Gaming VPNs are really cool. They let you unblock geo-locked and censored games, avoid IP bans and DDoS attacks, and lower your ping.
But with so many VPNs on the market, how do you know which one to get? How can you be sure the VPN you’ll use will really offer you the gaming experience you want?
To make things simple for you, we put together this guide. It outlines seven features any gaming VPN should have.
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7 Features All Gaming VPNs Should Have
Based on our tests, these features will make sure you’ll enjoy gaming with a VPN:
1. Fast Speeds
Lag and slow load times are the last things you want to deal with when gaming. Not to mention long wait times for updates to finish!
A VPN should offer minimal slowdown. In our opinion, a 15-20% slowdown is acceptable. Anything above 50-60% is a red flag.
2. Unlimited Bandwidth
Downloading updates eats up your bandwidth. And when an update is 1-2 GB, you don’t want it to stall because you reached your bandwidth cap for the month. So always pick a VPN that has unlimited bandwidth.
For reference, free VPNs normally use bandwidth caps. In general, they limit you to 500 MB or 2 GB per month.
3. Fast Protocols
If the VPN only has the OpenVPN protocol on your device, you’ll probably get slow speeds. It’s a good protocol, but it’s very resource-intensive.
It’s better if you can use faster protocols like:
PPTP is also really fast, but we don’t recommend it because it’s not safe.
This is a feature that lets you choose which traffic gets routed through the VPN. It’s a quick way to optimize your gaming speeds.
For example, you can use split-tunneling to only route Steam traffic through the VPN. You can make the service ignore data from Chrome, Opera, or Discord. Since there’s less data to encrypt and decrypt, your speeds should be faster.
5. Large Server Network
The bigger the network, the easier it is to find a nearby server. That way, data will travel faster between your device and the VPN, meaning you’ll get better speeds. Large networks also ensure you won’t deal with overcrowded servers (which can cause slowdowns).
A large server network also gives you more opportunities to unblock geo-restricted content or play in the same region as your friends.
Generally, we consider a network that has over 1,000 servers to be a good sign.
6. Cross-Platform Compatible Apps
A VPN can have all the features we mentioned, but that won’t help you if it’s not available on your device. A good VPN will have an app for your platform. But an excellent VPN will have apps for multiple devices:
7. User-Friendly Design
You just want to play online games. You definitely don’t want to deal with a steep learning curve and complicated setup guides and app UIs.
You should check reviews of the VPN and screenshots of their apps to see how they look. Are they intuitive? Is it easy to connect to a server? Can you tell what each feature is and what it does? Stuff like that is important for ensuring an enjoyable connection.
Optional Feature That Are Nice to Have Around
These features aren’t mandatory, but they help you get more bang for your buck.
Reading VPN reviews is nice, but they don’t give a clear picture. You’ll only know if the VPN is really good after you have spent a few hours (ideally days) gaming with it.
That’s where a no-questions-asked refund comes into play. It basically means you can ask for your money back without having to meet any requirements (like not using up a certain amount of data).
Most top VPNs offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. That’s plenty of time to test the service to make sure it’s right for you. If you want a longer refund period, try CyberGhost VPN. If you get a long-term subscription, your purchase is covered by a 45-day money-back guarantee.
Let’s say the VPN stops working, or you can’t connect to a server. Sending an email and having to wait three-four days to get a reply doesn’t sound appealing, right? Not when your teammates are waiting for you to get back in the game.
That’s why it helps if a VPN provider has 24/7 support. Ideally, it should be through live chat. That way, you can instantly get in touch with a support rep, explain what’s going on, and get a solution.
It’s also nice if the VPN provider has an extensive support section with tons of step-by-step guides. Who knows, you might be able to solve the issue without having to contact customer support at all.
Some VPNs have ad blockers that (like the name implies) block ads. They can also block connections to malicious sites.
Why is this helpful?
Well, maybe you want to play online games in your browser. An ad blocker can help you get rid of annoying ads that ruin your immersion and make your web browser slower.
Also, a VPN’s ad blocker can keep you safe from shady free game sites. If you accidentally access one that hosts malware, the VPN app won’t let you connect to it.
How to Find a Good Feature-Packed Gaming VPN
If you don’t have time to do the research yourself, try this guide from ProPrivacy to find the best feature packed VPNs for gaming. The article showcases the best gaming VPNs according to ProPrivacy’s research (a well-known VPN review site).
ProPrivacy stress-tested all providers to make sure they offer a great gaming experience. They also answered relevant FAQs and offered good tips (like how to reduce ping while using a gaming VPN).
What Other Features Do You Look for?
Please tell us what other features a good gaming VPN should have. We’d also like to hear what your favorite gaming VPNs are. Feel free to also mention VPN providers that offer a bad gaming experience.