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7 Best Free VPNs for Gaming in 2023: Low Ping & Fast Speeds

Finding a free VPN for gaming can be a real challenge. For a good online gaming experience, you need fast speeds, consistent, low ping, and a large server network — things that free VPNs usually don’t offer. On top of that, many free VPNs can’t be trusted with your data.

However, after testing 45 free VPNs, my team and I found a few good options for gaming. While I will always recommend a low-cost premium VPN for gaming, these free VPNs are all good options. They have fast speeds, can bypass ISP throttling and stabilize your ping, and are secure enough to protect you from DoS and DDoS attacks.

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for gaming. It’s the fastest VPN I’ve ever used with consistently low ping. It offers servers in 94 countries to access easy lobbies and its industry-leading security features won’t cause slowdowns or lag. While it’s not really free, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee — you can try ExpressVPN risk-free and get a refund if you’re not completely satisfied. I tested this policy to make sure it’s legit and I got all my money back in 2 days without hassle.

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Short on Time? Here Are the Best Free VPNs for Gaming — Tested in February 2023

  1. ExpressVPN — Consistently low ping, superfast speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and worldwide server coverage for the ultimate gaming experience (you can try it out risk-free since it’s backed by a money-back guarantee.
  2. CyberGhost — Gaming-optimized servers, good speeds, and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee to test it with no financial risk.
  3. Proton VPN — Completely free VPN with unlimited data and fast speeds for uninterrupted gaming, but the free version only has 3 server locations.
  4. Avira Phantom VPN — Unlimited device connections and strong security to play safely on all your devices, but you only get 1GB of data per month with the free plan.
  5. — The free app has great speeds and offers 10GB of monthly, but you can only use servers in 5 locations.

And 2 more free gaming VPNs

Best Free VPNs for Gaming — Full Analysis (Updated February 2023)

1. ExpressVPN — Overall Best VPN With Superfast Speeds for Lag-Free Gaming

  • Lightning-fast speeds and unlimited data
  • DoS protection with military-grade encryption, IP/DNS leak protection, and kill switch
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: Fortnite, CoD: Warzone, Roblox, Minecraft, Apex Legends, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, PS4, PS5, Xbox One/Series, Nintendo Switch, routers, and more
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You won’t find a 100% free VPN that comes close to ExpressVPN’s capabilities for gaming. Speeds are impressively fast, so you can play online games without lag. During my tests, I connected to long-distance servers in the US, Canada, and Australia, and I never had speeds slower than 66 Mbps (it’s recommended to have at least 5 Mbps). On nearby servers in the UK and Netherlands, my in-game latency (or ping) was also consistently low, hovering around 9 ms.

Screenshot of Fortnite gameplay while connected to ExpressVPNI was impressed that my voice chat was crystal clear for the entire session

Generally, you will get the lowest ping with the server closest to your actual location — anything over 100 ms will usually cause some input lag. ExpressVPN’s built-in speed testing tool lets you see each server’s latency, so you can easily find a low-ping connection.

Its network has 3,000 servers in 94 countries, which can help you find easy lobbies. Connected to Moldova, I had a decent ping of 40 ms and could play Overwatch bot lobbies without any lag. Its entire network also supports P2P, so you won’t have any problem connecting with other gamers in P2P-games like Super Smash Bros.

For mobile gaming, ExpressVPN’s unique Lightway protocol is ideal because it preserves battery life and improves ping. Connected to the France - 2 server with OpenVPN, my ping was 40 ms. When I changed to Lightway on the same server, my ping decreased to 26 ms and my download speed doubled. Playing COD: Mobile on my Android with Lightway was just as smooth as using my regular connection.

ExpressVPN’s apps for desktops and mobile are easy to install and use. However, it also has a native app for popular router models (Netgear, Asus, and Linksys). Many top paid VPNs don’t even have this (they require manual configuration). So, setting it up and using it on your router for console gaming is also really easy. It took me about 10 minutes to install its router app on my Netgear router and I could change settings and servers in a couple clicks.

