Can A VPN Keep Your Gaming Sessions Private?

Short answer: absolutely! VPNs are an excellent means of keeping everything you do online away from prying eyes. Naturally, there are many other ways of staying private and secure while gaming online aside from using VPNs. Just follow the link for an in-depth rundown. There are dangers lurking at every digital corner, so it’s best to stay prepared.

Before you do that, here’s how VPNs can keep your gaming sessions private. Stick around afterward for some bonus perks of using a VPN.

How Do VPNs Work, Exactly?

If you’ve spent any amount of time on YouTube, chances are you’ve seen at least one video with a VPN sponsor. Considering many people skip the sponsor sections faster than the speed of sound, here’s a refresher on how they work.

First off, VPNs encrypt any network packets going in and out of your device. And if you don’t speak ‘Deus Ex’, that basically means anything you do online is turned into gibberish that’s unreadable by outsiders. This isn’t limited to just hackers, by the way – your Internet provider will be left in the dark as well. All they can tell is that you’re using a VPN, but not what you’re playing or watching online.

Next, VPNs hide your real IP address and assign you a new one based on which server you connect to. Now, if you weren’t already aware, your IP reveals details about your real life location. Things like country, city, and sometimes even your ZIP code. The worst part is that certain games and online services (such as Netflix) use your IP to impose unfair geo-blocks.

More to the point: want to play with your friends in Europe but the game lumps you together with users in North America? Just use a VPN, hop on a European server, and you’re good to go. In some cases (e.g. Valorant) game accounts are tied to region, so you might need to create a new one to play.

More Ways VPNs Help Your Gaming Sessions

The IP-hiding capabilities of a VPN are especially useful in a particular scenario. More specifically, they can protect you during Denial-of-Service attacks (or DoS, for short). Basically, anyone who has your IP address can flood you with requests and cause your network to go offline. If you’ve ever been conveniently disconnected just as you were about to win, now you know why.

Sore losers tend to use this tactic a lot as a way to rank up unfairly. Thankfully, VPNs come equipped with Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) protection, which is virtually the same thing on a larger scale. That means they’re more than capable of handling a few measly requests and keeping the fun going.

Speaking of which, another thing that can put a dent in your relaxation time is high ping. How are ping and VPNs connected, you ask? Well, normally a VPN would slow down your connection a bit, due to the fact that your data needs to travel further than usual.

However, in some cases, rerouting your data could actually solve the problem entirely. High ping tends to happen when a network node on the path your data takes is experiencing technical issues. Just think of it as getting stuck in a traffic jam on the highway. Using a VPN essentially lets you take the first exit and follow a different route entirely. It might be longer, but at least traffic is moving smoothly.

What Else Can You Do with a VPN?

As mentioned above, Netflix and other streaming platforms use your IP to apply geo-restrictions. This is why you can’t watch shows like The Office outside of a few countries, like the UK or Ireland. You can thank movie and TV studios for that, as Netflix would be more than happy to make their entire catalog available globally. Things change when you bring a VPN into the mix, as you’re able to change virtual regions in just a couple of clicks (or taps).

Of course, Netflix is contractually obligated to enforce these geo-blocks in any way they can. As such, you end up with situations where regular users get locked out of the service due to the company’s anti-VPN filters. Luckily, the streaming giant won’t ban your account for it, as there are simply too many VPN users on the platform for it to be feasible.

Back on topic, though – VPNs also let you avoid bandwidth throttling from your ISP. After net neutrality got repealed a few years back, Internet providers have begun slowing down your streaming. You know; the thing they said they totally wouldn’t do.

Anyway, since VPNs encrypt your online activity, your ISP has no way of knowing whether you’re watching YouTube, Netflix, or Amazon Prime. As such, they can’t decide to randomly throttle your speeds without risking a hefty lawsuit.

As long as you go with a decent VPN with a fast server network, the difference in speed shouldn’t be noticeable. And hey, if it is, most providers offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can test them out without risk. 

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