Best Free Gaming VPNs in 2023: For Optimal Gaming Experience
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have become essential in the security and safety of devices connected to the internet. Gamers are not left out, as they want to play anonymously and access multiple games while using a secure connection. It might be easy to select a premium VPN service provider without any hassle, but free VPNs come with their risks.
Best Risk-Free VPNs for Gaming
Before diving into the totally free VPNs for gaming, here are some risk-free options to explore.
- Number of servers: More than 3,000
- Speeds: Unlimited
- Server locations: 160 in 94 countries
- Maximum devices supported: 5
- 24 live chat: Yes
- 30 day money back guarantee: Yes
- Fastest VPN out there
- Strict no logs policy
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Few discounts
With a server collection of over 3000 servers serving users in 94 countries, ExpressVPN gives the avid gamer a chance to explore several games. As one of the fastest VPN services, ExpressVPN allows gamers to have the best video quality and speed, which ultimately leads to a pleasurable experience. You will have no issue playing games that utilize P2P file-sharing as ExpressVPN supports it.
You can trust ExpressVPN with your data as it uses TrustedServer technology to keep users’ data off non-volatile memory. Its straightforward No-Log Policy and its headquarters in the privacy-friendly British Virgin Islands contribute to maintaining its users’ privacy. Gamers can also pay in cryptocurrency to stay completely anonymous.
Security-wise, ExpressVPN has the ammunition to reduce the risk of hackers stealing your data. Its security layer consists of AES-256 encryption, secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, and L2TP/IPSec), perfect forward secrecy, Tor over VPN, Double VPN, and leak protection.
ExpressVPN supports several devices, including PS5, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. You can check its website for instructional guides if you want to set it up on your game console. Its cheapest subscription plan (one-year) will cost you $8.32 per month, while its monthly plan costs $12.95. ExpressVPN’s 30-day refund policy allows you to use its services risk-free for 30 days after subscribing.
- Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: 6
- Dedicated IP-addresses? Yes
- Servers: 5342 in 58 countries
- Lots of pricing options
- Netflix support kept up to date
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Slow app
NordVPN, like ExpressVPN, is another premium VPN you can bank on. Its more than 5000 servers spread across 59 countries in different regions allows you to unblock several shows and games. You can also depend on NordVPN when it comes to speed and P2P file-sharing activities. It is a top choice if you’re looking to stream games in the best video quality available.
You don’t have to worry about privacy as NordVPN is under the jurisdiction of privacy-friendly Panama. Its privacy-enhancing features include a warrant canary, obfuscated servers, and a bitcoin payment option. NordVPN is as trustworthy as it gets; your data is always in safe hands.
When it comes to security, NordVPN takes a serious stand against malicious entities. Its CyberSec feature thwarts phishing campaigns, blocks ads, and prevents you from accessing known malicious websites. NordVPN’s WireGuard-based NordLynx protocol also ensures you have a fast connection without sacrificing security. Other security components include 256-bit encryption, Split Tunneling, Double VPN, and Onion over VPN.
NordVPN also supports many platforms, including gaming platforms like Google Stadia, GeForce Now, PlayStation, and Xbox. Users pay $3.71 monthly for NordVPN’s 2-year plan (cheapest) and $4.92 monthly for its yearly plan. All subscription packages have a 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee.
Best Completely Free VPNs for Gaming
There are different reasons why gamers use VPNs, the most popular being to bypass geo-restrictions on games that are not available in their country. Here is an in-depth look at the top five free VPNs we recommend for gamers to use:
- P2P support? Yes
- 30-day money-back guarantee? Yes
- Country of origin? Switzerland
- Servers: 600+ in over 40 countries
- Simultaneous devices: 5
- Professional support
- Modern interface and apps
- AES-256 encryption
- Lesser known provider
ProtonVPN has 1000 plus servers operating in 54 countries, with a vast amount in North America and Europe. Its free version only permits access to servers in the United States of America, Japan, and the Netherlands. This limits the number of countries you can bypass restrictions.
