If you’re an avid gamer and have a VPN service on your computer, you may want to use it to protect your privacy while you’re playing. The thing to remember, however, is that a VPN connection may affect your performance in ways that aren’t really compatible with playing certain types of games. Here are some things to consider.
No matter how fast a VPN connection is, it’s going to add some lag to your game. If you’re on a game where lag isn’t an issue, this might not be a problem. For instance, you don’t really have to worry about Internet lag if you’re playing Farmville. Other games, however, may be much different.
If you play MMORPG games, such as Warcraft, the extra lag may really mean a difference, particularly if you’re raiding, in an arena or engaging in world PVP. In fact, the lag may mean the difference between accomplishing your goal or wanting to throw your keyboard across the room. Most MMORPG games will have a lag meter on the interface that you can check. If it only adds a few milliseconds to your delay, you may want to keep the VPN on while you’re playing.
If you’re playing fast first-person shooters, particularly competitive ones, you’ll definitely want to turn off the VPN when you’re playing. These games have the nickname of “twitch” games for a reason and, if there are delays between when you press a key and get the result, you might be very disappointed in your performance. If the lag is too much, just turn off the VPN on the computer that you’re using for gaming.
The easiest way to test lag is to take a look at the meter on your interface, if you’re in an MMORPG that displays that number, or to check your ping time before you log on to a server. If you really want to leave your VPN on while you’re playing, make sure that you’re connected to the VPN server closest to you physically to reduce lag time as much as possible.
VPNs are sometimes fast enough to allow you to play games while you’re connected. Most games, however, have you connect to their own servers and, as long as you don’t have other programs running in the background that may be sending personal information, you should be fine for privacy if you want to leave the VPN off to get better speed on the game.