To further improve your connection for gaming, it offers split tunneling and port forwarding. Split tunneling lets you choose which games or apps use the VPN connection. I set it up so only Fortnite was connected to the VPN, which meant unnecessary traffic wasn’t encrypted. This improved my latency and speeds. With port forwarding (only available on routers), you can connect to more peers in the network, which improves lobby wait times.

Of course, the biggest downside is that it’s not completely free. But, it offers a solid money-back guarantee. This means that you can try ExpressVPN risk-free. You can claim a full refund within 30 days if you’re not completely happy with it.

I made sure ExpressVPN stood by its refund policy. After using the service for 28 days, I contacted support via its 24/7 live chat feature. The rep asked me a couple of questions about the quality of the service without pushing me to stay. My refund was quickly approved, and I got my money back in 2 days.

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2. CyberGhost — Specialized Gaming Servers for Smooth Online Play

  • 9,753 servers in 91 countries, some of which are gaming-optimized
  • DoS protection with military-grade encryption, leak protection, no-logs policy, and a kill switch
  • 7 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: Fortnite, CoD: Warzone, Roblox, Minecraft, Apex Legends, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, PS4, PS5, Xbox One/Series, Nintendo Switch, Linux, routers, and more
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CyberGhost’s gaming-optimized servers are designed to give you low latency and fast speeds. To test them out, I compared my connection using the regular and gaming-optimized Paris servers — the gaming one gave me speeds 20 Mbps faster (to 65 Mbps) and lowered my ping by 12 ms (to 24 ms). There simply aren’t free VPNs with a gaming-specific feature like this, and combined with unlimited data, CyberGhost is a top choice.

Screenshot of Call of Duty: Mobile gameplay working with CyberGhostGaming-optimized servers reduce your matchmaking time as well

You can find easy lobbies because its server network is massive (it has 9,753 servers in 91 countries). You can also access region-locked games and connect to gamers in other countries. For ex., I could still play Hearthstone in my home country’s lobby when I took a trip to Spain.

It’s also a safe choice for gamers because of its built-in NAT firewall and customizable security options. The NAT firewall ensures no connection port is open for hackers to exploit — you can game on shared servers without worrying that your data will be stolen. Similar to ExpressVPN’s Lightway, using the WireGuard protocol gave me speeds 20% faster and a ping rate 15% lower than OpenVPN did.

Plus, CyberGhost’s app is super easy to use and is compatible with nearly every popular device. Its servers are grouped into 4 categories (streaming, gaming, torrenting, and NoSpy privacy-enhanced), so you can find a server based on the activity you want to perform. It’s also compatible with tons of routers if you want to connect your console. You have to install and use it manually, though.

Like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost isn’t completely free. It does offer a 24-hour free trial for desktop and a generous 45-day money-back guarantee, so you have plenty of time to try CyberGhost out risk-free.

After using the service for 28 days, I wanted to see whether CyberGhost upholds its promise. Over 24/7 live chat, I requested a refund and the support representative only asked me a couple of questions about the service. Shortly after, my request was approved, and 3 days later I got my money back.

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3. Proton VPN – Unlimited Data for Uninterrupted Gaming

  • Unlimited data and good speeds
  • Military-grade encryption, built-in ad blocker, and an automatic kill switch
  • 1 device connection
  • Works with: Fortnite, CoD: Warzone, Roblox, Minecraft, Apex Legends, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, routers, PS4, PS5, Xbox One/Series, Nintendo Switch and Linux

Proton VPN’s free plan provides unlimited data, so you can play online games without limitations. Most free VPNs provide somewhere between 500MB - 10GB per month, which isn’t much, considering a 1-hour session of CS:GO requires upwards of 260MB/hr. Unlimited data is especially useful if you play battle royale games like CoD: Warzone, Fortnite, and Apex Legends, which require plenty of data due to their massive player count.

