VPNs are great unblockers and security tools, but do you need a VPN on your gaming console?
Yep, we think they’re a worthwhile addition. There are plenty of reasons to use a VPN while gaming on your console. We’ll tell you about them in this guide (and also tell you how to use a VPN on a gaming console).
Why Should You Use a VPN on Your Gaming Console?
The main reason we recommend using one is because you can secure your console and private data. VPNs encrypt your Internet traffic end-to-end, meaning nobody can spy on it. If they try to eavesdrop, they’ll only see gibberish.
Unfortunately, even if you use a secured network (either WPA2 or WPA3), your data won’t be safe. WiFi encryption has security holes which can be abused by clever hackers. Well, with a VPN, even if they manage to exploit your network’s security issues, they still can’t see your traffic.
Also, a VPN protects you from annoying DDoS attacks. It hides your IP address, so wannabe hackers can’t target your network anymore. No more having to worry about a sore loser DDoS-ing you because they felt “disrespected.”
So with a VPN, you get to enjoy top-notch security so that you can game in peace.
Another Good Way to Protect Your Privacy
VPNs provide excellent security, but there are things they can’t do. One of those is handling your console’s privacy settings. That’s up to you!
We highly recommend tweaking your console’s privacy settings so that you don’t have to deal with toxic and abusive players, and put your personal information and account at risk. GamerGirl has a really in-depth guide that shows you how to enjoy more privacy on all modern consoles (PlayStation 5, Xbox series X, and Nintendo Switch).
Other Reasons to Use a VPN on Your Gaming Console
Okay, so we established that VPNs offer better security and privacy. That’s nice, but what else can they do to improve your gaming sessions?
Well, based on our experience, here are some other perks you’ll get:
Get Cheaper Games
Sometimes, VPNs can help you get surprise discounts when you buy online games. Because they hide your geo-location, online shops can’t target you with geographical price discrimination. So you won’t see steeper prices just because you live in a high-income region.
This doesn’t work all the time, of course, but you can save money from time to time. Just connect to a VPN server in a low-income country (you might have to go through a few countries before you see a discount, though).
Avoid IP Bans
Nothing’s more infuriating than getting an IP ban for no reason. Just because a sore loser admin said you were cheating doesn’t mean that’s true. Who here hasn’t been wrongfully banned because they were just too good?
Well, a VPN can help you get around the annoying IP ban. If you connect to a VPN server, it hides your original IP (the one that got banned). So you’ll be able to reconnect to the server and continue gaming on it. If you get another ban, just connect to another VPN server!
Just keep in mind – VPNs can’t help you circumvent profile, username, and MAC address bans!
Game Together With Your Friends
Many players can’t play together with their foreign friends due to region locks – basically the servers their friends game on only allow players from certain countries to game on them.
VPNs hide your geo-location, so they’re perfect for getting around these blocks. Just connect to a VPN server in the country your friends are from or the gaming server is in, and you’ll be able to game together with them.
Lower Lag and Ping
High lag and ping get in the way of any gaming session – no matter how perfect it is! They’re sometimes enough to make you want to stop playing a game.
The best way to eliminate them is to game on servers close to you. But you can also get rid of them with a VPN. To do that, you have to connect to a VPN server that’s in the same country as the gaming server. Do that, and the VPN server might route your traffic straight to the gaming server (normally, it might hop through a few countries before it reaches it).
We can’t make any promises, but we ran some tests and sometimes saw better lag and ping with a VPN. For example, our ping went down from 100-130ms to 40-50ms while gaming on a server in Japan (we’re from the US) with a VPN.
How to Use a VPN on Your Gaming Console
As good as VPNs are, using one on your console isn’t as simple as downloading, installing, and opening a VPN app on your device. Unfortunately, gaming consoles still don’t natively support VPNs. So your only option is to set up the VPN on your router. Once you do that, your console will automatically use the VPN connection every time it goes online (since it uses the router to do that).
Unfortunately, we can’t really offer you a step-by-step guide on how to do that. The steps vary from router to router. Luckily, most top VPNs have helpful tutorials that show you how to configure their service on your router. It normally shouldn’t take you more than five minutes.
Another option is to share your VPN connection from your laptop or PC to your gaming console. But that method is pretty inconvenient. You need to perform a manual setup on your laptop/PC to share the VPN connection, and you also need to connect the console to your laptop/PC via an ethernet cable. That’s annoying because it limits where you can game.
Gaming Console VPN – What’s the Verdict?
We think it’s a really good idea to use a VPN on your gaming console. It protects your privacy (but you should also tweak the console’s privacy settings) and also offers other perks (lower ping and lag, no IP bans, and more).
What do you think about this? Are gaming console VPNs worth it? Please let us know in the comments.