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5 Best VPNs for Steam — Tested and Still Working in 2023

Finding the right VPN for Steam can be challenging. Many have slow speeds that increase latency and cause laggy gameplay. Others fail to secure your connection and leave you exposed to DDoS attacks. Finally, some are easily detected by Steam, so you can’t use them at all.

My team and I tested 45+ VPNs and shortlisted the best ones for Steam. We analyzed security features, connection speeds, average ping, and the extent and reliability of the server network to rank our choices. Based on these factors, I found a few VPNs that let you play securely with minimal latency.

My top choice is ExpressVPN because it has superfast speeds and a reliable worldwide server network for low-ping gaming. Plus, its top security features, such as its IPv6 leak protection and server obfuscation, prevent DDoS attacks and help it avoid Steam’s detection methods. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not impressed, it’s easy to get a full refund.

Access Steam With ExpressVPN

Important! It's possible Steam could ban your account for using a VPN. As long as you don't use it to cheat, access games banned in your region, or to take advantage of foreign markets for cheaper games, then you should be safe to use a VPN with Steam.

Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for Steam in 2023

  1. ExpressVPNOur top choice for Steam with superfast speeds to play games with zero lag, and a reliable worldwide server network that lets you securely access any Steam region.
  2. CyberGhost — Dedicated gaming servers help you easily find the ideal server for gaming. However, its long-distance connections can be slow.
  3. Private Internet Access — Highly customizable security lets you optimize for speed. That said, it’s not the easiest VPN for beginners to navigate.
  4. NordVPN — NordLynx protocol balances strong protection and ultra-smooth gameplay, but some servers are a little bit slow to connect.
  5. Surfshark — Camouflage mode lets you access Steam on restrictive networks, but it doesn’t show you ping information for each server.

Best VPNs for Steam — Full Analysis (2023 Update)

1. ExpressVPN — Lightning-Fast Speeds and Reliable Server Network Offers Consistent Lag-Free Gaming

  • Ultra-fast speeds and unlimited bandwidth to play without lag
  • 3,000+ servers in 94 countries offers reliable access to games worldwide
  • 5 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: Steam, PlayStation Store, Good Old Games (GOG), Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store, Origin, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Steam Deck, and more
ExpressVPN Offer January 2023: For a limited time only, you can get an ExpressVPN subscription for up to 49% off! Don't miss out!

Out of all the VPNs I tested, ExpressVPN has the fastest speeds. During my tests, I connected to its nearby London server and got a download speed of 60 Mbps (only a 3% drop from my baseline connection). The ping never rose above 30 ms, which let me play Apex Legends on my Windows PC completely lag-free. For context, a download speed of 10 Mbps and a ping below 100 ms is recommended for smooth gaming in fast-paced online shooters like PUBG. For downloading games, you should have a bare minimum 30 Mbps.

Screenshot of ExpressVPN's speed test resultsThe speeds were consistently high (over 54 Mbps) even on distant connections

Its fast speeds can be attributed in part to ExpressVPN’s proprietary Lightway protocol, which is optimized for speed and security. It’s much faster than the popular OpenVPN and just as secure, making it an excellent choice for gaming. Plus, you can use its split tunneling feature to send only your Steam traffic through the VPN tunnel, which improves overall device performance.

Thanks to ExpressVPN’s extensive server network, you’ll always have reliable servers in the locations you need. This makes it easy to change your Steam region and maintain access to your full library while traveling abroad. Plus, if you're playing on a restrictive network (like a university campus or in a country that censors the internet), ExpressVPN will automatically enable server obfuscation. This hides the fact you are using a VPN and lets you play Steam games even if the platform is usually blocked for you.

Security is also top-notch to keep your Steam sessions secure. It uses AES 256-bit military-grade encryption, which is virtually impossible to crack. In addition, it offers IP/DNS/WebRTC leak protection and an automatic kill switch. These prevent hackers from finding your personal IP address and initiating DDoS attacks against your home network.

On the downside, ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than other VPNs on this list — the cheapest plan you can sign up for is $6.67/month. However, ExpressVPN often offers generous discounts on its long-term plans. When I signed up for its yearly plan, I got 49% off my subscription.