Screenshot of Apex Legends gameplay working with Proton VPNYou won’t be cut off mid-game due to data restrictions

Its short-distance servers are well suited for fast-paced online games. However, it only offers servers in 3 locations (the US, Netherlands, and Japan). As a test, I used the NL-FREE#6 server and had speeds of 44.5 Mbps and a ping of 18 ms, which allowed me to play Warzone without issues. However, if you’re not located close to these locations, you’ll experience slower speeds and higher ping. I couldn’t use any of the free US or Japan servers because there was too much lag.

Unlike many free VPNs, Proton VPN offers free OpenVPN and WireGuard config files, so you can set it up on your router and use it on your console. The setup is pretty complicated compared to ExpressVPN, but it offers comprehensive setup guides for 8 different router models on its site. If you’re gaming on PC or mobile, its apps are easy to use and install — it only takes a minute to download and connect.

Proton VPN is highly regarded as a security and privacy-conscious VPN provider, so if security is your concern, it’s a top option. Your personal IP is masked and you’re protected from DoS attacks with military-grade encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch. Plus, its no-logs policy is legit — this free VPN provider won’t log or sell your data to make a profit.

That being said, one of the biggest issues I found was that the free servers tend to be really overcrowded. You can see how full a server is in the app, so just make sure to choose the one with the lowest load to reduce ping and speed loss. There are 163 free servers available, so you can usually find a few that aren’t almost max capacity.

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4. Avira Phantom VPN - Unlimited Simultaneous Connections to Protect All Your Gaming Devices

  • Unlimited simultaneous device connections
  • 1,400 servers in 37 countries on mobile, but one 1 server location on desktop
  • Good speeds and up to 1GB of data per month
  • Works with: Fortnite, CoD: Warzone, Roblox, Minecraft, Apex Legends, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Avira Phantom VPN allows you to connect as many devices as you want. Even paid VPNs usually limit you to between 5 and 10 connections. I tested out the reliability of this by connecting my Android phone and tablet, a friend’s iPhone, and a Windows 11 laptop. Even though every device was active, I could still play League of Legends on my laptop lag-free. My ping and speeds remained steady at around 35 ms and 41 Mbps respectively.

Screenshot of Avira Phantom VPN working with League of LegendsI didn’t experience any connection problems, but its data cap will limit your play times

Since Avira Phantom’s free apps for Windows and macOS only let you connect to your “Nearest Location”, you should always have low ping. However, you can’t use it to access easier lobbies or geo-restricted games. Its Android and iOS apps give you full access to its entire network (covering 37 countries), so you have more freedom if you use this VPN for gaming on mobile.

In any case, you only get 500MB of data per month (you can double it if you sign up with your email). This makes it unsuitable for fast-paced multiplayer games. However, it’s enough for slow-paced or turn-based games — you could play Hearthstone for hundreds of hours with this amount of data. But, for a game like GTA Online, you’d get about 10 hours of gameplay out of 500MB.

You can’t use Avira Phantom VPN on console unless you set up a connection through your PC. It’s not compatible with routers. You also don’t have access to customer support, but its apps are all simple to use, so you shouldn’t need any assistance, anyway. If you do, there’s a decent knowledge base with FAQs and troubleshooting tips on its site.

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5. – Fast Speeds and 10GB of Monthly Data to Game Without Interruption

  • Fast speeds and 10GB of data per month
  • Customizable security options, with a kill switch, automatic connect, multiple protocols, and split tunneling
  • 1 device connection
  • Works with: Fortnite, CoD: Warzone, Roblox, Minecraft, Apex Legends, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and more

I could play even the most fast-paced and data-hungry games with Its free servers in the Netherlands and Germany gave me average speeds of 35.5 Mbps, which is 7 times more than the minimum 5 Mbps needed. My test results also showed low and stable ping at 27 ms. It lets you use 10GB of data per month, which is a lot more than free VPNs usually offer. You can play Minecraft (which can use up to 200MB/hr) for about 50 hours with this much data.

