Why should you use a VPN for gaming?

Expressvpn Gaming
Expressvpn Gaming (Image credit: ExpressVPN)

Many people spend hours of their day gaming, whether it's playing Fifa on a games console or playing Fornite on a smartphone. However you play games, it's likely that you're doing so over the internet. Therefore, you're exposed to all sorts of security and privacy implications. That's why using one of the best VPNs is important for gaming, as they can solve these issues and lots more.

Stop cyber crime

When you're gaming, the last thing you want is to be hit by a distributed denial-of-service attack. This is when a hacker breaches a load of connected devices and uses them to bombard another system with large amounts of incoming traffic, rendering it useless.

Although DDoS attacks are usually targeted at large websites, it's possible that a hacker (or even a gaming opponent) could launch a DDoS attack on you. But with a VPN, your IP address will be hidden and you'll be safe from the threat of DDoS attacks.

However, VPNs don't just stop DDoS attacks; they'll make your gaming experience much safer overall. Thanks to strong encryption, hackers won't be able to steal personal data such as credit card information. What's more, many VPN providers mitigate malware, adware, web trackers and other threats, and because your IP address is concealed, your online privacy is greatly improved.

Improved performance

As a gamer, you don't want to experience laggy performance. Unfortunately, if you're always gaming, your internet service provider may see this as an exhaustive activity and respond by making your internet connection slower (also known as bandwidth throttling). ISPs also use bandwidth throttling at different times of the day when people are more likely to be using the internet.

Either way, you don't want bandwidth throttling to make gameplay slower. However, VPNs can help here as they can prevent bandwidth throttling by hiding your IP address and stopping IPs from seeing your internet usage data. DDoS attacks can also impact performance, but again, VPNs will protect you from these. And by finding and connecting to a server that is nearer to your gaming provider, you should see a decrease in lag and ping.

Get access to more games

As well as improved security and privacy, using a VPN will also enable you to access more content on your games console. Whether it's new games or movies on Netflix, some content may not be available in your country or region. But as you're able to connect to servers in other parts of the world by using a VPN, you can easily get around geo restrictions to access blocked content.

Downsides to using a VPN for gaming

Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are potential downsides when using a VPN for gaming. For starters, some countries have banned the use of VPNs, and if a games company or ISP finds out that you're using a VPN, they could penalise you for it. Another con is that these services aren't always designed for gaming, and therefore some providers may not offer apps for gaming consoles. So you'd need to manually install it. But overall, many of the best VPNs are excellent for gaming.

We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).

2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad.

We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Nicholas Fearn