5 Best VPNs for Steam That Work in 2024
- Best VPNs for Steam — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)
- ExpressVPN — Overall Best VPN for Steam With Fast Speeds and Low Ping
- CyberGhost — Gaming-Optimized Servers to Easily Find the Right Connection for Steam
- Private Internet Access (PIA) — Customizable Security for Faster Speeds and Smooth Gameplay
- NordVPN — Obfuscated Servers to Play Steam Games on Restrictive WiFi Networks
- Surfshark — Unlimited Connections to Play Steam Games Without Interruption
- Quick Comparison Table: Best Steam VPNs
- Tips on How to Choose the Best VPNs for Steam
- Quick Guide: How to Unblock Steam on Restrictive Networks With a VPN in 3 Easy Steps
- FAQs on the Best VPNs for Steam
- Get the Best VPN for Steam
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 to protect your Steam sessions or avoid ISP throttling.
My team and I tested 45+ providers to find the best VPNs for Steam. We analyzed them for their security features, connection speeds, average ping, compatibility with Steam Deck, and the reliability of their server networks. Based on these factors, I found a few VPNs that let you play securely with minimal latency.
My top choice for Steam is ExpressVPN because it has fast speeds and a reliable server network for low-ping gaming. Plus, its advanced security features prevent DDoS attacks and help you avoid Steam’s VPN detection methods. You can try ExpressVPN risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied, it’s easy to get a full refund.
Short on Time? Here Are the Best VPNs for Steam in 2024
- Editor's ChoiceExpressVPN
High-speed, low-ping gaming on Steam with a global network of reliable servers.70% of our readers choose ExpressVPN
Easy-to-use VPN with dedicated gaming servers for a smooth Steam experience.
- Private Internet Access
Customizable for speed to minimize game load times without compromising security.
Obfuscated servers for Steam gaming on restricted public WiFi networks.
Unlimited connections for Steam gaming on multiple devices at the same time.
Best VPNs for Steam — Full Analysis (Updated 2024)
Tested February 2024 Try Risk-Free for 30 Days
|Lowest ping of all the Steam VPNs we tested
|Very fast — 3% speed drop on nearby servers
|IP/DNS/WebRTC leak protection, automatic kill switch, military-grade encryption
|3,000 servers in 105 countries
ExpressVPN is the fastest Steam VPN we tested. On its nearby UK servers, the ping consistently stayed below 15ms, and the speed drop was only 3%. This let me play Halo: Infinite on my PC without any lag. This solid performance can be attributed to its Lightway protocol, which is much faster than the popular OpenVPN and just as secure.
With ExpressVPN’s large server network, you have plenty of options to protect your gaming sessions from any prying eyes. It has servers all over the world, including in Argentina, Brazil, Turkey, the US, and more. This means that it's very likely to find a nearby one in your region that isn't overcrowded or slow.
ExpressVPN’s automatic obfuscation hides the fact that you’re using a VPN, making it easier to play games on restrictive WiFi networks. Some networks (like those in schools or workplaces) block gaming traffic, while others won’t let you use a VPN at all. I played Warframe in my university library while connected to ExpressVPN, even though this network blocks P2P connections and VPNs.
On the downside, ExpressVPN is a bit more expensive than other VPNs on this list. That said, it often offers generous discounts on its long-term plans. Plus, it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN risk-free. If you’re not satisfied with the service you get, it’s easy to get a full refund.
- Compatible with Steam Deck. ExpressVPN seamlessly integrates with the Steam Deck. Since SteamOS is based on Linux, you can use ExpressVPN's Linux app directly on the device. Alternatively, you can set up the VPN on your router, which lets you use the VPN connection on all connected devices (including Steam Deck).
- Strong security. ExpressVPN uses AES 256-bit military-grade encryption, which is virtually impossible to crack. Plus, it offers IPv4/6, DNS, and 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.
- Smart Location. You don’t need to hunt down a fast server for gaming. Simply click the Smart Location quick connect button, and the app will connect you to the fastest available server near you. So, you can start gaming safely with only a few clicks.
|Optimized servers that offer fast speeds for Steam gaming
|Fast speeds — 7% speed drop on nearby servers
|256-bit encryption, NAT firewall, robust IP/DNS leak protection
|11,690 servers in 100 countries
CyberGhost’s dedicated gaming servers are why it’s one of my long-time favorite VPNs for Steam. These servers are all optimized for fast, lag-free connections, and each one shows its latency before you connect. So, after a long day at work or school, you don’t need to hop around different servers before you start gaming.
You would expect fast speeds from a dedicated gaming server, and CyberGhost doesn’t disappoint. On its German and UK gaming servers, I clocked a ping under 25ms and a speed drop of only 7%. This is perfect for online Steam gaming — I never experienced any lag while playing Fortnite on my Steam Deck.
CyberGhost isn’t just about speeds — it also delivers on security. Its built-in NAT firewall 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, along with strong encryption and IP/DNS leak protection, protects your Steam gaming sessions from DDoS attacks.