Screenshot of Minecraft working with hideme VPNIts 256-bit encryption and leak protection will also protect you from cyberattacks while you game

However, it only has free servers in 4 countries (the US, Netherlands, Germany, and Canada). So, you can only take advantage of its good speeds and low ping if you’re located somewhere nearby in North America or Western Europe. You can see the ping levels next to each server, so it’s easy to choose the best one for gaming.

There are plenty of customization options with, more than most free VPNs have. You can choose between 5 security protocols, including WireGuard — I recommend this as it gave me the best ping and speeds compared to the others during my tests. In addition, split tunneling helps to boost performance, since you can set it up so only your game uses the VPN tunnel.

You can’t use on your router, so it’s not a great option for consoles. In addition, you can only connect 1 device at a time. However, if you want to use it on your PC and mobile, you just have to use a different email to sign up for each device.

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6. Hotspot Shield – Catapult Hydra for Better Long-Distance Connections

  • Proprietary Catapult Hydra protocol with 256-bit encryption and perfect forward secrecy
  • Superfast speeds and 15GB data per month
  • 1 device connection
  • Works with: Fortnite, CoD: Warzone, Roblox, Minecraft, Apex Legends, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Hotspot Shield’s Catapult Hydra protocol is designed to keep you safe and give you low latency. Testing its free US server from my location in Europe, my ping was 103 ms. While this isn’t the best result for fast-paced games, it is impressive considering other free VPNs gave me ping well above 200 ms on US servers. Even though the app says it caps your speed to 2 Mbps, my download speed was 15 Mbps (3 times what you need). I played GWENT online without any issues.

Since it only has 1 free server location in the US, Hotspot Shield is best suited if you’re gaming in the US or Canada. Other locations will be too far away to achieve low enough ping for intensive gaming. I had my colleague in the US test it out for a local result, and they had a ping of 37 ms, which is more than suitable.

That being said, you’re automatically offered a 7-day free trial of Hotspot Shield Premium when you download the free app. This allowed me to test a local Belgian server, which didn’t affect my speed at all (a 0% drop) and gave me very low ping (21 ms). That’s a really good result! You can use Smart VPN (split tunneling) to further improve performance, too.

You can't use Hotspot Shield on your router and I did experience some popup ads while using it. While you get 15GB of data per month, it’s capped to 500MB per day. This is actually a suitable amount of data — you could play about 5 Fortnite matches before Hotspot Shield cut you off.

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7. TunnelBear – Decent Server Network to Find Easy Lobbies

  • 2,600 servers in 47 countries
  • DoS protection with military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection
  • 1 device connection and a no-logs policy
  • Works with: Fortnite, CoD: Warzone, Roblox, Minecraft, Apex Legends, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

TunnelBear’s free plan gives you full access to its entire server network, so you can find bot lobbies. During my tests, I managed to find a couple of easy lobbies in Overwatch using the Moldova server.

Since you have access to 47 P2P-friendly server locations, you won’t have issues finding a low-latency connection, either (there is likely to be a server near you). The UK server I tested gave me a ping of 22 ms and speeds of 37.2 Mbps, which is more than fast enough for fast-paced multiplayer games. This let me play Counter-Strike without any lag, although I did notice longer wait times when finding a match.

TunnelBear is not only easy to use, but fun to use. You can't use it on routers, but the desktop and mobile apps have a sense of humor — all the notifications and installation prompts are written in bear puns. You choose server locations on an interactive map with a cartoon bear digging its way to your server location.

However, TunnelBear’s data cap is extremely limiting, at only 500MB per month. You can Tweet the company and they’ll add an extra 1GB to your account, but that’s only a 1 time offer. I was pretty disappointed that the following month I didn’t have the option to add more data.

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Quick Comparison Table: Best Free VPNs for Gaming

The table below compares the features every gamer should be concerned about when looking for a gaming VPN.

I’ve listed the most important aspects for each VPN, including its average speeds, how much data you can use, and average latency. The more server locations there are, the more likely you’ll get better speeds (because they’ll be less crowded). It also means you’ll have an easier time accessing bot lobbies in countries where certain games aren’t popular.

