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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

5 Best VPNs to Help You Lower Ping For Gaming in 2024

Ryan Jones Updated on 30th November 2023 Managing Editor

After watching my ping skyrocket into the hundreds during an Apex Legends match for the 5th time in one night, I decided that was enough. I started the hunt for a quality gaming VPN that could help me avoid ISP throttling, as well as provide me with the security and privacy protection that’s essential for online gaming. I didn’t want to end up getting DDoS’d by opposing players, after all.

The search wasn’t easy — many VPNs that claim to be great for gaming couldn’t give me a usable ping, while some didn’t even manage to hide my IP. In the end, I managed to shortlist five of what I think are the best VPNs for gaming. They all stabilized my ping and offered robust IP/DNS leak protection.

My top recommendation has to be ExpressVPN. It offered me impressively low ping and fast download speed throughout my tests, and it was also the easiest VPN to set up on my gaming console by a significant margin. You can also try it completely risk-free thanks to its 30-day guarantee. If you aren’t a fan, you can freely cancel within this period to get a full refund.

Try ExpressVPN for Gaming >>

Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for Gaming in 2024

  1. Editor's Choice
    ExpressVPN
    ExpressVPN
    Fastest and most reliable VPN for lag-free gaming, with easy console setup.
    70% of our readers choose ExpressVPN
  2. CyberGhost VPN
    CyberGhost
    Dedicated gaming servers with low ping and flexible automation settings.
  3. Private Internet Access
    Private Internet Access
    Huge server network for low-latency gaming wherever you’re located.
  4. NordVPN
    NordVPN
    Impressive blend of privacy and speed, ideal for privacy-conscious gamers.
  5. Surfshark
    Surfshark
    Unlimited simultaneous device connections for secure full household gaming.

Best VPNs for Gaming — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)

1. ExpressVPN — Best Overall Gaming VPN for PC, Mobile, and Console

Best Feature Low ping and fast download speed for all gaming devices, along with an easy setup for game consoles
Average Ping (Nearby Server) 7 ms
Server Network 3,000+ in 105 countries
Lowest Price $6.67/month

Not only impressive from a performance standpoint, ExpressVPN is the easiest VPN to set up for consoles by miles. Most VPNs are simple to set up for PC and mobile gaming, but when it comes to your game consoles, like Playstation, Xbox, and the Nintendo Switch, it’s an absolute pain to get working.

The most reliable method requires installing the VPN on your router. With most VPNs, this can involve flashing your router with third-party firmware, then manually inputting VPN server settings. The process isn’t only time-consuming, but runs the risk of bricking your router if you make mistakes. On the other hand, ExpressVPN safely automates the installation process in minutes for popular router models, thanks to its custom firmware.

This meant I could easily play Apex Legends on my PS5 without having to mess around in router config settings. And with a ping of just 7 ms on nearby servers, I was at no competitive disadvantage. I could even securely download patches, DLC, and new games quickly — ExpressVPN gave me an impressive download speed of 122 Mbps during my tests. This is a mere 4% drop from my usual connection.

But, there is a slight downside — ExpressVPN costs a little more than your average VPN, especially if you’re going with the basic short-term subscription. That said, I could get 49% off for a final price of just $6.67/month by choosing a long-term plan, which was a very affordable price. Nicely, ExpressVPN also offers a 30-day guarantee, so if I didn’t like it, I could cancel within the first month to get a full refund.

Useful Features

  • Lightway Protocol. Part of the reason why ExpressVPN is so fast is due to Lightway, its proprietary protocol. It’s lightweight (only 2000 lines of code as opposed to OpenVPN’s 70,000) which improves initial connection time and overall performance. It’s also been proven to be secure by independent audits performed in both 2021 and 2022.
  • Dedicated Router App. ExpressVPN lets you control and configure your VPN connection from a dedicated browser app. You can easily sort your devices into separate groups, assign different server locations for each device group, and more, all without ever touching your router settings.
  • Robust Security. In my thorough testing, ExpressVPN never leaked my IP or DNS address — not once. Plus, it uses military-grade AES 256-bit encryption so that my ISP and other snoopers couldn’t see what I was up to online.
  • Court-Proven No-Logs Policy. Turkish law enforcement once tried to compel ExpressVPN to hand over identifiable data for one of its users. However, ExpressVPN could not comply due to its strict no-logs policy — this data is never stored.
ExpressVPN Offer February 2024: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

