The best gaming VPN in 2024

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VPNs are hugely popular, and many of the best gaming VPNs today have features perfectly tailored to enhancing your gaming experience. They're fast, have servers all over the world to reduce ping, and and are super secure to protect you against any DDoS attacks from thirsty opponents.

By routing all your internet traffic through its own super-secure servers, the best VPNs effectively anonymize what you're doing online. By connecting to a server in another country, you can also virtually change location – a well-known trick for accessing early releases or even banned games.

My team of experts and I have reviewed over 100 VPN providers, and here I've rounded up my top five VPNs for gaming in one place. All of my recommendations are super fast and secure, and if you just want to choose from the top three, check out the boxes below:

The best gaming VPNs at a glance

1.NordVPN – the best gaming VPN overall

1. NordVPN – the best gaming VPN overall
NordVPN is quite simple the best gaming VPN available right now. It's incredibly fast, has tons of servers around the world, and has impeccable privacy and security essentials. The apps are also very powerful and easy to use, although better suited to desktop than mobile.

Starting at less than $3.50 a month, NordVPN is great value, and you can also add a password manager, cloud storage, and cyber insurance on to your plan. All subscriptions come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test it out risk-free.

2. ExpressVPN – the easiest gaming VPN to use

2. ExpressVPN – the easiest gaming VPN to use
ExpressVPN offers arguably the simplest VPN experience, meaning you can get protected and back to gaming in seconds. The apps are second to none, its privacy features and excellent, and connections are very fast.

Tom's Guide readers can claim three months free, which drops the price to $6.67 a month, and there's also a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can make sure it's worth the money before you commit.

3. Surfshark – the best cheap gaming VPN

3. Surfshark – the best cheap gaming VPN
Surfshark is my #3-rated VPN overall, and delivers a potent combination of privacy, speed, and value for money. It's the fastest service I've ever tested, and has intuitive apps on tons of devices.

The biggest draw is the price – less than $2.50 a month. As with the competition, you'll get a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test it out, and it's a great option if your budget can't stretch to Nord or Express.

Recent updates

My most recent update saw a change to my rankings, with NordVPN rising to the #1, reflective of my most recent round of VPN testing. That means ExpressVPN has dropped to #2, with Surfshark remaining steady in #3. Elsewhere, I've made sure all the data on this page is fully up to date, and done some layout housekeeping.

The five best gaming VPNs today

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1. NordVPN: The best gaming VPN overall

NordVPN best gaming VPN

(Image credit: NordVPN)

1. NordVPN

The best gaming VPN I've tested

Router support: Yes | US speeds on 1Gbps line: 950 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 6

Incredible NordLynx speeds
Privacy-focused experience
Good support
Very reliable connections
App UI can be a little clunky

As the most famous VPN around, you'd expect NordVPN to work great as a gaming VPN – and you'd be right. 

Our NordVPN review found the Panama-based provider delivered some of the fastest speeds we've tested, and you'll have a network of over 6,000 servers in 110 countries to pick from. That means no matter where you are, you're pretty much guaranteed a connection that will work great on your regular internet line.

Previously, NordVPN suffered from slightly unreliable speeds, but in our last testing it proved to be much more reliable, and it's one of the very fastest VPNs on the market, topping out at a blistering 950 Mbps – bested only by stablemate Surfshark.

I'm always impressed by just how many security tools NordVPN manages to pack into its plans. You'll get battle-tested encryption and Nord's very own NordLynx protocol – which is based on WireGuard. This combination of speed and security means you can avoid bandwidth throttling, seeing as your ISP won't be able to keep tabs on what you're doing, and ultimately decide you're using too much bandwidth, when you're connected to a Nord server.

Nord's apps are very stable, meaning you won't be going back and forth to check on it, and you can also set it up on a router to cover your consoles. Plus, in my testing it was able to unblock every single streaming service I tried it with, so it's perfect when you want to put down the controller, too.

I only have two very minor gripes with NordVPN. Firstly, if you're a mobile user you may well find the apps to be a little busy with the map-based interface. Secondly, a maximum of six simultaneous connections seems very stingy these days, with even ExpressVPN recently upgrading to eight on a single plan.

Overall, though, NordVPN is the very best gaming VPN – not to mention my favorite VPN overall – and for gamers, it's the perfect fit.

