When it comes to gaming, gamers are always looking for that one thing that gives them an edge over their opponents. It could be refreshing their loadout, it could be upgrading their PC or it could even look for the best VPN or for gaming to not only secure their connection but to also speed it up and reduce latency.
Traditionally, VPNs have always been seen as a tool for security but they are now being used by gamers to enhance their gaming experience, as VPNs have many features that come in handy for them too. Some use them to enhance internet speeds while others use them to reduce latency, or even get early access to a game.
Either way, VPNs have become one of the most versatile tools in the market for just about anyone that browses the internet, even gamers. And just like everything in this world, VPNs also come with a price – a bit expensive, sometimes! That’s why many gamers prefer using a free VPN service.
Research has shown gamers searching for the best free VPN for gaming, so that they can improve gaming speeds. So, what’s the deal with VPNs? Are free VPNs all good for gaming or are there any downsides you should be aware of too? In this blog, we will answer all these questions, so keep reading to find out.
VPNs & Gaming – What Are The Pros? And Are There Any Cons?
First, let us look at how a VPN works. This way we will be able to work out its pros and cons easier later on.
● How Does A VPN Work Exactly?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are tools that hide your online identity not only protecting you from hackers and cyber attackers on the internet looking for a victim, but they also digitally modify your location, which can come in handy when you are trying to bypass geo-restrictions or trying to remove the throttling that your ISP might’ve put on your connection.
When you connect to a VPN server (for ex: a US VPN server), there are a few actions that are triggered. The first action is the encryption of your connection. If you are using a premium VPN like ExpressVPN, your connection will be encrypted using the AES-256 algorithm, which is one of the strongest and most secure algorithms in the cybersecurity world.
Not only that but your connection will also be rerouted through a VPN server in another location (the US, in this case). This rerouting will have the benefit of spoofing your IP address. This essentially means that the real IP address attached to your data traffic will be hidden and it will be replaced by the IP address of the VPN server you have connected to, essentially acting as a middleman.
VPNs are available on the most popular platforms, including PC, mobile phones, and even gaming consoles. You will easily be able to download ExpressVPN on your PS4, PS5, Xbox Series S & X and more. However, you may not be able to find apps for devices, if you’re using a VPN.
Pros & Cons – VPNs & Gaming
Pros: VPNs are great for removing the throttling placed on your internet connection by your ISP. Without the throttling, your internet connection can reach the true speeds that it is capable of. It can remove bandwidth limitations and drastically reduce latency (ping) to improve response times.
This way, you won’t have to worry about slow connections or high pings coming in the way when you are in the middle of a high-voltage session on Warzone or Valorant.
Cons: Some regions, like the UK, have different internet regulations and laws, which can affect a VPN’s performance, especially if it’s a free VPN. Many UK ISPs have removed throttling completely, which renders the use of a VPN redundant.
Free VPNs are an extra man in the middle of your device and the target server, which might serve to increase latency in some cases and regions. We advise testing the free VPN in your region before committing.
2. Bypass IP Bans
Pros: Geo-blocking has become a real issue in the world of gaming. IP bans are quite common and can be handed out by automated anti-cheat systems for even the smallest infractions. At times, they can be handed out completely randomly even when you haven’t done something.
A VPN spoofs your IP and, therefore, is the perfect solution for bypassing IP bans. If your IP is completely different, you don’t have to worry about the ban.
Cons: Some platforms, like Steam, are aware of VPN use and don’t like this method. If caught, Steam has even banned many users completely. The best solution to this is using a VPN with obfuscated servers but even that isn’t completely foolproof.
3. Avoid Trolling
Pros: Some people don’t care about gaming but instead want to ruin the gaming experience for others. If you’ve played online games for even a little bit, you might’ve experienced glitches, spawn kills, and even server kicks. You might’ve even experienced DDoS attacks, in some severe cases.
These trolls ruin the fun for everyone else. But you can protect your PC and privacy by using a VPN. The inherent encryption and anonymity of a VPN ensure that you stay safe from such trolls, DDoS attacks, malware and much more.
Cons: The only con to this is the fact that such attacks are a bit uncommon and unless you are known in the gaming community very well, the chances of you being targeted specifically are quite low. So, spending money to simply protect yourself from such attacks should be done wisely.
There are two sides to everything, even VPN use for gamers. But if you use VPNs wisely, then the chances of you experiencing these cons are quite unlikely. We’d even say that the pros outweigh the cons, as your internet privacy and safety matters much more.
So, get a good premium VPN like ExpressVPN and game securely and without any worries.