2. CyberGhost — Gaming-Optimized Servers Make it Easy to Find the Ideal Server

Best Feature Clearly-marked gaming-optimized servers with consistently low latency
Average Ping (Nearby Server) 8 ms
Server Network 11,683+ in 100 countries
Lowest Price $2.03/month

CyberGhost’s gaming-optimized servers make it an excellent choice for low-latency gaming. These servers are designed and strategically located to minimize ping. In my tests, I got an impressive 8ms ping by connecting to its closeby gaming-optimized server in London.

The gaming-optimized servers are clearly marked in the app, so I never had to trawl through a long server list to find a server with usable ping. All the best servers for gaming were clearly marked and accessible with a single click. And with 79 to choose from across the UK, France, Germany, and the US, I had plenty to choose from. The large number of servers just for gaming also meant that I never experienced ping spikes due to server overcrowding.

CyberGhost is already easy to use thanks to this, but I could make things even easier with its Smart Rules. These allow you to automate the VPN to behave in certain ways — for example, I could set my VPN to automatically connect to a UK gaming-optimized server when I launched Fortnite on my Windows PC.

One issue I had with CyberGhost is that its short-term plans only come with a 14-day money-back guarantee, which is shorter than most other VPNs. However, it makes up for this with its extended 45-day guarantee, available with its highly affordable long-term subscriptions. This allows you to try CyberGhost risk-free for longer than any other VPN on the list.

Useful Features

  • WireGuard Protocol. CyberGhost offers WireGuard protocol which is designed to be lightweight and efficient, minimizing the impact on your connection speed. Because of this, I got download speeds of 122 Mbps (only a 4% drop), which is just as fast as ExpressVPN.
  • URL-Based Split Tunneling. You can set certain URLs to ignore the VPN tunnel and to stay on your normal connection. This is useful if you’re using the VPN to game in another region, but you’d still like access to local streaming services.
  • Automatic WiFi protection. CyberGhost is particularly good for mobile gaming thanks to its automatic WiFI protection. This will automatically launch CyberGhost and connect to a server when an untrusted WiFI network is detected. This allowed me to game securely while on the go, without having to remember to manually connect the VPN.
  • Router Setup Available. While there’s no automatic installation or dedicated app for routers, CyberGhost is still mostly straightforward to set up on a router thanks to its easy-to-follow guides on the subject. These cover most popular router models.
February 2024 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

3. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Huge Server Network to Easily Find a Nearby Server with Low Latency

Best Feature Large server network helps ensure a closeby low-latency server regardless of where you are
Average Ping (Nearby Server) 7 ms
Server Network 29,650+ in 91 countries
Lowest Price $2.03/month

Thanks to its extensive server network, PIA makes it easy to find a low-latency server — regardless of where you are located. With over 29,650+ servers across 91 countries, the risk of server overcrowding — or only having faraway servers to choose from — is nearly non-existent. Throughout my tests, I got a stable ping of just 7 ms while playing Minecraft on my Windows laptop.

PIA is also highly customizable, making it a great option if you like to tinker and optimize your VPN. You can adjust encryption levels, switch between OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols, and more, all to match your current needs. For example, I usually use WireGuard and 128-bit encryption to get the best speeds while gaming, but I could switch to OpenVPN and 256-bit encryption to increase security while torrenting.

It’s also worth noting that PIA is the most affordable option out of my top 5. Prices start at just $2.03/month on a long-term subscription. What’s more, you’ll also be able to connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously on a single subscription. This meant all of my friends could play securely on their own devices when we got together for some late night gaming. Nicely, you can also try PIA risk free for 30 days, thanks to its money-back guarantee.

However, PIA is based in the US. This is the heart of the Eyes Alliance, an international surveillance network. That said, PIA abides by a strict no-logs policy, so even if the government attempted to compel it to hand over data, there would be none to give.

