Unless you aren’t connected to the internet at all, you have undoubtedly heard the term “VPN” being thrown around a lot over the past few months and even the last couple of years. VPN’s like ExpressVPN, CyberGhost VPN are great for a number of things, gaming being one of them.
Much like how a great monitor or keyboard is an essential piece of hardware you might need for gaming, you should make a VPN an essential part of your gaming setup.
What is a VPN?
In simple terms, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network that allows you to hide your IP address and connect to any network. You connect through the server provided by the VPN operator. This will enable you to hide what you are searching, and conceal your data from your internet service provider.
VPN’s also give you access to “foreign” websites and services, such as being able to connect to Netflix in the USA if you are in South Africa, for instance.
Benefits of VPN
There are three main benefits that you will want to look out for with regards to gaming; your cyber security, internet throttling, and the ability to play restricted games. While there are clearly more benefits, these three are the biggest.
One of the most significant benefits when using a VPN is improved cyber security. A VPN adds a layer of encryption to your data, meaning it becomes gibberish when being transferred, and stays gibberish once it has reached its destination.
While rare, DDoS attacks and swatting are unfortunately still a problem in the gaming community. A VPN will ensure your data and identity are entirely protected, meaning cyber attacks are minimized to almost zero.
While data throttling is done for numerous reasons, gamers may regularly experience being throttled simply because they are gaming. ISP’s seem not to like gaming data on their networks, and they slow them down.
Considering a VPN encrypts your data and makes it impossible to read, you can easily get around throttling as your ISP will have no idea what data is being transferred. However, do not confuse this with improved internet speed; this will be discussed later on.
Play Restricted Games
Games can be restricted in a country for a number of reasons. Some countries find depictions of violence, characters that have backstories or appearances, or games that have stories or messages that go against a country’s morals, unacceptable.
Games are also sometimes banned simply because the developers disagree with a particular stance of a government. While some of these reasons are seen as ridiculous and unnecessary by many, they still exist.
VPN’s allow you to connect to a server in a country where a particular game isn’t banned, and you can then play. As mentioned, games can be banned anywhere for any reason; VPNs instantly eliminate this problem.
Geoblocking prevents players from connecting to servers outside of a specified region. This happens more often when games are released in certain countries first, before a worldwide roll-out.
VPNs once again, as they do with banned games, bypass these blockages and give you access to these foreign servers so you can play the game. Lag could be a problem, but you will still be able to play games.
Performance Improvement Debate
There is a myth that is often associated with VPNs, and that is that they can improve your internet speed. This just isn’t true due to the fact that a VPN will add a layer of encryption to your data, meaning it can’t do anything but be transferred slower.
However, on the other hand, lag is caused by the distance between your device and the server it is trying to connect to. This is easily seen in games like Warzone or Fortnite, where you will be able to play with players from the other side of the world, but your game will lag you into the ground.
A VPN will allow you to connect to servers much closer to you, minimizing lag. There is confusion surrounding this aspect of a VPN; it doesn’t actually speed up your connection; instead, it connects you to a closer server; your internet speed stays the same.
VPNs are beneficial for several reasons and are a must for anyone who spends any amount of time on the internet. Whether you want to watch Netflix from a foreign country, play brand new games before anyone else, or simply protect your data online, a VPN is for you.