If you're looking for the very best VPN for gaming, we'd refer you to Bonnie Tyler: it's gotta be strong and it's gotta be fast. There's no point in putting down money on a service that's going to let you down or slow your connection during a tense Battle Royale, so finding the right fit for you is essential.
Still on the fence as to why you'd need the best VPN for gaming in the first place? Let’s rewind for a second. VPN means 'Virtual Private Network', and it encrypts your online communications to keep your data away from prying eyes. Security is the aim of the game here, so VPNs are a solid way of safeguarding your device. In addition, it allows you to sidestep troublesome geo-blocks. This is where content is blocked in certain parts of the world, usually because of rights issues. This includes everything from which shows appear on Netflix to online stores, so it's a bit of a pain. As such, a VPN is a boon if you’re on vacation and want to catch up on a show you’re able to watch at home but not abroad (if that sounds handy, give our Netflix VPN guide a look).
What does all this have to do with gaming, though? Well, a VPN might be useful if you want to play multiplayer games but can’t find enough opponents in your area. One of our suggestions will allow you to try matchmaking in another part of the world instead. Cool, right? VPNs are also handy if you're based in China and want to use the likes of Steam.
Sure, we wouldn't recommend getting a VPN to improve your connection speeds in-game. Indeed, it could have the opposite effect. But they've definitely got their advantages.
So, do you need a VPN for gaming? If you're still on the fence, our in-depth feature will help you decide. And if you're hunting down a PlayStation-specific VPN, our guide to the best VPN for PS4 will send you in the right direction.
Best VPN for gaming - top 5
Of all the VPN services we've tried, ExpressVPN comes out on top. Besides being reliable and secure, it's fast. That makes it well-suited to gaming or HD streaming.
It's also compatible with a wide variety of devices and is very user-friendly. Operated via a straightforward app, swapping between regions is easy. All you need to do is select a region from the dropdown menu and click the central button.
Although ExpressVPN is a little more expensive than some competitors, it boasts 256-bit encryption and doesn't feel too overwhelming. We'd recommend it for those reasons alone, but its versatility when it comes to protecting your data via PC and watching shows outside of your region elevate it to the top spot.
When it comes to speed, IPVanish performs well - it tests up to five times faster than some other VPNs over short-hop connections. Overall download speeds are pretty good, too.
The service's functionality is just as impressive. Its servers are sorted by ping-time and suitability, and you won't be stuck for choice; IPVanish has well over 1000 servers spread across 60 international locations. As you'd expect, security is good as well - it has 256-bit AES encryption to speak of.
Thanks to 4,400 servers spread across the world, NordVPN's coverage is excellent. Its performance is equally impressive - there's little obvious difference between gaming with the VPN active and using a normal connection.
Security is where NordVPN really pulls ahead, though. It boasts 2048-bit encryption and DDoS protection on selected servers (alongside a very strict 'no logging' policy), so it's pretty watertight.
If you want speed, look no further than VyprVPN. It excels in that department, and in our tests we found that it actually increased our download speed by up to 250%. That's exceptional.
It's got 200,000 IP addresses as well, not to mention an NAT firewall for blocking unwanted traffic, so VyprVPN is a formidable piece of software. However, be warned - it doesn't offer refunds.
Buffered VPN may not offer the most servers on this list, but it does bring the goods in other areas. Namely, it clears up in terms of latency. Our tests recorded lower pings using Buffered VPN than a normal connection, and that's impressive work.
It comes at a price, of course - this is one of the more expensive VPN options for gaming. Still, it's got a very reasonable refund policy. You can get your money back if you don't go over 10 hours, 100 sessions, or 10GB of use.