What is the Best VPN for Gaming?
If you are particularly serious about your internet security and safety, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is essentially more than a necessity.
A VPN helps keep your online activity anonymous by first, disassociating any data leaving your computer with your IP address (allocating a different IP address), rerouting data traffic to another location, and most importantly, encrypting it.
That said, the VPN does more than mask your public IP address.
Many individuals and even businesses use VPNs for a variety of reasons, purposes, and needs.
Some VPNs are designed to have superior encryption levels hence more secure for very sensitive data, while others are best suited for torrenting and streaming needs.
There are also VPNs optimized for unblocking blocked parts of the internet based on the user’s location/region.
Gamers however have to make important considerations when choosing a VPN.
Adding a VPN to your network means you’ll have to sacrifice a small fraction of speed which also adds latency to the connection.
Performance and security are however some of the critical factors a gamer will have in mind when shopping for a VPN.
That said, we will look at some of the security and performance issues that a gamer will look into, and then outline some of the best-performing VPNs for gaming on the market today.
1. VPN Gaming Performance Considerations
A VPN will have some impact on your connection speeds and latency. For this reason, it is advisable to look into factors that will help minimize such impact resulting in better speeds. Studies, however, show that a VPN will result in between 5% and 20% reduction in connection speeds.
This however varies from one provider to the other. While 5% might be a small price to pay, more than 15% reduction in speeds is barely tolerable.
Choosing a server closer to your location might however help improve the VPNs performance and speeds. Server proximity won’t have a direct impact on the desired security for as long as you aren’t trying to obscure your geographic location completely.
A server located about 5000 miles away will yield slower speeds when compared to using a server 50 miles away.
Your location also matters a lot when choosing or using a VPN. You, therefore, need to decide whether you’ll be using service from one location or will still need it while travelling abroad.
Some of the best VPN services have servers in less than 20 countries, while others will have servers based all over the globe. If you tend to travel a lot, and still need the same security features while on the go, you might then want to invest in a VPN with servers almost everywhere.
If using the VPN on one location only, you can then choose one with servers closest to you.
VPN services aren’t created equal. The technology and implementation of the VPN service have a significant impact on its performance and overall speed. Some VPNs are known to have a reputation for better performance and speed.
Although servers may be at the same location, one VPN will perform better than the other.
If you are looking for improved performance in a VPN, you should then look for providers offering the fastest connectivity. Identify VPNs with servers closer to your home or where you plan to use the service.
2. VPN Security Considerations
A VPN has more advanced and better security features when compared to antivirus software or a simple firewall. Some VPNs have better security protocols and encryptions than others as well. Two key factors come in play when looking for stronger security: the VPN’s country of origin and encryption methods used.
You need to be well-versed with various encryption and security technology to understand the security jargon. We’ll try to make these as understandable for you as possible.
VPNs that use traditional or older encryption methods are, in theory, weaker than those that use modern encryption methods. Only a few VPNs, however, have the encryption technology needed to make your data more secure.
Privacy laws in various countries also do come into play where online security is concerned. Most VPN providers have to abide by the local government requirements to avoid getting shut down. These VPNs are forced to log user activity for about three months, which makes them less than ideal for anyone concerned about their security.
That said, most VPN providers are based overseas where privacy laws aren’t as strict. It would be advisable to know where your VPN service provider is based on your data security and privacy.
Additional Factors That Gamers Should Consider with a VPN
a. Ease of use and implementation: if you do most of your gaming at home and don’t need all the extra security features, going for a VPN with a user-friendly interface and setup would be a wise idea.
This however depends on your preferences and overall patience.
b. Customer support: customer support shouldn’t be a major concern and especially when using technological services. Nonetheless, you need to identify a provider who’ll be there when things turn out for the worst.
If in desperate need for help, the customer support should be able to help swiftly and on time. Most VPNs, however, provide 24/7 live chat support but with a dysfunctional phone support system.
Some companies will, however, have a customer service representative available to help all round the clock. Others have gone a step farther providing detailed tutorial guides and videos to help you resolve most issues that might arise when using their service.
c. Cost: the cost of a VPN subscription varies from one VPN to the other. For instance, some VPNs will charge approximately $12/month (billed monthly) and $6.50/month (if billed annually). Some will charge a flat rate per month without offering any discounts whatsoever. Newer VPN providers confident of their service however offer appealing price options for up to 2+ year subscriptions.
We, at ESO FAQ’s, consider the key factors when shopping for a gaming VPN to be: performance, ease of use, security, and cost.