There is nothing more annoying than dealing with long loading times and high ping. But fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your gaming experience smoother!
Now, the question on everybody’s mind is this one: does a VPN have an impact on your gaming sessions? Put it shortly – yes! In this article, we’ll talk about how the VPN protocol you use can affect your internet speed and what are the best VPN protocols for gaming.
Why Is My Internet So Slow and Inconsistent?
First, keep in mind that the gaming server you’re connecting to greatly impacts your gaming session.
Are you connecting to a server in a country very far from your location? If your answer is yes, you might want to reconsider doing that.
Internet traffic travels in small data packets that go to the server and back to your devices very quickly. If you’re choosing a gaming server located in a country on the other side of the world, the data will take a long time to reach the server and go back to your device.
For example, if you’re from California and you’re connecting to a gaming server in Russia, the data packets will have to travel a long distance to form a solid connection. If you choose to connect to a server from Utah, your internet speed will be a lot faster because Utah is closer to California.
Of course, we’re talking about milliseconds here – still, a difference from 150 ms to 50 ms is huge when you’re gaming online.
Second, make a habit of turning off all those web-connected apps that you don’t use when gaming. Skype, Netflix, YouTube, and any other social media apps that refresh themselves automatically and constantly eat a lot of internet traffic.
Can a VPN Boost Your Internet Speeds?
Think about it this way – if a restaurant sends you a bad pizza, it doesn’t matter how quick or efficient their delivery service is, the pizza will be bad anyway.
That’s the same thing with connecting to a VPN server when you have slow internet speeds. The VPN can’t improve your speed if your internet service provider doesn’t offer high internet speed right from the start.
In some cases, it might decrease ping, but that doesn’t mean your internet speed is faster.
A VPN’s role is to encrypt your internet traffic and hide your IP, so it’ll inevitably slow your internet speeds in the process. However, the slowdown you experience depends a lot on the VPN protocol you use.
The slowdown doesn’t have to be noticeable, and that’s why you should use fast and secure protocols.
What Are the Best VPN Protocols for Gaming?
The protocol establishes the connection to the server. How quickly the protocol negotiates the connection between your device and the VPN server directly impacts your speeds
So here’s a quick comparison of the most popular VPN protocols in terms of speed and security!
OpenVPN is the most common protocol – it’s extremely secure but it’s much slower than others. But this fact alone doesn’t make OpenVPN a bad choice.
However, this protocol is not that recommended for gamers because it’s single-threaded. So, if you have a Core i5 with four cores, this protocol will use only 1 core for the encryption process. As a result, it makes it slower.
We had 40% slower speeds with OpenVPN during our tests compared to when we didn’t use a VPN. What does this mean for someone that’s gaming online? We experienced higher ping, lagging, and we were disconnected from the gaming server a few times.
WireGuard uses modern cryptology for cybersecurity so it prevents hackers from targeting you with cyber attacks and eavesdropping on your traffic.
Besides, WireGuard is one of the fastest VPN protocols out there. Our tests showed that WireGuard was 20% faster than OpenVPN.
This protocol is one of the best choices if you want to play online games on your phone or laptop. It’s fast, secure, and it has a feature that resists network changes.
This means that if you’re using IKEv2/IPSec on your mobile or laptop while using WiFi, your internet connection shouldn’t drop if you keep switching from mobile data to WiFi and vice versa.
What About Other VPN Protocols?
Are there any other VPN protocols good for gaming? Yes, but keep in mind that every protocol has various advantages and disadvantages.
Although this protocol is fast, many VPN providers don’t support it anymore because it’s outdated. So it’s better to use WireGuard or IKEv2/IPSec.
This is the fastest protocol out there but it’s also not safe to use because the encryption is very weak – this being the reason why it’s so fast in the first place.
Microsoft implemented this protocol starting with Windows NT and Windows 95, but analysts discovered security issues since 1998. Because the encryption is unsafe, many intelligence services like NSA, CIA, or DIA can decrypt the internet traffic.
SoftEther is another fast protocol that offers high privacy protection.
Just like OpenVPN and WireGuard, it’s also open source – so everyone can check the code to make sure that there are no security vulnerabilities.
That said, many VPN providers don’t support this protocol. And because SoftEther is not available in-app, it’s quite hard to use it regularly – you’ll have to use a third-party app and manually connect to a VPN that supports this protocol, which is inconvenient.
All in all, choosing a fast and secure protocol can make your gaming experience much safer and more enjoyable. What’s more, a VPN protocol helps you unblock geo-blocked games by giving you access to new releases or banned games in your area.
What’s the best VPN protocol you’re most likely to use for your gaming sessions? In the comments, let us know the most important factors you use to determine which VPN protocol to pick!