended are fast and suitable for playing games on various platforms. That said, they all have distinct advantages and features, which may suit your personal preferences or needs.

The summaries below will provide all the information you need to find the perfect gaming VPN for your personal circumstances.

1. NordVPN

OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Linux
Money Back Guarantee: 30 days
Speed: 7.5/10
Value for Money: 9/10
Streaming: 10/10
Ease of use: 10/10
Privacy: 10/10
Customer Support: 10/10

NordVPN is known for its speedy proprietary NordLynx protocol, which is a WireGuard fork ideally suited for online gaming and HD streaming. Apps are available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. NordVPN is equipped with everything you need to access games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Minecraft.

NordVPN’s exceptional speeds also make it good for torrenting and data-intensive multiplayer games like Apex Legends and Call of Duty. You can also make private VoIP calls on apps like Discord, even in restrictive regions like the UAE and China.

You can use it with consoles such as the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X either by installing it on a VPN-compatible router or using a Mac or Windows PC to set up a VPN-protected virtual hotspot. This makes the process of setting up NordVPN with a console very simple.

NordVPN comes with robust encryption, reliable protocols, MultiHop connections, DNS leak protection, and obfuscated servers. You can bypass censorship to use restricted games in countries like Australia, Germany, China, Brazil, and numerous other countries that have enforced game restrictions.

These privacy and security features also make NordVPN suitable for secure gaming experiences at work, school, or anywhere games are blocked. Plus, you will be able to play in tournaments without fear of being disconnected by a DDoS attack.

NordVPN has more than 5,000 servers in 59+ countries. This ensures smooth, low-latency connections that are perfect for MMOs like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV. You can buy games at lower prices from other countries, or access foreign game servers to find easier matches or to be matched up at night.

The service has been independently audited and has diskless servers that can be scrubbed remotely. It maintains multiple website mirrors to help users in restrictive countries access its service. You can get help using or setting up the VPN at any time of day thanks to its 24/7 live chat agents.

We tested Nord to watch popular streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu and found it to work seamlessly. The only real downside is that the VPN lacks port forwarding. However, it has split tunneling, and torrenting is permitted throughout its network. You can test NordVPN on up to six devices.


  • Apps for all popular platforms
  • Strong encryption, kill switch, obfuscation, and a no-logs policy
  • Fully audited apps, infrastructure, and policies
  • Diskless servers in 59+ countries
  • Router support for console gamers


  • Suffered a minor breach on a third-party server in Finland in 2018

BEST GAMING VPN: NordVPN provides exceptional speeds for videoconferencing, streaming, and gaming. Superb value for money. Has a solid no-logs policy and is based in Panama. Comes with a kill switch, obfuscation, MultiHop, ad blocking, and malicious website protection. Works with popular streaming services like Netflix. Risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

NordVPN Coupon
SAVE 63% + FREE months
Discount applied automatically

2. Surfshark

OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Linux
Money Back Guarantee: 30 days
Speed: 7/10
Value for Money: 9/10
Streaming: 10/10
Ease of use: 10/10
Privacy: 9.8/10
Customer Support: 10/10

Surfshark is an affordable and privacy-focused VPN that excels for accessing gaming platforms at work or in restrictive countries. Subscriptions start at just $2.39 per month, and Surfshark allows unlimited device connections, meaning you can share your account with your entire family.

User-friendly apps are available for all major platforms, boasting strong encryption and WireGuard for faster speeds. It’s a fantastic option for playing popular games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Call of Duty. Servers are located in 100+ countries, so you’ll have no trouble accessing gaming servers worldwide. You can even buy games cheaper by pretending to be in Turkey, Brazil, or anywhere else that has discounted prices.

In its most recent tests, Surfshark had average download speeds of 188 Mbps. This is more than fast enough for seamless gameplay and HD streaming. It works to watch around 20 Netflix regions, Hulu, HBO Max, ESPN Plus, BBC iPlayer, and tons of other popular streaming services from around the globe.

Its strong encryption and DNS leak protection provide seamless access to games and social platforms like Twitch and Discord, without concerns about being monitored. Plus, it is compatible with iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, and Linux to let you connect on any home or work device.

Thanks to its strict no-logs policy, Surfshark safeguards your privacy both now and in the future. It comes with split tunneling, ad blocking, and malware filtering, to enhance your security and further increase its value for money.

