Gamers have more choice than ever when it comes to how they play. One of these choices can be whether to use a VPN or not. A VPN can do many things for gamers, including lowering your latency and keeping your game responsive, but first, you should know what you’re getting into.
What is a VPN?
VPN stands for virtual private network. It’s a technology used for creating safe and encrypted connections over a potentially insecure network. It was developed as a way to allow remote users secure access to corporate applications and other resources. When using a VPN your data travels through an encrypted tunnel, securing it from interception and allowing you access to sites that are geographically restricted.
VPN performance can be affected by a range of factors. These include your internet connection speed, your internet service provider (ISP), and the quality of your VPN provider.
How does a VPN help with gaming?
VPNs are a flexible tool with a wide range of applications. When it comes to gaming, you may want to look at accessing VPN services to ward off DDoS attacks, improve performance, or avoid the doxxing of your personal information. In this article, we’ll cover each of these use-cases and how a VPN can help you stay secure.
A Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) attempts to make your connection unusable by having multiple systems flood and overwhelm your bandwidth. As they’re fairly easy to execute, these attacks are quite common. If you’re using a VPN in the event of a DDoS attack, your connection and true IP address will be shielded from attackers. If they can’t find you, they can’t attack you.
No matter how amazing your hardware is, a high ping rate will hold back any gamer. Ping is essentially a metric pertaining to the speed of your internet connection, or the time your machine takes to answer a request from another machine. The lower your ping rate, the more efficient this communication is — higher than 150ms can result in noticeable lag. Tools like Speed Test can help you measure this for free.
Experiencing lag during an online game can be frustrating and will almost certainly put you at a disadvantage. Distance is a big factor here; the closer your server is to the game server, the lower the ping will be. If you game a lot on long distance servers where ping is an issue, it’s worth trying various VPN providers to see if your performance improves. This isn’t a given; it will depend on your location and the network performance of the VPN provider you choose, but it can help in some situations. If you’re having trouble figuring out which services to try this on, there are various review websites which recommend which VPNs are best for gaming.
Have you ever played against someone who takes the game a little too seriously? In recent years, doxxing in the world of online gaming has become more of a problem. If you’re worried about this possibility and it’s interfering with your fun, it might be time to get a VPN.
Doxxing refers to the publishing of someone’s private information online in order to intimidate, embarrass, or harass them. It has ruined people’s lives and careers on several occasions and occasionally led to real-life harm. Generally speaking, the process usually begins with your IP address, and a malicious user will find out more from there.
With a VPN connection, your real IP address will be hidden and replaced with that of your VPN server. This prevents anyone with hostile intentions from finding your real location.
Not all VPNs are created equal
There are various ways a VPN can be set up for use. One of these is through your operating system’s network configuration pages — you will need to enter the username and password you have been given and then select the appropriate settings provided by your provider.
Most casual users tend to download the VPN software directly onto their computer. This software, once activated, will protect all of the activity taking place on that device. This method is usually preferred as it requires minimal time and technical knowledge on behalf of the user.
A wide range of VPN services are available — including free options — but most reliable options charge a subscription fee. It’s wise to be wary of most free services; many subsist by selling user activity to third-party advertisers. Their privacy and security cannot always be relied upon and can even be dangerous. If you’re unsure which provider to choose, most review websites recommend CyberGhost as a secure and affordable option.
Your best course of action is to conduct your own research to see if a VPN will really help your individual gaming situation. Once you’ve done that, look into what providers match your requirements and go from there. Knowledge is power, and it might even help you beat your biggest rival!