Chris Lawrence is a journalist and chief editor at Wlan Labs. He has been writing about technology for more than ten years. He writes about everything ranging from privacy to open source software. His goal is to educate readers about important topics to help make their lives easier.
Welcome to our does a VPN help with ping guide. If you’re big into online multiplayer, then chances are you’ve already dug quite a bit into your own finances to make sure that you’re competing in terms of performance.
After all, if you lose at your favourite game you want it to be because you just weren’t good enough, and not because your frames were chugging in a busy altercation or your character was lagging at some crucial moment.
Beyond just improving your hardware, having a fast, strong internet connection is obviously vital to getting on a level playing field- but simply paying for a fast speed with an internet service provider will rarely get you the stable ping that you expected.
Factors beyond the control of your wallet, such as an issue with the host server, network issues in your area and ISP bandwidth throttling can have a massive impact on your service.
Many dedicated gamers use a VPN service as part of their endless quest for low, stable ping – a VPN is a private network designed for security and anonymity that also avoids the problems listed above.
VPNs have become incredibly popular in recent years, and there are now a variety of strong competitors on the market all vying for your attention- and even angling themselves towards gamers.
Below, we’ve listed five VPNs which we consider the very best for low-ping gaming:
One of the best-known VPNs out there, your first impression of Nord probably came from one of their extensive sponsorship efforts on YouTube- but they do also rank as one of the most popular VPNs for gaming.
Nord’s ping when tested is some of the lowest across all of the most popular gaming devices, as well as having some of the fastest speeds- making them ideal for even the fastest-paced and most demanding FPS.
There are very few competitors who even come close in terms of performance when it comes to bandwidth-intensive activities.
Nord’s comprehensive service also comes with a laundry list of potential add-ons and extras- they’re one of the only major providers to offer a Dedicated IP add-on.
This allows you to keep your own faster VPN IP and eliminates the risk of some other player on the same VPN getting the both of you banned for a ToS breach.
If you’re after extensive service for a venerated and recognisable brand, this is it.
Brand recognition– well-known and respected VPN
Extensive add-ons- Customise your online gaming experience (for a fee)
Lowest ping in the game- Consistently tests at the lowest ping even on demanding games
Expensive– One of the lesser budget-friendly VPNs
Private Internet Access
Private Internet Access might be a fairly on-the-nose company title, but it’s exactly as delivered- their VPN service allows you to use IPs from 84 different countries and has consistently low ping across every single one of them- ideal for online multiplayer games.
Testers reported virtually no lag across hours of gameplay.
More than just a gaming server, that high volume of foreign IPs could also be used to browse streaming service catalogues from different lands in the rest of your leisure time.
PIA allows up to ten different devices at a time, so your entire home could be well-kitted to explore the very best that Turkish cinema has to offer, check out the Japanese Netflix catalogue, or simply game on the go.
A veteran of VPN providing, PIA also offers some unique features such as DDoS protection, meaning that hackers and cybercriminals will have a tougher time ruining your fun.
Huge selection of servers – Thousands of servers in many countries around the world
Low lag – Some of the lowest lag from a major provider
Cheaper than other big providers – Get the most bang for your buck
Some more niche features aren’t as reliable – Expect lag or dropout
By far the greatest thing about PrivateVPN is its accessibility. This is a VPN which is very easy to set up right away if you really can’t spare another second away from the game.
It is also readily and quickly available on a multitude of platforms; extremely simple to use applications on everything from Windows through Mac and even Android devices allow one of the most positive set-up experiences in the business.
Private also boast ‘military-grade’ levels of encryption, along with a ‘Connection Guard’: as a service which will automatically disconnect whichever software you like whenever the VPN isn’t in operation.
For an older VPN provider, however, there are a surprising number of oversights in their service. Firstly, the choice of servers available is disappointingly small.
There is also a certain amount of latency in regular gameplay, which some powerful VPNs mop up for just a little bit more money.
How much you favor power versus accessibility will play a big part in whether PrivateVPN is the right choice for you.