2. ExpressVPN: The easiest gaming VPN to use

ExpressVPN best gaming vpn

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

2. ExpressVPN

Super simple UI makes this gaming VPN very easy

Router support: Yes | Speeds on 1Gbps line: 750 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 8

Super simple router setup
Apps for tons of devices
Great for streaming
Quite a pricey choice

ExpressVPN is another huge name in VPN, and in reality it's only just pipped to the post by NordVPN when it comes to gaming VPN performance.

Most importantly, Express delivers good speeds so you won't see yourself lagging – and if your ISP delivers regular speeds of around 100-200MB, it's unlikely you'll notice any change at all. In our testing it topped out at a very respectable 750Mbps on a 1 Gbps line, which is more than fast enough to 360 no-scope n00bs (how do you do, fellow kids). However, NordVPN and Surfshark do provide faster peak speeds on ultra-fast connections.

In my ExpressVPN review, I was impressed by the dedicated router VPN app, which means you'll be able to avoid throttling and stay secure even on consoles, which don't natively support VPNs – there's no special treatment for the PC gamer here. Plus, while it doesn't offer encryption, Express's MediaStreamer Smart DNS tool will allow you to switch locations on your PlayStation or Xbox to watch geo-blocked content.

Outside of gaming you'll also be able to unblock pretty much any regional Netflix library, as well as access restricted sites like BBC iPlayer in the States. Plus, if you ever have any issues with the service, the 24/7 live chat will be able to sort you out in minutes.

Despite its excellent performance it would be remiss of me not to mention ExpressVPN's biggest downfall, which is its price. At twice the price of NordVPN, it's a little on the pricy side, but for that you do get the simplest and most reliable VPN apps on the market.

Overall, ExpressVPN is an excellent gaming VPN, especially if you're looking for a no-fuss choice.

3. Surfshark: The best cheap gaming VPN

Surfshark best gaming vpn

3. Surfshark

Seriously good value gaming VPN

Router support: Yes | Speeds on 1Gbps line: 950 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Brilliant price
Simple and easy to use
The fastest provider we've tested
Unlimited connections
Minor kill switch issues

Surfshark is a super effective cheap VPN which works really well as a gaming VPN, and our Surfshark review found the bargain provider very impressive in a lot of areas.

Surfshark has been seriously speedy for a while now, and in my last round of testing, it matched the fastest provider NordVPN at 950 Mbps. You certainly won't be seeing any slowdown here.

Its network of 3,200 servers is ample, but the biggest draw is the combination of unlimited connections plus a $1.99 price tag. Both are almost unheard of in the VPN industry, and that combination is absolutely unbeatable. Surfshark is simply the best way to get a gaming VPN on the cheap.

Bargain prices don't equal half-hearted security, however – Surfshark is a no-logs, privacy-oriented provider that isn't interested in watching over your shoulder as you go about your browsing. Industry-standard AES-256 encryption keeps your sensitive data safe from prying eyes, and, because Surfshark hides and replaces your original IP address, hackers have a much harder time targeting you with disruptive DDoS attacks.

No, the apps don't have quite as much configuration as others, and yes, the support system is marginally slower, but if you're happy to stick with the recommended settings, evade throttling, access tons of Netflix libraries and more, then this is the best-value way to do it.

Sign up now on the Surfshark website to sign up

4. CyberGhost: Some useful dedicated features

CyberGhost - best gaming VPN

(Image credit: CyberGhost)

4. CyberGhost

Dedicated servers for tons of uses

Router support: Yes | Speeds on 1Gbps line: 630 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 7

Tons of servers worldwide
Dedicated servers for streaming & torrents
Some streaming sites are unavailable
Interface could be better

In our CyberGhost VPN review, the Romanian provider performed admirably and is a safe bet when it comes to anything that requires a swift connection – not least as a gaming VPN.

CyberGhost isn't just great for gaming, though. There are a number of useful features in-app like server load (great for gamers), Smart Rules, which starts the VPN when a particular app is launched, and a good kill switch. However, we do miss the inclusion of desktop notifications to tell you when you've connected and disconnected.

CyberGhost has a massive network of over 10,000 servers in 100 countries – which is seriously impressive. You'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to spoofing your location, and should have no problem bagging all of the best region-locked deals.

