Benefits of Using a VPN for Gaming
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VPNs are a great way to keep your online activities private and secure. At the same time, they’re our go-to solution for accessing geo-blocked content like some streaming services. With the right VPN, you’ll be able to access Hulu, BBC iPlayer, and various Netflix libraries from anywhere.
Well, VPNs have also gained some renown for gaming purposes. Initially, a VPN may not sound like the ideal solution for gaming, as due to its encryption protocols and remote servers, a VPN can actually slow down your internet speed. But if you choose your gaming VPN wisely, you’ll find that you can still enjoy fewer connection drops (i.e. dreaded lag) and more perks if you use a VPN while gaming.
Still, to give you a balanced picture, we’ll go over drawbacks as well as the main benefits of using a VPN for gaming. Let’s begin with an overview of what the perks are of using a VPN for gaming.
Advantages of Using a VPN for Gaming
Before we go over each perk of using a VPN for gaming, keep in mind that not all VPNs are created equal. If you don’t already have a VPN provider and are on the lookout, we recommend that you go for one of the best premium VPNs on the market. One of the main reasons for advising you to choose carefully, and this is especially relevant for gamers, is that the best VPNs usually have more servers and server locations, which means faster and smoother connections.
Without further ado, let’s look at the pros of using a VPN for gaming.
- Bypass geo-blocks to access games: It’s not just streaming services that have geo-limitations; it’s games, also. For instance, one of Trump’s ways of dealing with political issues between the US government and some countries in the Middle East has been to force developers to block access to users from that geographic region. For instance, both the popular multiplayer game League of Legends and the gaming platform Origin have been banned in Iran and Syria. On a lighter but equally frustrating note, some games are available for cheaper prices in certain countries, so you can always connect to a server that will give you that country’s IP address for better deals.
- Fool that IP ban: Although we definitely don’t encourage being a prick in multiplayer games, it can be quite a harsh punishment to get a lifelong IP ban for cheating or misbehaving. Using a VPN can help you get back to your favorite game, be it Fortnite or Minecraft. And this time around, you’ll do better, you’ll be nicer, yes?
- DDoS protection: DDoS attacks are when someone floods your server or network with internet traffic so as to purposefully disrupt the regular flow of traffic. In a gaming context, this will wreak havoc on your graphics and ping. Imagine having huge amounts of data requests reaching your computer in the middle of a campaign. You’ll experience crazy amounts of lag and super high ping. Why would someone from the opposite team do this to you? To win by cheating. VPNs have DDoS protection which will keep you safe from this threat.
- Game safely on public WiFi networks: Public WiFi networks are notorious for being quite vulnerable to hacker attacks. If you game online from a public location, and especially if you’re playing a P2P multiplayer game, in which you may disclose some personal information, hackers could easily gain access to your data or even spread malware to your device. A VPN will keep you safe, as the encryption prevents third parties from accessing packets traveling to and from your device. In fact, most VPNs offer automatic WiFi protection. Additionally, a VPN keeps your IP address safe in P2P games, like Minecraft.
- Avoid ISP/bandwidth throttling: ISP or bandwidth throttling is when your ISP intentionally puts a cap on your data usage during a certain online task. In other words, it’s when your ISP intentionally slows down your internet connection while you torrent, stream, or game. As a VPN hides the nature of your online activity, your ISP won’t be able to slow down your internet speeds when you game.
Disadvantages of Using a VPN for Gaming
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows – there are also some cons to using a VPN for gaming.
- Potentially slower internet speeds: In most cases, a VPN will not boost your gameplay or speed up your connection. This can pretty much only happen if you’re the victim of ISP throttling. Even with the best VPN, the most you can usually hope for is unchanged internet speed. However, there are two things that can slow down your speed when you’re gaming online via a VPN. Firstly, the data packets take longer to travel to the server you’re located on is. The further away the server you’re connected to is, the slower the connection will be. Secondly, VPNs encrypt your data for security and privacy, but this encryption adds onto potential lag.
- Potential issues to bypass geo-restrictions: We talked about how a VPN can give you access to geo-blocked games. Users especially lean on VPNs to access games, or patches, which are released later in their own country. However, if a gaming service catches on to what you’re doing, they can block your account. This happened with Steam in 2015 when users in the US tried to access Fallout 4 before it was actually released locally.
A Few Words Before You Go…
While there are a lot of perks to using a VPN for gaming, speed isn’t exactly one of them. As you should probably use a VPN anyway, you can just try it in several different server combinations, and see if it works well enough for you.
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