Setting a VPN up on a router is the best way to connect your console to a VPN. So if you want a VPN on your PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo, that’s a must.

VPN Average speeds Monthly data
# of server locations Average ping (local servers) Router support
🥇ExpressVPN Very Fast Unlimited 94 10 Yes
🥈CyberGhost Very Fast Unlimited 91 20 Yes
🥉Proton VPN Fast Unlimited 3 20 Yes
Avira Phantom VPN Fast Up to 1GB 1 (desktop),
37 (mobile)
35 No Fast 10GB 5 27 No
Hotspot Shield Average 15GB 1 37 No
TunnelBear Average 500MB 47 22 No

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Tips on How to Choose the Best Free VPN for Gaming

The following criteria is what I used to rank the best free VPNs for gaming. These are essential features for any online gamer, so I recommend looking out for them while you make your choice:

  • Truly free. All the VPNs listed here are either 100% free, or come with reliable money-back guarantees, so theres no financial risk to using them.
  • Numerous servers. Most free VPNs only let you use a few servers. The more servers available, the less crowded they’ll be (meaning, you’ll have faster speeds and lower ping). It’s best to look for a free VPN with servers close to your actual location to ensure low latency, as well.
  • Fast speeds. It’s recommended to have speeds of at least 5 Mbps for online gaming. All the VPNs recommended here gave me speeds averaging above 15 Mbps. Generally, the more players in a match, the faster your speeds should be because more data needs to be transferred.
  • Sufficient data allowance. The amount of data a game uses can range from <1MB/hour to >300MB/hr. Depending on the game you want to play, you’ll need to make sure the free VPN lets you use enough data. I’ve listed 100% free VPNs with unlimited data, and chosen some with suitable data caps, from 1GB-15GB per month.
  • Router support. Not many free VPNs will offer this, but it’s the best way to connect your game console to a VPN. I made sure to include a few VPNs that offer free router support.
  • Strong security. This is important for preventing cyberattacks on shared gaming servers. All these free VPNs have standard security (military-grade encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch) to keep you protected from DoS attacks. All of them are trusted providers who won’t sell your data to third parties for a profit, either.

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Warning: Risks of Free VPNs

Most free VPNs come with severe limitations and legitimate safety risks. The safest and most reliable way to play online games is to use an affordable VPN that comes with a money-back guarantee. Here are some of the risks associated with free VPNs to watch out for:

  • Some free VPNs log and sell your data. Your data is a valuable asset that many third parties are willing to spend plenty of money to obtain. Before installing a free VPN for gaming, make sure that you read its privacy policy to make sure it doesn’t log or tore personal information.
  • Plenty of free VPNs have weak security. Many free services don’t offer critical security features, such as an automatic kill switch and dedicated IP/DNS leak protection. They simply don’t have the funds or resources to keep up with the latest security measures.
  • There are free VPNs that contain malware and viruses. I recommend scanning the downloaded executable with an anti-malware software file before installing any free app on your machine. It might contain spyware that will put your gaming account (and entire device) at risk. On top of that, plenty of free VPNs are ad-supported, which is super annoying when it interrupts your gameplay.

Free VPNs to Avoid

These VPNs put your privacy at risk and aren’t safe for gaming:

  • Hola Free VPN — This is not a VPN but a P2P network and it compromises your security and privacy when you use it. On Hola’s P2P network, your data isn’t encrypted, and your IP address is shared with everyone else on the network. Moreover, its privacy policy states that Hola Free VPN collects your IP address, browsing history, and even your name and email.
  • Betternet VPN — A study conducted by CSIRO, found that Betternet’s app is full of malware. Furthermore, its Android app installs more than 10 third-party tracking libraries, which puts your privacy at risk.
  • TouchVPN — This service is only a proxy that doesn’t have the same level of security a VPN does. It is also known to store your browsing activity and share it with third parties to create targeted ads.
  • Other free VPNs to avoid — CrossVPN, sFly Network Booster, OKVPN, EasyVPN, Hoxx VPN, Archie VPN, Hat VPN, Private Pipe VPN, Tuxler VPN, GO VPN, Hexatech,, FinchVPN, VPN One Click, Fast Secure Payment.

