Steam is still one of the most popular gaming clients out there. And with VPNs going more and more mainstream, you have to wonder – by using a VPN with Steam, do you get any perks?
Well, you do. We’ll tell you all about them in this article. We’ll also discuss what a Steam VPN won’t help you do, and whether or not you’ll get in trouble for using it.
Why Use a Steam VPN in the First Place?
Here are the main reasons why use a VPN with Steam (and why many of our readers do too):
Avoid DDoS Attacks
A DDoS attack is a cyber attack in which a hacker forces your network offline (basically leaves you without Internet access). To achieve that, the hacker floods your network with so much traffic that it can’t cope anymore. DDoS attacks are pretty efficient – they can leave you without online access for hours on end.
DDoS attacks aren’t unheard of on Steam. For example, PUBG players have experienced a lot of DDoS attacks while playing through Steam. And there are also lots of forum posts (like this one) where players are complaining about other players DDoS-ing them or threatening them they’ll do that.
Unfortunately, it’s pretty simple for cybercriminals to target people with DDoS attacks. They can actually buy them online – and the prices cost at $10 per hour. And wannabe hackers have been known to DDoS other players for something as simple as feeling “disrespected.”
Well, a Steam VPN keeps you safe from DDoS attacks. It hides your IP address – which is what hackers need to DDoS you in the first place. Without your IP, they can’t target your network. And while you use a VPN, they’ll only be able to see the VPN’s IP. True, they can DDoS the VPN instead, but good luck with that! Top VPNs have anti-DDoS protection.
Avoid (Unfair) IP Bans
We’ve all been there – playing well, at the top of the score board, when all of a sudden we get disconnected from the game.
“Banned for using cheats.”
Sure, some people use cheats, but not everyone! Maybe you’re just really good at the game and the admin was jealous. Or maybe the admins mistakenly thought you were using cheats when they checked the replay.
Whichever the case, a Steam VPN lets you get right back into the action. Or gives you a chance to explain yourself in the chat. Just connect to a VPN server, and it will hide your IP address. Since you’ll be playing through a new IP that’s not blocked, you’ll be able to connect to the gaming server.
Stop Bandwidth Throttling
Bandwidth throttling happens when ISPs slow down their customers’ speeds for specific online activities. In your case, they might see you’re using a lot of data to binge online games, so they throttle your Steam speeds.
The result is that you’ll experience more noticeable slowdowns, lag, and ping. In some cases, it might be extreme enough to make you want to stop playing.
Well, if you us a Steam VPN, your ISP can’t throttle your bandwidth anymore. Your traffic will be encrypted, so they won’t know what specific online services you’re using. Their only option will be to throttle your entire Internet connection, which they likely won’t do.
Reduce Lag and Ping
High lag and ping can ruin a perfectly good game. Unfortunately, you’ll often experience this issue when playing on distant gaming servers – especially servers on different continents.
Luckily, using a good VPN for gaming, you can forget about such problems. It can lower your ping and lag by routing your traffic more directly. Instead of your connection passing through multiple hops, it will go straight to the VPN server.
For example, if you live in Romania and use a US VPN server to game on a US gaming server, your connection will go straight to the gaming server (after first going through the VPN server). Without a VPN, your connection might go through many different countries (Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, etc.) before reaching the gaming server (which causes higher ping and lag).
It’s not really fair that you can’t relax with your favorite game during your lunch break at school or work, right? That’s because the admins are using firewalls to block access to those games.
But with a VPN, you can bypass those firewalls with ease. You’ll communicate with the gaming servers through a new IP – one that doesn’t have firewall blocks associated with it. What’s more, the VPN will encrypt your traffic, so the network admins won’t know you’re unblocking the games.
Can You Save Money on Steam Games with a VPN?
Not really – you could do that before when Steam used your IP to determine your geo-location. But now Steam uses your billing address to determine your location.
Nowadays, you need a billing address and a regional payment method from the country you want to pretend to be from while buying a game.
Can You Bypass Any Ban with a VPN?
Not exactly. You can only circumvent IP bans because VPNs hide your IP.
But if your account gets banned, there’s nothing the VPN can do for you. You’ll have to create a new account and play with it.
And if your MAC address gets banned, there’s not much you can do. Spoofing it isn’t very effective, and the alternative is using a new device.
Will Steam Ban You for Using a VPN?
Yes, that can happen – but only if you go against the service’s TOS. If you try to us a VPN to bypass regional pricing, Steam will ban your account.
But if you just use a VPN to game online to enjoy a better experience, Steam won’t have a problem with that.
The Bottom Line
It’s good to use a Steam VPN to improve your gaming experience – reduce lag, avoid IP bans, avoid DDoS attacks, and more. But don’t try using it to bypass regional pricing – it won’t work and you’ll get in trouble.
Please tell us why else you use a Steam VPN in the comments.