24/7 live chat means you can always get help, and you can compare it to any of our other recommendations thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee. Perfect for gamers on a budget.


  • Lets you connect an unlimited number of devices
  • Best low-cost VPN for gaming, streaming, and bypassing blocks
  • Audited no logs policy
  • Diskless servers for added security
  • Servers in 100+ countries


  • The monthly plan is more expensive than the longer plans

BEST CHEAP VPN FOR GAMING: Surfshark offers blazing-fast WireGuard connections, perfect for lag-free gaming and streaming. Easily bypasses restrictions on public WiFi, at work, and in countries with strict gaming blocks. Robust AES encryption, a reliable kill switch, obfuscation, ad blocking, and DNS leak protection for an uninterrupted and secure gaming experience. Has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Surfshark Coupon
Get 2 Months FREE with a 2-year plan
Discount applied automatically

3. ExpressVPN

OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Linux
Money Back Guarantee: 30 days
Speed: 6/10
Value for Money: 6/10
Streaming: 9/10
Ease of use: 10/10
Privacy: 9.5/10
Customer Support: 6/10

ExpressVPN is a highly reputable VPN that has been around since 2009. It’s one of the longest-standing VPNs around and has maintained an impeccable reputation for providing privacy for its users throughout that time.

The VPN is a great option for unlocking games and accessing blocked content at work, on public WiFi, at school, on vacation, or in restrictive countries that block popular games like PUBG.

ExpressVPN is relatively easy to use and supports a range of protocols, including OpenVPN with native obfuscation, IKEv2, and the lightning-fast Lightway protocol. The lattermost is perfect for playing data-hungry games like CoD or Fortnite.

Subscribers can connect to 3,000+ servers across 94+ countries, so you can access regional streaming services or gaming servers. In our tests, it worked to access streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and more.

Worried about privacy? You can rest easy because ExpressVPN offers robust encryption, a no-logging policy, and reliable DNS leak protection. You never have to worry about your employer, your ISP, or government agencies being able to monitor what you do online. You are safe against hackers when you connect to public WiFi.

Apps are available for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and routers. This makes it easy to set up with consoles or for playing games on laptops, desktop gaming rigs, smartphones, or tablets.

The biggest drawback? You can only use ExpressVPN on up to five devices, which is a little stingy compared to our other recommendations, especially considering that this is the most expensive VPN on our list. 24/7 live chat support is available, and you can try it out yourself with its 30-day money-back guarantee.


  • Servers in 94+ countries
  • No logs policy has been independently verified
  • Diskless servers for added security
  • Kill switch, obfuscation, DNS leak protection, and split tunneling
  • Fast speeds for playing games and streaming


  • A little pricey compared to our top recommendations
  • Only allows five simultaneous connections

AMAZING ALL-ROUNDER: ExpressVPN’s high-speed connections and robust encryption make this VPN well-suited to accessing games privately. Also works to access popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and iPlayer. Zero logs policy, and obfuscation. 30-day money-back guarantee.

ExpressVPN Coupon
SAVE: 49% on the annual plan
Coupon applied automatically

4. CyberGhost

OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Money Back Guarantee: 45 days
Speed: 9/10
Value for Money: 10/10
Streaming: 8/10
Ease of use: 10/10
Privacy: 9/10
Customer Support: 9/10

CyberGhost VPN is an ideal choice for newcomers to VPNs who want to unleash their device’s gaming power without the confusion associated with some advanced VPN applications. It can easily be used by gaming enthusiasts to access blocked games at work, school, abroad, or in any country that blocks games.

The VPN is fast thanks to its WireGuard implementation and its vast network of 9,700+ servers spanning 90+ countries. This lets you get an IP address anywhere that you need, meaning you can play foreign game servers, bypass IP bans, or buy games for less.

CyberGhost comes with dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. You can connect up to seven devices simultaneously, which is plenty of connections for families or people who own multiple devices.

This VPN specifically labels streaming-optimized servers for platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Peacock, iPlayer, and streaming services from tons of countries around the world. It’s easy to find a server for your specific streaming service; no matter what nationality you are.

Despite being easier to use, this VPN doesn’t skimp on any of the security features you would expect from a leading VPN. You still get strong encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection, which makes it safe for bypassing blocks at work or for using public WiFi safely.

The VPN is based in Romania, which is great in terms of privacy, and it has a solid no-logs policy. Live chat is available on its website day and night, and you can try it with any of your games risk-free thanks to its generous 45-day money-back guarantee.


