If you’re abroad or at work or school and trying to use Steam, you’ll likely need a VPN at some point. Whether that’s to access geo-blocked content, circumnavigate your network administrator’s blocks, or increase your security while you game.
In this guide, we’ll look at if you really need a VPN for Steam, if there’s anything you should consider before you get one, and what your best options are in 2020.
Let’s dive into our 6 best VPNs for Steam.
What is a VPN
When you use a VPN or Virtual Private Network, all of your traffic, including from applications like Steam, is sent through an encrypted tunnel via a private VPN server which can’t then be accessed, allowing you the freedom to browse the internet and game in relative peace.
From helping you to stay secure and anonymous on unsecured public WIFI by stopping any hackers from accessing your data to preventing advertisers from knowing everything about you before you’ve even visited their site.
No longer limited to hiding your IP address and accessing geo-blocked content VPNs have now become a staple in personal and corporate security and are now trusted by gamers globally.
Do you really need a VPN for Steam?
Most Steam users won’t necessarily need to use a VPN with gaming from home being relatively safe.
Relatively being the keyword but we’ll come to that shortly.
However, if you like to game at school, college or university, enjoy getting paid for gaming while you work or live in another country then a VPN will help significantly in each scenario.
If you’re using a VPN to use Steam at school or college, just be extra careful of the additional bandwidth being used. Most administrators don’t mind extra being used but it can obvious when huge amounts are being used up for things like Steam.
It can come as no surprise that online games and game marketplaces are frequently targeted by hackers performing DDoS attacks, license key scamming, inserting keyloggers to steal your information, and so much more.
In April, even EA couldn’t avoid a DDoS attack when all of their servers were hit and were unavailable for at least a day.
A VPN certainly isn’t the one-stop security solution many publications would have you believe but they can definitely help prevent most hacking attempts by encrypting your data and sending it through a secure VPN tunnel.
Is using a VPN against Steam’s terms of service?
Strictly using a VPN isn’t against Steam’s terms of service but they have made it explicitly clear on their support page that using a VPN to disguise your location is and while it is certainly possible, it must be noted that Valve have also recently come out to say they are changing your store country more strict and therefore more difficult to get a global discount.
If you’re using a VPN to change your location in order to access games unavailable in your country then you should be fine.
Things get tricky when you use a VPN or proxy to buy games for a cheaper price. In essence, you’re stealing from Valve and they can and will block your account, which they have every right to do.
Can a VPN also help you purchase games at a cheaper price depending on where you are in the world?
Yes, it can.
Would we advise it?
It’s up to you whether you want to risk it or not but now you know what could potentially happen if you do.
The best options
Now you know the benefits and risks, we’ve put together a list of the top-performing VPNs for gaming, latency, speed, and security which you can find below:
Specialized gaming servers
If 5,400 servers weren't enough, NordVPN also offers optimized servers for streaming and gaming via NordLynx.
Industry-standard 256-bit encryption is guaranteed to keep you and your personal information safe from attacks.
As we noted earlier, the more servers available, the better chance you'll have of being closer to one which will limit any speed-loss or latency reduction.
Up to 6 Devices
Be protected when you game, as well as on your phone, tablet, and any other member of your household with up to 6 connections available.
While not as many as NordVPN, ExpressVPN does offer a vast and comprehensive list of available servers.
Again, Industry-standard 256-bit encryption is guaranteed to keep you safe and secure.
Unblocks restricted content
ExpressVPN consistently unblocks geo-restricted content.
Up to 5 devices
Slightly less than NordVPN but ExpressVPN still offer up to 5 simultaneous connections for you and your household.
Massive server List
CyberGhost offers 6000+ servers in over 90 countries so you're sure to find one close by.
Industry-standard 256-bit encryption.
Incredible speeds make browsing and streaming and gaming enjoyable and lag-free.
Connect up to 7 devices with CyberGhost. More than both NordVPN and ExpressVPN.
Solid server List
Ivacy has 2000+ servers readily available and while not as much as the previous entries, you still wont be short on options.
Helpful how-to and guides are available via the Ivacy website for anything from Steam to PUBG to port forwarding.
They have shown to be consistently dependable with speeds across the globe.
Ivacy are currently offering a staggering deal that works out at only $1 per month.
Limited server list
Coming in at the lowest on the list, Surfshark may only offer 800+ servers but they are spread nicely worldwide so you still shouldn't run into any trouble.
Again, as expected, Surfshark offer 256-bit encryption as standard.
Their standard speeds translate excellently to gaming so you shouldn't have any noticeable drop depending on where you are in the world.
This is where Surfshark really shines as it offers unlimited connections for you, your household, and even your LAN connections.
Expansive server list
With a ridiculous 19,000+ servers available, PIA should have you covered. Although they are offered in only 76 countries.
Private Internet Access offers their own built-in security system to stop interruptions while you game.
Again, their standard speeds translate really well to gaming so most of you will not see a noticeable difference.
Up to 10 Connections
A really solid 10 connections are available for you and your household, much more than the 5/6 offered by most but not as many as Surfshark.