It scales through geo-restrictions on leading streaming websites like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime, among others. You can also download torrent files due to P2P file-sharing support. A notable drawback is its inconsistent speed. On the flip side, there is no limit to the amount of data you can use. Most VPNs provide bandwidth caps, but this VPN considers a trade-off between speed and bandwidth to satisfy its users.
Operating in Switzerland gives it an edge when it comes to privacy. Its clear-cut privacy and no-log policy also reinforce ProtonVPN’s commitment to keeping you anonymous and safe. It is pleasing to know that all applications are open source and independently audited by security experts.
Hacking-resistant AES-256 encryption protects your data along with strong hashing and authentication ciphers. It supports IKEv2/IPsec and OpenVPN: two of the most secure VPN protocols. Other security features include perfect forward secrecy, Tor over VPN, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. There are also Secure Core servers, which move your internet traffic through several servers before reaching the final destination.
ProtonVPN has applications for Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS. Installation instructions for Routers and Linux systems are also available. The free subscription plan permits only a single device to use with the VPN. Other paid plans will increase the number of simultaneous connections you can have.
- Number of servers: 2000+
- Server locations: 75 locations
- Maximum devices supported: 10
- 24 live chat: Yes
- 30 day money back guarantee: Yes
- Has free option
- No log policy
- Secure connection
- Not very cheap
Hide.me’s server structure consists of 1800 servers spread over 72 locations. Asides from significant server support in North America and Europe, there are servers on every continent. Unfortunately, with the free version, you only have permission to join servers in five locations: Germany, US East, US West, Canada, and the Netherlands.
It’s a beautiful selection for streaming as you can unblock shows on superior platforms like Netflix, DAZN, BBC iPlayer, HBO Now, and Disney+, among others. A significant number of servers permit P2P sharing. Therefore, you can download torrent files without any complication.
Characterized by fast momentum, several speed tests show that gamers will have no problems using this VPN. The only drawback is the free version comes with a data transfer limit of ten gigabytes of data per month. Avid gamers will choose to avoid this VPN due to this single limitation or upgrade to a paid version.
This VPN supports secure VPN protocols like OpenVPN, IKEv2, WireGuard, Softether, and SSTP. In addition to 256-bit encryption protecting your network, you also have a kill switch, split tunneling, and stealth guard. These features work together to give you maximum protection.
Hide.me has support for different operating systems and platforms. You can only use one device on the free plan, but that number can change if you configure it on a router. It has options for other subscription plans, with discounts for longer plans.
- Browser extension? Yes
- Pricing options: 3
- Free trial: No
- Unblocking of all websites? Yes
- Locations: Servers in 60 countries
- Military grade encryption
- Available on all major platforms
- App for mobile devices
- Lesser known provider
Windscribe’s server network consists of 110 locations in 63 countries. This gives you access to unblock several geo-restrictions depending on your country of choice. Its free plan gives you access to only eleven of those countries, including the United States of America, Canada, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Romania, Turkey, and Hong Kong.
Understanding that speed is a vital feature for gamers, Windscribe ensures decent speed. However, your experience can vary depending on the distance between your location and the server. Gamers who depend on torrenting will enjoy using Windscribe because it supports P2P file-sharing.
Regarding security, Windscribe supports the use of AES-256 encryption, OpenVPN, and IKEv2, among other tough hashing and authentication protocols. You can be sure malicious hackers will waste their time trying to compromise your network. A perfect forward secrecy feature sets up new encryption keys regularly to ensure tight security.
There is a Stealth Mode feature to unblock content in countries that specifically block VPNs, like China. You also have a unique feature that blocks adware, malware, and specific subjects, depending on your preference. A firm no-log policy and DNS/IPv6/WebRTC leak prevention are other security components of Windscribe VPN.