  • WireGuard for uninterrupted gaming
  • 24/7 live chat support
  • Easy for beginners to use on any device
  • Strong AES encryption and a kill switch
  • Servers in 90+ countries


  • Lacks port forwarding, split tunneling, MultiHop, and other advanced features
  • Causes captchas when searching on Google

PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS: CyberGhost makes it easy to access games at work, in school, on public WiFi, or in countries where they are restricted. Has strong encryption and a kill switch. Includes ad and tracker blocking. 45-day money-back guarantee lets you compare it to any of our recommendations. Works with Netflix and other popular streaming platforms.

CyberGhost Coupon
SAVE 83% on the 2 year plan + 3 months FREE
Discount applied automatically

5. Proton VPN

OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Linux
Money Back Guarantee: 30 days
Speed: 9/10
Value for Money: 7/10
Streaming: 8/10
Ease of use: 6/10
Privacy: 10/10
Customer Support: 7/10

ProtonVPN is an all-round impressive VPN launched by the creators of ProtonMail; the secure email service endorsed by the privacy activist and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The VPN has servers in 68+ countries. It posted superb speeds on the WireGuard protocol. It’s a reliable VPN for gaming, streaming, and torrenting. It is perfect for file sharers thanks to its split tunneling and port forwarding features.

Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android are jam-packed with advanced features, including MultiHop connections, obfuscation, and a kill switch. Self-owned Secure Core servers and Tor over VPN connections add additional security.

ProtonVPN gives you easy access to IPs worldwide and works with many popular streaming services like Netflix. We recommend testing it with your preferred platforms; it isn’t as good for streaming as our top recommendations.

The free plan only lets you connect to IP addresses in three countries, and they will not work with many streaming platforms. They will probably also be unsuitable for gaming, but you can try them if you want to.

Overall, this is a superb multi-purpose VPN that caters to gamers and anybody else who needs a VPN to work remotely, for going on vacation, or simply for using the internet at home without ISP tracking. You can compare the free plan to its premium subscription thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.


  • Has a basic free plan
  • Includes many advanced security features
  • Fast speeds for gaming
  • Perfect for torrenting thanks to port forwarding and split tunneling
  • Lets you connect 10 devices at once


  • Quite hard for beginners to use
  • Live chat is for paid users only (and hard to find)
  • A touch expensive compared to some of our other recommendations

HIGHLY ADVANCED: Proton VPN offers high levels of security to bypass blocks and play games anywhere. The premium version works with Netflix and many other popular services. Decent speeds for making VoIP calls. Port forwarding feature makes it great for torrenting. NetShield feature blocks ads and malicious sites. Has a no-quibbles 30-day money-back guarantee.

ProtonVPN Coupon
SAVE 50% on a two-year plan
Discount applied automatically

6. IPVanish

OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TVs
Money Back Guarantee: 30 days
Speed: 8/10
Value for Money: 8/10
Streaming: 6/10
Ease of use: 9.5/10
Privacy: 8/10
Customer Support: 6/10

IPVanish is a reliable US-based VPN that runs on a wholly-owned network. This improves privacy for its users and delivers impressive speeds for gamers. With fully audited apps for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, and KODI, you can rest assured that the VPN works as promised. It has a solid no-logs policy, which means it wouldn’t have anything to hand over to the authorities even if served a warrant.

The VPN represents fantastic value for money because it allows unlimited device connections, perfect for sharing your account with friends and family. IPVanish has servers in 50+ countries, which give you impressively fast speeds for gaming and streaming. These speeds are in part due to its excellent WireGuard implementation.

IPVanish works with most US streaming services, but it doesn’t always work with services located in other countries. We recommend that you test it yourself.

We enjoyed the VPN’s easy-to-use interface. Advanced features include a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and obfuscation. It passed a full third-party audit, so you can trust it to provide the privacy levels it claims.

IPVanish’s 24/7 live chat has your back no matter what your issue might be, and you can ask questions about gaming with the VPN, or anything else that interests you prior to signing up. As with our other recommendations, you can try it yourself using its 30-day money-back guarantee.