Useful Features

  • Split Tunneling. Unlike CyberGhost’s more limited split tunneling functionality, PIA allows you to set entire applications on your device to ignore the VPN tunnel. I set my browser to only use my normal internet connection, while games always used the VPN. This meant I could smoothly browse local content while gaming securely.
  • Impressive Upload Speed. PIA is a particularly good option if you’re a video game streamer. My tests revealed an upload speed of 18 Mbps, which is just a 4% drop from my usual connection. I could stream games while keeping my IP address hidden, lowering the risk of DDoS attacks and harassment.
  • Performance Display. When you’re connected to a server, the PIA app will show a neat graph that clearly displays the ongoing trends in your download and upload speed. It makes it easy to tell if your current server is having issues, at which point you can just quickly switch to a more stable server.
February 2024 Update: PIA doesn't usually have deals or discounts (it's already so affordable), but right now you can get a new subscription for a crazy 82% off!

4. NordVPN — Privacy-Focused VPN Keeps Your Data Private Without Compromising on Speed

Best Feature NordLynx protocol offers an impressive balance of speed and privacy protection
Average Ping (Nearby Server) 8 ms
Server Network 6,088+ in 61 countries
Lowest Price $3.39/month

I was particularly impressed by NordVPN's unique NordLynx protocol. Unlike ExpressVPN's Lightway, NordLynx is not an entirely new protocol; rather, it is built upon the speedy and lightweight WireGuard. The key distinction between the two lies in NordLynx's superior privacy protection compared to WireGuard, while still maintaining impressive speeds.

My tests backed this up. While playing Among Us on Android, I got a ping of just 8 ms on nearby servers. This was a similar speed to what I got from WireGuard VPNs — despite the fact that NordLynx uses a double NAT (Network Address Translation) system that ensures your IP address is never logged by their servers. With other WireGuard VPNs, you’d be relying on the provider to delete this data or otherwise anonymize it.

But, I was less impressed when it came to download speed with NordLynx. It achieved a respectable download speed of 113 Mbps, an 11% drop from my baseline. This is certainly still faster than most VPNs, but it was actually the slowest on the list by some margin — meaning you could be left waiting a little longer to securely download patches and new games.

You can try NordVPN without risk using its 30-day guarantee. I tested the policy for myself by cancelling on day 28 of my subscription, and I got my full refund just a few days later.

Useful Features

  • Intuitive Apps. Many of NordVPN’s apps for various devices include a world map interface — you can just click the actual geographic location you’d like to connect to. I personally find this a bit quicker than scrolling a long server list or typing out the name of a country.
  • Meshnet. This useful feature lets you host a virtual LAN party between you and your friends. You can create a network of all your gaming devices and connect directly to each other, no matter where in the world everyone is located.
  • Servers Optimized for Heavy Traffic. While NordVPN’s server network isn’t quite as extensive as the above options, each server is configured and optimized to serve heavy loads of traffic without spiking your ping.

5. Surfshark — Unlimited Device Connections to Game on All Your Devices

Best Feature Let members of your household game simultaneously on an unlimited number of devices
Average Ping (Nearby Server) 7 ms
Server Network 3,200+ in 100 countries
Lowest Price $2.89/month

What I liked most about Surfshark was the fact that all subscriptions come with unlimited simultaneous device connections. I could connect as many gaming devices as I wanted, without having to pay any extra. I tested this by connecting all of my family's PCs and mobile devices at the same time. All of us could play games at the same time without experiencing ping issues.

Surfshark features a speed test function that allows you to evaluate each server's latency, download speed, and upload speed, which is particularly useful. However, its operation is not as straightforward as it could be and it can be somewhat difficult to use. I found it impossible to use this function to measure the performance of the server to which I was connected. Instead, I had to disconnect completely before I could perform the test. Although this was a minor inconvenience, it was somewhat disappointing, especially when compared to how efficiently PIA displays its performance indicators.

That said, Surfshark is a budget-friendly VPN with a 30-day guarantee. You risk nothing by trying it, as you are guaranteed a full refund by canceling within the first 30 days.

