To some, the idea of using a virtual private network (VPN) service for PC gaming may sound absurd; to others, it’s a daily reality. Like it or not, the gaming industry has its fair share of problems. Publishers make their titles region-locked, streamers on YouTube and Twitch are frequent targets of large-scale DDoS attacks, and malicious hackers go out their way to gain access to user accounts of unsuspecting gamers to steal virtual currencies that they can later trade for real money.
All of these issues can be prevented by using a reliable VPN service. A VPN extends a private network across a public network. It enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. Because VPN connections are encrypted, it’s impossible for outsiders, including ISPs, to snoop on you. Your real IP address remains hidden since all traffic is routed through your VPN provider, who usually has a capable DDoS protection in place to handle even record-breaking attacks.
A great VPN service is affordable, reliable, fast, and has servers in all major regions around the world. Contrary to popular belief, a premium VPN can help you get rid of high pings. The trick is to pick a VPN that is close to your geographical location and has global coverage. To find out which VPN service offers you the best performance, you should try several of them and see for yourself. Our list of top 5 best VPNs for PC gaming is here to get you started.
With servers in over 60 countries, IPVanish offers exceptional performance and a high degree of security. This popular VPN service provider has a strict policy against the collection of both connection and activity logs, which means that your internet activity will remain truly anonymous. On top of that, all traffic that goes through the servers of IPVanish is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption, which is also used by the National Security Agency for top secret information.
IPVanish customers can make up to 5 simultaneous connections on multiple devices, and they never have to worry about data limits or speed throttling. The most affordable plan costs $10, and it gives you a single month of the VPN service. There’s also a 3-month plan, which costs $26.99 and a 1-year plan, which costs $77.99. Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t offer a free trial, but you at least get a 7-day money-back guarantee. IPVanish supports a number of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, PayPal, Giropay, and even Bitcoin. Their customer service is online 24/7 to answer any questions.
Tor is a notorious free software used by anyone from journalist to script kiddies to conceal the real location and usage from anyone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. TorGuard leverages the existing Tor network, creating a robust, anonymous VPN service with no logs, affordable prices, fast servers, and a money-back guarantee.
TorGuard’s anonymous VPN plans start at $9.99 per month and go up to $59.99 per year. All plans include unlimited bandwidth, up to 5 simultaneous connections, support for AES encryption, AnyConnect and OpenConnect SSL, DPI bypass, advertisement and malware blocking, and more. TorGuard also offers anonymous proxy plans, starting at $5.95. The service works on all operating systems and devices, including Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. TorGuard also fully supports VPN routers like DDWRT, Tomato, as well as pfsense firewalls. While it’s packed with advanced security features that should make every security expert beam with joy, the client application could use some polish. As it stands, TorGuard is great for people with some security know-how who are used to command-line interfaces and software that places function over form.
Private Internet Access VPN is widely considered to be the most robust VPN in existence. This VPN service has over 3000 servers in 25 countries, and its features are matched by only a few best VPN providers. Besides a complete anonymity guarantee, Private Internet Access is very easy to set up and use, includes unlimited bandwidth, P2P support, ad and malware blocking, and more.
The service starts at only $6.95 per month, with the annual plan costing just $39.95. You would be hard-pressed to find a better price anywhere else. All popular payments methods, including PayPal, Bitcoin, credit and debit cards, or OK Pay, are accepted. You can rest assured knowing that you won’t lose your money without getting what you’ve paid for because Private Internet Access is an US-based corporation with VPN gateways and IPs in all major countries and regions around the world.
TunnelBear is a VPN service for people who barely know what VPN is. That’s not to say that it doesn’t do what a VPN service should do. It’s just that it does it in a way that makes it incredibly accessible even to technophobes and casual gamers. The official website stands out with its colorful, fun design and explanations written without the use of tech jargon.
Despite its casual nature, TunnelBear offers nearly the same features as other major VPN providers. It uses strong AES 256-bit encryption, allows users to add up to 5 devices, has fast servers in over 20 countries, employs dedicated support staff, and doesn’t log any activity of customers. What it lacks are the same ultra-fast download speeds that you get with IPVanish and others. That’s not to say that TunnelBear is slow—at over 20 Mbps download and 15 Mbps upload, it certainly isn’t—but it’s not one of the faster VPN services, either. That being said, TunnelBear more than makes up for it with its free plan, which offers 500MB of data every month. Those who need more can purchase either the Grizzly or the Giant plan for $4.99 and $9.99 per month respectively.
ExpressVPN has the most comprehensive region coverage out of all services featured on this list, and it also offers the longest money-back guarantee, allowing you to get back your money up to 30 days after the initial purchase. It works on all operating systems, mobile devices, and even routers. ExpressVPN is SSL secured with 256-bit encryption, and all users get to enjoy unlimited bandwidth and speed for lag-free online gaming.
The most cost-effective plan is just $8.32 per month and comes with a whopping 45-day money-back guarantee, while the least expensive plan requires just a single purchase of $12.95, which gets you a single month of this VPN service.