Should I use a VPN for gaming?

Play safe with VPN for Gaming

The goal of every gamer is to play their online video games with no lag and other network or device issues at all. Imagine hours of smooth and uninterrupted online gameplay — that’s what gamers dream of. Those who are serious about their online gaming invest in high-powered computers and make sure that the CPU, RAM, power supply, hard drive, and storage, among others, are fit for online video gaming. 

Most of them even buy a mouse, keyboards, and swivel chairs designed specifically for gaming. On top of these expensive items, shouldn’t gamers invest in a VPN for gaming too?

The short answer is yes: Even when you have an advanced and state-of-the-art computer built for gaming, it’s no guarantee that your gaming will be lag-free. And the right VPN can help solve that problem.

LimeVPN: VPN Optimized for Gaming

Still, a lot of online video gamers are questioning the effectiveness and practicality of investing in a VPN for gaming. 

Won’t VPNs cause games to lag more? They are asking valid questions like this one and it’s perfectly understandable. There seems to be a widely accepted concept that VPN users suffer from the inevitable trade-off between the protection that VPNs bring and the speed of the connection.

This is true unless the provider has optimized its VPN servers for gaming as LimeVPN did. Aside from gaming optimized servers, our gaming VPNs also come with a static or dedicated IP address.

Gaming Servers

No matter how much a VPN provider brags about hundreds of server locations, this won’t matter for gamers unless the VPN servers are located close to the servers of the game they like to play. 

The goal is to reduce the ping while playing online games. Ping is the amount of time it takes for your computer to communicate with another computer. In the case of gamers, this other computer is the server of the game you’re playing. The higher the ping, the more latency there is and the more you will experience lag while playing.

VPN for Gaming

Take Fortnite, for example. Thumbsticks had mapped the approximate locations of the game’s servers. See the screenshot of the map below:

There are Fortnite servers in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Germany, Ireland, France, Australia and Brazil. In the U.S., the game has servers in Virginia, California, and Ohio. For a smooth and lag-free Fortnite gaming, you would need to connect to a VPN server in these areas or at least close to these Fortnite server locations.

On the other hand, LimeVPN also has servers in these areas or close to them. Take a look at our gaming VPN servers:

VPN servers

LimeVPN has multiple server locations in the U.S. including California, New York and Florida which are very near Ohio and Virginia. There are also gaming servers located in the United Kingdom, Canada, Singapore, Australia, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

Our servers are present in strategic locations in different continents, so wherever you are, no matter what game you’re playing, or where a game server is located, there is nearby LimeVPN server to connect to. 

While other VPN providers focus on increasing the number of servers, LimeVPN focuses on strategic placement of these servers. What good can it benefit our clients if we have hundreds of servers but they remain useless? You can end up paying for servers you don’t ever use. 

Static and Dedicated IP Address

Static IP addresses are IPs that never change, as opposed to dynamic IP addresses that change after a certain period. The reason why static IP addresses are best for gaming is that it is more reliable and stable. They don’t change so you won’t have difficulty connecting to a game every single time. 

When you decide to use a VPN for gaming, make sure that the provider not only has static IP addresses but also dedicated IPs. This ensures that you won’t be sharing the IP (and the resources associated with it like bandwidth) with other users. 

Don’t be confused with the different types of VPNs and IP addresses. Let’s make it clear quickly:

  • Types of IP addresses: Residential IP addresses can be dynamic or static. Dynamic IPs are the default type assigned by your ISP. These changes from time to time, depending on your ISP’s policies. Static IP addresses, on the other hand, do not change. They are fixed and will always be your IP address even when you become idle or log off after playing.
  • Types of VPN IP addresses: VPNs can be shared or dedicated. When you opt for shared VPNs, you will have to share the resources with other users — IP address, bandwidth, etc. On the opposite side are dedicated VPNs which are exclusively for you. Everything including the IP address and bandwidth is all yours and you don’t need to share them with anyone else.

Mostly with VPNs, dedicated IPs are static IPs, although you need to read the fine print of the VPN provider just to make sure.

dedicated IPs are static IPs


As you can see in the image above, LimeVPN offers dedicated IP addresses from different locations around the world. You may have noticed also that the IP addresses are clean and fresh which means that they have never been blocked by any gaming platforms before.

Dedicated Speed

Speed is the most important aspect you should look at when using a VPN for gaming. As I said in the beginning, playing without any latency is the dream of every gamer. Why should you use a VPN that can worsen your connection speed, right?

Aside from servers located near the game’s servers, you also have to make sure that the speed promised by the VPN provider is enough. For instance, LimeVPN includes the speed of 1 Gbps in our VPN gaming plans. This is not enough too. The speed has to be exclusively for you and not be shared with anyone else. 

With strategic server locations, dedicated IP addresses and dedicated 1 Gbps speed, LimeVPN is optimized for gaming.