You can try ExpressVPN totally risk-free as it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy, you can get a full refund. Curious about the guarantee, I contacted support via ExpressVPN’s 24/7 live chat and requested a refund. After a brief chat, the live chat agent approved my refund request without pressuring me to stay. I had my money back in 2 days.

Try ExpressVPN With Steam

2. CyberGhost — Dedicated Gaming Servers Let You Easily Connect to the Ideal Location

  • Specialized gaming servers help you quickly find the perfect server for gaming
  • 9,758+ servers in 91 countries for global access to Steam content
  • 7 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: Steam, PlayStation Store, Good Old Games (GOG), Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store, Origin, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Steam Deck, and more
January 2023 Deal: CyberGhost is currently offering 84% off its most popular plan! Take advantage of this offer now and save more on your CyberGhost subscription.

CyberGhost offers gaming-optimized servers, so you can have a smooth gaming experience right away. You can easily find them under the “For Gaming” category within the app. These are optimized for fast speeds and low ping, meaning you don’t have to waste time finding the best server for online gaming.

During my tests on its specialized Frankfurt server, I received a download speed of 54.5 Mbps (a 12% speed drop) and an average ping of 41 ms. This is perfect for online gaming — I never experienced any delay while playing multiplayer on GTA 5.

Screenshot showing CyberGhost's VPN app interfaceCyberGhost’s best gaming servers are very easy to find

CyberGhost is super easy to use. It took me 2 minutes to download and install the app on my Windows PC. If you’re not sure what the best server is, just use its “Best Server Location” feature to connect to the fastest available server. Using this, my VPN download speed increased to 56 Mbps.

I also liked that CyberGhost has a built-in NAT firewall. It assigns each user a unique private IP address and blocks all communication that isn’t specifically requested by a device on your home network. This (plus military-grade encryption, leak protection, and a kill switch) provides solid protection against hacking attempts and DDoS attacks.

The problem with CyberGhost is that its long-distance connections can be hit or miss. When I connected to its Melbourne server, my speeds dropped to 45 Mbps (around a 28% drop) — I had much better results with ExpressVPN. However, this won’t be a problem if you have a fast baseline connection.

The plans are affordable — you can get a subscription for just $2.19/month. It also offers a dedicated IP add-on, which can reduce Steam flagging suspicious activity. While it isn’t confirmed how Steam detects VPNs, a common method is to block IPs that many users are sharing at once. A dedicated IP is your own personal IP, meaning you’ll dodge such detection methods.

Each plan comes with a money-back guarantee which extends up to 45 days, so you can try CyberGhost for free. To ensure this guarantee is legitimate, I contacted support via the 24/7 live chat after 24 days. The rep only asked a couple of questions about my satisfaction and approved my request within 5 minutes. The money was back in my account after 3 days.

Try CyberGhost With Steam

3. Private Internet Access — Customizable Security for Faster Speeds & Smooth Gameplay

  • Customizable security lets you fine-tune settings for optimal performance
  • Top encryption, leak protection, a kill switch, and MACE ad and malware blocker
  • 10 simultaneous device connections
  • Works with: Steam, PlayStation Store, Good Old Games (GOG), Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store, Origin, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Steam Deck, and more
January 2023 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 83% off!

PIA offers tons of customization options, allowing you to configure your VPN connection to fit your preferences. For instance, you can choose between AES 128-bit and 256-bit encryption. The former is a bit faster, but still strong enough to keep your Steam gaming sessions secure. You get IP and DNS leak protection no matter which encryption you use, and never once was my real location revealed during my leak tests.

There’s also an option to choose between WireGuard and OpenVPN. During my tests, WireGuard gave me 17% faster speeds than OpenVPN. I also set up split tunneling, so only Steam was using the VPN connection — this just puts less stress on your machine and reduces slowdowns. You can easily increase your download speeds by tweaking your VPN settings.

