So what should you look for in a VPN for online games? How can they help you, protect you, and most importantly perhaps, give the best possible gaming experience? Here are 10 reasons any Minecraft, Fortnite, and online gaming fans may want to consider a VPN:
1. Gaming Security
Most online games these days work on a subscription model. You need to create an online account, join or be a member of an online community or otherwise provide some form of online verification. Whichever the case, you’ll have to provide sensitive data, including your credit card details, in order to play.
Unfortunately, online gaming accounts are appealing to cyber criminals. Not only do they contain financial and other personal information, they’re also relatively easy to hack. Throw in an unsecured WiFi connection; and it’s almost as if you’re opening the door and inviting them in.
A VPN encrypts your data and passes it through a secure private server. This makes it much harder for hackers to gain access. It also shields you from DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.
2. Gaming Performance
A slow connection not only makes gameplay incredibly frustrating, it can also be the difference between completing a mission successfully or not.
In the past, online gamers avoided VPNs precisely because of the adverse effect they could have on performance. However, these days, VPNs have improved by leaps and bounds. Many VPNs now have features specifically designed to improve your connection’s speed and overall performance.
Using a VPN can significantly enhance gameplay. In particular, switching to a server that’s closer to the game’s main server decreases the amount of time needed for data transfers, which minimizes lag and other speed issues.
Some VPNs also have features designed to bypass your internet service provider’s speed restrictions. This ensures your online gaming experience remains smooth, irrespective of how much bandwidth you’re using.
3. Bypass School and Workplace Blocks
Because games like Minecraft and Fortnite are so enthralling, many schools and workplaces aren’t its biggest fans. They don’t want students or employees playing it and they even view it as—gasp—a waste of time. For example, Minecraft is blocked in many classrooms and offices.
But true gaming fans know that when the urge hits, it can’t be stopped! And fortunately, there’s a way to get around systems that block your favorite games: VPNs. A VPN won’t mess with the existing IT framework of your school/company; it just circumvents it. It does this by allowing you to use an IP address from the VPN provider as opposed to the school/workplace IP address. In this way, your location is obscured, so even if you’re using a school/company computer, you’ll actually be logging on from somewhere else.
4. Bypass Geo-Restrictions
Many online games have geo-restricted features, which means you can only access them if you live in a certain location. Some games (Battlefield 4, for instance) are even banned completely in some countries.
A good VPN allows you to bypass these restrictions by switching to a server in a different country. You can also get additional benefits, including early bird access to new features that are as yet unavailable where you live.
5. Speed and Reliability
For starters, you’ll want unlimited bandwidth and no speed caps. Online gaming uses up a lot of bandwidth, so VPNs with speed and bandwidth caps or traffic management policies just won’t cut it. You’ll also want a VPN whose servers guarantee at least 99.99% uptime. This greatly reduces the chances of the server crashing during a crucial section of gameplay.
6. Avoid Unreasonable Bans
Epic Games states in its terms of service that users are prohibited from using its services, including Fortnite, “for any purpose that is illegal or beyond the scope of the services’ intended use (in Epic’s sole judgment).” Although it doesn’t state exactly what could get a person banned, many users have reported having their IPs banned for using various types of cheats, such as an AutoHotKey, and getting the following message: “You were removed from the match due to your IP, VPN, machine, or cheating. We recommend not utilizing VPN or proxy services while attempting to play Fortnite.”
Whereas some games have cheat prevention software, Fortnite prefers to just ban people it suspects of cheating. The good news? There’s a way around this ban. With a VPN, Fortnite players can log back on under a new IP address and create a new account to go with it, allowing them to bypass any ban on their own home IP. Of course, a super-fast connection and unlimited bandwidth are also must-haves to play Fortnite, and the best VPNs can provide those too.
7. Server Distribution
The more servers available in different countries, the greater your geo-unblocking options. It also makes it easier for you to shorten the distance between your location and the game’s main server, which reduces lag and other connection problems.
8. Play Anywhere Safely
The beauty of using a VPN is that it gives you the ability to unblock games like Minecraft and Fortnite anywhere. All the best VPNs let you download clients for PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and all other popular types of devices and operating systems. Some of them allow you to access a VPN server from 5 or 6 devices simultaneously. Using a VPN, you can unblock games at home, in the office or classroom, on your way to and from appointments, or even when traveling abroad. Essentially, you can log on from wherever you and your device are located, but your IP address will show Fortnite that you’re somewhere else altogether.
9. Avoid Targeted Marketing
Let’s face it, gamers are known to be obsessive--and for good reason. But because of this, the gaming community is considered a prime consumer market--which means ads. Sure, we all like to be notified of the latest releases, but when repetitive or irrelevant gaming advertisements start to clutter our every web page, it can feel at best annoying and at worst, spooky and intrusive. Targeted advertising is designed to pick up your web activity and then bombard you with whatever marketing materials certain algorithms have determined will interest you. Since VPNs allow you to surf the web anonymously, you’ll avoid these targeted ads and have a freer, more autonomous online experience.
10. Improve Your Whole Online Experience
Just because you download a VPN for gaming doesn’t mean you have to turn it off when the game ends. Having a VPN can benefit all areas of your online experience, from banking and shopping to downloading files or streaming Netflix. If you’re a gamer, you probably spend a considerate amount of non-gaming time online as well. A VPN can expand into all areas of your online life, giving you peace of mind and freer access to the internet.
Get Your Game On
Games like Minecraft and Fortnite have taken the world by storm in the past year, and it seems like they will only get bigger from this point. Many users around the world have reported having their accounts or IPs banned, but this is no reason to miss out. The best VPNs for gamers offer the high speeds and unlimited bandwidth needed to play Fortnite and other games, and they promise to conceal your IP address so you can get around any temporary or permanent bans.