Whether you’re knocking out a few rounds of Fortnite or PUBG Mobile while waiting for a friend, or sneaking in a few matches during that boring lecture or meeting, gaming on public Wi-Fi is undoubtedly a magical experience. So how can a VPN improve upon the formula? Scroll on for all the spicy details.
Not sure which VPNs are great for gaming? Well, these VPNs are perfect wherever you are– whether you’re out and about or sitting comfily at home. Here’s how they can enhance your gaming sessions.
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Bypass Annoying Firewalls
If you’ve ever tried playing your favorite online game at school or at work, then you’ve probably noticed you can’t even get it to run. It could also happen at other public hotspots (like at cafés or airports) if the vendor is particularly restrictive. All this is caused by pesky firewall rules.
These firewalls weren’t set up by any mages, but they can still make your gaming plans go up in a puff of smoke. Fortunately, VPNs act as a kind of middleman between you and the game server. Since you’re technically not connecting directly to the game server, you can bypass any sort of filter.
That is, unless the hotspot provider also blocks VPNs, but it’s rare for that to happen. Even if that were the case, several providers recommended above have an obfuscation option, which masks your VPN traffic as regular HTTPS traffic.
Decrease Ping with a VPN
Laggy moments can be entertaining if you’re watching some streamer. Not so much when they happen to you, though. If you get high ping in online games on public Wi-Fi, then a VPN might be of some help here as well.
How? Well, when your data travels back and forth between your device and the game server, it needs to pass through several different networks. If any of these networks experiences technical difficulties, it will cause your entire connection to lag. Luckily, this can be easily avoided by using a gaming VPN. Connecting to a VPN server will lead your data on an entirely different route, thereby avoiding the malfunctioning network.
Do note that VPNs will cause your overall connection to slow down somewhat. As such, we recommend using one of the lightning-fast providers linked in the beginning to alleviate the issue. If you were planning on using a free gaming VPN, then you’re better off without one entirely.
For one, they offer poor performance – after all, it costs money to invest in high-speed servers. Second of all, they almost always throttle your speeds, since they need to provide an equal share of the bandwidth to all users. And that’s not even getting into the privacy and security issues of free VPNs.
Stay Safe Against DoS Attacks
Speaking of security issues, if you’re big into online games then you’ve probably run into hackers at some point.Of course, we’re not talking about people using aimbots or wallhacks to cheat their way to victory. Instead, we’re referring to those that use Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks to take your network offline in order to win.
Ubisoft actually sued four DDoS-for-Hire services that would launch attacks on Rainbow Six Siege servers, causing unfair victories left and right. DDoS attacks are more extreme than regular DoS attacks, and are usually aimed at bigger targets. However, it’s quite easy for someone to DoS you by using tools and tutorials readily available online.
We won’t link to them (for obvious reasons), but suffice to say the attacks can be a pain to deal with. One moment you’re winning, the next your connection goes offline and you’ve lost the match. Thankfully, VPNs mask your IP address, which is usually what hackers use to DoS you. Essentially, they’d be aiming their attacks at your VPN provider, who is more than equipped to deal with such threats.
Protect Against Real Hackers
Thwarting script kiddies that try to take you offline for laughs is neat and all. But gaming on public Wi-Fi leaves you exposed to real hacking activity – the kind that ends with stolen passwords and payment info. If the public hotspot you game on doesn’t have a password, anyone could eavesdrop on your connection and harvest data using network analysis tools.
Even password-protected Wi-Fi isn’t particularly safe, as newly discovered security exploits allow hackers to steal Wi-Fi passwords. They call these vulnerabilities “Dragonblood”, a name that’s cooler than the result of getting hacked.
Fortunately, a VPN’s primary purpose is to encrypt your data before it leaves your device. Essentially scrambling it until it can’t be read by any outside third parties – hackers, ISPs, government spy agencies, you name it.
Now, you probably won’t have to deal with such hacking attempts while simply gaming on public Wi-Fi. But it’s worth keeping in mind if you do any sensitive side activities, like logging into email, making online payments, buying virtual goodies, and so on.