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How to find the best gaming VPN for Mac?


You’ve probably noticed how popular VPNs are becoming around the world. As privacy becomes more important, people are turning to tools that are a priority, and a good VPN is definitely at the top of the list.

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is software that encrypts and routes all your Internet traffic through a secure third-party server before it reaches the destination URL. As a result, you benefit from increased privacy, increased speed, no geo-constraints, connection stability, and more.

Most people use VPNs for their daily internet needs, but lately it’s quite a trend to include VPNs for games for the alleged benefits you could have in online games.

Let’s explore what the best gaming VPN should look like and what benefits it brings you.

What is the best VPN for games?

Because one of the biggest problems you may encounter when streaming and playing online games is your ISP (Internet Service Provider) that limits your connection, you need a VPN that can guarantee connection stability, be fast and secure, and protect your privacy.

  • Connection stability. You need a reliable VPN solution that will not bring you a game error. Make sure your chosen provider is committed to constantly maintaining and upgrading your server.
  • Speed. Not only does the connection need to be stable, but it also needs to be as fast as possible. It is best to have VPN servers in close proximity here.
  • Security. It is imperative to ensure that your traffic is encrypted with the AES-256 protocol and that there have been no security issues in the past.
  • Privacy. Choosing a reputable service provider with a good history of adhering to best privacy practices will give you peace of mind so you can think more about your games rather than your VPN.
  • With all of the above in mind, we can offer two great VPN solutions that serve two different segments of the gaming market.

ClearVPN is a beautiful, full-featured one-click VPN to play. With low-ping servers around the world that provide a stable and fast connection, this VPN client allows you to connect to your favorite online games. The best part of ClearVPN is that all usage cases and settings are already waiting for it in the preset settings. So just choose the gameplay and don’t worry about the technical features.

Shimo is in some ways the opposite of ClearVPN because it allows you to program VPN settings the way you want. So, if you already have Cisco IPsec or OpenVPN set up, you can use them all with Shimo in a way that is fast, secure (with AES-256 encryption) and infinitely customizable.

shimo vpn client mac

Is a VPN required to play games?

In an ideal world, choosing the best gaming VPN should not be necessary because your ISP should not constrain or limit the bandwidth of your traffic. In reality, however, ISPs often look for heavy network users like gamers to rate all users on average and don’t have to deal with a large increase in traffic.

So, if you measure your gambling connection over time and notice that your internet speed varies quite a bit, you may be subject to a speed reduction by your ISP.

In this case, a good VPN can help you anonymize your connection, making it harder for your ISP to find a way to stop you.

You get other potential benefits, such as encrypted traffic for added security, random IP to avoid DDoS attacks, a robust geo-filter that can bypass all geographic content restrictions (and access country-specific offers). In other words, using a VPN for games just makes the world of the world a much nicer place to stay.

At the same time, not everyone absolutely needs a VPN for games. If your speed is high, you’re in the best geographic location for content, and you’re confident in your home WiFi security and privacy, you might be fine without it, but in some situations it might also benefit you.

How to reduce ping using VPN

One of the most commonly used claims of gaming VPNs is to improve connection delay (or ping). Most likely, it is not always so.

The way a VPN works is to route all of your traffic through a remote proxy server, which means your Mac has to send a signal there and return it. This additional process is unlikely to reduce your ping unless the VPN server is very close to you.

On the other hand, if your ISP is holding you back and you see that your ping is in the hundreds of milliseconds, which would make it impossible to play fast games (e.g. Fortnite or Apex Legends), adding a VPN can help you do so up to 10 or 20.

More importantly, a VPN will help stabilize your connection, so don’t be interrupted in the middle of something important. So try to select VPN servers nearby and measure your ping using WiFi Explorer to see the difference.

WiFi Explorer is by far the most complete tool for testing your WiFi network. Just open the app and it will scan all available WiFi connections nearby and give you accurate data for each one, including channel width, signal strength, range, generation, security, maximum speed and more. Get rid of all overlapping channels and learn how to solve WiFi problems with a handy guide right away without searching the internet for hours.

wifi explorer internet mac

How to use VPN to overcome P2P blocking

Many gaming VPNs will tell you that they help avoid P2P (peer-to-peer) blocking.

In theory, this sounds valuable. In reality, most online games use a centralized server model, where each player first connects to the server, not to each other.

But if you play some P2P games or want to avoid blocking P2P in general (for example, using a torrent), looking for VPNs that offer this feature could be valuable to you.

How to unblock geo-constraints using VPN

Just like TV shows and sporting events, online games can be geographically very restrictive. Release dates may vary. There may be licensing issues or fear of piracy, etc. For some games, it would simply be fun to change, for example, your game server from Europe to the US.

The main advantage of any VPN is the ease with which you can change your geographic location (and IP). Some VPNs have only a few servers available. Others cover entire continents with them and allow you to select very precise locations.

Here’s how to change the location using ClearVPN:

  1. Start ClearVPN and click its icon on the menu bar
  2. Click “Change location”
  3. Select the country you want to play from
  4. Click Activate

Even better, you can take ClearVPN with you to your iOS device and play on the go as you wish.

How to use a VPN to prevent Internet service attenuation

There is much debate about whether the attenuation of Internet services can be completely prevented by gaming VPNs.

Players and streamers use a lot of data and bandwidth, creating potential destabilization problems for ISPs and increasing service costs. Of course, some ISPs may want to limit such activities and reduce high game traffic.

VPNs encrypt and anonymize your traffic. As a result, your ISP will not be able to see you play the game online, but the fact that you are spending a lot of resources cannot be hidden, and they can still slow down your connection on that basis. Your ISP will also be able to tell that you are connected to a VPN.

So the answer here is that the best gaming VPN might help or not, but it’s probably worth a try.

How to get early access to VPN games

On rare occasions before release, it may happen that the game is already available in eastern time zones (e.g. New Zealand) but not in the west (e.g. San Francisco).

You may then be tempted to connect to a VPN and change your location to New Zealand. But know that gaming markets, especially Steam, are aware of this practice and often forbid users to do so. Sometimes it pays to wait just a little longer.

How not to be banned from using a VPN

While we’re on this topic, be sure to review the terms and conditions of the game publisher for any mention of VPNs. Some platforms prefer to completely ban VPNs for games, which could affect your decision about whether to use a VPN on that publisher’s website.

It is also worth noting that there is nothing illegal in using gaming VPNs in general in most places. However, some countries do not allow the use of VPNs for various reasons, so be sure to make sure that VPNs are legal in your country before using them.

Do you need to use a VPN for games?

As you can see, if you are allowed to use a VPN for games, it is probably a good idea to do so. VPNs are cheap and can bring many benefits, from stabilizing the connection to improving privacy to allowing you to sign in to games from different parts of the world. Our recommendation for the best VPN for games is ClearVPN for easy use or Shimo if you know how to set up a VPN yourself. Test your connection with WiFi Explorer as well.

Best of all, ClearVPN, Shimo and WiFi Explorer are available to you completely free for seven days through a trial version of Setapp, a platform with more than 220 amazing Mac apps covering all possible app categories, from creativity to personal finance. Try every Setapp app today at no cost and improve your workflow in an instant.



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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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