I found that CyberGhost’s long-distance connections can be a bit slow. However, if your base internet speed is good, it won’t be a problem. And if you're unsure, its 45-day money-back guarantee lets you test it out with Steam for free.
- Dedicated IP. For a small additional fee, CyberGhost offers a dedicated IP add-on. While it isn’t confirmed how Steam detects VPNs, a common method is blocking IPs that many users share at once. A dedicated IP is unique to you, so you’re less likely to run into IP-based VPN blocks.
- Large server network. If you can’t find a gaming server for your desired region, you can use one of CyberGhost’s regular servers. They’re almost as reliable as gaming-optimized ones. I didn't really experience any major issues using any of CyberGhost's servers for gaming.
3. Private Internet Access (PIA) — Customizable Security for Faster Speeds and Smooth Gameplay
|Strong security that can be tweaked to fit your preferences
|Fast speeds — 8% speed drop on nearby servers
|Choice of encryption protocols, advanced kill switch, IP/DNS/WebRTC leak protection
|29,650 servers in 91 countries
PIA offers tons of customizations to optimize your connection for Steam. For example, you can choose between speedy WireGuard and super secure OpenVPN. When using OpenVPN, I switched from the default 256-bit encryption to 128-bit and saw a 7% speed boost. This flexibility ensures you get the best balance between speed and security for gaming.
PIA’s kill switch comes with an advanced option, too. The standard version blocks your internet if your VPN connection drops, but the advanced one stops your device from using the internet at all unless your VPN is turned on. If you’re anything like me and forget to turn on your VPN before you jump into a matchmaking queue, you’ll really appreciate this safety net.
On the downside, PIA’s customizations can be a bit too overwhelming for beginners. However, that’s not a problem since PIA comes pre-configured. This means you can use it for Steam gaming right away without wrestling with any settings.
It’s pretty affordable, too — you can get PIA for as low as $2.03/month with its long-term plan. It’s also backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can test it out with Steam for free.
- Fast speeds and low ping. During my tests on PIA’s nearby UK servers, I observed a speed drop of only 8% and a consistent ping below 30ms. I didn’t experience any lag while playing PUBG, even during the frantic last zones.
- MultiHop connections. This feature routes your connection through a VPN server and then a SOCKS5 proxy, disguising your VPN usage. This adds an additional layer of security and may help prevent Steam VPN detection. But remember, it can affect your connection speed since your data travels through two servers.
|Obfuscated servers to play Steam games on public networks that block them
|Second fastest VPN we tested — 5% speed drop on nearby servers
|Military-grade encryption, double NAT system (on NordLynx protocol), customizable kill switch
|6,105 servers in 61 countries
NordVPN's obfuscated servers make it an excellent choice if you want to play Steam games on public restrictive networks. These servers hide VPN use by disguising your connection as regular traffic, letting you bypass tough firewalls and blocks. Even if your network administrator blocks Steam and VPNs, you can still game. This also helps stop your ISP from throttling your speeds when playing on Steam.
NordVPN’s speeds are almost on par with ExpressVPN. On its nearby UK servers, I had a ping below 30ms, and the speed drop was only 5% (vs 3% with ExpressVPN). This is ideal for real-time multiplayer games on Steam, such as Dota 2, where even a slight delay can make a big difference.
A minor issue I found with NordVPN is its Windows app, which can sometimes take up to 30 seconds to launch. But once it's up and running, you’ll have a smooth and uninterrupted gaming experience on Steam.
You can try NordVPN for free by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee. If it’s not right for you, it’s easy to get a refund.
- Meshnet for LAN parties. NordVPN's Meshnet feature allows you to set up LAN parties with friends by creating a secure local network. This means you can game with friends without exposing your device's IP address or risking potential threats from unknown networks.
- NordLynx protocol. NordVPN’s proprietary protocol, NordLynx, is built around WireGuard to provide fast, secure connections. It also enhances this protocol’s built-in security with a double NAT system, which assigns you a unique and dynamic IP address and protects you from any unwanted traffic.
|Unlimited device connections make Surfshark a budget-friendly option for larger households
|Fast speeds — 12% speed drop on nearby servers
|Strong IP/DNS leak protection, 256-bit encryption, multiple kill switch options
|3,200 servers in 100 countries
Surfshark offers unlimited connections, so you can play Steam games on your PC or Steam Deck without disrupting an existing connection. During my tests, I had seven household devices connected to the VPN. I was able to play Naraka: Bladepoint without any lag, even though my roommates were streaming Netflix and torrenting on their devices.
The Bypasser (split tunneling) feature of Surfshark enabled me to enhance my connection speeds. By setting it to protect my Steam sessions while using my regular unencrypted connection for all other devices, I managed to free up bandwidth. Although the increase in speed was not significant, it would be perceptible on slower connections.
Unfortunately, some of its long-distance servers can take a while to connect. For example, it took me 25 seconds to connect to its Australian server. However, this wasn’t a common occurrence. And once connected, my gaming experience was consistently smooth.
