best overall

CyberGhost

CyberGhost VPN
  • Excellent all-around service
  • Split-tunneling capabilities
  • Best server availability
best value

PIA

PIA
  • Great customer security
  • Excellent annual price
premium pick

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN Connections
  • Highest VPN speeds
  • Stream geoblocked TV shows and movies

VPNs and gaming don’t always perform together particularly well. In our contemporary technological age, it feels almost necessary to use one to guarantee the privacy of our data. However, the way VPNs work is fundamentally at odds with what gamers want and need. Using a VPN almost always means a drop in your gaming and internet speeds just because of how VPNs work.

However, that doesn’t mean your VPN gaming experience needs to be an unpleasant one. Some VPNs work better for gamers than others, after all. In an era when you might feel like the performance hit is necessary, we’ll do our best to tell you which VPN will compromise your gaming the least.

It’s not necessary to have a VPN to game. In fact, some games won’t allow you to play while using a VPN at all (if they can detect it, that is). However, VPNs have been on the scene for several years now, and they’ve come a long way since their inception. It’s possible to maintain very close to your previous level of internet speeds even while using a VPN service. We’ll go into some of the reasons why below.

Table of ContentsShow

The 6 Best VPNs for Gaming 2020

NameConnectionsServers 
Up to 6>5,400
Up to 3>3,000
Up to 10>3,200
Up to 10>1,300
Up to 7>6,200
Up to 5>700

What Is A VPN?

What Is a VPN

As you most likely already know, a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, reroutes your device’s data through the provider you’ve chosen by using their specific IP address (or addresses). Instead of taking the shortest possible route to your destination, your data first gets sent to one of the VPN’s servers, then proceeds to its destination.

Because of this, to anyone trying to track your information, your activity will appear to originate from the VPN’s server and IP instead of your own.  However, this also means an extra step or two on your data’s journey since it must travel to a specific server first.

VPNs have come a long way since their inception, and there are more available nowadays than there have ever been. In addition to their quality and speed going up, this means you’re not stuck deciding between just a few companies.

We’ve only included VPNs with paid subscription plans in this article, but there are some options out there with free subscription options. These generally have data caps or other drawbacks that aren’t appropriate for gamers, however.

VPN Paid Subscription

Please be aware that, based on available sales and the incredible speed of technological advancement among VPNs, that the costs of plans can frequently change over time. We’ve done our best to give you a solid idea of the value of each of these services, but it’s always a good idea to double-check and see who has the best sale running, too.

The same thing sometimes happens with the features included in VPN plans, too. VPNs only started to be widely used by everyday internet users within the last few years, and these services are evolving at a breakneck pace. NordVPN, for example, was the top dog in the VPN race for a long time simply because it was one of the first, but if you’ll look at our table at the beginning of this guide, it’s no longer the most impressive option.

Since VPNs can offer subscription plans of up to three years, this technological evolution is something essential to keep in mind. The top dog in the VPN race can change at the drop of a hat. As such, while these long-term subscriptions are typically the best value, this means you’ll also be stuck with that company for up to three years, even if they don’t improve their services at the rate of other VPNs during that period.

NordVPN

NordVPN

NordVPN is one of the VPNs that has been around the longest. If you think back, you might remember hearing advertisements about them on various media. If you follow any YouTube creators, you may have seen them mentioned there too. They frequently sponsor YouTube creators of all kinds, as well as many podcast creators.

Aside from being well-known, not much about NordVPN sticks out. They don’t have the cheapest plans, their limit on connected devices is average, and they don’t have the highest number of worldwide servers, either. However, they do have the second-highest amount on this list, which does count for something. They also hold a 30-day money-back guarantee, which is the industry standard.

NordVPN was considered the best option in the industry for some time, but as you can see from the table at the beginning of this guide, it no longer occupies that top spot – at least, on paper. That being said, it’s still an excellent service will countless happy subscribers.

NordVPN for gaming

Do keep in mind, however, that NordVPN was the subject of a data breach in 2018 that released some browsing data to hackers. The data released was all anonymous, and no usernames, passwords, or logs were released. Besides, any browsing data retrieved was “likely encrypted” anyway.

Unfortunately, as VPNs become an affordable and mainstream service, more hacks and data breaches are likely to happen. In the future, this will be unavoidable, and the largest VPN services will likely bear the brunt of these attacks. However, since the point of having a VPN is to have security, preventative measures should also be taken.

The 2018 breach aside, NordVPN is an excellent, reliable service. The fact that they were hacked into in the first place is a bit unsettling, but the fact that customers’ data was still kept safe despite that was reassuring, too. However, unless you’re a fan of them in particular, they’re not currently the most impressive service available.

