VPNs and Gaming – A Beginner’s Guide

Limitations of VPNs

Online gaming is becoming more and more popular in the developed world, especially when considering multiplayer games.

Make no mistake: 22% of gamers spend between 61% and 80% of their gaming time online and access multiplayer titles, during which many leave their IP addresses exposed to the threat of doxxing and malware attacks .

In this post, we'll give you a beginner's guide to VPNs and gaming, and how the former can help protect you when gaming online.

1. What is a VPN?

Let's start with the basics; because a VPN (or virtual private network) seeks to create a virtual and encrypted tunnel between two servers.

In essence, this means connecting your device to a virtual, remote server, which immediately hides your physical location and encrypts all web traffic so that it reads like an indecipherable string of code.

Typically, VPNs are associated with the use of public networks, as this type of network is not secure and may intercept your device and personal data. For example, hackers can create fictitious but familiar-looking hotspots that trick you into connecting to a particular network. At this point, your activity and traffic may become visible to third parties.

Even if hackers don't try to access and steal your data, your activity may be tracked and recorded by network managers or Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

It also violates your privacy and puts you at risk of bandwidth throttling. The latter involves slowing down your Internet connection when you engage in activities that consume large amounts of data in order to optimize the performance of the network as a whole.

2. VPNs related to games

Gaming is one of those data-intensive activities that ISPs often look to target, and in this regard, using a VPN can allow you to get the most out of this hobby as a gamer.

However, the main reason to use a VPN while gaming is to optimize your online security. This is mainly due to its ability to hide the IP address and physical location of your device, making it incredibly difficult for third parties to launch malware attacks or engage in doxxing.

A high-quality paid VPN can also break through restrictive firewalls, allowing you to access a wider range of gaming sites and potentially restricted platforms.

When using a full-featured VPN client, you should also note that this negates any additional risk of you experiencing lag while gaming.

This is a crucial consideration when dealing with free or less advanced VPN products, because if these entities always redirect your data through a secure, remote server, it will take longer to encrypt and decrypt the requests. This can create noticeable lag, even when dealing with modern and incredibly capacitive gaming consoles.

3. What to look for when choosing a VPN client

As we've already covered, VPNs are beneficial when gaming mainly because they offer players several different benefits.

However, it is also obvious that you need to invest in and download a VPN for PC to take full advantage of these benefits, as they tend to offer more robust security protocols, minimize lag, and provide access to a range of much larger number of servers.

Additionally, many established paid VPNs offer dedicated gaming servers in some cases, which can provide additional benefits in terms of faster processing and faster connections.

Paid VPNs are also more beneficial because they allow you to change your IP address and access a wider range of international services without restrictions. This provides value outside of gaming, too, whether you want to introduce an extra layer of network security or stream geo-restricted content from platforms like Netflix.

This is not the case with free VPNs, while these clients are also unlikely to allow you to bypass heavy firewall restrictions or optimize your privacy.

This last point is crucial, because some free VPN clients finance their activities by recording and selling your data to relevant third parties.

4. The bottom line

There is no doubt that using a VPN offers value to gamers, while paying customers are significantly superior to free alternatives.

We therefore recommend that you compare the market to find the best paid VPNs while keeping in mind that clients like Surfshark combine the best and most efficient protocols to ensure the best possible online experience.

You can also access this type of paid and flexible pricing product through a VPN free trial, allowing you to test it thoroughly and make sure it is completely fit for purpose.