Fantastic accessibility – Easy to set up on just about any device
Secure functions – Perfect for privacy
Low fees – Very reasonably priced subscription
Not a lot of server choice – Countries and servers are limited for those who want a variety
Not as powerful – Still some lag and latency present in tests
A gaming community favorite, particularly among mobile gamers; boasting rapid speeds, no lag, and simplicity in design across all devices.
That includes gaming platforms by the way, even for Xbox and Playstation if you don’t mind a small drop in speed and setting up a DNS.
The connection remains stable, speeds are still perfectly acceptable for high-octane gaming, and ping is consistently low.
It’s a little wonder that gamers have taken to Surfshark so strongly when it comes to clearing the way for online multiplayer performances.
Other gamer-friendly features that are almost exclusive to a quality VPN provider such as Surfshark are DDoS prevention measures, split-tunneling capability, and free static servers as standard.
Additionally, they offer a feature which helps you to stop revenge-swatting from particularly nasty competitors: a double VPN feature called MultiHop.
Gaming god – Absolutely packed full of features to satisfy serious gamers
Massively versatile applications – Available across many platforms
Fast and with little lag- Even across different devices
Console boundaries – DNS users sacrifice some speed
ExpressVPN is one of the fastest VPN services going, making them ideal for high-performance gaming. Customers can consistently expect over ten times the recommended speed for comfortable play.
What’s more, that kind of speed is average all over ExpressVPN’s thousands of servers around the globe.
The sheer volume of servers on offer means that even if you have gaming buddies in other countries, you can simply choose a server near them to massively cut your latency issues.
ExpressVPN is available across five of your devices and often runs little offers and discounts that you can take advantage of; otherwise, the base price is one of the highest of the more popular VPN brands.
Extremely high performance – Perfect for high-octane gaming
The high volume of global servers – Choose an IP from anywhere
Use across five devices – Link up your entire gaming setup
Pricey for a VPN – Other deals on market should be considered
ExitLag is a VPN service created with the sole purpose of reducing lag and improving connection speeds for online gamers.
ExitLag does this by re-routing your gaming data through their own optimized network of servers, which results in lower ping times and a smoother gaming experience.
ExitLag also offers some other features that can be useful for gamers, such as the ability to connect to multiple servers at once for improved stability and connection speed, and the ability to automatically select the best server for your current location.
ExitLag’s main disadvantage is that it is a paid service, so you will need to shell out some money each month if you want to use it.
However, many gamers feel that the benefits of ExitLag are worth the price, and it can be a
a lifesaver if you’re trying to play an online game with high levels of lag.
Gameplay (Latency, Speed, Stability)
This is obviously very important to your experience, but how your VPN affects your gameplay will come down to server speed, latency, and general stability.
While the aim of using a VPN is to increase your internet performance, the effect could be the opposite of the intended.
Run a speed test. A VPN ideally shouldn’t be causing a speed drop of more than 10 Mbps.
Selecting VPNs with a good cancellation policy will allow you to test out their performance.
A speed drop of 30 Mbps is not worth the money, as it will just negatively impact your play.
When considering how a VPN might affect ping, you should be concentrating mainly on stability- as in, your ping should remain around the same for the entire playtime.
This should be true no matter which game you are playing, otherwise, you haven’t chosen a VPN which is suitable for gaming. You should also be looking for a packet loss of less than 3%.
Server Network & Coverage
Server speed all comes down to the options a VPN provider has in regards to its server network and coverage.
After all, if its users are spread over thousands of servers, you’re much less likely to experience any speed loss; if a server’s users are all crammed together you might even experience a total network overload.
Being able to use servers in other countries means that you also have access to content that is region-locked due to licensing, sales that are only active in one region or another, or games which are banned due to stringent censorship laws in your home country.
Grand Theft Auto comes to mind. A lot of software is priced differently in countries based on how much the publisher believes you will pay for it, and if you’d like to protest that practice by using a VPN, that’s now up to you.
There are many gaming-specific VPN features that are available to you only if you pick a gaming-centric VPN.