NordVPN also has these features that subscribers may be looking for:

  • Split tunneling
  • Unlimited speeds
  • Double encryption
  • Dedicated IP address (available for an extra charge)
  • Data kill switch
  • Log-free
  • Ad-blocking
  • Reliable geoblock bypassing for streaming services

The Pros:

  • Wide variety of features
  • Specialized servers
  • Allows P2P and BitTorrenting (on specific servers)

The Cons:

  • Pricing is average
  • Experienced a data breach in 2018

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is another long-standing VPN service with many similarities to NordVPN. The ExpressVPN website states that they’re the “#1 trusted leader in VPN,” but it’s not clear where this information is from or what metric they’re using to reach this conclusion.

Like NordVPN, you’re likely to see content creators across the internet being sponsored by ExpressVPN. The service has been around for nearly as long as NordVPN.

From a pricing standpoint, ExpressVPN is virtually identical with NordVPN – currently, ExpressVPN is just a tiny bit more expensive. However, an essential thing to note is that ExpressVPN only offers subscription plans up to one year (though the one-year subscription comes with a bonus three months, totaling 1.25 years).

As such, ExpressVPN’s one-year subscription option is a nice choice because of this bonus. However, do keep in mind that these three free months are only for the first subscription year. Every year after that will be the standard 12-month period.

ExpressVPN Security

Unfortunately, even with the three free months included with the first year with ExpressVPN, their one-year plan is still not the most cost-effective option available on this list. In addition, while not all consumers will be interested in locking themselves into one provider for three years, ExpressVPN’s lack of a three-year subscription option (or even a two-year option) means that their prices are a lot higher than the competitors’.

As far as smaller details like the ability to P2P and BitTorrent, ExpressVPN is relatively standard. They have a 30-day money-back guarantee, just like NordVPN. However, as you can see from our list at the beginning of this guide, they allow half as many simultaneous device connections and nearly half as many servers as NordVPN (and – spoiler alert – NordVPN isn’t even the best option in this guide!).

One way that ExpressVPN does stand out is that it has server locations in 94 countries, in comparison to NordVPN’s 58. Most users won’t have a need for these additional server locations, but the savviest users may enjoy the greater location-based availability.

ExpressVPN also offers the following features that consumers may be looking for:

  • Split tunneling
  • Unlimited speeds
  • Data kill switch
  • Log-free
  • Reliable geoblock bypassing for streaming services

The Pros:

  • Support for a wide range of devices and protocols
  • Most worldwide server locations
  • 3 months free with your first year

The Cons:

  • No long-term pricing options
  • Prices are not great
  • Server availability is average

PIA (Private Internet Access)

Private Internet Access

PIA, or Private Internet Access, is a VPN with a slightly different consumer focus than the other two we’ve looked at so far. While NordVPN and ExpressVPN cater to a more casual, everyday (but still tech-savvy) audience, PIA is geared more towards the serious user.

Similarly to Express VPN, PIA claims on their home page that they are “the world’s leading VPN.” However, it’s also not clear whether they based this on any metrics or studies. It seems, for the most part, to be an unsubstantiated claim based entirely on personal opinion.

As far as features go, PIA doesn’t seem to have anything more impressive than our previous two options. However, in terms of price, PIA does stand out. Their one-year subscription price is the lowest option on this list. Their yearly subscription is only beaten by some two and three-year subscription options from other services, so for those who don’t want to be roped into a contract for more than a year, PIA is an excellent choice.

Private Internet Access Security

In terms of raw numbers, PIA doesn’t have as many servers or server locations as many of the other options on this list, but they do offer up to ten active device connections on one plan at one time. They’re tied with IPVanish for the highest number of connections on this list. While there are a handful of VPNs that offer unlimited device connections, none of them made it to this list.

 However, one thing to note is that PIA comes with a seven-day money-back guarantee, rather than the 30-day guarantee of the two previous options. Obviously, this gives you a shorter window of time to try out the service and change your mind before being permanently charged. PIA does offer P2P support, just like our previous options.

Notably, PIA takes its client privacy very seriously. They don’t use any independent parties for audits, and they don’t retain any customer data that could be used in legal cases or stolen by hackers. However, they don’t have any specialized servers, as some other VPNs have.

Notably, you can use gift cards for popular chains like Subway and Starbucks if you want to pay for your service anonymously. This is just one of many security-oriented features that PIA brings you.

