James Patterson | 2 May 2017
Are you frustrated by slow speeds when you’re gaming? Do you want the frag but only get the lag? Or maybe you’re concerned about your information being snooped on while you game? These are issues that all gamers deal with, but luckily, there is a solution: a VPN provides a fix for all these problems and more. In the past few years, VPN usage among gamers has seen a dramatic increase as ISPs and network providers struggle to maintain fast speeds amid ever-rising bandwidth consumption. Add that to the exponential increase in spying and monitoring that’s going on, and it’s no wonder that internet users are scrambling for ways to protect their privacy. If you’ve never considered using a VPN for your gaming sessions, it may be time to try it out. Below are a few of the benefits that a VPN can offer your online gaming.
One of the most notorious roadblocks that gaming publishers have implemented in recent years is geo-restriction. That is, restricting some content or blocking access to different servers based on where the user is physically located. Want to access a special-edition DLC that’s only available in Japan, but you’re in New York? Sorry, out of luck! Or maybe you have some friends that play on North America servers but you’re stuck in Hong Kong? Too bad, guess you’ll have to party up with some randoms instead!
Using a VPN allows you to bypass these restrictions, thanks to VPN providers offering servers in many different parts of the world. When a connection is made to a VPN server in a different geographic area, your IP address is updated to reflect the location of the VPN node, so when you connect to the game servers, it just sees you as being located in that area instead of your real location. All you do is select a server in your desired location, connect to it, and the game suddenly thinks you’re there. No more playing with PUGs!
If you’ve been frustrated by lag in your gaming, VPNs can help with that too. Sometimes the backbone network infrastructure in your country just can’t cut it, or your ISP might even be throttling speeds for P2P connections that games rely on. A VPN solves this problem by taking the heavy lifting away from these crumbling networks and sending your data through its fast, secure channels instead. Some gamers attest that they can’t even play their favorite games anymore without a VPN because their normal connection is just that bad.
A good VPN provider will emphasize speed above everything else, because they know that if you’re paying for the service, you expect the speed to be just the same as if you were using your normal unmodified connection. In fact, thanks to ISPs throttling and not giving you the full speed you’re paying for anyway, using a VPN can sometimes actually be faster than not using one at all. Stop wasting time in loading screens and shooting where your opponent was two seconds ago – get a VPN and get up to speed. When your ping is higher than your bank account balance and milliseconds are the difference between victory and defeat, you’ll be glad your ultra-fast VPN is by your side.
It’s an unfortunate fact that everything we do online these days is monitored by somebody. Whether it’s a hacker trying to steal your credit card, the government trying to put you on a list, or your ISP making sure you’re not downloading a car, tracking and spying is a sad reality we all deal with. Fortunately, VPNs can help here too.
In addition to giving you fast speeds and the ability to be anywhere, a VPN encrypts your gaming session so that the data being sent from your PC isn’t readable by anyone. The encryption essentially turns your browsing data into a code that is only readable if someone obtained the encryption key, and modern encryption algorithms make it next to impossible to do so. Even if you were being deliberately monitored by someone, they wouldn’t be able to see or use your data – it would just be a jumbled mess that doesn’t make sense. So feel free to whine about hackers, report feeders, and flame the other team – at least no one will know you’re doing it.
Some ISPs just don’t seem to have the word “uptime” in their dictionary. It seems the major providers are always having network issues somewhere, which can kill your gaming session and force you to wait for them to fix the problem. With a VPN, you’re taking your connection outside of their network infrastructure, which means you can get around connection problems as long as the route between your PC and the VPN server is still up. This is especially useful on launch days or when major updates are released, since massive traffic can sometimes overload an ISP’s systems and cause everyone with that provider to be locked out while they work on the issue.
VPNs also offer flexibility in allowing you to route your traffic through countries where your ISP may not even have any network infrastructure, which is handy if there is a massive outage that affects a huge geographic area. Maybe you’re in California and trying to connect to game servers in New York, but half of the central US is down? No problem – jump through a VPN node in London or Ontario to get around it, and you’re good to go.
Some of our favorite VPN services that we recommend for our friends in the online gaming community include:
Most VPNs have dedicated clients for Windows, Android, and iOS. Install the client on your device, sign in, select a server and connect.
As you can see, there are many benefits to using a VPN for online gaming, which your regular ISP probably can’t match. Many VPN providers are even tailored specifically to gamers and understand their needs. Whether you need to bypass a geo-restriction, reduce lag, protect your privacy, or all of the above, it’s worth looking into a VPN to up your game.
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