Newcomers to gaming sub-culture may think using a VPN for online gaming is unnecessary or even redundant. Yes, a Virtual Private Network tends to slow down your connection speed and increase your ping time. But seasoned gamers will tell you – a VPN for XBox is not a luxury but a necessary means of protection. Also, a VPN takes your gaming to a whole new level.
Why You Need a VPN for XBox
Any online activity has its hidden security risks, and gaming is no exception. Once you hone your gaming skills and climb the leaderboards, you are bound to enter the world of team games. Nothing compares to teaming up with a bunch of like-minded gamers from around the world and take out your opponents in well-coordinated attacks.
To coordinate your onslaught more efficiently, swap tips and goad opponents you might use voice chats. Unfortunately, voice chat systems aren’t secure. A new friend can easily turn out to be your opponent using the conversation to discover your IP address. Many obsessive and cheat-happy gamers attack the Internet connections of their opponents (DDoS) to get them locked out of games in crucial moments.
A DDoS attack can cost you a match, so you need to protect your real IP address, and a VPN is the most efficient, easy-to-use and affordable means of protecting your IP.
A VPN service masks your real IP address and mitigates the DDoS attacks by absorbing the flood of messages trying to lock you out of the game.
Some particularly vicious players go the extra mile to launch DDoS attacks against game servers. When that happens, game companies block the range of IPs they believe are involved in the attack, unfairly locking out innocent gamers as a collateral damage. With a VPN, you can easily get out of the banned IP range and keep playing.
Protection Against Swatting
You’d be surprised how many nasty tricks can be unleashed on unsuspecting gamers by their obsessive opponents. If your mentally unstable opponent knows your IP address, and therefore your physical address, they can then make an anonymous call to your local police department and say they heard shooting in your house or something along those lines. Your police department then sends a SWAT team to your place, wrecking havoc for your family and your neighborhood.
Swatting causes serious grief. Besides damaged property, you may face suspicion or even get ostracized by your neighbors as a result. So if you are an avid gamer, you need to hide your identity and location behind a VPN.
Access Geo-Blocked MMO and MMORPG Games, XBox Live, DLC Content, and PSN Exclusives
Sometimes game developers roll out new games for various countries gradually. Be it for testing, or some other monetary preference, many companies choose to release their games in the U.S., the U.K, or Japan first. The time it takes for some games to make it to other local markets can be anything from a week to more than a year.
Likewise, XBox Live content and many game servers are geo-locked, too. With a VPN, you can easily bypass this nuisance and access new games ahead of your local market or play XBox Live exclusives unavailable in your nation.
Unblock Popular Streaming Services
Finally, most XBox users use their systems to stream Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, you name it. With a VPN, you are not restricted to content available in your region but can access the newest and most popular shows that tend to be available in a few select locations only.
How to Set Up a VPN on XBox
You can’t set up a VPN on your XBox console directly. Instead, you need to set up a VPN on your WiFi router. Setup instructions differ based on your router type and VPN provider, but most companies on this list provide detailed instructions. If you get stuck or lack technical background, most VPNs offer free live chat support or even remote installation via TeamViewer.
Alternatively, you can install your VPN on your desktop computer, create a virtual router on it and have your XBox connect to it. Some VPNs come with the virtual router feature baked into their desktop apps. Otherwise, setting up a virtual router on your Windows or Mac shouldn’t be too difficult even for a non-techie.
How to Choose a VPN for XBox
Since you can’t install a VPN on XBox directly, not every VPN is suitable for the gaming console. When choosing a VPN for XBox, look out for the following features:
- Router compatibility or availability of a virtual router feature
- Availability of gaming-optimized servers
- A broad network of servers
- High speeds, low latency
- Multiple simultaneous connections per license
- DDoS protection
Your best bet would be to pick two or three providers and run your own tests to make sure a VPN works as advertised and gets you where you want to be online. Therefore, check if the provider offers a free trial or a money-back guarantee.
Finally, pay close attention to VPN’s security specs and privacy policies. More so if you intend to torrent through a VPN. For a full breakdown of important VPN features, please refer to my VPN Guide for Beginners.
1. Express VPN
Express VPN supports a broad range of routers, so you can route all your Internet traffic through its VPN, XBox included. Express VPN bundles an installation wizard that helps you install its firmware on your router, which makes it one of the most hassle-free solutions for the not-so-tech-savvy. Top it off with a 24/7 live chat tech support, and you can have it up and running in a matter of minutes.
Running a network of VPN servers across 94 countries, Express VPN should get you in any gaming server you want. They don’t have a DDoS protection per se, but in most cases, IP cloaking should be enough to protect you from DDoS attacks, swatting, and the like.
Up to three simultaneous connections are allowed per license, which will set you off $12.95 a month or $99.95 a year, backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
2. Vypr VPN
Vypr VPN owns its servers, which certainly helps achieve excellent performance. Featuring high-speed servers, Vypr VPN can even increase your speed, which is a rare thing among VPNs.
Vypr VPN bundles a few perks the gamer in you will appreciate, such as a NAT Firewall, which lets you block unwanted inbound traffic. Its proprietary Chameleon protocol aims to improve your speeds and bypass ISP-imposed bandwidth throttling.
Vypr VPN offers a three-day trial and two subscription tiers – Basic at $9.95/mo and $45/year, and Premium at $ $12.95/mo or $60/year.
3. Bullet VPN
Bullet VPN is a relatively young Estonian provider offering great speeds, easy-to-follow installation guides for routers and a Virtual Router feature baked into its PC/Mac desktop app. Bullet VPN also supports HD streaming and P2P file-sharing, successfully bypassing VPN firewalls of most streaming giants.
