Gamers will tell you that they look for three core things when considering a virtual private network, or VPN: reliability, speed, and security. In reality, they truly only judge one criteria three times: speed, speed, speed. Come on now, reliability and security matter, but not as much as speed. I have never met a gamer who could not talk at length about topics like ping rates. latency, and monitor refresh rates. In other words, everything is speed.
Aside from speed, one of the most important factors for a gaming VPN is low ping rate, essentially the measure of your connection speed—and the lower the better. From my gamer buddies, if a ping rate is above 300, game over for that VPN. Higher ping rate means higher “lag” meaning it takes longer for your actions and reactions to happen in the game, as in, you slow, bro (or sis).
Mission critical for a gaming VPN: Low Ping Rates.
ExpressVPN, PureVPN, Private Internet Access (PIA), and VyprVPN all get strong marks for low ping. NordVPN, one of my favorites for price and large number of servers, did not make the cut. You might still choose them for other reasons and they might suffice for your gaming needs, but others are stronger.
Here are the best VPNs for gaming:
ExpressVPN is so confident that it is one of the fastest VPNs, that it offers a speed test tool in the app and software. A single ExpressVPN subscription comes with easy-to-use apps for every device you own for $99.95 per year (or $12.95 per month). It has you covered for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, routers, and more. And it coms with an industry standard 30-day money-back guarantee.
While TunnelBear is not the fastest bear in the woods for gaming, it definitely not a tortoise. It offers one of the simplest VPNs to setup and maintain, so it is an ideal option for those who do not want to mess with more tech-heavy options. Pay for one year upfront and it is only $60 per year. (The monthly cost is $10.)
IPVanish offers a healthy number of servers, but more important, it lets you search for servers that are built for gaming. (You can sort by speed and usage.) But that kind of service also costs more—IPVanish is $78 per year with a 7-day money-back guarantee.
VyprVPN is considered to be one of the fastest VPNs for gaming. It is also a bit more expensive ($80 a year) than some of its competitors, but it also has a low ping rate. The only other downside to VyprVPN is it has a short 3-day trial.
NordVPN gets lower marks from gamers because the ping rate is slower than the others listed here, however, many features of its service may make it and ideal choice. At only $2.99 per month (a three-year subscription is around $108 total), that ping rate may not matter to you as much.
Finally, Buffered VPN is new to my VPN series here, but is a serious contender. It covers all platforms and has a high-speed, unlimited bandwidth. If you are a mobile gaming fan, Buffered has strong Android and iOS options. A two-year plan is cost-effective at just $99.
The Best VPNs For Gaming