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Playing games used to be so innocent. All you needed was a console and joypad, and there were no worries about geo-blockers, DDoS attacks, latency drops, or ISP throttling.
However, that’s all changed. Modern gaming is heavily internet-based, and all of the listed nasties are now on the scene. But help could be at hand in the form of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
If you want to skip straight to a gaming VPN that’s well recognised PureVPN could be the ideal option. But read on for more information about how to use a VPN with video games.
Why would you need a VPN to play games?
Many gamers might question the need to combine a VPN with their favourite games. However, there are a number of excellent reasons to add one to your gaming setup.
Firstly, some gaming marketplaces use what are known as geo-filters. These filters limit the content available in different geographical areas according to corporate pricing strategies.
So, for example, the selection of games available to Aussie PlayStation Network users will differ from the selection in the UK. With a VPN installed, you can pose as a user from anywhere in the world, expanding the range of content available to download.
This also means that you’ll be able to access geo-locked content before the official release date in your region. So why let people elsewhere have a headstart?
Additionally, VPNs are known to minimise the risk posed by Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. These attacks can plague multiplayer gaming servers, knocking you offline in seconds.
And there could be major speed advantages. In many cases, using a Virtual Private Network can reduce the ping time between your computer and gaming servers, reducing lag to an absolute minimum.
Finally, if you love to play games on your smartphone, using a VPN makes even more sense. It can lock down the data being sent over public wifi networks while you play, preventing hijacking attacks. And when you come to download games from online platforms, you’ll be better protected from malware, too.
How to choose a VPN for gaming
So we know that there are plenty of great reasons to employ a Virtual Private Network for your gaming needs. But what things make gaming-friendly providers stand out from the crowd? Here are some key considerations to keep in mind.
- Speed – It’s absolutely vital to choose a provider with fast server speeds and a reputation for reliability. Poorly coded clients can also slash download speeds, as can encryption if it isn’t configured properly. So pick a premium ultra-fast privacy partner.
- Global server network – If you want to access geo-locked content, you’ll need the ability to change your IP address to locations elsewhere in the world. So go for VPNs with huge server communities.
- Multiple platforms – Gamers often have numerous devices, from laptops and desktops to tablets, smartphones and – of course – consoles. So you’ll need a provider with clients for the devices you use.
- Router installation – In some cases, the best way to add VPN coverage to Playstations and XBox consoles is by installing the client onto a router. Not all providers offer this, but it’s a great way to protect every device in the home.
- Trials and money back guarantees – When we’re talking about in-game performance, Virtual Private Networks vary a lot. So look for providers with full free trial versions or guarantees, and be prepared to ask for a refund if problems arise.
Virtual Private Networks tend to be developed with computers and smartphones in mind. Relatively few providers cater for standalone devices like Nintendo Switch, Playstation, or XBox consoles.
However, some do. For instance, PureVPN has a package aimed solely at PS4 gamers, promising low latency and the ability to circumvent geo-blockers.
Generally speaking, the best way to link up a PS4 or XBox One to a VPN is via an ethernet cable. You’ll probably need to install the client on a computer, then nullthe ethernet cable to share the connection. You can then use the console’s settings to use a LAN-based internet connection.
It’s not difficult to set up privacy protection on gaming consoles, but it does take a little work. So bear that in mind.
Checking out the best gaming VPNs
Finally, let’s make some recommendations about which providers to choose if your sole focus is gaming.
All of these VPNs have loyal customer bases and are being used by increasing numbers of gamers all the time. If you want to boost your speeds, access content anytime, avoid DDoS attacks and counter bandwidth throttling, it’s well worth giving them a try.