User reviews

I can go on and on about the superb features that LimeVPN has to convince you that it’s the best VPN for gaming (or the best VPN, period.), however nothing beats reviews and feedback from first hand users.

Below are some user reviews from Trustpilot:

LimeVPN reviews
LimeVPN reviews
LimeVPN reviews
LimeVPN reviews
LimeVPN reviews

Looking at the reviews, I can vouch for the dedication of our technical support team in assisting not only paying customers, but also non subscribers. Several users also attest to LimeVPN’s ease of use, ease of setup, speeds, and reliability.

Why Should You Use a VPN for Gaming?

The right VPN can do wonders in your gaming experience. You will have hours of lag-free, uninterrupted gameplay with impressive connection speed. You will be protected from DDoS attacks and from being kicked out of the game due to slow speeds. And you can access your games even when you are not at home. 

1 . Protect Against DDoS Attacks

In our guide on how to choose the best gaming VPN, we briefly cited the 16-year old Ada Mudd who developed a DDoS program which other people used to launch DDoS attacks on MMO Runescape, Minecraft, and XBOX Live.

This proves how easy it is for cybercriminals to attack a game server and so much easier to attack individual game players. 

A VPN can protect you from these attacks, given that even your ISP can’t see and crack your encrypted traffic. Aside from DDoS attacks, a VPN can help you feel at ease regarding most issues that gamers face such as compromised game accounts and unreputable game marketplaces. 

As a regular internet user, VPNs can also protect you against doxxing, identity theft, and other potential cybercrimes you may encounter. 

2. Bypass ISP Speed Throttling

Speed or bandwidth throttling is when your Internet Service Provider or ISP deliberately slows down your internet connection based on the sites or platforms you are accessing.

Sure, ISPs advertise unlimited bandwidth all the time, but the truth is that some of the throttle it when they detect that you’re streaming online videos or playing video games. ISPs say that they do this because these sites and platforms need high bandwidth and can congest the ISP’s networks. 

What they do is they expect your data packets to see the sites you are accessing. If they see that your packets contain a request to video and gaming platforms, they will begin throttling your connection. 

VPNs provide a way out of this throttling that ISPs do. VPNs encrypt all of your data packets so no one, not even your ISP, can see the sites you’re accessing. And because ISPs can’t see your data packets, they won’t be able to throttle your connection and you can play your favourite games all you want.

3. Avoid Getting Kicked Out of the Game

When your connection has too much latency that it affects other players of the game, you can get kicked out. This is one of the worst nightmares of every online player, and this can be remedied by connecting to a VPN.

VPNs can significantly improve your speed of connection because of the following:

  • Masking of IP address and data packets: This VPN functionality enables you to bypass ISP throttling, as explained in the previous section. VPNs send their credentials (IP address) when requesting access on your behalf, so your IP address is hidden. 

One of the main features of VPNs is also data encryption so your data packets are not visible to anyone. Even for advanced hackers, cracking a 256-bit AES encryption is very impossible.

  • Connecting to strategic server location: With a VPN, you are free to connect to any of its servers so you can choose the one that is closest to the game’s servers to reduce ping.
  • Using a dedicated IP address: You don’t need to share an IP address with anyone else since you will be assigned a dedicated and static IP. Take note that not all VPN providers offer this feature.

4. Access Your Gaming PC From Anywhere

With LimeVPN’s optimized gaming packages, you will also get a static IP address which is helpful if you want to set up a remote connection. If you go on a vacation or business trip, for example, and your gaming PC is left at home, you don’t have to wait to get home so you can check your games. You can access your home PC no matter where you are as long as you have an internet connection.

Note that not all VPN providers provide static IP addresses. Some providers do, but you need to pay a premium for it.

5. Play With Gamers From Other Countries

The internet has changed everything, including the way we play video games. You no longer have to be in the same room with your friends to be able to play multiplayer games. All you need is an internet connection, and you’re good to go!

However,some games require team members to be from the same region to be able to play, and they filter this by looking at every player’s IP address. This is where a VPN comes in handy — you can get away with it since you can choose to connect to a server located in the same region as your team members.

6. Access New Games Earlier Than Your Peers

Some game developers release new games ahead of time in certain countries. Even when the release dates for all countries are the same, there’s still the timezone consideration. Australia is way ahead in time compared to the United States (13 hours ahead of the Eastern US and 16 hours ahead of the Western US).

If you connect to a server located in Australia, your timezone will also be changed to follow the country’s and in effect, you can already download the game in advance.

