5 Best VPNs for Steam in 2020 (That Won’t Get You Banned!)
Steam’s huge game catalog and global popularity make it a magnet for gamers – but, if you’re part of the Steam community, you know that problems arise when it comes to access and security.
For example, you may live in or travel to places in the world where Steam is restricted or banned, or where specific game titles or features aren’t available. Even in countries where Steam is open, there may be access issues with some schools or colleges, workplaces, and public wi-fi connections.
Or, if your main concern is security, you’re aware that Steam – like most online gaming platforms – is prone to cyber attacks, which can leave you open to identity theft and credit card fraud.
That’s why Steam users need to use a VPN. Installing a VPN, or virtual private network, allows you to access geoblocked Steam content and keep safe by encrypting all your data.
This article will recommend the five best VPNs for Steam and how to avoid a Steam ban.
Quick Guide: Best VPNs for Steam
- NordVPN – With phenomenal speeds and thousands of servers across the globe, NordVPN is our top choice for use with Steam.
- ExpressVPN – As its name suggests, ExpressVPN is superfast, which is great for gaming. A little more expensive than competitors, but worth it.
- CyberGhost – This provider has some of the fastest servers available and is strong on price and other features. A great choice for gaming.
- Surfshark – Unlimited simultaneous connections means the whole family can play online. Decent features and a good price puts this squarely in the top five.
- PrivateVPN – A great choice if you’re new to VPNs, as it’s super easy to use. Good overall features that will keep you safe.
Why You Need a VPN for Steam
There are lots of ways that a VPN benefits Steam users in particular. Here are the main ones:
Getting around geo-restrictions: Some of the coolest new games are only available in a few restricted countries, while in some countries you can’t access Steam at all! Using a VPN, you’ll trick Steam into believing you’re located where the games you want are accessible.
Getting around local restrictions: Some places like schools, colleges, workplaces, hotels, and government offices block platforms like Steam by default, either to restrict the content or the bandwidth use. Regardless of the reason, a VPN can circumvent these blocks.
Preventing cyber attacks: Online games are frequently targeted by hackers performing DDoS attacks, inserting keyloggers to steal your information, scamming license keys, and so much more. While VPNs may not be able to stop some of these, they can absolutely foil most hacking attempts by encrypting your data and sending it through a secure VPN tunnel.
Don’t Get Banned for Using a VPN with Steam
It’s important to understand that using a VPN with Steam isn’t exactly something that Valve (the company behind Steam) wants you to do. Its subscriber agreement says:
“You agree that you will not use IP proxying or other methods to disguise the place of your residence, whether to circumvent geographical restrictions on game content, to purchase at pricing not applicable to your geography, or for any other purpose. If you do this, Valve may terminate your access to your Account.”
This might seem pretty grim, and Valve does, unfortunately, have the right to block your account. To keep the risk of this happening at an absolute minimum, you should follow the simple recommendations below:
- Don’t buy games from other countries’ markets just because they are cheaper.
Steam sells games at different prices to different countries based on exchange rates and popularity. If you’re accessing games from other countries because they aren’t available in your country, you should be OK, but using a VPN to shop at a Steam market in a country where the prices are lower is a huge no-no. If you do, Valve will likely consider it an act of theft (whereas if you’re just accessing games that aren’t available in your country in the first place, Valve don’t lose any money).
- Don’t buy in-game items that aren’t available in your country.
This one may seem contradictory, but you should avoid using a VPN to obtain in-game downloads, extra items, or discount offers because they’re not available in your country. This could get you banned from Steam.
- Don’t ever use a VPN to cause damage or to harm other people.
Just don’t, period.
If you’re careful not to do any of the above, there’s very little chance you’ll be flagged by Steam and should be able to use their service risk-free.
Detailed Guide to the 5 Best VPNs for Steam
The best VPNs for Steam should be strong on speed, reliability, and security. With that in mind, we’ve compiled the following list of recommendations for you.
With the choice of 5,400 servers across 60+ countries (including specialized servers optimized for gaming), you’ll receive the absolute best speed, stability, and performance for gaming.
NordVPN’s high-end security features mean that any unauthorized access to your connection is eliminated. This VPN keep no logs, and your data is encrypted using military-grade AES-256 with support for OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocols. Other features include built-in CyberSec security software, a kill switch, DNS leak protection, and more.
NordVPN can unblock:
Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Showtime, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and Sling TV.
Yes, P2P specialty servers available.
NordVPN works on these devices:
Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It’s also compatible with routers.
ExpressVPN has the absolute best speeds for gaming, but there’s one catch: its premium service is a bit pricey (though still affordable). If you’re willing to pay for what you get, however, you’ll enjoy uninterrupted gaming with the ability to connect to over 3,000 servers in 160 locations.
This fully customizable VPN uses 256-bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and OpenVPN support across all platforms. Its kill switch, TrustedServer technology, and no-logs policy will keep you safe. You can use ExpressVPN across 5 devices simultaneously.
ExpressVPN can unblock:
Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, Sling TV, DAZN, and BBC iPlayer.
Yes, all servers support P2P activity.
ExpressVPN works on these devices:
Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Android TV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox. It also offers an app for use with certain routers.
CyberGhost offers an easy-to-use interface that’s affordable, but doesn’t skimp on the features that matter. With 6,000+ servers in 90+ countries, 256-bit AES encryption on the OpenVPN protocol, DNS and IP leak protection, built-in malware/ad-blocking software, a kill switch, and a no-logs policy, you’ll have everything you need for some great gaming.
You can connect 7 devices to this VPN simultaneously. It offers a generous 45-day, money-back guarantee.
CyberGhost can unblock:
Dedicated streaming profile with servers optimized for: Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, Hulu, Comedy Central, Eurosport, ESPN, and others.
Yes; dedicated profile shows countries and number of users.
CyberGhost works on these devices:
Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Amazon Fire Stick, Android TV, Linux, and Chrome.
Surfshark is a great VPN for Steam with its high marks for all-around features and affordability. It may have only 800+ servers, but each one is P2P-friendly, superfast, and has Private DNS.
Surfshark’s most attractive feature is its unlimited simultaneous connections, meaning your whole family – or even a LAN party – can get in on the fun.
Security and privacy features include split tunneling, double encryption, a malware and ad blocker, a kill switch, and extra obfuscation settings. With unlimited, reliable connections, great speeds, and robust security, you can’t go wrong.
Surfshark can unblock:
Netflix, Hulu, CBS, ESPN, Amazon Prime Video, and others.
Yes, all servers support P2P activity.
Surfshark works on these devices:
Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, FireTV, Linux, Chrome, and Firefox.
This easy-to-use VPN is perfect if you want robust security and great features for use with Steam. PrivateVPN puts privacy and security first, with AES 256-bit encryption, an automatic kill switch, IPv6, and DNS leak protection set as default. This will shield you from malware, hackers, or anyone else trying to snoop at your activity.
You can connect up to 6 devices (including routers) using the VPN’s easy apps, and best of all, it offers a 7-day free trial and a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
PrivateVPN can unblock:
Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, and BBC iPlayer.
Yes, all servers support P2P activity; list of P2P-optimized servers available through the app.
PrivateVPN works on these devices:
Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.
There are lots of reasons to use a VPN with Steam, but it can be risky if you don’t follow a few basic rules. If you’re careful, and use a good VPN that has top speed, reliability, and security features like NordVPN, you can enjoy Steam with minimum worry and maximum fun.
If you’re looking for an extremely affordable option, check out some of these cheap VPNs.
If you’re also into torrenting, take a look at our Best VPNs for Torrents.