There are a couple of usability issues we came across, though. First of all, although CyberGhost permits 7 devices to be used on any single plan, you have to register these devices. You need to unregister one to add any above 7, whereas with other services you can just log out on a device.

It's also worth noting that CyberGhost's support site isn't quite up to par with the very best services, but on the whole, CyberGhost is a powerful gaming VPN – and for the price, it's a real bargain.

Sign up now on the CyberGhost website

5. Proton VPN: Swiss security keeps you safe

Proton VPN - best gaming VPN

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

5. Proton VPN

Safe, secure, and speedy

Router support: Yes | Speeds on 1Gbps line: 950 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: No | Simultaneous connections: 10

Fast on both WireGuard & OpenVPN
Excellent privacy credentials
Great for streaming
Live chat not 24/7 (yet)

Proton VPN delivers more than just a gaming VPN – it's a seriously private service that's great for streaming, too.

First up, connection speeds are a must, and Proton VPN really excels here. With speeds of up to 670 Mbps on WireGuard and a truly impressive 440Mbps when using OpenVPN, whatever you're doing, Proton VPN will be able to keep up. It's not quite as fast as Nord or CyberGhost, but you won't notice in practice.

If you've run into issues with bandwidth throttling in the past, and want to avoid being slowed down by your ISP, Proton VPN can help you out. In addition to top-notch encryption that'll keep your data and devices safe, the provider is an audited no-logs service – which is good news for anyone looking for a torrenting VPN, too.

Outside of gaming, Proton VPN is still remarkably capable. The only rival that unblocks more Netflix libraries is ExpressVPN, and it could also access just about every other streaming site we tested.

In comparison, though, it's also a little more expensive than all but Express – and while it's definitely worth the outlay, this may be a sticking point for some users. Otherwise though, it's one of the very best gaming VPN services on the market. and we highly recommend it.

Sign up now on the Proton VPN website

How to choose the best gaming VPN

If you’re planning on using your chosen service as a gaming VPN, speed will be a priority – but you shouldn't neglect privacy, either. The best gaming VPN today is ExpressVPN, thanks to its excellent speeds, low ping times, plus powerful privacy features and simple apps for all sorts of devices. That's a winning combination.

However, some other providers might prove to be a better fit for you. In terms of price, ExpressVPN is somewhat pricey, Surfshark and NordVPN have great deals to get you securely online without breaking the bank.

If you want to access geo-blocked games or play on different regional servers, making sure your VPN has a wide network is essential. Here, providers like ExpressVPN and Surfshark excel here with servers in around 100 different countries. 

How we test

You'll be placing a lot of trust in your VPN, which is exactly why the Tom's Guide team is so thorough when it comes to testing their every facet, feature, and claim.

We don't just reiterate the shiny claims you can find yourself on the provider's webpage, either. Instead, our team rolls up their sleeves and gets hands-on with the best VPNs in the business. 

When it came to rounding up the best VPNs for gaming, however, there were a few key factors I kept in mind throughout my testing:

Speed: to keep latency to a minimum, stabilize performance, and reduce ping, a fast VPN is a must. We're constantly measuring the speed of our top providers to ensure they can keep up with fierce online competition or help you download that hotfix patch in the blink of an eye.

Server locations: gaming is a global pastime, and you'll need a VPN with expansive server coverage to unblock restricted content, access region-specific releases, and connect to the servers closest to the gaming servers to clamp down on ping. I double (and triple) checked to make sure all of my top-rated VPNs have plenty of strategically placed servers around the world.

Security: I took a look at each provider's privacy policy, putting it under the microscope to check for loopholes and unrealistic claims. A VPN should take your security seriously, and prove it with a clear-cut no-logs policy and, ideally, a third-party independent audit.

Features: some VPNs are more generous than others when it comes to their roster of features, but I made sure that my top picks include handy extras like port-forwarding, split tunneling, and super-speedy protocols (like WireGuard.)

Ease of use: I chose VPNs with easy-to-use apps for just about every gadget and gizmo in the house. So, whether you're gaming on PC, console, or mobile device, you'll be covered. An intuitive UI is a must, too, and ensures you'll be able to tweak settings and swap servers without any hassle. If you want a more thorough explanation, I've put together a simple guide that'll show you how to use a VPN.

Price: I'm all about value for money, so I prioritized VPNs with money-back guarantees that'll allow you to test the service before committing to a long-term subscription. Each VPN on my list does an awesome job of balancing performance and privacy with budget-friendly prices.