Screenshot displaying how to customize your VPN connection with PIAWireGuard is the preferred protocol for gaming because it strikes the right balance of speed and security

The server network is massive, letting you access your regional Steam library from anywhere. With 29,650 servers in 84 locations, if one server is giving you slow speeds, you'll have plenty of alternatives to choose from. I tested 9 of its servers across Europe and North America — the connection always remained stable. Plus, I never experienced a ping rate of higher than 70 ms even on distant connections. On nearby servers, it was consistently below 47 ms.

Since PIA has a lot of configurable settings, it can be a bit overwhelming — especially if you’re new to VPNs. However, it comes pre-configured in a working state, so you don’t have to customize anything if you don’t want to.

You can sign up for PIA for as low as $2.19/month. Its 3-year plan is the most affordable option on this list. While a 3-year subscription is a big commitment, it’s definitely a good deal if you need a VPN for the long term. You can also add a dedicated IP for an extra cost.

Included with every PIA plan is a 30-day money-back guarantee. After using the service for 26 days, I requested a refund over the 24/7 live chat. The support agent did try to get me to stay but approved my request after I said no. I got my money back in 4 days.

Try PIA With Steam

4. NordVPN — NordLynx Protocol to Game Safely at Good Speeds

  • Proprietary NordLynx protocol for fast and secure gaming sessions
  • 5,507 servers in 60 countries to access Steam anywhere
  • 6 simultaneous connections to cover your many devices
  • Works with: Steam, PlayStation Store, Good Old Games (GOG), Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store, Origin, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Steam Deck, and more

NordVPN comes with its own NordLynx protocol which offers top speeds and safety while gaming. It’s based on the industry’s fastest protocol, WireGuard, but it’s more secure. My ping on nearby servers didn’t drop below 50ms. While testing NordVPN’s Germany server, I played Apex Legends (via Steam) lag-free. You can also stream UHD videos and download files without interruptions.

Screenshot of NordVPN general preferences windowNordVPN’s proprietary protocol provides impressive speeds for lag-free gaming

The service has plenty of security features, such as AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and Perfect Forward Secrecy, which regularly changes your encryption key, making it even more difficult to steal your sensitive information. Using its double NAT tech, you're well protected against DDoS attacks. This lets you game safely also on unsecured public WiFi networks.

I ran several DNS/WebRTC/IPv6 leak tests, and my actual location wasn’t revealed. Besides, your personal data can’t be shared thanks to a no-logs policy. NordVPN offers Double VPN for extra protection — it means your traffic goes through 2 servers. You can use this feature on Windows, Mac, and iOS.

One disappointment was that some servers took too long to reply, resulting in connection time-outs. However, the network is large (across 60 countries), so finding a reliable server takes a few seconds.

Subscriptions are affordable — you can get started for as low as $3.49/month. I chose the 2-year plan, which is the most pocket-friendly.

With a 30-day money-back guarantee, NordVPN lets you try all its features for free. If you’re not impressed, it’s possible to cancel your subscription by sending an email to customer support (24/7 chat also available). The process is pretty straightforward, and my credit card was reimbursed 5 days later.

Try NordVPN With Steam

5. Surfshark — Camouflage Mode for Gaming on Restrictive Networks

  • Camouflage mode to obfuscate your traffic and hide the fact you’re using a VPN
  • Unlimited device connections to access Steam across all your devices
  • 3,200 servers in 100 countries to unblock the content you need
  • Works with: Steam, PlayStation Store, Good Old Games (GOG), Microsoft Store, Epic Games Store, Origin, and more
  • Compatible with: Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, Steam Deck, and more

Surfshark offers a special feature called Camouflage mode, which uses obfuscation to hide the fact that you’re connected to a VPN. This allows you to bypass VPN blocks, meaning you can game securely even on restrictive networks like at work or school. While testing Surfshark in China, I easily access my Steam account. Plus, NoBorders mode automatically lists the best servers to use in your current restrictive location.

Screenshot of Surfshark's security settingsSurfshark’s Camouflage mode is available on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux devices

The VPN keeps your Steam games secure with strong security features, like AES 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and leak protection. There’s the Bypasser feature (split tunneling) too, which lets you route only your chosen traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel.

A server network covers 100 countries to access your Steam account no matter where you are. You can also unblock your favorite streaming platforms when abroad, such as Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and BBC iPlayer.

