How to protect your new Xbox

Xbox Series S and Series X
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

While the Xbox Series X competes directly with the PS5, offering some of the best console gaming performance to date, Microsoft hit it out of the park with the Xbox Series S which comes packing almost the same new-gen powers as its big brother, yet manages to be significantly cheaper. This means that more and more users have been able to enter the realm of Xbox gaming, cranking up the need for an Xbox VPN in 2024.

The best VPN services hide your online location from hackers, ISPs, and the government who then won't be able to track your internet activities back to you. Additionally, they can also help you stay protected from interruptions to your gamine, like DDoS attacks and ISP throttling, alongside giving you access to game sales and multiplayer lobbies that may be restricted in your region. 

However, the VPN market is all but flooded, so it's not easy to zero in on the best provider for your intended use case. Our team of experts at Tom's Guide have reviewed dozens of gaming VPN services, comparing them across core aspects like speed, security, locations, and value for money, among others.

The best VPN for Xbox in 2024

A VPN is an indispensable part of your online security toolkit, as it hides your IP address to anonymize you on the internet, protecting you from hackers, ISPs, and the government who may be after your internet traffic and personal data. 

The best Xbox VPN services offer more than just security against DDoS attacks, swatting, and ISP throttling, even helping you evade geo-restrictions and access region-restricted foreign content and international game sales. 

Below are our top three VPNs for Xbox:

1. ExpressVPN – the best VPN for gaming

1. ExpressVPN – the best VPN for gaming
ExpressVPN is the best VPN service for just about every use case and device, including Xbox and gaming. It offers easy-to-use apps, rock-solid security features, blazing speeds, and perhaps the highest number of server locations in the industry.

Although it's not as cheap as its rivals, ExpressVPN makes up for that by offering three months of extra protection for free on its 12-month subscription. With a 30-day money-back guarantee in place, you can try it on for size without risking a penny.

2.NordVPN – the biggest name is super secure

2. NordVPN – the biggest name is super secure
NordVPN is an all-in-one security suite that combines a world-class VPN service with built-in antivirus, ad-blocking, and a password manager. With thousands of servers and lots of support options, there's virtually nothing to complain about. 

It's second to none when it comes to knocking down geo-blocks on streaming sites – and you’re also getting the fastest VPN at a pocket-friendly price. Be sure to make the most of its 30-day money-back guarantee and see why it's a close runner-up to ExpressVPN. 

3. Surfshark – the best budget VPN on the market

3. Surfshark – the best budget VPN on the market
Surfshark is a match made in heaven for those who are strapped for cash and are looking for something cheap yet effective. It asks for less than $2.50 per month but with unlimited simultaneous connections and class-leading speeds, there’s plenty of power under the hood. 

Everything else, from security and ease of use to streaming support, is top-shelf too, and there's also a generous 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.

How to pick a VPN for your new Xbox

The best gaming VPN for you will depend on your intended use case; nevertheless, there are some factors you simply cannot ignore:

Security: look for a VPN provider that can protect you from DDoS attacks, ISP throttling, and other cyber threats, so you can steer clear of bad actors and have an enjoyable gaming experience.

On a more general note, you’d want to make sure that the provider offers a strict no-logs policy, supports new and secure VPN protocols, and features, like a kill switch and leak protection, are all in place and working well.

Locations: consider the regions you want to connect to in your day-to-day and then look for a provider that offers servers in those places. Subsequently, you may also prioritize VPNs with servers that are close to the servers of the games you wish to play. 

Speed: lightning-fast speeds stamp out buffering and lag, which is all the more important for use cases like streaming and gaming. At the same time, if the provider has a vast network of servers strategically placed around the world, there will be fewer users per server, further cranking up its speed and consistency.

Price: the bottom line is to pick a VPN that’s in your budget and offers all of the features you’re looking for. However, if you’re heavily cash-strapped, I’d recommend opting for a good cheap VPN that asks for very little and delivers loads. 

Other factors to consider when out shopping for an Xbox VPN include the number of simultaneous connections, if it can give you access to popular streaming channels, the ease of use of the apps, and the availability of prompt and reliable support through email/live chat/phone/helpful guides.

How we test VPNs

We follow our meticulously drawn out VPN testing methodology and test the top 30 VPN providers every six months. We begin by analyzing the provider’s website for hints on how they use/maintain user data, and while we're at it, we also evaluate any changes in its policies and whether it employs tracking cookies to track the users on its site.

Then we install the provider's apps on all major operating services i.e. Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, and put their features under the scanner to make sure that everything works as promised. 

We also evaluate how easy to use the apps are – is there a one-tap quick-connect option, are all of the options clearly laid out, is the interface is intuitive and clutter-free?

To test the provider's unblocking capabilities, we throw multiple big-name streaming services like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Prime Video, and Disney Plus at it, and that too, from three different locations around the world. 

For speed testing, we use at least three speed test websites, two sessions, and multiple settings one after another. All tests put together, we test the VPN’s speed at least 120 times to make sure that our results are as accurate as they can be.

For more information on our testing procedures, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.  

Using a VPN for Xbox FAQs

Why does my Xbox need a VPN?

You need a VPN for your Xbox primarily for privacy reasons, as it will anonymize you on the internet and help you stay protected from all sorts of snoopers. Moreover, a good VPN can also enhance your gaming experience by protecting you from other players trying to unjustly throw you out of a game via malicious DDoS attacks or swatting. 

Even your ISP’s attempt to thwart your bandwidth and connection speeds will go in vain with one of the best VPN services by your side, and not to forget that you’ll also be able to access international game sales and easy bot lobbies in various multiplayer online games, all of which may be restricted in your region.

Is it legal to use a VPN on an Xbox?

Short answer – yes.

You can use a VPN on your Xbox as long as you’re in a country that has legalized the use of VPNs, which is most countries around the world, by the way. However, using a VPN may still attract fines and other punishments if you use it for illegal purposes, such as downloading a particular game at a lower price, which may violate the game provider’s T&Cs.

Also note that if you’re traveling to one of the 8 countries with the strictest VPN laws, you may not be able to use a VPN at all, use only government-appointed providers, or face other restrictions, depending on the country you’re visiting. 

What features should an Xbox VPN app have?

The Xbox VPN app you pick should boast excellent privacy credentials, including an intuitive kill switch, a no-logs policy, leak protection, and any other security features you may desire, such as port forwarding, multi-hop, or double encryption. 

Next, connection speeds must be fast and reliable. Additionally, it should offer powerful unblocking capabilities so that you can access a myriad of streaming services and game titles without batting an eye. If you’re new to VPNs, look for easy-to-use apps with quick-connect functionality, like ExpressVPN and Surfshark


We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example:  1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service).  2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad. We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

Olivia Powell
Tech Software Commissioning Editor

Olivia joined Tom's Guide in October 2023 as part of the core Future Tech Software team, and is the Commissioning Editor for Tech Software. With a background in cybersecurity, Olivia stays up-to-date with all things cyber and creates content across TechRadar Pro, TechRadar and Tom’s Guide. She is particularly interested in threat intelligence, detection and response, data security, fraud prevention and the ever-evolving threat landscape.

With contributions from