Does a VPN Help With Ping and Gameplay? (3 Examples)

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There are numerous ways a VPN can help with ping and gameplay – for example, by eliminating bandwidth throttling by hiding your activities from your ISP.

Or, if your ping jumps around, a VPN can stabilize it, improving your overall gameplay.

But I’ll discuss all of that and more in my full guide – so keep reading!

Can a VPN Improve Ping and Gameplay?

There are three primary ways a VPN can improve ping and gameplay.

First, if your ISP is guilty of bandwidth throttling, a VPN will stop them by masking your online activities.

So, your ISP won’t know you’re gaming and can’t throttle your bandwidth as a result!

Next, if you’re gaming on a server that’s in a different location, you can connect to a VPN server in that location to help your ping and gameplay.

For example, I play on an NA FF14 Data Center despite living in Europe.

I connect to a US VPN server to stop my ping from skyrocketing.

This also helps my overall gameplay – no more lag!

playing ffxiv with nordvpn

The last way a VPN can help your ping and gameplay is by stabilizing your connection.

For instance, if your ping jumps all over the place, it can cause lag and low-quality gaming.

But when you connect to a nearby VPN server, your ping stabilizes, improving your overall gaming experience!

Ready to learn more?

Find out how to use a VPN to improve your ping and gameplay next!

How to Use a VPN to Improve Ping and Gameplay?

playing ffxiv with nordvpn us

In the next sections, I’ll explain everything you need to know to improve your ping and gameplay with a VPN – including my top VPN recommendations for doing so!

Let’s get started.

Choosing the Best VPN for Low Ping & Stable Gameplay

The first step is selecting the right VPN for the job.

You need a service that offers low network traffic, many server locations, and super-fast speeds.

My top recommendations are:

  • NordVPN – this VPN has 5,000+ servers in 60 countries and unlimited bandwidth. It’s also one of the fastest VPNs I’ve ever used! This makes it ideal for gaming, as finding a fast, nearby server is easy.
  • ExpressVPN – although ExpressVPN only boasts 3,000+ servers, it covers 94 countries! That’s a huge amount, so it’s still easy finding a nearby server for unlimited gaming. On top of that, ExpressVPN regularly places first in speed tests!
  • Surfshark – if you want a VPN you can share with all your gaming buddies, Surfshark is a perfect choice, as it offers unlimited simultaneous connections! You’ll also get blazing-fast speeds, unlimited bandwidth, and 3,200+ servers in 65 countries.

I recommend using my discount links to test each VPN.

Choose your favorite and ask for a refund on the others (within 30 days).

Choosing the Fastest Server for Gaming

The server you run your VPN through is one of the biggest factors dictating your connection speed.

Always choose a server that is geographically closest to your game’s server hosting location, as this will affect your network tunneling and ping.

And when possible, choose a game server that’s closest to your actual location.

nordvpn slovakia

Choosing the Best VPN Protocol for Low Ping & Latency

There are many VPN protocols to choose from, but not all are great for gaming.

In fact, only a few of them will grant you low ping and latency.

My top recommendation is WireGuard.

It’s secure and – more importantly – super-fast.

It also gave me a lower ping than OpenVPN UDP during my tests.

Speaking of OpenVPN UDP, that’s the second-best option, as it’s faster than OpenVPN UDP but slower than WireGuard.

Additionally, if your VPN offers a proprietary protocol, it’s worth testing it to see if it has better speeds.

nordvpn nordlynx protocol

For example, ExpressVPN and NordVPN have proprietary protocols (Lightway and NordLynx), which are comparatively faster than other protocols.

expressvpn lightway protocol

Testing the Best VPNs for Low Ping & Seamless Gameplay

I tested NordVPN, ExpressVPN, and Surfshark with various games (GTA 5, CS:GO, and WoW).

Here, I’ll discuss my best results and the protocol(s) I used to achieve them.

Standard Connection

My ping sat between 10ms and 25ms, and my speed was 91.23 Mbps without any VPN.

This was noted during the prime times of each game.

NordVPN Connection

During my NordVPN tests, I used NordLynx and OpenVPN UDP.

My speed with the former was 84.12 Mbps, and my ping was 12ms.

Meanwhile, OpenVPN UDP bumped my speed down to 79.45 Mbps, though my ping only rose to 13ms.

Winner: NordLynx.

ExpressVPN Connection

ExpressVPN gave me faster results than NordVPN and Surfshark but had a higher ping.

I tested Lightway UDP, Lightway TCP, and OpenVPN UDP.

I was mostly curious to see if Lightway TCP is faster than OpenVPN UDP.

My results were:

  • Lightway UDP: 45 Mbps and 13ms
  • Lightway TCP: 78 Mbps and 15ms
  • OpenVPN UDP: 11 Mbps and 14ms

As you can see, Lightway TCP was faster than OpenVPN UDP (albeit barely), but its ping was higher.

Lightway UDP, on the other hand, beat both.

Winner: Lightway UDP.

Surfshark Connection

Surfshark’s results fell in the middle – it was faster than NordVPN but slower than ExpressVPN.

And it had the same ping as NordVPN (NordLynx).

First, I tested WireGuard and got 85.78 Mbps speed and 12ms ping.

Then, I tested OpenVPN UDP and got 80.09 Mbps and 14ms ping.

Winner: WireGuard.

Comparing Results

I wanted to see each VPN’s results in a side-by-side comparison, so I made this table:

VPN Provider Fastest Speed Lowest Ping
NordVPN 84.12 Mbps (NordLynx) 12ms (NordLynx)
ExpressVPN 86.45 Mbps (Lightway UDP) 13ms (Lightway UDP)
Surfshark 85.78 Mbps (WireGuard) 12ms (WireGuard)
Winner? ExpressVPN NordVPN & Surfshark
Interesting Reads:

FAQ

How Do I Test Ping?

You can use the CMD ‘ping’ command with various domains to test the rate at which you connect to the server.

  1. Go to your start menu, or hit Start + R.
run cmd
  1. Type ‘cmd’ and make sure to select Run as Administrator.
command prompt
  1. In the Command Prompt, type ‘ping’ and then a space.
command prompt app
  1. Insert any domain or IP you want to test, and press enter. Examples include ping 8.8.8.8 (Google), ping 104.160.131.3 (League of Legends NA1), or ping 23.23.255.255 (PUBG US East 1). You can use various online registries to find more applicable IP addresses and URLs that work for this command.

Most companies have their hosting locations listed publicly.

Check the “Server Status” section if one is available on their websites.

Otherwise, when you’re running your game, open Task Manager.

Go to Performance > Open Resource Monitor.

Click Network.

Find your game under “Processes with Network Activity” and check the box next to it.

Then, select “TCP Connections” and look at “Remote Address.”

That’s your game’s server location.

Most timed out ping requests are due to a blockage from you or another network’s firewall.

Check that the requested IP/URL is public and that your firewall allows access to that domain.

Some protocols can also interrupt ping requests, so try other protocols if the problem persists.

There are several ways you can lower your ping on PUBG with a VPN.

For example, as PUBG’s servers are located in several locations, you can connect to a VPN server in those locations if you live elsewhere for better ping and gameplay.

You can also use a VPN to lower your ping if your ISP throttles your bandwidth while you game.

Conclusion

Now that you know a VPN can help with ping and gameplay, it’s time to select your favorite VPN!

I recommend NordVPN, as it had the lowest ping in my tests.

Plus, it’s super-fast!

Ready to say goodbye to lag?

Grab my NordVPN discount today!

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