Useful Features

  • Impressive All-Around Performance. Surfshark aced most of my performance tests — it was one of the faster VPNs in terms of download speed and upload speed, and ping averaged out to be an impressive 7 ms at closeby servers.
  • Minimalist App Design. The UI designers at Surfshark understand you want to get to gaming — which is why everything required for the basic function of the VPN app is available on the main screen. The server list, connect button, and server metrics are all visible without ever having to go through several menus.
  • Automatic Server Obfuscation. If you’re looking to play games at work or school (I won’t tell) Surfshark can beat the VPN firewalls stopping you. It will automatically disguise your VPN traffic as normal traffic when it detects network restrictions, allowing you to play games freely.

Quick Comparison Table: Gaming VPN Features

Still uncertain about which gaming VPN suits you best? Below, I've crafted a side-by-side comparison encompassing each VPN featured in this list. This will provide you with a swift overview of the gaming performance you can anticipate. I've also highlighted the versatility for gaming across different regions and the count of devices that you and your family can concurrently engage in gameplay with.

Lowest monthly price Average ping (on closeby servers) Average download speed Server network Simultaneous device connections
🥇ExpressVPN $6.67/month 7 ms 122 Mbps (4% drop from baseline) 3,000+ servers across 105 countries 8
🥈CyberGhost $2.03/month 8 ms 122 Mbps (4% drop from baseline) 11,683+ servers across 100 countries 7
🥉PIA $2.03/month 7 ms 120 Mbps (5% drop) 29,650+ servers across 91 countries Unlimited
NordVPN $3.39/month 8 ms 113 Mbps (11% drop) 6,088+ servers across 61 countries 6
Surfshark $2.89/month 7 ms 122 Mbps (4% drop from baseline) 3,200+ servers across 100 countries Unlimited

Tips on Choosing the Best VPN for Gaming

In my assessments, I focused on particular features of a gaming VPN that I believe are essential for it to be considered a top-level choice for gaming. Should you wish to conduct your own evaluations, you can use the criteria outlined below to determine the gaming VPN that best meets your requirements.

  • Low-latency servers. Look for VPNs that have servers located close to your physical location, as this will help reduce latency. The best gaming VPNs have servers optimized to deliver low ping, strategically located in population centers.
  • Minimal impact on download speed. Choose a VPN that has high-speed servers and optimized protocols to minimize the impact on your download speed. That way, you can download game content and patches securely without waiting an age. If you’re looking to stream games, upload speed is another factor you should take into account.
  • Extensive server network. Ensure that the gaming VPN has plenty of servers across many countries. You’ll be able to easily find low-latency servers, and you’ll have no problems connecting to other regions to get your hands on geo-restricted game content.
  • IP/DNS leak protection. The VPN you choose should have strong encryption and leak protection features to ensure that your IP address is never exposed. That way, you can avoid DDoS attacks and other forms of harassment while gaming online.
  • Gaming device compatibility. Make sure that the VPN is compatible with the device you plan to use for gaming. Most VPNs are natively compatible with Windows, MacOS, Linux, iOS, and Android. However, if you’d like to play on a game console, you’ll have to look for a gaming VPN with router support.
  • Affordability. Choose a gaming VPN that offers affordable pricing plans and a risk-free money-back guarantee. For the best deal, try to pick a VPN that offers a big discount if you purchase a long-term subscription, along with a large number of simultaneous device connections.

Quick Guide: How to Use a Gaming VPN in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN due to its consistently low latency servers and impressively fast download speeds.
  2. Connect to a server. Choose a server in the region you’d like to play in. Servers closer to your physical location will offer lower ping.
  3. Start gaming online. Launch your chosen game and enjoy a secure, low-latency gaming session.

FAQs on VPNs for Gaming

Can you get banned for using a VPN when playing games?

This depends on the game, unfortunately. Many games have no problem with users having VPNs active for the benefits listed in this article. However, as some people might use a VPN to gain some advantage in online games (such as setting up multiple alternate accounts), some games will take action against them.

I recommend checking the terms and conditions of the specific game you wish to play before trying to play with a VPN. Our recommended VPNs include high quality protocols and security features that make them unlikely to be detected.