There are applications for top platforms, extensions for browsers, and support for several others. A free account on Windscribe allows only about 10 gigabytes of data every month on a single device, which is more than most free VPNs give. Its paid subscription is cheap. Apart from the monthly and yearly plan, you can build a plan that suits your needs.
- Unlimited data? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: 5
- Military grade encryption? Yes
- Servers: Over 3200 in 80+ countries
- Unlimited HD streaming
- Blocks malware
- 256-bit AES encryption
- Unreliable support
Hotspot Shield has over 1800 servers spread across over 80 nations. Access to an ample amount of servers guarantees unblocking various programs in different countries. Its major drawback is that the free plan offers only one server location: the USA. Major streaming platforms cannot block this VPN. You have access to Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer, and others. You can also download several torrent files, as all servers tolerate P2P file-sharing.
It has a one-of-a-kind Catapult Hydra protocol that improves performance by reducing latency. Durable, reliable, and consistent speed make this VPN the right choice for gamers. However, the free version allows a maximum speed of 2 Megabits per second. This might not be enough for resource-intensive games.
There is a bandwidth limit of 500 MegaBytes daily on a single device, which equates to about 15 gigabytes per month. Despite being compatible across several platforms, you can only connect to one device using the free version. You can have up to five connections at the same time if you upgrade to its paid versions.
- Cryptocurrency accepted? Yes, bitcoin
- Dedicated IP-adresses? Yes
- Simultaneous connections: 5
- Locations: 28 countries
- Unlimited browsing
- Account manager
- Military grade encryption
- Free version allows only 500MB data
Canada-based TunnelBear was founded in 2011 by Daniel Kaldor and Ryan Dochuk. Although American security company McAfee bought it in 2018, it maintains its status as an independent firm. It doesn’t have many features, but its simplicity, speed, and ease of use will attract a fair number of users.
TunnelBear has servers operating in about 26 countries, with Europe taking a significant portion of servers. Unfortunately, unlike other VPNs on this list, it has difficulties unblocking top websites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Hulu.
Although there is little or no information about torrenting on their website, TunnelBear servers support P2P file-sharing. So if you depend on downloading torrent files, you should have no complications.
Gamers require fast connections to enjoy the gaming experience, and TunnelBear is up to the task. Speed tests show why this free VPN service provider is an option for many users. However, not as consistent as some of the fastest VPNs, it does its job pretty well. The only problem is that you have a data transfer limit of 500MB per month. Users looking for free VPN services will not find this attractive, as game fanatics will exhaust that in a few hours.
It has applications for iOS, macOS, Android, and Windows. Browser extensions for Opera, Chrome, and Firefox are usable. Its free subscription plan allows for only one device. You get unlimited data transfer and five simultaneous links if you change to a paid plan.
Advantages of Using a VPN for Gaming
There are different reasons why people use a VPN. The most significant two being protection from bad actors and accessing geo-blocked games. Below, we take a look at some benefits of using a VPN for gaming.
1. Unblock Geo-Restricted Games
Several games are only accessible if you’re in a particular country or region and there are outrightly banned games in certain countries. For example, India, China, Israel, Jordan, Nepal, Iraq, and a few other countries banned PUBG. The only way to play these games is to use a VPN. Also, some games are released early in certain regions. Enthusiastic gamers always want to be the first to play such games. Using a VPN is the major way they can achieve that.
2. Protection from DDoS Attacks
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack renders the victim unable to access a particular service. The idea behind a DDoS attack is to flood a system or server with many requests from compromised systems/bots to overwhelm it so that genuine users cannot access it. If someone on a game server knows your IP address, they can perform a DDoS attack against you. A VPN prevents that from happening as it masks your IP address.