Surfshark offers a 30-day money-back guarantee with every plan, so you can test it for free. Just ask for a refund via live chat if it’s not for you.
- Fast connections. Its UK servers gave me an average ping of 32ms, and the speed loss was never more than 12%. This ensured a lag-free gaming experience on Steam.
- Value for money. You can get a Surfshark subscription for just $2.89/month. Despite being affordable, it doesn’t skimp on security. All your sessions are well-protected from DDoS attacks.
Quick Comparison Table: Best Steam VPNs
The table below offers a quick side-by-side comparison of VPNs on this list. I’ve covered their speeds, how many devices you can use them on at once, and their server network. Plus, you’ll be able to see whether they’ll work with Steam Deck and whether you’re covered by a money-back guarantee.
If you’re still unsure which Steam VPN is right for you, take a look below.
Tips on How to Choose the Best VPNs for Steam
Being aware of the key metrics to consider when selecting a VPN for Steam will assist you in making an informed choice. To determine my top recommendations, I applied the following set of criteria.
- 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. Each VPN on this list has fast speeds and low ping, so you can download Steam games quickly and play safely without lag.
- Reliable servers worldwide. Each VPN on this list has plenty of server locations worldwide. This means that you can easily find one in your region that isn't overcrowded. Also, if the server you’re connected to stops working, you’ll have plenty of other options to connect to.
- Strong security features. All the VPNs on this list offer essential security features, like robust IP/DNS leak protection, military-grade encryption, and an automatic kill switch. This way, you can rest assured your gaming sessions are protected from DDoS attacks.
- Works with Steam. If you’re looking to game on a restrictive public network, you’ll need a VPN that can reliably unblock Steam. I made sure to shortlist VPNs that offer features like multihop and server obfuscation, as these help hide the fact that you’re using a VPN. As a bonus, this might help you to avoid Steam’s VPN detection blocking technology too.
- Responsive support. I’ve only shortlisted VPNs that offer 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. All the VPNs on this list offer reliable money-back guarantees, so you can test them risk-free and get a full refund if they don’t meet your expectations.
Quick Guide: How to Unblock Steam on Restrictive Networks With a VPN in 3 Easy Steps
- Download a VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN because it is super reliable for using Steam, even on restrictive public WiFi networks. Plus, its fast speeds and low ping let you play without lag.
- Connect to a server. Choose a nearby server for a lower ping and faster speeds.
- Start playing. Open Steam and start playing your favorite games safely.
FAQs on the Best VPNs for Steam
Will Steam ban me for using a VPN?
Potentially. 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.
But if you’re hypothetically using the VPN to switch regions just to unlock games that aren’t available in your country, Steam might take action 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?
Steam doesn't allow using a VPN to change your Steam region, so if you're hypothetically trying that, it's possible that it detected your VPN. The team and I don't recommend using a VPN to break Steam's T&Cs. However, if you need a VPN just to protect your connection, be it while gaming or doing anything online, you aren't breaking any rules. For that, it’s so important to choose a VPN with robust security, like IPv6 leak protection and an automatic kill switch.
If you're moving or traveling for an extended period in a different country, you can change your Steam region after purchasing a game in your new place with a billing method from there. You will see the option once you view the cart or complete your purchase.
Will using a VPN with Steam slow down my internet connection?
Yes — a VPN usually slows down your internet speed to some extent. Because it routes your traffic through another server, your internet traffic has to make an extra stop, which can increase latency and slow down your connection speed. However, the drop in speeds is barely noticeable when you use a fast VPN.
VPNs also use a variety of encryption algorithms to protect your data, which will contribute to these reduced speeds due to the additional overhead. That said, the best VPNs only use algorithms that provide the most optimal balance between speed and security. So, you shouldn’t notice any major slowdowns due to encryption alone.
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 quickly.
Can I use a free VPN with Steam?
You can, but I don’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.
Is using a VPN with Steam legal?
It’s a bit complicated. It's legal to protect your connection with a VPN while gaming or doing anything online in most places. However, some countries (like China and Iran) have restricted or banned VPN use. Using one in such countries may be against the law.
In addition, Steam doesn't allow using a VPN to hypothetically take advantage of cheaper game prices in different regions, unlock games, cheat, or switch countries. If you need to change your Steam region after you move to another country, you can still do that legitimately without a VPN. You'll just need to make your first purchase in your new region with a billing method from there, and the option to change your country will appear in the cart.
My team and I don’t condone illegal activities, so please check Steam's T&Cs and your country’s latest laws regarding VPN use to ensure that you’re staying compliant.
Get the Best VPN for Steam
It isn’t easy to find a VPN that works great with Steam. So, my team and I tested dozens of VPNs and only shortlisted options that ensure lag-free gameplay while providing you with top-tier security and privacy protection.
My top VPN for Steam is ExpressVPN because it has 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’re not completely satisfied, you have up to 30 days to get your money back.
To summarize, the best VPNs for Steam in 2024 are…
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