Does a VPN slow down gaming?

by Vlad Constantinescu
Vlad Constantinescu
Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
Vlad might have a degree in Animal Husbandry and Livestock Management, but he's currently rocking anything software related, ranging from testing programs to writing in-depth reviews about them.... read more
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  • A VPN can affect both your connection and computer in a wide variety of ways, so it makes sense that many are hesitant when it comes to using this type of service.
  • However, one thing that seems to spark a lot of debate is whether or not do VPNs slow down gaming. We've got the answer just below.
  • Visit our Gaming VPN section to see how else you can improve your gameplay with a VPN.
  • If you often have gaming issues, find out how to fix them in our Gaming Troubleshooting Hub.
Can VPN slow down gaming_

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Unlike a few years back, VPNs are all over the place nowadays. And for good reason, too.

This type of service can come in handy for a lot of purposes, ranging from keeping your connection secure to watching geo-restricted content and lowering ping while playing.

However, there’s still a lot of confusion regarding the matter, so we’re going to try shed some light on it. For instance, there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding whether or not does a VPN slow down gaming.

Stick around and you’ll definitely find out.

How can VPN affect gaming?

First thing’s first, a VPN could technically slow down gaming in two ways:

  • Increasing the load on your connection (a VPN could slow down your Internet), thus doing a number on your ping
  • Using a large chunk of your system resources, which can subsequently affect your in-game FPS count

However, we already know that VPN can improve in-game ping, under the right circumstances, so the first claim is bogus. Furthermore, no trustworthy VPN (that we know of) is a huge resource monger.

Therefore, you can rest assured knowing that using a VPN won’t mess with your ping. No slowdowns there.

On the other hand, if you misuse a VPN, you can seriously impact your gaming session, and not in a good way.

Do you experience high ping in Windows 10? Our comprehensive guide can help you fix it.

For instance, if you live in Europe, then connect to a US VPN server and play a game on a server in Europe, things will start to look bad.

That’s because you just increased the distance data has to travel from you to the game server and the other way around.

On the other hand, you can still lower your ping when playing in other regions.

Does VPN cause lag to other players?

Here’s another urban myth we’ve previously debunked that might fall under the same category: VPNs causing lag for other players. Sadly, the answer to this claim is yes, but it’s not how you imagine.

If you’re using a VPN and are already lagging like crazy, it’s possible that the game server will try to balance things and increase the latency of other players as well.

However, as we’ve stated before, a VPN usually has a positive impact on your ping, so the chance of this ever happening are close to none.

For example, you can use ExpressVPN to fix lag. Or you can resort to NordVPN to reduce high ping.

VPN improves packet loss

Packet loss small

Another factor that could weigh in on your gaming sessions’ slowdowns is leaking packets.

This occurs whenever data packets that travel throughout your connection never reach their destination, whether it’s you or the remote server you connect to.

Not only a VPN can improve the route those packets take, but it can also reduce packet loss altogether. However, it only works if your ISP throttles your connection or offers improper traffic routing.

Last thoughts on VPN slowing down gaming

All things considered, if you were wondering whether or not using a VPN can slow down your gaming, the answer is no, but only if you use it properly.

The point is, as long as you use a reliable VPN in an appropriate manner, you shouldn’t worry about massive gaming slowdowns. If anything, you might even be surprised by lower ping and improved packet loss.

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