ExpressVPN is a great all-around VPN that can help you in a great variety of situations, ranging from protecting your privacy/security while you’re shopping online, or downloading various files from the Internet.
But how well does it fare when it comes to PC gaming? A lot of people wonder if ExpressVPN can fix latency issues in the same manner that NordVPN reduces ping, in addition to other competitors.
Although we incline to believe it does, we’ll have to make sure, so that you won’t waste time and money on a VPN service that doesn’t deliver the results you expect.
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Ping is a normal aspect that comes with regular Internet usage. It’s the time it takes data packets to travel from your PC to the remote server.
Naturally, you want this ping to be as low as possible, but things aren’t always as you’d like them to be.
During certain activities, such as gaming, you might experience high ping. Fortunately, VPNs can help you lower ping in no time. However, can ExpressVPN handle the heat? Let’s find out.
Is Express VPN good for gaming?
ExpressVPN actually markets itself as a VPN for gaming, and the truth is that it actually combines some useful features that can help with latency and protect privacy when gaming.
Let’s take a look at its features. First, on the topic of this article, we must mention that Express VPN offers unlimited bandwidth, removing the risk of ISP restrictions.
You will be able to choose an optimal server for pretty much any game because ExpressVPN has dedicated servers all across the globe.
Not only can it boost speed, but it can also help you access games or game servers that are restricted in your region. With the powerful encryption, it’s very likely to get detected and face geo-blocks.
Finally, ExpressVPN is also very secure. It encrypts data and prevents DDoS attacks that often occur on gaming servers.
Does ExpressVPN decrease ping?
We’ve run a few tests to put this rumor to rest, regardless of the outcome. As you can see for yourselves, using ExpressVPN can reduce your ping, especially when playing in other regions.
In order to achieve these results, we pinged a game server in another country without using VPN and then repeated the ping test while using ExpressVPN.
For the test results to be as accurate as possible, we’ve used an ExpressVPN server in the same country as the game server.
The difference may not be astounding, but in gaming, every ms counts, especially if you’re the competitive type.
However, make no mistake. A VPN isn’t always the solution to lower your ping while gaming online. Ping can be severely influenced by a lot of factors, including:
- Network congestion
- The VPN server you connect to
- If the VPN server is overloaded or not
- How far away you’re from the game/VPN server
- Whether or not your VPN slows down your Internet connection
Rule of thumb: always choose the VPN server based on the game server’s location.
You will virtually reduce the distance between you and the game server, and might even lower your ping by a great deal.
How to lower ping with ExpressVPN?
- Get an ExpressVPN plan, then download and install the ExpressVPN app to your device.
- Launch the VPN client and log into your account.
- Connect to an appropriate location, as instructed above.
That’s it, there are no additional steps you need to take to experience lower ping values in your online gaming sessions. However, note that this method might be hit-and-miss for some.
Express VPNDo you want to reduce ping while playing online games? ExpressVPN could help you with that.
Therefore, we highly encourage you to personally check the ping values pre- and post-VPN usage.
You can do that in a wide variety of ways, depending on the game you’re playing. For instance:
- Some games have built-in server browsers that display the ping value
- You can press the Tab key in most FPS games to display player live statistics and ping
- It’s possible to run a ping test from the CMD, you only need to know the host or IP address
- You can use third-party tools such as online ping websites that perform live analysis on various games
If you notice that using ExpressVPN didn’t lower your ping, but it actually increased it, try switching servers. Make sure that the new server is in the same location as the game server for best results.
How to configure ExpressVPN for gaming?
- Turn off ExpressVPN’s built-in kill switch feature: Settings>General>Network Lock: uncheck the box for Stop all Internet traffic.
- Enable ExpressVPN DNS servers (might be faster than your ISP-assigned ones)- here’s a quick guide with multiple ways you can change your DNS servers in Windows
- Make sure to enable the Windows networking optimizer
- Choose the Lightway protocol (currently in open Beta testing)
Disabling the kill switch feature might sound a bit controversial, but hear us out. If you want to reduce ping and achieve this using ExpressVPN, all is good. However, with the kill switch on, any VPN connection failure will automatically drop your connection to the game server, as well.
Some games might adapt to your sudden IP address change, but if you’re using a kill switch, your PC won’t have access to the Internet until it re-establishes the VPN connection.
We don’t recommend you disable the kill switch if you care a great deal about your online privacy while playing online games.
Last, but not least, the Lightway protocol is still under testing. Therefore, it might provide you with great speed values, but it might be less stable than some of its traditional counterparts. For now, at least.
Here’s what you can do to lower your ping even further, aside from using ExpressVPN:
- Terminate any background apps or services that might use your bandwidth (torrenting clients, VoIP clients)
- Always use wired connections instead of Wi-Fi when possible
- Change the channel your wireless router broadcasts on if you notice any slowdowns
- Avoid peak hours if you notice network congestion (or use a VPN)
- Turn to game optimization tools to give your PC that extra oomph it needs
Final thoughts on reducing ping with ExpressVPN
All things considered, if you’re wondering whether ExpressVPN can reduce ping or not while playing online games, the answer is yes.
However, you must keep in mind that its ability to lower ping also depends on other factors that we’ve carefully explained above.
If you have any doubts, remember that tests don’t lie. As a matter of fact, feel free to replicate them by yourself and tell us what you think in the comments section below.