Why Many Gaming Computer Users Utilize a VPN

November 16, 2021

There are a few network-related themes many gaming enthusiasts will consider for their setup, and one of these is the use of a VPN. Short for virtual private network, a VPN extends privacy across a public network, enabling users to send and receive data as if their devices were actually connected to this private network.

At Xidax, not only are we here to offer custom, limited edition gaming computers and related accessories, we’re also happy to provide regular expertise and tips to our clients on their setup, including network considerations. Should you be utilizing a VPN for your gaming needs, either sometimes or always? Here’s a rundown of some of the most common benefits associated with VPNs for gamers, while a later entry in this space will discuss some of the possible downsides.

Protection from Swatting

While it happens less and less in today’s gaming world, “swatting” refers to issues where angry fellow gamers attempt to locate your IP address and use it to contact emergency services, potentially leading them to your home. This is a serious issue for those who host games and other events in their own homes, as it could lead to gamers being arrested for circumstances beyond their control.

A VPN would direct the caller’s attention away from your actual location toward that of the VPN, protecting you from this kind of incident.

Keeping Streaming Sites Open

Streaming sites like Twitch and YouTube are very popular in the gaming community, but they’re also often blocked by school networks or countries that don’t wish to allow access. If gamers live in an area with such restrictions, then any number of streaming services would be off-limits – unless using a VPN, which would circumvent such restrictions by redirecting traffic to another, more open area.

Avoiding DDoS Attacks

Short for distributed denial-of-service attacks, DDoS attacks involve using a network of bots and other devices to overwhelm a certain server with requests, often rendering it difficult or impossible for other users to gain access. Not only do these kinds of attacks shut down gaming networks and prevent gamers from accessing their favorite services, but they can also be used as harassment tactics by other players looking for an edge in-game.

Use of a VPN network, however, would make these kinds of attacks nearly impossible, since it masks your IP address. This means anyone trying to attack you in this manner will not be able to find your IP address – let alone use it to access your network.

Safety on Public Wi-Fi

Longtime gamers know that it can be very risky to utilize public Wi-Fi, as it’s typically far less secure and very easy for hackers to crack passwords or launch other forms of cyberattack. A VPN network, however, would keep your data safe via encrypted protocols that no one can decipher, preventing unwanted intrusions by anyone who may be trying to access your network.

In addition, VPNs help block what are known as man-in-the-middle attacks, which involve data being intercepted by a hacker while it travels between your computer and the internet. VPNs also protect you against malware that might be lurking in public places, such as airports and hotels.

Ability to Play Anywhere

For the gamer who travels often and wants to be able to take part in gaming from a variety of locations, a VPN may also play a role — especially if you’re going to a region that uses geoblocking technology of any kind. Strong VPNs have servers in multiple regions, making it possible to access content that may not be available in your home country.

Remember, it’s important to be careful when selecting a VPN for gaming, as you will need one that doesn’t use too much bandwidth or is slow to connect.

New Releases or Banned Games

While we aren’t necessarily endorsing this sort of thing, VPNs also allow people in regions that haven’t seen a new game release to download it via torrents or otherwise access content that may not yet be available in their area. This can be helpful if you’re living within a country or state with strict censorship laws, as VPN technology allows gamers to slip past these geographical restrictions. The same goes for games that may have been banned in your region by authorities.

Reducing Lag and Ping Times

As diligent gamers know full well, long lag and ping times are two of the worst enemies when it comes to online play. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce lag and have a smoother experience, especially when using a VPN with servers in better performing areas. You won’t see your ping times drop by much, but it’s often enough to ensure you’re not at a disadvantage in-game.

This traces back to the root cause of long ping times: Too much distance between your device and the game server. With a VPN, though, you’re connected to a server very close to the game server, reducing lag and ping times.

Router Connections

Finally, many of the best VPNs also include the ability to connect the VPN to your router directly. If you’re the type who likes to play some games from other consoles like Xbox or PlayStation, or who simply prefers to play on a big screen in your living room, this can be a real benefit. Not only does it ensure that you’re always protected while part of the network, but many games also allow you to connect to other players directly from home without having to head out into public places for Wi-Fi.

For more on the possible benefits of utilizing a VPN as a gamer, or to learn about any of our gaming laptops or desktops, speak to the pros at Xidax today.

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