VPNs are really awesome tools – they hide your IP address to spoof your geo-location, and they encrypt all your traffic end-to-end to protect your privacy when you’re online. Plus, they’re very cross-platform compatible, working on the most popular operating systems and devices.
Considering that, you might be wondering – do VPNs also work on gaming consoles?
Well, we’re happy to say that yes, they do. We’ll show you how you can set them up and also give you some very good reasons to do that.
How to Use a VPN on Your Gaming Console
As cool as VPNs are, using them on a gaming console isn’t as simple as downloading and installing an app. Unfortunately, consoles don’t support VPN software natively. Instead, you’ll have to do one of the following:
Share Your VPN Connection
It’s actually possible to set up the VPN on your Windows computer, run it, and share its VPN connection to your gaming console. Here are the only requirements:
- You’ll need an ethernet cable.
- Your computer must have two ethernet ports, or one ethernet port and the ability to use WiFi.
- You need to have enough room to place the gaming console near the device.
We’ll show you a step-by-step tutorial for sharing your VPN connection with your Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles using a Windows 10 computer.
- Install the VPN app on your computer, and plug one end of the ethernet cable into your PC, and one end into your Xbox One.
- Head to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings.
- Look for your provider’s adapter. It should have its name in the description. For ExpressVPN, it’s something like ExpressVPN TAP Adapter.
- Right-click the adapter, pick Properties, and click the Sharing tab.
- Enable this option: Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
- Under the Home networking connection drop-down menu, pick the VPN connection you’ll share.
- Now, head to your Xbox One console. Press Xbox button on your controller.
- Press the RB button three times, pick Settings, and go to Network > Network Settings.
- Pick Test network connection to activate the new VPN connection.
Repeat the same steps as above until you reach step #6. From then on, do this:
- On your PS4 console, go to Settings > Network Settings > Set Up Internet Connection > Use a LAN Cable.
- Choose the Easy connection method to automatically scan and detect the ethernet connection.
- When prompted, pick Do Not Use a Proxy Server.
Set up the VPN on Your Router
This method is more convenient in the long run. Once you set up the VPN on your router, your gaming console will automatically use the VPN connection every time you turn it on and access the web.
We can’t really offer a tutorial here since all VPN providers have different setup methods which vary from router model to router model.
But if you pick a really good gaming VPN, the setup process will be very simple. Some of them even have router firmware that makes everything a walk in the park. To find such a service, check out this very helpful guide from ProPrivacy (https://proprivacy.com/vpn/comparison/best-vpn-for-gaming).
Why Use a VPN on Your Gaming Console?
Why exactly should you bother setting one up in the first place?
Based on our research and tests, these are the main reasons you should do it:
1. Unblock Geo-Restricted Content
You still have to deal with geo-blocking on your gaming console. Geo-restricted apps won’t be available in your area, certain Xbox LIVE features might not work, and you won’t be able to watch any shows and movies you want with the Netflix app.
But with a VPN on your gaming console, you can easily change your geo-location to get whitelisted access to all the content you want.
2. Save Money When Buying Games
Online game stores sometimes display different prices based on your geographical location. And they know what your geo-location is because they see your IP address.
Well, a VPN can help you hide your geo-location by spoofing your IP address. It can make it seem like you’re from a different country, so you might get a better price.
For example, The Last of Us Part II would normally cost you £54.99 if you’re in the UK.
But if you use a Malaysian VPN server, you’d get a completely different price: RM 239.00, which comes to around £43.34.
So a pretty cool £11.65 discount!
3. Avoid DDoS Attacks
DDoSing is when someone floods your network with so many requests and so much traffic that it forces it offline, leaving you without an Internet connection.
Unfortunately, this happens often in gaming, with players using DDoS attacks to get revenge on people who “disrespect” them or just to troll them.
And pretty much anyone can run DDoS attacks nowadays. They only cost around $10 per hour on the deep web.
A gaming console VPN can protect you from them by hiding your IP address. Without it, nobody can locate and DDoS your network.
4. Prevent Bandwidth Throttling
Bandwidth throttling is when your ISP intentionally lowers your speeds. They usually do it to lower network congestions or when you go over your data limit.
Your ISP can easily do that because they can analyze your data packets to see what web apps you’re using bandwidth on. Plus, they can see what sites you visit.
Here’s how a gaming VPN helps:
- It stops your ISP from seeing what IP addresses you connect to.
- It encrypts your traffic end-to-end, preventing your ISP from analyzing your data packets.
Without that information, they can’t selectively throttle your bandwidth anymore.
How Often Do You Use a VPN on Your Console?
Do you keep it on 24/7, or do you only use it when buying games? Let us know in the comments.
Also, if you know other ways to speed up VPN connections on gaming consoles, or other reasons to use a VPN on a console, please tell us about them.