VPN speed testing – my results

Nobody wants to invite more lag and slowdown into their life, and you shouldn't have to sacrifice speed to shore up your security. Performance is a massive influencing factor in my rankings, and I make sure to check all of the top VPN services regularly (using different servers and protocols) to see just how quick they really are.

I put VPNs to the test on a 1 Gbps line and record speeds with a variety of tools, like the Ookla SpeedTest website and CLI, nPerf, Netflix's Fast, and others. I'll then take the average (median) of each VPN's results to generate a clearer picture of their performance. To keep things as accurate as possible, I'll run these tests again in the morning and evening. Below, you'll find the most recent results as per my latest round of testing.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 WireGuard or proprietaryOpenVPN
1. NordVPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out my line)140 Mbps
2. Surfsharkover 950 Mbps (maxed out my line)130 Mbps
3. IPVanishover 950 Mbps (maxed out my line)225 Mbps
4. Windscribeover 950 Mbps (maxed out my line)330 Mbps
5. Hide.meover 950 Mbps (maxed out my line)260 Mbps
6. Norton VPNover 950 Mbps (maxed out my line)240 Mbps
7. Mullvad900 Mbps530 Mbps
8. PrivadoVPN880 Mbps130 Mbps
9. Atlas VPN860 MbpsN/A
10. ExpressVPN750 Mbps230 Mbps
11. FastestVPN730 Mbps170 Mbps
12. PureVPN650 Mbps140 Mbps
13. CyberGhost630 Mbps360 Mbps
14. Private VPN610 Mbps110 Mbps
15. Hotspot Shield570 MbpsN/A
16. TunnelBear500 Mbps310 Mbps
17. Proton VPN460 Mbps350 Mbps
18. Private Internet Access360 Mbps310 Mbps
19. Mozilla VPN360 MbpsN/A
20. Google One345 MbpsN/A
21. VyprVPN325 Mbps105 Mbps
22. Astrill VPN390 Mbps (inconsistent testing results)N/A

Best gaming VPN FAQ

Why do I need a gaming VPN?

There are a couple of reasons why you might want a gaming VPN. 

Firstly, if you find your internet connection fluctuating, that could quite possibly be because your ISP is throttling your connection due to your activity. A VPN helps you avoid this by anonymizing your activity, meaning your ISP can't single you out as someone to throttle.

Secondly, privacy. Anyone is vulnerable, but gamers especially experience DDoS attacks and run a higher risk of being hacked. A VPN can protect anyone – not just gamers – from a whole load of the inherent risks on the web, plus it'll stop Google tracking you, too.

Is it legal to use a VPN for gaming?

Simple answer: yes. 

However, what you use your gaming VPN for might not be – remember that while it may make illicit activities possible or easier, it does not make them legal.

If you're using your VPN to spoof your location and buy games at a lower price, that's probably against the developer or distributor's T&Cs, and if you're caught you may have your account suspended or worse.

But, if you're just using it to make sure your ISP isn't throttling you, you don't have anything to worry about.

Will a VPN increase my ping?

This is a tricky one. Compared to your standard connection at peak speeds, a VPN is likely to slightly increase your ping – but, if you're very near one of your VPN's servers it could possibly decrease it if you're lucky.

Really, though, what you're using a gaming VPN for is to stabilize and make your connection more reliable. So, on your regular connection you might peak at a 10ms ping, but when you're being throttled that might increase to a difficult-to-manage 300ms.

By using the best gaming VPN, you can make sure your ping will stay at a usable speed – perhaps 20ms or better if you're used to 10ms – but you can be sure that it will stay that way for as long as you play. 

To learn more about this, see how to use a VPN to speed up your internet.

What should a gaming VPN have?

The most important feature of any gaming VPN is excellent connection speeds. You'll want to be able to get as close as possible to your regular connection speeds as possible, so having a speedy VPN is a good start.

Then, you should also ensure that your gaming VPN has excellent privacy credentials. While it might not be top of your priority list, seeing as so many services deliver excellent speeds as well as great security, there's really no reason to sacrifice either.

Finally, do your research and make sure that your chosen service is reliable – it's not good if your VPN will be constantly cutting out, and if it has a kill switch activated you'll see your whole connection die in this situation.

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Gaming VPN disclaimer

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.