Best Practices When Using a VPN for Gaming

If you use LimeVPN for gaming and encounter some issues, you can reach out to our technical support team and you will walk you through the solution. In the meantime, here are some best practices when using a gaming VPN:

  • Choose a server with the lowest ping. Whether you’re using a VPN for gaming or not, it’s best practice to connect to the server with the lowest ping. To determine which server has the lowest ping, open the command prompt and type in the command:

ping serverIP

Let’s see some examples. I pinged three of LimeVPN’s servers located in Stockholm (Sweden), London (UK), and Los Angeles (US). Below are the results:

Ping results for the Sweden server:

Sweden server

Ping results for the UK server:

UK server

Ping results for the US server:

US server

If you are using MacOS, watch the video below to learn how to access Network Utility and get your ping:

The ping results depend on your distance from the server. The closer you are, the lower the ping will be. In our example, as the server with the lowest ping is the one located in Los Angeles, California, it’s the best choice for gaming.

  • Constantly check your ping within the game. Use the game feature that allows you to get the ping of the server you’re connecting to. On Fortnite, for example, you can go to Settings > Game tab > Matchmaking Region. You will see your ping next to the server location.

Watch this video below to learn how to see your ping within Fortnite:

For DOTA 2, you can ping their servers on your command prompt. Here is a list of DOTA 2 servers: 

Region

Server / IP

Australia (Sydney)

syd.valve.net 

Europe East (Vienna)

vie.valve.net 

Europe West 1(Luxembourg)

lux.valve.net 

Europe West 2 (Luxembourg)

146.66.158.1 

Russia 1 (Stockholm)

sto.valve.net 

Russia 2 (Stockholm)

185.25.180.1 

SE Asia 2 (Singapore)

sgp-1.valve.net 

SE Asia 1 (Singapore)

sgp-1.valve.net 

South America 1 (Sao Paulo)

gru.valve.net 

South America 2 (Sao Paulo)

209.197.29.1 

South America 3 (Sao Paulo)

209.197.25.1 

South Africa 1 (Cape Town)

pt-1.valve.net 

South Africa 2 (Cape Town)

197.80.200.1 

South Africa 3 (Johannesburg)

c196.38.180.1 

US East (Sterling)

208.78.164.1 

US West (Seattle)

eat.valve.net 

Best Tools for Gaming

Since we have ventured into the topic of investing in hardware and a VPN for gaming, let’s go ahead and touch up on the best tools for gaming too. 

  • Discord: Discord is a VoIP application specially designed for gamers. It is multi-platform and free to use. The app allows teams to communicate with each other despite being in different regions. 
Discord
  • Steam: This is the most popular  platform for gaming, and doesn’t need to be explained at all since every gamer knows about Steam. You can create, download, and play games with Steam.
Steam

IMAGE: Screenshot taken from Steam on September 6, 2019.

  • KeyTweak: To improve a gamer’s performance, he or she may need to rearrange the keyboard buttons to create shortcuts. KeyTweak helps gamers do this.
KeyTweak

IMAGE: Screenshot taken from Softonic on September 6, 2019.

  • OBS Studio: OBS Studio is a recording and streaming platform. Gamers use this to record their games and stream online games. The app is free, open-source and can easily be integrated with YouTube.
OBS Studio

IMAGE: Screenshot taken from OBS on September 6, 2019.

  • Flux: This is one of the few gaming tools that doctors recommend since it automatically modifies your monitor’s screen settings to match the brightness or darkness of your room. 
Flux

IMAGE: Screenshot taken from Just Get Flux on September 6, 2019.

There are still so many tools available for gaming, although these apps listed here are very popular and essential for gamers. F.lux, for instance can protect our eyes from computer eye strain. 

Don’t forget too that a VPN is another a gaming tool that you should invest in to protect yourself from cybercrimes and improve your gaming performance.

Use a VPN for Gaming

The primary question of this blog is: Should you use a VPN for gaming? And we have answered it quite clearly and comprehensively: Yes, you should use a VPN for gaming. 

There are so many tools that gamers already use, from VoIP apps, gaming platforms, apps that change their keyboard functions, and apps that protect their eyes. They also invest in very expensive computer hardware and paraphernalia. If there’s a list of tools and apps that every gamer needs, a VPN should be on it too.

Aside from improving connection speeds significantly by reducing pings and bypassing ISP bandwidth throttling, VPNs also allows you to protect your gaming traffic. The best thing about VPNs is that even when you are not playing, your overall internet traffic will still be protected as long as you are connected to the VPN. 

This is important especially since DDoS attacks and cybercrimes are becoming very rampant. For one, Runescape had to spend £6 million just to solve the problems caused by the DD0S attack.

In 2018 alone, 700 million people became victims of different forms of cybercrimes, with 46 attacks launched every day. For gamers, protection is all the more urgent since your identity and safety can be compromised. With a VPN for gaming, you can protect yourself while enjoying lag-free gaming.

A Complete gamer and a Tech Geek. Brings out all her thoughts and love in writing blogs on IOT, software, technology etc