The 8 Best VPNs to Buy for Gaming in 2018

Take a look below to see which services made the list

Opinions are divided on the use of a VPN for online gaming, with some people avoiding them due to the inevitable reduced speeds. There are definite benefits to using them, however, and many gamers swear by their favorite service.

By being able to choose the location of the VPN server you want to connect through, you'll appear to game servers as if you're based in that city or country. That's useful for accessing region-locked servers or getting around local network restrictions, not to mention avoiding exposing your real IP address. 

The better VPNs also provide extra security features, including distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection that can stop you being targeted with huge amounts of network traffic and disconnected from a game server. This can be a real problem, especially during competitive or professional gaming.

With all that in mind, we've picked the best VPNs for gaming across a variety of criteria, and there's something here for every gamer here.

Best for Global Coverage: ExpressVPN

As a general rule, the closer you are to the VPN server you're using, the faster speeds you'll get from it. ExpressVPN's biggest claim to fame is its vast server network, with 2,000+ servers across nearly 100 countries. If there isn't a server in your country, it won't be far away.

Having all those servers is one thing, but knowing which one to use is something else. ExpressVPN lets you run a speed test across all of them, letting you know which is the fastest from your current location at the moment.

There's wide support for desktop, mobile, routers, and streaming devices, and both speed and latency are consistently good when connecting to nearby servers. Based in the British Virgin Islands, ExpressVPN keeps no logs of your ​activity and has both chat-based and email support. ​​​​​​

All of this doesn't come for free — ExpressVPN is one of the most expensive services out there if you pay month by month, and still isn't cheap if you opt for the annual plan. Still, it's in a class of its own when it comes to coverage and features, and many gamers will feel it's well worth the extra money.

Best for Device Support: KeepSolid VPN Unlimited

While most gamers are happy just to install a VPN client on their mobile or desktop device, that's not the only option. If you're a console gamer, have a dedicated streaming device, or just want to share your VPN between unlimited numbers of devices, check out VPN Unlimited.

As well as Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android, Windows Phone, and iOS, the service also supports a wide range of other options. The company has setup guides for multiple different types of router, plus streaming devices including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and more.

The router option is of particular interest to console gamers who can't use a dedicated VPN app — by creating the VPN at the router level, it's possible to get all of the same benefits.

Of course, all that flexibility doesn't mean much if the service itself isn't up to scratch. Fortunately, that's not the case, with most users getting decent speeds and better-than-average ping times. Pricing is very good if you commit long-term (three or more years), and about average otherwise.

Best for Speed: VyprVPN

When it comes to online gaming, the speed of your connection is very often the difference between topping the leaderboard and endless frustration and embarrassment. Low latency and fast speeds are absolutely vital.

VyprVPN consistently tops independent speed tests, making it an excellent choice for gamers. It's one of the few companies that owns and runs all its own infrastructure, rather than renting space from providers like Amazon or Microsoft, which gives it more control over performance.

With over 700 servers in 70+ locations around the world, there's a good chance you'll be able to find one near you, reducing latency even further. The company's Chameleon technology helps avoid the VPN blocks employed by some governments and Internet providers, meaning it'll work almost anywhere in the world.

Pricing is reasonable when you opt for a 12-month plan, and VyprVPN has useful client software for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android, plus certain types of router and other devices.

Best for Ease of Use: Tunnelbear

If all you're after is a well-performing VPN that's easy to use and doesn't require any knowledge to get up and running, check out Tunnelbear. The attractive apps for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS only take a few seconds to install and set up, and you can connect to the nearest server with a single click or tap.

New users get 500MB of data per month to check the service out (more if you share on social media), and like many other VPNS, pricing is quite reasonable if you pay for a year up front, less so if you're on a monthly plan.

Speeds and latency are in line with much of the competition, so you're not trading off performance against ease of use. Tunnelbear has servers in 20 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Australia, and several in Europe, but double-check the list if you're looking for somewhere specific.

Best Free Option: Windscribe VPN

While there are plenty of free VPN providers out there, most of them aren't much use for gamers. Since the no-cost options largely exist as a way of getting you to upgrade to a paid plan, they'll all come with significant limitations: slower speeds, fewer servers or supported platforms, small data caps, and more.

That's largely true for Windscribe as well, since it doesn't support Android on its free tier, and slashes the number of available servers down to ten countries from the 50+ available when you start paying.

Speeds are only average as well, so why recommend the service? Simple: because it has one of the most generous data caps we've seen from a free VPN, without time limits or the need to provide a credit card.

You'll get 2GB/month just by signing up, and 10GB if you give your e-mail address. For light online gamers, that's likely to be enough without needing to fork out for a paid plan. If that sounds like you, it's well worth checking out Windscribe VPN.

Best on a Budget: Private Internet Access

If you're on a budget and like most gamers, your needs aren't met by one of the free VPN services, take a look at Private Internet Access (PIA) instead.

The service has one of the lowest annual costs of any major provider, and even the monthly option is reasonable compared to most of the competition. The lower price doesn't mean a lack of server choices, however, with nearly 3,500 of them spread across 30+ countries.

The app isn't much to look at it, but it runs on all the usual operating systems and browsers and is easy enough to use. A few configuration options are available, but you generally don't need to touch them if you don't want to.

Ping and download speeds are on par with the competition when connecting to nearby servers. As with any VPN, you'll want to do some testing if you're planning to regularly use servers on the other side of the world — there's a seven-day money back policy for just that purpose.

Best for Trying Before You Buy: Buffered VPN

Feel like you need to commit to a paid VPN service, but worried that you'll pay a bunch of cash for something that won't meet your needs? Check out Buffered VPN.

While download speeds are typically somewhere in the middle of the pack, users often experience some of the lowest latencies of any VPN provider. That's a good mix for gamers, and it's easy to discover risk-free whether the service is right for you. Prices are on the higher end, even if you're committing for a year, but if you sign up and decide it doesn't meet your requirements, the company is generous with its refunds.

As long as you're within 30 days of purchase, and haven't used more than 10GB of data or been logged on for more than ten hours, you get your money back. You can't ask much more than that.

Best for Extra Security: NordVPN

As well as having one of the largest server networks of any VPN provider, NordVPN has an unmatched range of security offerings. For gamers concerned about DDoS attacks forcing them offline mid-game, NordVPN includes specific protection against this scenario across its nearly 5,000 servers.

Other options for those particularly concerned about their security include "Double VPN" that sends your traffic through two NordVPN servers before it goes out to the Internet, and "Onion over VPN" that routes your VPN traffic through the Tor network as well.

When it comes to gaming performance, the app makes it easier to see which servers are likely to give you good performance by showing their distance and current load.

With clients for all the standard desktop and mobile operating systems, plus guides for setup on a wide range of routers, you'll have no problem staying secure with NordVPN no matter what gaming platform you choose to use.