  • Great speeds for gaming and streaming
  • Works with Netflix US but not all streaming services
  • Allows unlimited connections with a single account
  • Servers in 50+ countries all include WireGuard connections
  • Live chat support


  • Based in the US
  • Not as good as our top recommendations for accessing streams

ALLOWS UNLIMITED CONNECTIONS: IPVanish is a fast WireGuard VPN for gaming that is hugely popular with KODI users. It is perfect for large families or people who want to use a VPN on multiple devices thanks to its unlimited connection allowance. Has a solid no-logs policy. Secure servers in 50+ countries that provide excellent speeds for gaming. Works with Netflix US and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.

IPVanish Coupon
SAVE 77% on the 2 year plan
Discount applied automatically

7. Atlas VPN

OS: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Smart TVs, Linux
Money Back Guarantee: 30 days
Speed: 8/10
Value for Money: 9/10
Streaming: 9/10
Ease of use: 10/10
Privacy: 8.6/10
Customer Support: 8/10

AtlasVPN is a reliable option for gamers seeking unrestricted access to game servers in any location. Since being launched in 2019, this VPN has quickly gained popularity worldwide, offering a free plan with 5 GB of monthly data, meaning you can try it without paying a dime.

AtlasVPN makes your activities private when at home, at work, and on public WiFi thanks to its rock-solid encryption. You can bypass gaming restrictions at work or in restricted countries with complete peace of mind.

Although the free servers may be slow and not suitable for streaming or gaming, they still offer a reliable option for bypassing blocks or using the internet privately, which is useful if the web is censored where you live.

AtlasVPN has easy-to-use custom apps for iOS, Windows, macOS, and Android. It allows unlimited device connections, so you can install and use your account on any device you happen to own.

Despite being cheap, the VPN has DNS leak protection, a kill switch, MultiHop connections, ad blocking, malware filtering, and split tunneling. The fast WireGuard protocol ensures excellent speeds for games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, and League of Legends. It works with popular services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+, which makes it a great all-rounder!


  • Fast WireGuard protocol for streaming and using social media
  • Works with Netflix US and other popular streaming services
  • Unlimited connections with a single account
  • Kill switch, split tunneling, and MultiHop features


  • Based in the US
  • Kill-switch leaks momentarily on reconnection
  • Live chat support is for subscribers only

HUGELY POPULAR: [ct_affiliate_link location=”cta”]AtlasVPN is fast thanks[/ct_affiliate_link] to its native WireGuard protocol. Easy to use and comes with plenty of advanced features, including MultiHop, split tunneling, ad blocking, malicious site blocking, and servers in 44+ countries. No-logs policy. Works to access popular streaming services like Netflix.

Atlas VPN Coupon
SAVE 83% on a 3 year plan + 3 months FREE
Discount applied automatically

Gaming VPN testing methodology

In our search for the best VPN for gaming, we prioritized security above all else. We carefully examined each VPN’s encryption, privacy policies, and data handling practices to ensure we only recommended gaming VPNs that are also completely reliable for privacy and security purposes.

Our comprehensive evaluation checked each VPN’s applications and privacy policies with an emphasis on features that make VPNs better for gaming, such as fast speeds. We also considered server locations and the ability to bypass restrictions so that you can use the VPN to access foreign game servers or streaming services.

Our recommended VPNs offer versatility and excel in meeting gamers’ needs. They all provide smooth gameplay, reliable connections for multiplayer sessions, and fast download speeds for downloading updates and playing data-intensive games.

For a detailed understanding of our testing and VPN recommendation process, we encourage you to check out our comprehensive testing methodology guide. It outlines the steps we used to identify the best VPNs for gaming and to land on the final order of our list. Below, we’ve highlighted some key features we looked for.

  • Privacy and security: A VPN is a privacy service above all else. That is why we’ve handpicked VPNs that protect you from data snoops, government surveillance, and tracking at the hands of local networks or corporations. Our recommended VPNs boast robust encryption, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and reliable protocols to keep your gaming sessions secure.
  • Fast servers: We understand that speed is crucial for a seamless gaming experience. We picked VPNs with fast servers and the cutting-edge WireGuard protocol. This lets you unblock games smoothly and without compromising on speed.
  • Customer support: Getting set up with a VPN can be overwhelming, but our selections offer reliable customer support through email, live chat, and comprehensive guides to assist you no matter your skill level.
  • Freedom of access: We tested each VPN’s unblocking capabilities to check that they can bypass location and network restrictions. Bonus points were awarded to VPNs that work seamlessly with popular streaming services.
  • Value for money: We’ve handpicked VPNs that offer exceptional service at fair prices. We’ve even highlighted some VPNs with limited free plans, allowing you to access social media without spending a dime.
  • Independent audits: Our top three recommendations have undergone rigorous third-party audits of their infrastructure and policies. This ensures that their security has been verified, which reinforces trust in their service.
  • Diskless servers: To further enhance your security, our top three VPNs operate RAM-only servers, enabling immediate erasure of all data in emergencies by simply cutting the power.

