Disclaimer: Partnerships & affiliate links help us create better content. Learn how.
When it comes to online gaming, a big myth that halts people from investing in a VPN is the concern over internet performance and potential lag. Although this might be the case if you’re using a bandwidth-limited free VPN service, there are dozens of high-quality VPN apps you can purchase for a small monthly fee that can actually improve your online experience.
The best VPN for gaming will safely hide your IP address, bypass geo-restrictions on online games, and protect you against DDoS attacks. It will also run at fast speeds, reduce ping times, and prevent your ISP from throttling your internet speed. Our experts at AlwaysVPN have done the research to find the best VPN options. Explore the top 5 VPNs for gaming below to see which one suits you best.
Top 5 VPNs for Gaming
#1 VPN for gaming and P2P traffic and boasts record low ping times on nearby servers Read More
Feature-rich VPN with consistently fast speeds across 5,500+ servers Read More
Ultra-fast gaming VPN that’s cheap and super user friendly Read More
|4||Private Internet Access|
Veteran VPN with 35K+ servers and gaming console compatibility on most models Read More
Affordable alternative with superb speeds and connections to support 4K videos, P2P downloads, and more Read More
Emerging VPN with streaming & P2P supportVisit Surfshark
- Free 7-day trial available
- Unblocks 30+ Netflix libraries
- Unlimited device connections
- Limited P2P servers with poor speeds
- No IPv6 support can lead to data leaks
- Pricey 1-month subscription
Best overall, Surfshark is a solid VPN for gaming and torrenting P2P content. Although it’s a newcomer in the VPN market, Surfshark is steadily growing its server network, with 3,200+ VPN servers across 63 countries. Not to mention, Surfshark has a SmartDNS feature that works with most gaming consoles and records ping time as low as 14ms. A key differentiator between Surfshark and other VPNs is its unlimited device connections, which is optimal for heavy users. It also offers OpenVPN/IKEv2, employs military-grade encryption, and displayed no IP leaks when we tested it.
Surfshark runs on a very user-friendly interface and offers industry-low pricing many VPNs can’t beat. It also comes with unlimited bandwidth and consistently delivers fast connection speeds for 4K videos, large file downloads, and uninterrupted gaming. If you’re not sold just yet, you can always test it yourself with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
For more in-depth information, read our Surfshark VPN Review.
Feature-rich VPN with strong privacy practicesVisit NordVPN
- Slick UI that's easy to manage
- Vast array of security features
- Fast download speeds
- Expensive short-term plan
- Does not accept PayPal
- Basic browser extensions
Overall, NordVPN is a feature-rich service that provides censorship-unblocking capability and a strict zero-logs policy, which gives gamers the access and anonymity they need online. It also delivers some of the fastest connection speeds we’ve seen and has over 5,500 servers in 59 countries, which heavy users rely on if they wish to bypass international firewalls and geo-restricted content.
Additionally, NordVPN applications are user-friendly and work across all platforms such as Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows, and Linux. It also comes with a proprietary SmartPlay DNS feature, which works on any gaming console that allows users to change DNS settings. If gaming is your main interest, we recommend giving NordVPN a chance.
For more in-depth information, read our NordVPN Review.
NordVPN Special Promo
NordVPN Special Promo
All-in-one solution with a massive server networkVisit CyberGhost
- Fast, secure and easy to use
- Supports torrenting/P2P
- Offers dedicated streaming servers
- No OpenVPN option on Mac and iOS
- Doesn’t work with Chromebook
- Only offers a short 1-day free trial
If you’re looking for a fast gaming VPN on a budget, CyberGhost is a great option. It has a huge server network and offers an advanced Smart DNS feature that allows users to unlock geo-restricted content on most gaming consoles. To top it off, CyberGhost has fast same-country speeds and dedicated VPN servers specifically for downloading 4K videos and sharing P2P content.
CyberGhost also offers simultaneous connections on up to 7 devices, so you can set up your VPN on multiple consoles at once. If you prefer to cover your bases first, CyberGhost has an extended 45-day money-back guarantee for users to try their service risk-free. We recommend testing it on different devices and at different times of day to see how it performs overall.
For more in-depth information, read our CyberGhost VPN Review.
CyberGhost Special Offer
CyberGhost Special Offer
4. Private Internet Access
Long-standing provider with robust security featuresVisit Private Internet Access
- Verified zero-logs policy
- Up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Runs on open-source software
- Room for interface improvements
- Limited advanced features
- HQ in the USA (FVEY jurisdiction)
Rivaling its competitors, Private Internet Access (PIA) is one of the best VPNs for gaming thanks to its massive server network and long-standing reputation as a safe VPN. It reports very fast speeds on unrestricted U.S., UK, Netherlands, Canada, Romania, Germany, France, Sweden, and Swiss-based internet services and has over 35,000+ servers across 78 countries – coverage you can’t find anywhere else.