Some other features that PIA offers that users might want to know of include:

  • Integrated firewall
  • Ad-blocking
  • Log-free

The Pros:

  • Heavily focused on security
  • Excellent one-year subscription price
  • Up to ten simultaneous device connections

The Cons:

  • Not as many features
  • Not as many servers
  • No subscription options longer than one year

IPVanish

IPVanish

IPVanish is another slightly smaller VPN option with a unique set of features. Strangely enough, like the last few VPN options we’ve looked at, IPVanish also makes some unsubstantiated claims on their home page. On theirs, they claim to be “the world’s fastest VPN.” However, independent tests across the web seem to refute this, though IPVanish does put on a good showing.

From a pricing perspective, IPVanish is in the same league as NordVPN and Express VPN – their prices are average, but not ideal. Similarly to PIA, IPVanish doesn’t have any subscription options available for longer than one year, either.

However, IPVanish does have at least one unique thing to offer: since celebrating its 8th anniversary (which also included a sale which halved their subscription prices), IPVanish has been offering their year-long subscription bundled with a cloud storage service called Sugar Sync. If you sign up for IPVanish’s one-year plan, you’ll also have free access to 250 gigabytes of cloud storage through Sugar Sync.

IPVanish Security

Sugar Sync is a cloud service based on security, and the service offers remote wiping capabilities in the case that one of your devices is lost or stolen. They also offer file syncing and sharing through the service.

While most users looking for a VPN service won’t necessarily be searching for a cloud-based service at the same time, it’s not a bad deal if you plan to use the service (especially if you get it in time to take advantage of their special sale).

Like PIA, IPVanish only comes with a seven-day money-back guarantee, which is a bit disappointing. Additionally, their other statistics aren’t that impressive, but they do offer up to ten simultaneous device connections, which is excellent.

Some other features that come with IPVanish that users might be interested in knowing about are:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Log-free
  • BitTorrent and P2P allowed

The Pros:

  • Exciting opportunity with Sugar Sync service
  • Ten simultaneous device connections
  • Sales can offer impressive price cuts

The Cons:

  • Limited server numbers
  • No long-term subscription options

CyberGhost

CyberGhost

On paper, CyberGhost is the best-looking option on this list so far. They have the highest number of servers, the next highest number of countries served (just a handful fewer than ExpressVPN), and the second cheapest subscription option on our list (though do note that this is a three-year option).

Notably, and unlike any of the other options in this list, CyberGhost offers a 45-day trial – 15 days longer than any of the other options on this list. This means that even if you purchase the three-year subscription option, you have got over a month to change your mind. However, keep in mind that the 45-day trial is only for the more extensive subscription options – the month-to-month subscription has a 15-day trial only.

Technically, CyberGhost VPN has the most expensive month-to-month subscription option on this list. Their yearly option is slightly better, but still, nothing to be proud of. Their three-year subscription option, however, is very affordable – the second most affordable on this list after our next choice, VyprVPN.

CyberGhost does have one main drawback that NordVPN and ExpressVPN do not suffer from, however. Both NordVPN and ExpressVPN specialize in bypassing the IP-banning protocols on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. The former VPNs can access shows that are normally blocked by Netflix’s geoblocking protocols, for example. Those two can access shows that are typically geoblocked to the US, the UK, Brazil, Japan, Germany, France, and more.

CyberGhost VPN

However, CyberGhost, on the other hand, can only reliably access Netflix from the US, UK, Germany, and France. Do keep in mind, though, that this can change at any time – it’s just a matter of the VPN staying ahead of Netflix’s IP blacklist.

If you’re a big movie and TV streamer, you may want to consider one of those two VPNs. However, CyberGhost is still an excellent option overall. NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and CyberGhost are the only options on this list that can reliably bypass Netflix’s (and many others’) geoblocks, after all.

However, besides its excellent on-paper statistics, CyberGhost also has one other thing going for it, and it concerns split tunneling. CyberGhost’s client allows you to set “smart rules” that route specific apps and traffic through your regular ISP, while others are sent through the VPN itself. You can even divert different apps through specific servers if you want. This is a great way to keep your internet speeds under control further.

Some other things readers might want to know about CyberGhost’s services are:

  • Log-free
  • Reliable geoblock bypassing for (some) streaming services
  • Unlimited speeds
  • Data kill switch
  • Dedicated IP address (available for an extra charge)
  • Allows P2P and torrenting
  • Specialized servers

The Pros:

  • Excellent price (for the 3-year plan only)
  • Great spread of advanced features
  • Best overall stats

The Cons:

  • Short-term plans are more expensive

VyprVPN

VyprVPN

VyprVPN is a slightly different VPN offering compared to the others on this list. The VPN is entirely privately owned, for example. They own every one of their servers rather than leasing them from third parties. While this won’t matter to most everyday users, for those who are really looking for the ultimate in security, this may be a consideration.

