A Beginner’s Guide to Using a VPN for Online Gaming

By SG Shot

One of the primary concerns for gaming enthusiasts is exposing their IP addresses. If this happens, a malicious person can use this information to launch DoS or DDoS attacks, which not only prevents you from gaming but could also take your network. Using a gaming VPN secures your connection even when you are using unsecured Wi-Fi. As there are no logs of your online activity, there are no personal details or Internet history in the event of a data breach.

How Does Using a VPN Affect Gaming Online?

Normally, a VPN encrypts your data when you are using the Internet, thus preventing prying eyes from viewing your online activity or accessing your private details. It also breaks through restriction walls and prevents ISPs from throttling your Internet connection. Using a VPN is as simple as installing software on your device. No complex setup configurations or procedures are involved. Simply download and select your preferred server location. You can also use a VPN on mobile devices or configure your router to encrypt your entire home network.

The VPN redirects your data to a secure, remote server, which spends time encrypting and decrypting requests. For this reason, you might notice lag while gaming. Luckily, modern gaming consoles and personal computers have higher processing power, thus making Internet lag while using a VPN barely noticeable. Many premium providers also offer dedicated gaming servers to further eliminate any latency encryption protocols may cause.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Gaming VPN

There are several factors to consider before choosing a gaming VPN as you do not want to compromise on speed or increase latency. Some of these factors include:

Security

Some gaming VPNs offer better security than others. When it comes to the privacy and security of a VPN, it boils down to the country of origin and its encryption methods.

Different countries have varying laws and policies when it comes to Internet privacy. For instance, authorities of some countries demand that VPN providers log user activity and data for one to three months. This defeats the purpose of using a VPN as the security of your data is not guaranteed. It’s important to know where your provider is based and the impact the local laws will have on your privacy.

Some VPN services use older encryption methods, which are generally weaker compared to newer ones. There are many different protocols, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, but PPTP is generally one to avoid.

Performance

The effect a gaming VPN has on speed can range from hardly noticeable to a barely tolerable gaming experience. One of the key factors that can affect your connection speed is server proximity. For instance, there are great VPN providers who have servers in, let’s say 30 countries. Traveling to countries that do not have servers located within them means that your VPN’s performance will drop significantly. Also, a VPN server that is only 100 miles away will perform better than one that is 1000 miles away.

The overall speed of any VPN depends on its implementation and the technology used while creating it. Some providers have a better reputation for performance and speed than others. This means that in spite of having similar server proximity, certain VPNs may provide a better gaming experience than others.

Other factors

  • Ease of Installation and Use — Home gamers often do not need features that are needed in a commercial setting. Most just want a VPN that’s easy to install and set up.
  • Customer Support — You need to know that any issues with your VPN will be addressed, no matter the time of the day. Most VPNs offer round the clock live chat support. However, many are difficult to reach by phone, especially beyond the working hours in their country of origin. Newer VPNs have detailed guides and tutorials to help resolve just about any issue.
  • Budget — While there are free VPNs, they aren’t generally recommended, especially for gaming. In most cases, VPN providers offer a discount when you choose a longer subscription. For example, you may be charged $15/month if you choose a monthly subscription but $8/month if you opt for an annual subscription.

The primary factors to consider when choosing a gaming VPN are server locations, performance, and privacy. Just like using a VPN for personal use, using one while gaming allows you to access geo-restricted content as well as aid in anonymous browsing and streaming.

CEO at VPN.com — The worldwide leader in VPN research

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