Gaming VPN FAQs

Can I use a free VPN for gaming?

Two of the VPNs we have recommended for gaming in this guide have a basic free plan. You can use those VPNs without paying a dime. The free plan is there as a loss leader to show people what the VPN is capable of. They put certain restrictions on their free servers in order to encourage users to upgrade to a paid plan.

Both of the VPNs we have recommended in this guide provide all of their privacy and security features when you connect to a free server. The free version still completely protects your browsing habits against tracking at the hands of local networks, ISPs, and government snoops. You can also use the free version to protect your privacy and data security when using public WiFi.

The caveat is that you can only connect to a few server locations, and free servers are slower than paid ones. This generally makes them unsuitable for data-intensive tasks such as gaming. When you pay for a subscription, you get access to unrestricted servers that offer the VPN’s full speeds.

You can find many free VPNs advertised on app stores like Google Play or Apple App Store, but the vast majority of these are unreliable. Studies have revealed that free VPNs often lack encryption, which means they are giving you a false sense of security. Your ISP and local networks might still be able to see what you are doing online.

In addition, free VPNs have invasive privacy policies that allow them to harvest your data, monitor your web visits for profiling purposes, and sell your information to third parties. Free VPNs profit from your data rather than provide you with online privacy. These cowboy VPNs are a huge risk to your data security, so we urge you to avoid them at all costs.

If you are short on cash, stick to the free VPNs in this guide. Compare the free plans to their paid versions risk-free – they all have money-back guarantees.

Do I need a fast VPN for gaming?

Yes. There are dozens of competing VPNs available on the market, and the vast majority of these are not suitable for playing games. Many VPNs have inferior server networks that will slow your internet connection down. This will negatively affect your gaming experience and make you wish that you never used a VPN at all.

If you purchase a subpar VPN, you will almost certainly find yourself reaching to switch it off. Although many inferior VPNs are on the market, there are also plenty of good ones. Many fast VPNs do not cost much.

The VPNs in this guide invest in world-class server networks that provide exceptionally fast speeds. You can change your IP address and still get the speeds promised by your ISP.

That said, we urge you to remember that a VPN cannot actually work miracles. The speed of your internet is controlled by your ISP and the level of service you pay for. If you are paying for slow internet, a fast VPN will not speed it up.

Can a VPN speed up my internet while gaming?

You should not expect a VPN to speed up your internet. A VPN must encrypt your data and route it to the VPN server location on its way to the game server. This will usually introduce some additional lag.

There is one exception to this rule. If your ISP is throttling your bandwidth specifically when you play games, then a VPN can speed up your internet. The encryption provided by a VPN prevents your ISP from knowing what you are doing online. This stops your ISP from being able to throttle specific activities, such as streaming, torrenting, or gaming.

Not all ISPs engage in bandwidth throttling, but if yours does, then it is worth testing a VPN to see if it improves your gaming experience.

Why do ISPs engage in bandwidth throttling?

Internet Service Providers have numerous subscribers connected to the internet via their network, and they strive to provide a reliable connection for all users. However, during peak times, the network may experience congestion. To address this issue, ISPs implement automated network balancing systems.

As part of these measures, ISPs monitor users’ online activities. If a user is found to be using websites or services that consume a significant amount of bandwidth, the ISP may throttle that user’s bandwidth. While this helps alleviate network congestion during peak hours, it can also lead to slower internet speeds when gaming.

If you notice a decrease in internet speed while playing games, it’s possible that your ISP is using throttling. In such cases, we recommend using a reliable VPN for gaming. A VPN encrypts your traffic, preventing your ISP from detecting that you are gaming. This should stop the automated throttling system from discriminating against game traffic.

Which countries block games? And what games do they block?

Many different countries block games, and some have forced game developers to make changes (censor) to their games in order to release them in that market. This can involve removing certain aspects of gameplay, removing political references, or changing the way a game looks and plays in order to make it compliant with local regulations.