In addition, PIA is one of the few VPN providers able to unblock a wide variety of streaming services like Netflix and Prime Video. And, while it doesn’t come with a SmartDNS feature, it does come with router-level support, so users can still connect to their VPN on any gaming consoles such as PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and more. Priced at $2.69/mo. and backed by a 30-day refund guarantee, Private Internet Access is a quality VPN for gaming you can test out for yourself.
For more in-depth information, read our Private Internet Access VPN Review.
5. ZenMate VPN
Superb speeds & connections, but no independent auditsVisit ZenMate VPN
- 7-day free trial version
- Unlimited simultaneous connections
- Impressive connection speeds
- Issues relating to ownership
- Couldn’t unblock BBC iPlayer
- Lack of features
For gamers, ZenMate is a favorite for its undeniable speeds and connections. Users can connect an unlimited number of devices, choosing from an impressive network of over 3,000 servers in 79 countries. We recorded blazing fast speeds and surprisingly low ping times and latency when testing on our end. These results are what you’d want to see if you frequently stream 4K videos or download P2P content.
Beyond that, ZenMate is one of the cheapest VPN providers if you don’t mind signing up for a longer-term contract. Its one-month plan starts at $10.99/mo. and drops to just $1.64/mo. for its three-year plan. If price and performance are at the top of your list, ZenMate might be the VPN for you.
For more in-depth information, read our ZenMate VPN Review.
VPN FAQs for Gaming
- How do I set up a VPN for gaming?
- How does a VPN affect gaming?
- Which VPN is more gaming-friendly?
- How is gaming on a VPN?
- Do all gaming platforms support VPNs?
- Should I try a free VPN for gaming?
1. How do I set up a VPN for gaming?
There are multiple ways to set up a VPN for a gaming console, such as an Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or PlayStation. You can go through either your gaming console or WiFi router to configure your VPN and start gaming securely.
If you have a VPN Smart DNS, all you have to do is navigate to your gaming console’s DNS settings and update the DNS credentials section with the login information your VPN service provided you. Some VPNs that come with Smart DNS functionality for the above consoles listed are CyberGhost, NordVPN, or Surfshark.
For those using a VPN without a Smart DNS feature, you can either use a pre-configured VPN router that simply requires login information or configure your existing router to connect with your VPN service following the instructions from your router manual.
2. How does a VPN affect gaming?
The best VPN for online gaming will provide many benefits for security, privacy, and online performance. The most important benefits include securing your personal data and providing browser privacy, allowing worldwide multiplayer games, significantly reducing ping time and lag, and unlocking geo-specific content to allow for early game access. Check out our list above of the five best VPNs for gaming in 2021.
3. Which VPN is more gaming-friendly?
The most gaming-friendly VPN services are those that offer Smart DNS capability as well as solid speed performance. A few VPN providers that do just that include CyberGhost and Surfshark. Our AlwaysVPN experts have compiled a list above of the top five VPNs for gaming in 2021.
4. How is gaming on a VPN?
A common misconception about gaming VPNs is that they generally impact your internet connection for the worst. Fears of long ping times and awful lag prevent many gamers from investing in secure VPN service, yet it’s more important than ever before to protect your personal identity and data from hackers online.
If you invest in a gaming VPN that safely hides your IP address, delivers a quality gaming experience, and has a Smart DNS feature, you can rest assured you’re protected from online threats no matter where you – or your supposed IP address – are located.
5. Do all gaming platforms support VPNs?
You can use a VPN on any gaming platform. The only caveat, however, is that not all gaming consoles allow you to directly install a VPN. Many VPN services provide apps you can download and use on clients like Windows, Mac, and Android.
If you wish to set up a VPN for gaming, you’ll most likely need to configure a VPN compatible router to connect to your VPN subscription.
6. Should I try a free VPN for gaming?
The proverbial cliché, “You get what you pay for.” rings especially true for things you pay nothing for at all. While free VPN apps are a great way to test out VPN functionality and learn what you do and don’t like, they are not the best. More times than not, “free” means bandwidth-limiting, semi-encrypted, and slow.
That being said, there are plenty of top-performing VPNs that cost less than $15 a year to enjoy. Check out our list above of the five best VPNs for gaming in 2021 to find the right fit for you.