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FAQs on The Best Free VPNs for Gaming

What’s the best free VPN for gaming on PC and Android?

There are a few decent free VPNs that work well for gaming on PC and Android. All the free VPNs shortlisted have native apps for both. VPNs also boost your overall security like these great free VPNs for Windows. However, each of them comes with some sort of limitation, so it really depends what you want to use it for.

For ex., Proton VPN doesn’t have any data limitations, so it’s a good choice for data hungry games like Fortnite or Minecraft. But it only has servers in 3 locations, which makes it a bit tricky to find a low-latency connection.

TunnelBear offers servers in 47 countries, so it’s easier to find a connection with low ping. But it only lets you use 500MB of data per month, so you can really only use it for turn-based or slower-paced games that don’t eat up data.

Your best option for a gaming VPN is to choose a low-cost premium service. It’s worth the few dollars a month not to have to face the limitations you do with free VPNs. Most of them come with reliable money-back guarantees, too, so there’s no financial risk in trying them out.

Will a free gaming VPN lower my ping?

Probably not, but in certain cases it can. For example, if your ISP has to reroute your traffic due to congestion (resulting in excessive ping), a VPN can actually provide a faster route using its own servers and as a result reduce your ping.

But since a VPN adds an extra “stop” to the route your data travels to reach its destination and return, in most cases it will increase your ping slightly. All the VPNs listed give low ping on local servers and are suitable for gaming.

However, there are some ways to improve your VPN’s ping.

  1. Connect to a VPN server close to your actually location — the shorter the distance, the lower your ping generally is. Long distance connections will almost always give you high ping.
  2. Choose a server with a low user load — the more users connected to a server the more data has to make it through, so fewer users = lower ping.
  3. Use a lightweight security protocol — During my ping tests, every free VPN I tried gave me lower ping with a protocol like WireGuard (especially ExpressVPN’s Lightway) in comparison to OpenVPN.

Will a free VPN work with games like Valorant or PUBG?

Yes, but with time limitations. For data-intensive games, it’s always a better idea to go for a low-cost premium VPN with unlimited data and bandwidth. Proton VPN is the only 100% free VPN listed that offers unlimited data — but you can only connect to severs in 3 locations, so you might not be able to get a fast or responsive enough connection.

Valorant, for example, uses up to 400MB of data per hour and most free VPNs offer between 1GB and 10GB of monthly data. At most, you’d be able to play for 25 hours per month (with 10GB). That might be enough if you’re a casual gamer. For hardcore gamers, a free VPN just won’t cut it.

PUBG uses up to 50MB of data per hour. As long as the free VPN has servers close to your actual location (for low enough ping), even with 1GB of data per month, you’d still get 20 hours of gameplay (about 200 hours with 10 GB).

Can I use a free VPN to play games from other countries?

Yes! It’s best to use a VPN with a large server network. Simply connect to a server in the country where the game is available, create an account, and start playing. Just keep in mind that you may need a payment method that was registered in the country where you purchase the game.

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Get the Best Free VPN for Gaming Today

A free VPN can definitely improve your gaming experience, but with limitations. All these VPNs are safe to use and will protect you on shared gaming servers from DoS attacks. However, the biggest limitations I found are restrictive data caps and too few servers (aka. It can be difficult to find low enough ping for lag-free gaming).

That’s why I will always recommend a low-cost premium VPN like ExpressVPN instead. You have access to a global server network, superfast speeds, can customize your connection for optimal performance, and unlimited data and bandwidth for the ultimate gaming experience. It's backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test ExpressVPN risk-free. I made sure they’d stand by the guarantee and they did — if you aren’t impressed, it’s easy to claim a full refund.

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The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

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About the Author

Ernest is a long-life writer and a cybersecurity enthusiast. He enjoys dissecting bespoke tech and is a strong proponent of digital freedom.

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