Below, we have included a list of countries that have banned specific games. Please note that the list is not comprehensive and that many other games have been censored or banned by countries around the world.

  • China: China has blocked and censored many games for political and cultural reasons, particularly those with violent content, criticisms of China, or contradicting the Chinese Communist Party. For example, games like PUBG, Fortnite, and World of Warcraft have all faced restrictions or modifications.
  • Iran: In Iran, games that include excessive violence, cruelty, strong sexual content, nudity, or portray the Middle East negatively are often subject to bans and restrictions. Games like Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft have faced restrictions.
  • UAE (United Arab Emirates): The UAE enforces a strict content policy and has banned games considered offensive or in violation of Islamic values. Titles like Grand Theft Auto V and The Witcher 3 have been restricted.
  • Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia bans games that it deems inappropriate or that violate Islamic values. Games like God of War and One Piece: World Seeker have been blocked.
  • North Korea: North Korea heavily restricts internet access, and most online games are blocked or inaccessible in the country.
  • Australia: Australia has a classification system for video games that restricts access to certain games based on their content. Games with extreme violence, explicit sexual content, or illegal activities may be banned or receive restricted classifications, meaning they can only be sold to adults. Titles like Manhunt, Postal 2, and Outlast 2 have faced bans or restrictions in Australia.
  • Germany: Germany has strict regulations on video game content, particularly regarding violence and Nazi symbolism. Games that feature excessive violence or display symbols related to Nazi ideology may be banned or heavily censored. Titles like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Call of Duty: WWII have faced censorship in Germany.

If you live in a country that has blocked or censored the games you want to play, you can regain access to the game, or use the uncensored version by connecting to a VPN server outside of your country.

Can I play games at work with a VPN?

Yes. If your employer has blocked game servers for Fortnite, CoD, Minecraft, or any other game that you like, you can regain access by using a VPN. A VPN provides you with encryption and allows you to bypass any restrictions placed on the local network. This allows you to play games as if you were back home.

Thanks to the privacy provided by the VPN, your employer will not be able to detect that you bypassed the rules. Of course, this will not stop your boss from walking up behind you when you are playing a game on your work computer, so exercise caution.

Question mark icon

Did you know

The following information is available to any site you visit:

Best VPN for gaming in 2023

I tested various paid-for services to determine which works best for gamers and lived to tell the tale.

best VPN for gaming

I’ve tested a host of different paid-for services to find out which works best for gamers.

When it comes to gaming, the best VPN should offer a stable and responsive connection while ensuring your privacy remains under your control. It should seamlessly work with your favorite online services wherever you travel and be reliable enough not to interrupt gaming sessions.

While numerous VPN options are available, only a few cater to PC gamers’ need for security and speed. These recommended VPNs below prioritize your online privacy without hindering your gaming experience. Surfshark is the best gaming VPN, offering affordability, ease of use, and support for unlimited devices. For budget-conscious users, IPVanish provides the best value VPN.

Throughout the year, I conduct extensive tests on various VPN services, considering their overall performance for online gaming and general use. I aim to find VPNs that deliver an excellent gaming experience without straining your budget or CPU. I meticulously evaluate factors like cost, performance, and features to determine the top VPNs so you can have peace of mind about your privacy.

While achieving the best VPN experience may come at a cost, the VPNs listed here offer reasonable prices for their monthly or yearly subscriptions. Beware of free VPNs, as they often track and sell your data to third parties, defeating the purpose of using a VPN. Always read the fine print to ensure your privacy remains intact.

1. Surfshark – the best VPN for gaming
Surfshark is the best VPN for its performance, ease of use, affordability, and versatility. After all, it’s one of the only VPNs I’ve tested to allow unlimited devices attached to a single account.

2. NordVPN – the best VPN for consistent upload speeds
As a close second, NordVPN is worth your time and money if upload speed is the most important thing to you while connected to a VPN connection. It offers close to un-VPN’d download speeds and the highest upload speeds I’ve tested.

3. IPVanish – the best value VPN for gaming
If value for money is the most important things when you’re shopping for a VPN, then IPVanish is a great shout. It isn’t as fully featured as some of the more expensive options, but you get free encrypted storage baked into the package, too.

4. ExpressVPN – the best VPN for the global community
It may be coming in at number four, but ExpressVPN is still a great service. It may not have offered the most competitive download and upload performance when I last tested it, but it’s one of the most wide-reaching with servers in 94 countries worldwide,

I would say just to be wary of free VPNs unless you’re absolutely sure how your data is being processed and where it will end up. They can be a handy alternative for just getting a quick look at how something looks from a different region but will generally also have the biggest impact on just how fast your connection is.