Will a VPN lower ping?

A quality gaming VPN can sometimes lower ping, but it depends on the circumstances. If your ISP is throttling your connection, or the network is congested, a VPN can help to bypass those issues.

A VPN helps avoid ISP throttling because your ISP will be unable to see your browsing activity. As ISPs commonly only throttle those it sees are actively carrying out high-bandwidth activities, this helps you avoid being laden with extremely slow speeds that make online gaming impossible.

In regards to network congestion, a VPN can help ensure efficient routing of your gaming traffic. If your ISP network is busy, your traffic may take a less direct route to the gaming server, resulting in increased latency. By using a VPN, you can force your connection to be routed to a location close to the game server, reducing your ping.

That said, in most cases, a VPN will slightly increase latency, due to the extra connection to the VPN server between you and the gaming server. The best VPNs for gaming minimize the latency impact, ensuring you can comfortably game online at a competitive level.

How will VPNs affect speeds?

VPNs typically reduce speeds slightly. This is balanced by the protections it gives you, which stop you being subjected to ISP throttling as well as malicious cyber attacks. So, while using a VPN lower speeds somewhat, it will maintain them within acceptable levels for gaming. My top recommended VPNs guarantee excellent speeds while you game.

Can I use a free VPN for gaming?

I generally do not recommend using free VPN services for gaming. This is because free VPNs often have a limited number of servers, and these servers are often overcrowded with users. This can result in slower connection speeds and increased latency, which can have a negative impact on your gaming experience.

Additionally, many free VPN services have strict monthly data caps, which can be quickly exceeded while gaming. Once the limit is reached, the VPN connection will be disconnected, and you'll need to wait until the next month to use the service again.

Also, free VPNs often have weaker security and privacy features compared to paid VPNs. This can make you more vulnerable to DDoS attacks and harassment from other players.

Quality premium VPNs are a better choice for gaming because they often offer faster speeds, more stable ping, and advanced security and privacy features. They also tend to have a larger number of servers spread across multiple locations. This provides you with more options for closeby servers, helping to minimize the impact on latency. You also won’t have to worry about data caps — you can game online securely as much as you like.

Would a VPN let me play games in school or at work?

Many of the above VPNs can bypass network restrictions commonly found in school or workplaces by using server obfuscation. This disguises your VPN traffic as regular traffic, allowing it to slip by VPN-blocking firewalls. With server obfuscation active, you should be able to freely game even at work or school.

Just keep in mind that not all VPNs offer server obfuscation — without it, your VPN will easily be detected.

Get the Best VPN for Gaming

Finding a quality VPN for gaming isn’t easy, but you can rest assured that all of the VPNs I’ve shortlisted above will offer you low latency, perfect for competitive online gaming. These VPNs will also ensure your ISP cannot see your online activity, who will then be less likely to throttle your connection.

You also won’t have to worry about DDoS attacks, as your real IP address will be hidden. This means you can enjoy a stable gaming session free of harassment from the opposing team.

Out of all the VPNs above, my top recommendation is ExpressVPN. It was really easy to set up with my PS5, which is a rarity with VPNs. Plus, it offered some of the fastest download speeds I’ve seen from a VPN, and consistently provided me with low latency that didn’t feel any different from my normal connection. You can test ExpressVPN for yourself risk-free, thanks to its 30-day guarantee. If you find it isn’t for you, simply cancel during the guarantee period for a full refund.

To summarize, these are the best VPNs for gaming...

Rank
Provider
Our Score
Discount
Visit Website
1
medal
9.9 /10
9.9 Our Score
Save 49%!
2
9.7 /10
9.7 Our Score
Save 84%!
3
9.5 /10
9.5 Our Score
Save 82%!
4
9.4 /10
9.4 Our Score
Save 67%!
5
9.3 /10
9.3 Our Score
Save 82%!
Privacy Alert!

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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.

Visit ExpressVPN

We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Ryan is an editor at vpnMentor who uses his expertise to deliver the latest news and reviews regarding VPNs. He specializes in VPN tech, cybersecurity, online privacy, and freedom of expression.

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