I recorded decent speeds on nearby connections. During my tests on the UK servers, the speeds clocked at 53Mbps, which is a 14% speed loss from my base connection. But my ping was consistently low, hovering around 57ms. I played Dota 2 and Warframe with no lag.

One downside is that Surfshark doesn’t display the ping and load next to the servers when you’re connected. However, finding the best gaming server is easy by using the Fastest location button. The VPN also comes with 24/7 live chat support and Unlimited simultaneous connections to safely play Steam games on all your devices.

You can get Surfshark for just $2.30/month. I recommend the 3-year plan, which saves you the most in the long run.

Getting a refund is convenient since the service is backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. I contacted support through live chat, and the money was transferred to my bank account after a week.

Try Surfshark With Steam

Quick Comparison Table: Best Steam VPNs

The table below offers a quick side-by-side comparison of VPNs on this list. If you’re still unsure which Steam VPN is right for you, take a look below.

Lowest price Standout feature Download speeds Device connections No. of servers + locations Money-back Guarantee
🥇 ExpressVPN $6.67/month Lowest average ping 60 Mbps (3% drop from base connection) 5 3,000 servers in 94 countries 30 days
🥈 CyberGhost $2.19/month Dedicated gaming servers 54.5 Mbps (12% drop from base connection) 7 9,758 servers in 91 countries 45 days
🥉 PIA $2.19/month Customizable security 51 Mbps (18% drop from base connection) 10 29,650 servers in 84 countries 30 days
NordVPN $3.49/month Fast NordLynx protocol 53 Mbps (14% drop from base connection) 6 5,507 servers in 60 countries 30 days
Surfshark $2.30/month Camouflage mode for obfuscation 53 Mbps (14% drop from base connection) Unlimited 3,200 servers in 100 countries 30 days

Game With ExpressVPN

Tips on How to Choose the Best VPNs for Steam

Knowing what metrics to look out for when choosing a Steam VPN will help you make the right decision. I used the following criteria to rank my top picks.

  • Fast speeds and low ping. Choose a VPN that offers fast speeds and low ping. If you experience a speed drop of more than 40% with your VPN on a local server, then you might want to explore other options. I thoroughly tested each VPN on this list to ensure that they have fast speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and low ping, so you can download games quickly and play without lag.
  • Reliable servers worldwide. Each VPN on this list has plenty of server locations worldwide. This means that you can easily change your Steam region to whatever you like. Also, if the server you’re connected to stops working, you’ll have plenty of other options to connect to.
  • Top security features. Make sure your VPN includes essential security features, like IPv6 leak protection, military-grade encryption, and an automatic kill switch. This way, you can have safe and secure gaming sessions protected from DDoS attacks. Plus, your VPN should have a strict no-logs policy, which ensures your online activity is kept private.
  • Ability to unblock Steam. If you’re looking to game on a restrictive network, you’ll need a VPN that can reliably unblock Steam. Look for features like multihop and server obfuscation, as these help hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. Some networks, such as censorship-heavy countries like China, or even just your work or school WiFi, can detect and block a VPN connection that lacks these features.
  • Easy to use. Get right to gaming by choosing a Steam VPN that takes minimal setup. The VPNs I’ve chosen can start securing your connection with just a few clicks. They also offer native apps for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and many other modern devices.
  • Responsive support. Be sure to choose a VPN that offers reliable support over live chat, email, or phone. Live chat is particularly nice, as it’s the least time-consuming. You can get answers to your queries almost instantly.
  • Money-back guarantee. You should be able to test your VPN with Steam before committing to a subscription. Ensure your VPN has a trustworthy money-back guarantee. This way, you can try the VPN without risk and get a full refund if it’s not for you.

Quick Guide: How to Unblock Steam With a VPN in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it is super reliable for accessing Steam, even on restrictive networks. Plus, its superfast speeds and low ping allow you to play without lag.
  2. Connect to a server. Choose a nearby server for a lower ping and faster speeds.
  3. Start playing. Open Steam and start playing your favorite games!

Try ExpressVPN Risk-Free

FAQs on How to Choose the Best VPNs for Steam

Will Steam ban me for using a VPN?