1. Surfshark

The best VPN for gaming


Servers: 1,700+
Countries: 63
Max devices: Unlimited
Today’s Best Deals
+3 months free
Surfshark 24 Months
Surfshark 12 Months
Surfshark 1 Month

Reasons to buy

Unlimited devices
Impressive speed
Top ping performance

Reasons to avoid

Slower upload than NordVPN

Surfshark is my boy. For me, it’s the best VPN for gaming that we’ve tested, offering a great combination of lower ping than my non-VPN connection and a relatively minor hit on overall download speeds. It’s ever so slightly taxing on the uploads than NordVPN, which comes out top on that score, but not by enough to put me off. You’ll probably want to prioritize that upload speed for streamers, making NordVPN the go-to option. But then, as a streamer, you’d probably rather have the total bandwidth available to you at all times…

The app is straightforward. There are neat features such as an optional kill switch (disabling your internet connection if the VPN drops for any reason) and an allowlist to allow banking apps through the VPN block. The company offers a strict no-logs policy and seems to be reliable on that front.

Surfshark is also the only service tested that offers access to unlimited devices from a single account. That’s pretty impressive, considering the relatively low cost compared to some of its peers.

The only issue I’ve encountered is that it doesn’t seem like a comfortable fit for torrenting. I struggled to get anything to function, so if that’s a deal-breaker for you, you’ll probably want to look at Nord instead.

Today’s best Surfshark deals
+3 months free

Surfshark 24 Months

Surfshark 12 Months

Surfshark 1 Month

2. NordVPN

The best VPN for consistent upload speeds


Servers: 5,700+
Countries: 59
Max devices: 6
Today’s Best Deals
NordVPN 2 Year
NordVPN 1 year
NordVPN 1 Month

Reasons to buy

Top download and upload speeds
Decent ping performance
Netflix access

Reasons to avoid

App requires lots of updating

It’s close between Surfshark and NordVPN, but the toothy one just about wins out thanks to its unlimited devices, lower price, and lower ping. NordVPN is the high-performance option of download and upload speeds are the be-all and end-all for your PC experience. It delivers one of the highest relative download speeds in my testing compared to an untouched connection and the highest upload speed.

That seems to be where many VPN services fall in just how much they tank your upload connection. My upload speed is already 10x slower than my downloads, so I can ill afford to lose any more. But NordVPN still delivers around 85% of that connection, while Private Internet Access dropped down to 35%.

It’s also your best option if you find torrenting your go-to method of accessing content online. Surfshark seems to block everything, in my experience, making Nord the next best thing.

The service also delivers an impressive ping performance, getting close to my unfettered ping score and consistently beating my game ping scores too. NordVPN uses the latest WireGuard VPN protocol, which it’s called NordLynx. It’s reportedly the fastest around and does seem to help it run consistently well.

Today’s best NordVPN deals

NordVPN 2 Year

NordVPN 1 year

NordVPN 1 Month

3. IPVanish

The best-value VPN for gaming


Servers: 1,400+
Countries: 51
Max devices: 10
Today’s Best Deals
IPVanish 24 months
IPVanish 12 months
IPVanish 1 month

Reasons to buy

Good value
Decent performance

Reasons to avoid

Not as fully-featured as others

IPVanish is one of the most affordable VPN services we’ve tested, but that doesn’t mean you’re missing out. It might not have the full feature set of Surfshark or NordVPN, but you do get 250GB of SugarSync encrypted storage and backup for free with a new subscription, which could give you a little extra peace of mind over your more sensitive documents.

It performs well too. The impact on my upload and download speed is impressively minimal, and it also manages, for the most part, to drop down the in-game ping when gaming online. There was a little spike in CS: GO, but nothing worrying, and still with fewer packet drops than with my standard connection.

If you’re after a quality VPN service to run on your gaming machine, and potentially on nine other devices simultaneously, but don’t want to spend big, then IPVanish is a great alternative to the top two on our list.