3. Protection from Swatting/Doxing
Swatting and doxing are forms of harassment that require someone to have your personal information and use it against you. Swatting occurs when someone sends emergency services to your address, while doxing is when someone releases your personal information to the public or uses that information to threaten you. They don’t happen often, but a gamer that wants to harass you can go to any length to do that. A VPN protects you by masking your IP address, preventing anyone from using it to track you online.
What To Consider Before Selecting a Free VPN for Gaming
There are different reasons why gamers want a VPN. Let’s take a look at some of the critical things to consider before you choose a free VPN for gaming.
1. Speed and Bandwidth
Speed is usually an essential feature of a VPN for a gamer. There is no point in using a VPN that will give you lags while playing. A VPN reduces your speed, but it usually is not significant, depending on the distance between you and the server you connect. You will want to look for a VPN with high bandwidth or unlimited bandwidth and great speed. Unfortunately, most free VPNs cannot assure you of that.
Gamers looking to avoid game servers will want a VPN with maximum security. Ensure that the VPN you choose uses AES-256 encryption to secure your traffic. VPN protocols, privacy policies, and robust security features are vital.
3. Server Network and Locations
The more locations a VPN has servers in, the more likely you can bypass geo-restrictions in the countries they operate. The number of servers also matters because more servers can imply less congestion on each server.
Limitations of Free VPNs
Here are two of the limitations of free VPNs:
1. Security and Privacy
A significant number of free VPNs cannot provide solid security layers to keep you and your devices safe from bad actors. Some free VPNs contain security bugs and vulnerabilities. You are at more risk using such VPNs than not using a VPN.
Free VPNs usually don’t make any money operating as people don’t pay for their service, so they find other ways to generate income. They can do this by tracking your activity online and selling to third-party advertising companies.
2. Speed and Bandwidth
Premium VPN service providers promise premium services, and they mostly deliver. A significant number of free VPNs will hamper your speed and put caps on bandwidth.
Frequently Asked Questions for Best Free Gaming VPNs in 2023
Does a free VPN affect my speed?
Yes, a free VPN has an impact on the speed of your games. When you use a VPN to play games, your data traffic is first routed to an encrypted server located somewhere in the world. This process of rerouting your data to provide security and privacy slows down your internet.
However, you can avoid slow internet connections by choosing the best free VPN service available. As you’ve seen on our list, ProtonVPN is currently the best free VPN provider, and it offers incredible speeds, which makes gaming a lot more fun.
Alternatively, you can opt for a risk-free VPN that is recognized for lightning-fast internet. A perfect example is ExpressVPN.
Can a free VPN improve my ping?
Yes, if you’re connected to the right free VPN, it can improve your ping. VPNs can do this because they send your data packets directly, while your Internet Service Provider (ISP) takes the longer route. The ideal free VPN allows your data to flow smoothly from your end to the gaming servers. Thanks to the directness, latency, and pings are reduced.
Are free VPNs dangerous?
Yes, some of them are. Although one of the major concerns about free VPNs is that they are not as effective and efficient as paid versions, serious risks come with using a free VPN.
Some of the free VPNs out there can easily cause data leaks or DDoS attacks because of their low encryption and security standards. Additionally, some of these free services save data from your gaming sessions and sell your data traffic to third parties to cover the costs of running a free service. On the other hand, you’re completely safe with any of the free VPNs on this list.
However, we still recommend that you use premium VPNs for the best service. Rather than take chances with free VPNs, you can also try risk-free options instead.
Can a free VPN work with PUBG and CODM?
Yes, a free VPN will work with PUBG and CODM. All you need to do is choose one of the best free VPNs out there, set it up on your device, connect to a server you want. However, it’s a lot better if you connect to a VPN server close to the gaming server. The only thing is that you may not be able to connect to players in particular regions because your location is changed with a VPN.
Many free VPN service providers promise heaven and earth but fail to deliver. These VPNs on our list today are not exactly perfect, but they will do a good job of meeting some of your gaming needs. However, avid gamers will find out they have no choice but to pay for premium VPNs.