VyprVPN has far fewer servers available than any of the other options on our list. However, they do have an impressive number of server locations despite the small number of servers.

Additionally, VyprVPN uses a proprietary packet technology that they call Chameleon. This technology defeats deep packet inspections by scrambling packet metadata, allowing users in countries with restrictive internet rules like China, Russia, and countries in the middle east to bypass these restrictions. VyprVPN can also use this same Chameleon technology to watch Netflix, but only in the US.

From a cost perspective, VyprVPN is a pretty good budget option. Their three-year plan is the cheapest option in our entire lineup, and their yearly plan is an excellent price, too. Their monthly subscription isn’t all that impressive, but in our opinion, their prices accurately reflect what they offer.

VyprVPN Speed

VyprVPN is further different in that they are wholly committed to consumer privacy. Based in Switzerland, they retain no user data, and they don’t sell any user data, either – not even anonymized data. They don’t keep logs, and they undergo third-party audits to prove this, too.

As such, VyprVPN takes its commitment to a fair, free, safe, and private internet experience to the next level, despite being a smaller company than the competition.

One of the reasons why VyprVPN (and its creators, Golden Frog) stuck out to us is because they also offer an optimized gaming network called Outfox. While Outfox is not a VPN, it works similarly to a VPN in that it directs your internet traffic in a precise way. In this case, Outfox is built to send your gaming traffic through the fastest route rather than the most private one. Do note that Outfox is a separate paid service that does not come with VyprVPN, however.

Other traits that VyprVPN retains that users might be interested in are:

  • Unlimited speeds
  • Support in internet-limited countries
  • Data kill switch
  • Integrated firewall
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

The Pros:

  • Excellent price (for the 3-year plan and yearly plans)
  • Optimized Gaming Network available (separately)
  • Very security-focused

The Cons:

  • Much smaller server network

Conclusion

VPN for Gaming

Any VPN will get you excellent results to protect your privacy and control, which people have to your data. However, does that mean the same VPN will be good for gaming? Not necessarily. Some VPNs will be better in some locations than others because of customer proximity to server locations, and so on. Some VPNs will also just be naturally faster than others.

A lot of these speed factors will be more or less out of your control, but all of the options on this list have unlimited connection speeds and should net you a decent gaming performance.

Overall, we think that CyberGhost is the best VPN for gaming as a whole. Its mixture of the most servers, many server locations, and a great three-year subscription price put it above and beyond the others on this list. You also have a full 45 days to change your mind if you choose any of the plans greater than or equal to one year!

CyberGhost also has the most robust split-tunneling capabilities out of all of the VPNs here, meaning you can route your gaming traffic through unsecured channels easily if you need that extra speed boost. This is important since CyberGhost doesn’t provide as much raw speed as the other two winners here.

You can also connect up to seven devices simultaneously through one CyberGhost plan, meaning that you and others in your household can connect your desktop, your laptop, your phone, or more without maxing out.

CyberGhost VPN

If you’re searching for something great on a bit of a budget, we think that Private Internet Access is a great option to consider. While they don’t have as many servers as the other options on this list, they have the best annual price on this list, excellent customer protections, and high-speed ratings, too, which will be important for many gamers.  

PIA

Also, if you don’t mind unblocking your gaming traffic, you might want to consider VyprVPN as an alternative budget option. While they don’t have the same level of speed because of their smaller server presence, their security is top-notch, and they have the lowest overall price on our list. Their creators also offer Outfox as a separate service, which, while not a VPN, is specifically designed to boost your gaming speeds.

VyprVPN Logo

If you’re really looking for a VPN that doesn’t compromise and don’t mind paying a premium for it, though, we recommend taking a look at ExpressVPN. This is widely considered the fastest “big box” VPN out there through independent speed tests across the ‘net, even if they don’t have the highest number of servers.

They do offer premium access to worldwide geoblocked streaming services as a nice bonus, though as we said, you’ll be paying a premium for these extras! However, don’t forget that ExpressVPN only offers three total simultaneous device connections, as well, so you’re more or less required to connect your router to the ISP (rather than just your devices) to take full advantage of the service.

ExpressVPN Connections

All in all, though, we highly recommend that you take full advantage of these streaming services’ free trials and money-back policies. After all, depending on where you yourself are located and your proximity to servers, the gaming and overall speeds you record while using these VPNs could easily change.

This is also why we’ve put more of an emphasis on other factors than speed alone with these final winners. You might see a noticeable difference if you try a few of your favorite VPNs before committing to one for more than a month or two.

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