Today’s best IPVanish deals

IPVanish 24 months

IPVanish 12 months

IPVanish 1 month

4. ExpressVPN

The best VPN for the global community


Servers: 3,000+
Countries: 94
Max devices: 5
Today’s Best Deals
ExpressVPN 12 month
ExpressVPN 6 month
ExpressVPN 1 month

Reasons to buy

Servers available across the globe
Great Chrome plugin

Reasons to avoid

Slower upload speeds

Our list’s second most expensive service is also the broadest reach globally. With servers in a staggering 94 countries, if you’re looking to play with friends abroad, or find yourself traveling a lot, then ExpressVPN could be your best bet for a solid, secure, and relatively speedy connection.

ExpressVPN isn’t bad in my testing for in-game ping performance, regularly giving me a lower millisecond count than my standard connection in Battlefield 5. Still, it sometimes struggled in CS: GO. However, it was the weakest when it came to downloading speeds—not that 94% of my regular connection is bad—but the upload hit was second only to the dreadful performance of Private Internet Access.

Of the top four, it also has the fewest number of simultaneous devices allowed, though, at five devices, you can still share the load across PC, laptop, phone, and significant other. But ExpressVPN is still a quality, reliable service that may not have the top-level performance I’ve measured from some others, but it is still a decent option for PC gamers.

Today’s best ExpressVPN deals

ExpressVPN 12 month

ExpressVPN 6 month

ExpressVPN 1 month
Image 1 of 3

Other VPNs tested

PC Gamer’s got your back

Our experienced team dedicates many hours to every review, to really get to the heart of what matters most to you. Find out more about how we evaluate games and hardware.


Today’s best VyprVPN deals

VyprVPN 1 Year

VyprVPN 1 Month

Private Internet Access

Today’s best London Trust Media Private Internet Access deals

Private Internet Access 24 Month

Private Internet Access 6 Month

Private Internet Access 1 Month


Today’s best CyberGhost VPN deals
+2 months free

CyberGhost 24 Month

CyberGhost 6 Month

CyberGhost 1 Month

The best VPN FAQ

Is a VPN good for gaming?

The historical consensus has been that you shouldn’t use a VPN while gaming online because it might impact your connection and slow you down. Yes, you might be able to bypass the bane of geo-blocking, but many people complain about horrifying lag and subsequent in-game failures.

That is still the case if you’re using a bandwidth-limited free service, such as Hola or the basic TunnelBear package, but if you pick wisely, you could find the best VPN for gaming, in some cases, can improve your online performance.

It may sound like we’re pulling your chain. But it’s true; a good VPN service can keep you safe and secure behind the scenes and improve your ping results in-game. Now, it’s not a case of some fancy wizardry that will suddenly turn a slow internet connection into a lightning-quick one. But the best VPNs for gaming will often boast superior routing compared to your current internet service provider (ISP). That means you could get less packet loss via a VPN, and you might even see a lower ping, making your connection more responsive in-game.

I run a generally reliable, 100Mbit+ fiber connection at home, yet I still experience packet loss when I’ve got boots on the ground in Battlefield 5. My ping isn’t bad, but it could always be better, right? Running a VPN does, however, take a bit of a chunk out of your overall download and upload speeds, but maybe not as much as you might think. Picking the best VPN for gaming will minimize that impact.

Why should I bother with a VPN?

There are other reasons you might want to run a VPN on your PC; the number one draw is online security. If you don’t want a network tracking your every move, using a virtual private network is the best way to avoid that. The best VPNs run a ‘no log’ policy, which means they’ll store no data about you or your activity, helping you stay secure in the face of any data breach. Again, it will also help you get around geo-blocking. Say you want to unlock a new game early or wish to subscribe to a service only available in another country, no problem.

How are VPNs tested?

Testing VPNs is a fun game and doesn’t always end up with you bricking your internet connection each time you uninstall one to install another. Honestly. Not every time, anyway… We’ve sourced accounts for each of the services and tested them all on the same 100Mbit connection at the same time of day to ensure a fair reflection of the performance of each of them.

There are free VPNs and some VPN services with free tiers, but you won’t find them suitable for connecting while gaming online. They almost always introduce latency to your experience and severely hamper the overall performance of your network connection.

We haven’t included any free options, such as Hola or TunnelBear, in this list. They’re also not necessarily a practical choice if you’re trying to get around geo-blocked services such as video streaming, as you may still find them restricted.

As for testing, first, I took a measurement of my standard, unfettered internet connection, using that as a baseline against which to test each of the different services. Then I installed each VPN and tried it before uninstalling it to add a new VPN fresh.