Using a VPN with Steam goes against Valve’s Steam Subscriber Agreement, and the company does reserve the right to terminate your account if you do this. However, I haven’t heard of a single instance where a user account was banned just because they were using a VPN to play games securely.

You can also use a VPN to change your Steam region, giving you access to geo-restricted games. However, Steam takes this more seriously. If detected, action may be taken against your account.

In addition, Steam games are available at much cheaper prices in countries such as Argentina and Turkey. So, if you change your region to one of these countries just to get a better deal, you’ll be risking a ban.

Why can’t I change my Steam region?

It’s possible that your VPN is leaking your true location. That’s why it’s so important to choose a VPN with robust security, like IPv6 leak protection and an automatic kill switch.

In addition, Steam no longer allows you to change your region with the click of a button because too many users were taking advantage of foreign markets. Nowadays, you need to connect to a VPN server in your chosen country, add a valid payment method from that country, and make a purchase to prove your account matches your true location. Either that or contact Steam support to request a region switch, which takes a while.

If you have a valid payment method and a solid VPN but you’re still running into issues, there could be a few other reasons why you can’t change your Steam region.

  • 3-month cooldown period. You can only change your Steam region once every 3 months. This is to stop you from abusing the region change feature to access region-locked games and take advantage of cheaper prices. It’s possible that you recently changed your region and your 3-month cooldown period isn’t over yet.
  • Steam has detected VPN use. It’s possible that Steam has detected VPN use and reset the 3-month cooldown period. Choosing a VPN that uses server obfuscation can help avoid this. For the best chance, do not change your VPN server location with Steam during the cooldown period. This reveals to Steam you’re likely using a VPN.

Will using a VPN with Steam slow down my internet connection?

A VPN usually slows down your internet speed to some extent. That’s because it routes your traffic through one of its own servers. As a result, your internet traffic has to make an extra stop, which can increase latency and slow down your connection speed.

In addition, there are encryption mechanisms in place, which can also contribute to reduced speeds due to the additional overhead. However, the drop in speeds is barely noticeable when you use a top VPN provider, like ExpressVPN. During my tests, I encountered a speed loss of only 3% with ExpressVPN’s nearby servers.

However, in some cases, a VPN might actually increase your connection speeds. If your download speed is really low during peak hours, your ISP is likely throttling your connection. With a VPN, your traffic is encrypted, so your ISP cannot see where it's going and won’t slow it down. This means you can patch your favorite games or download new ones without days of waiting.

Can I use a free VPN with Steam?

You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Free VPNs often have slow speeds and limited data, so they’re not suitable for online gaming. It’s always better to use a low-cost premium VPN with fast speeds and unlimited data.

In addition, free VPNs can have weak security, so they don’t protect you against DDoS attacks. Some collect and share your data, putting your privacy at risk. Even worse, free VPNs are often easily detected by Steam, which could get you banned.

Is using a VPN with Steam legal?

Yes, using a VPN with Steam is legal in most countries. However, some countries (like China and Iran) have restricted or banned VPN use. Using one in such countries can be against the law.

My team and I don’t condone illegal activities, so please check your country’s latest laws regarding VPN use to ensure that you’re staying compliant.

Play Steam Games with ExpressVPN

Get the Best VPN for Steam Today

It isn’t easy to find a VPN that works great with Steam. Thankfully, all of the above options ensure lag-free gameplay, while providing you with top-tier security and privacy protection.

My top recommendation is ExpressVPN because it has ultra-fast speeds, a worldwide network of obfuscated servers, and top security features. This all ensures you can game without worry. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free as it’s backed by a trustworthy money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you have up to 30 days to get your money back.

To summarize, the best VPNs for Steam in 2023 are…

Rank
Provider
Our Score
Discount
Visit Website
1
medal
9.8 /10
Save 49%!
2
9.8 /10
Save 84%!
3
9.6 /10
Save 82%!
4
9.4 /10
Save 71%!
5
9.2 /10
Save 83%!
Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

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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

About the Author

Akash is a tech enthusiast and a gadget freak. His specialty is Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence, and SEO. He loves testing VPNs and helping people stay safe online.

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