The Best VPNs for Gamers

We tested these VPNs using Fortnite, noting their speed and security.

Aliza Vigderman Gabe TurnerChief Editor
Last Updated on Jun 29, 2020

Best for Wi-Fi

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Best for Privacy

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Best App

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All VPNs will slow down your device at least a little, but if you’re a gamer, that slow down can mean the difference between winning or losing a match. As a man who still throws down on Xbox Live when he can, I sought to answer the age-old question: how can I protect my precious KDR while simultaneously protecting my data online? Well, first I had to do some rigorous testing, so I booted up Fortnite’s 100 player Battle Royale mode on an iMac. Every VPN for gamers on this list has been thoroughly tested, so I’m happy to share my results with you all. Basically, if you’re looking for the best gaming VPN, you’ve come to the right place.

VPNs for Gamers Methodology

Best VPNs For Gamers
Fortnite screenshot.

In general, I test all of my VPNs on both a Macbook Air and a Windows Vivobook to determine their speed as well as security. After analyzing data from our previous VPN reviews, I chose our top-performing VPNs to put to the test while scavenging, building, shooting, and doing the Milly Rock with 99 other people. However, while I typically test VPNs on both Mac and Windows computers, I only tested the VPNs for gaming on Macs, so the speeds may not apply if you have a PC.

For this VPN review, I tested each option on a Mac using the game Fortnite. I play three matches on both Ethernet and Wi-Fi to gauge baseline performance, noting:

  • Highest spike in ping
  • Average ping
  • Highest spikes in packet loss on both download and upload
  • Average packet loss throughout the match on both download and upload

Aside from performance during gaming, I also look for VPNs with strict data-logging policies, that are outside of the Five Eyes, Nine Eyes, and 14 Eyes jurisdictions, with kill switches, split tunneling, highly-rated apps, and low prices. For a complete methodology of VPNs in general, check out my review of the best VPNs of 2020.

For testing each VPN’s performance while gaming, I played Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode on a 2017 Retina 5K iMac with a 4.2 GHz Intel Core i7 Processor, Radeon Pro 580 8GB Graphics Card, and 40 GB 2400 MHz DDR4 Ram. If you’re curious about my graphics settings, you can check them out in the image below.

Fortnite Capture Test
Fortnite Capture Test

While I typically test VPNs on both Mac and Windows computers, Unfortunately, I don’t have a PC beefy enough to run much of anything – even something as performance-light as Fortnite. As a result, I only tested the VPNs for gaming on Macs, so the speeds may differ a bit depending on your gaming platform of choice.

To get the data necessary for this list, I played three matches on both Wi-Fi and Ethernet using each VPN so that you can make an informed decision regardless of what your gaming setup looks like. I turned on Fortnite’s in-game Net Debug Stats to display a real-time readout of my ping (or latency) and packet loss throughout each match. When analyzing the matches later, I noted fluctuations in ping and packet loss to find:

  • Average ping
  • Average packet loss throughout the match on both download and upload

In online gaming, ping is king. Having a lower ping will provide a smoother gameplay experience and having a higher ping can cause stuttering or brief disconnections that can ruin a match. Packet loss refers to small packets of game data that each player uploads to the game server and downloads from the game server during a match. Too much packet loss can pull the player out of sync with other players in the match, so it’s another important facet of a consistent online gaming experience. The sooner you pick your VPN, the sooner you can game securely, so let’s get started!

  • Are VPNs good for gaming?

    VPNs can be good for gaming, but it’s important to choose the right one (which is why we wrote about the best VPNs for gamers in the first place; scroll up for more info!)

  • Does VPN reduce ping?

    VPNs typically cause more ping, otherwise known as latency. However, in the VPNs on this list, ping increases are kept to a minimum.

  • How do I use a VPN for gaming?

    Make sure you pick a video game that’ll work with your video game console, router, computer or whatever device you’re playing on.