Bullet VPN features multiple protocols, Smart DNS, and allows up to three simultaneous connections per license, which will set you off $10.98 a month or $89.98 a year. First-time purchases are covered by their 30-day money-back guarantee. Note, however, that the provider logs session data.
4. Nord VPN
Nord VPN is a great VPN for XBox because it supports a broad range of routers, complete with detailed setup instructions. A router-based VPN protects the entirety of your Internet traffic and counts as just one connection. With Nord VPN, you can have six simultaneous connections, which is ideal for families.
More than 1,000 servers across 61 countries are enough to get you into any gaming server you please, while the nifty ping test baked into its VPN app helps you identify the speediest server at any given moment.
Nord VPN bundles DDoS protection and an optional dedicated IP address so you can run your own gaming server. It’s also watertight on the security front, with double VPN, Tor over VPN and strong encryption. P2P is allowed and streaming sites are easily accessible with Nord VPN’s streaming servers.
Its monthly license is priced at $11.95 while its yearly plan costs $69 complete with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
IPVanish stands out for its unparalleled speed, which is critical for online gaming. IPVanish offers a nifty list of servers in its VPN app, and you can sort your servers by ping, cherry-picking the speediest for the moment.
Covering 60 countries, IPVanish boasts of more than 400 servers in the U.S. alone. Five simultaneous connections are allowed per license, which is priced at $10/mo or $77.88/year. There is a 7-day money-back guarantee, which should be just enough to run your tests. IPVanish is headquartered in the U.S., so you may want to refrain from illegal activities while using this VPN.
6. Pure VPN
Pure VPN is a well-established Hong Kong-based VPN service featuring 750+ self-managed servers in 141 countries. You can run its VPN on up to five devices simultaneously and set it up on your mobile and desktop devices, and routers, so your XBox is covered alongside 20 other platforms.
Pure VPN is almost zero-logs (bandwidth and connection timestamps are logged), allowing P2P. Although its monthly subscription is along the lines of other providers, at $10.95, you can have its 2-year plan for $78, complete with a 7-day money-back guarantee. The provider also offers a 3-day subscription for $2.5, which is a fair deal if you want to test its premium features without restrictions.
7. CyberGhost VPN
CyberGhost VPN offers consistently good speeds on gaming-optimized servers and you can sort them in your VPN app based on location and ping. The desktop app is extremely intuitive geared toward non-techies, and it supports a wealth of platforms, including routers, so your XBox is covered.
CyberGhost VPN operates a decent network of 1.250 servers across 60+ countries, including all your gaming Meccas. The provider allows up to 5 simultaneous connections per account, bundling a laundry list of privacy-protecting features.
This Romanian company is also quite generous offering a 7-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans. Their monthly subscription costs $11.99 while their annual plan is conveniently priced at $71.88.
Fortunately, gamers have a wide selection of VPNs to choose from since many providers offer router support or virtual routers. Below are more suggestions of fine VPNs that offer affordable subscriptions, gaming-optimized servers, speeds suitable for online gaming, and good security specs:
- Smart DNS Proxy unblocks most streaming sites, but since it supports a laundry list of platforms, including routers, your XBox is covered. Each platform comes with a detailed setup guide while speeds are suitable for online gaming.
- Cactus VPN may not boast the largest network out there, but it’s easy to set up and it supports routers. Offering watertight security and excellent speeds, it is one of the most wallet-friendly VPNs on the market.
- Proxy.sh features 300+ servers across 57 countries, high speeds, robust security, zero logs, cross-platform support, including routers and gaming consoles. A nifty 72-hour trial costs $2.
- Trust.zone runs more than 130 servers in 80 zones, and many servers are optimized for streaming and gaming, or P2P torrenting. It also unblocks many streaming services, so you are encouraged to give their free trial a go.
- ibVPN supports DD-WRT, Tomato, and Sabai routers, allows torrenting and provides pretty good speeds for gaming. Only one connection is allowed per license, though, but they have a 24-hour free trial.
- TorGuard offers a huge selection of servers, DDoS protection, 5 simultaneous connections, high-end security paired with expert-level customization options, and a wide range of protocols. For gamers, TorGuard offers a dedicated IP service with DDoS protection.
- PrivateVPN allows up to six simultaneous connections, supports a wide range of routers while their support can install its VPN on your device remotely via TeamViewer at no extra cost. Originally created to cater to the torrenting community, PrivateVPN offers excellent speeds and security.
- Ivacy is one of the cheapest VPNs in its long-term subscriptions priced at $40/year. It features speedy servers, 5 simultaneous connections, Secure DNS, a kill switch, and robust encryption.
Considerations – Free VPNs for XBox
As tempting as free VPNs appear, most of them don’t provide the protection you need for online gaming. On top of that, free VPNs offer neither performance and speeds nor unlimited bandwidth and data you need for online gaming. You run the risk of getting disconnected and losing your progress or a match that way.
But the main concern with free VPNs is they tend to monetize your data more often than not. Running a VPN service is an expensive endeavor no provider can afford to do at no cost whatsoever. So when you are offered free VPN, you don’t pay with your money – you pay with your personal and browsing information free VPNs sell to data brokers or ad agencies.
The XBox gaming console suits a gamer’s lifestyle perfectly, taking gaming and streaming to a whole new level with a large hard drive, multiplayer gaming experience, and wireless media streaming. But to unleash its true potential without jeopardizing your privacy and security, you are well-advised to use a VPN for XBox.
A lot of thought went into compiling this list of the best VPNs for XBox, and hopefully, it helps you zero in on a couple of providers you can try before committing to a long-term subscription.
If you tried one of these VPNs with XBox and would like to share your experience, or have more suggestions for the list, join the discussion in the comments section below.