DDoS protection – Unfortunately, when gaming online it isn’t impossible that an angry opponent will decide to launch a DDoS attack on your IP address, completely inhibiting your ability to play. Some VPNs are able to hamper DDoS attacks as part of their base plan, meaning you can continue to play without effect.
Split tunneling – This allows you to choose exactly which programs are affected by the VPN. You might be running multiple programs at once, for example, and not want all of them running from Guataleharra for whatever reason.
Dedicated IP – Typically an additional extra. This is an IP that you use by yourself, meaning you eliminate any congestion caused by multiple users on the same network, or from you getting banned from a game because a different user on the same network did.
This will also you to avoid the problem many VPN users face when a game server doesn’t like you logging back in from different IPs every time.
Double VPN – This will allow you to avoid other petty acts of gamer revenge involving your real IP, such as ‘revenge swatting’. Our Guide to what is a double VPN will offer more granular detail on this subject.
Gaming-centric VPNs will offer support for multiple platforms to be as useful as possible for gamers- this covers Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Playstation, Xbox etc. They might also offer DNS setup at the cost of some speed.
Make sure that you investigate the support of each VPN that you try so that you know if it suits the way that you game.
Subscription Fees and Extras
VPNs come in all manner of prices and payment models- and which features come as part of a base package and which are additional extras will vary from service to service.
Run speed tests with every service to make sure that you’re getting the most for your money and then way up the pros and cons.
This will be much easier to do if the provider operates a free trial or a money-back guarantee- thankfully, most of the biggest providers do.
Does A VPN Help With Ping FAQ
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Becoming a customer of a VPN allows you to mask your IP (Internet Protocol) address for the sake of online privacy by creating an anonymous private network from a public internet connection.
VPNs are utilised for security reasons, as they make your actions online untraceable.
This isn’t as sinister as it sounds- in an age where the trade of sensitive information has become somewhat commonplace, the notion of paying to protect one’s actions online has become more and more popular even among average people.
Can you get banned for using a VPN while playing online games?
This will entirely depend on the game. Some publishers don’t like their players using VPNs as they know that some more tech-savvy, but less gamesman-like people will use them as an advantage somehow.
For example, a player with a VPN may be using multiple accounts on different IP addresses to give themselves an advantage.
Check the ToS or community of your chosen game to see if there is any policy against using a VPN with that game.
Will a VPN lower ping?
The answer is no- but, a VPN will stabilize your ping, and that’s what matters. Even the very best VPNs will put a slight increase in your ping, but if you’re using a VPN which a track record for gaming then this shouldn’t be a problem.
Ping spikes caused by instability are a cause of sudden lag and are what you are trying to avoid. After all, what’s worse than losing because of lag in a pivotal moment?
How will a VPN affect my speed?
Yes, once again, even a good gaming VPN will reduce speeds a little. The benefit comes from the fact that it will protect you from other things which would drastically reduce your speed- such as an issue with the host server, network issues in your area and ISP bandwidth throttling.
They will also protect you from various kinds of cyberattacks, which is unfortunately not uncommon in the online gaming community.
The negative effect that having a VPN will have on your game speed should not be one which impedes your performance, so long as you pick a VPN which serves gaming.
Can I play games at work or school with a VPN?
A VPN can protect you from many things, but it can’t protect you from the wrath of an angry boss or teacher!
Technically, if you did use a VPN at school or work (which probably isn’t allowed in the first place), you could almost certainly avoid whatever basic blocks they have on access to gaming.
It is possible to tell when someone is using a VPN in a closed system, however, of course, all the risk rests on you.
Are VPNs free?
There are free VPNs, but it is not recommended that you use them. They’re extremely limited in features, and they are not considered secure, entirely negating the point of having a VPN in the first place.
Free VPN services also have to make money somehow- this might just be through showing you ads, or it might be because they’re collecting your data to sell on to third parties.
Some well-respected VPN providers offer free trials or money-back guarantees on the full version of their product, usually for a month.
This allows you to make an informed decision on your purchase- and if you decide against it, simply cancel your subscription before the first payment is taken.