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Article updated on March 1, 2024 at 8:45 AM PST

Best VPNs for Xbox in 2024: Top Picks by Our VPN Experts

These Xbox-compatible VPNs can help you avoid a DDoS, hide your IP address, unblock geo-protected streaming content or use Game Pass in unsupported regions.

Our Experts

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Written by 
Moe Long
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
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Moe Long Senior Editor
Moe enjoys making technical content digestible and fun. As a writer and editor for over a decade, he has bylines at MakeUseOf, WhistleOut, TechBeacon, DZone, Tech Up Your Life, and Electromaker. When he's not hammering away at the keyboard, Moe enjoys spending time with his partner and dog, listening to vinyl, and watching film.
Expertise Apps, operating systems, software
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VPNs Tested
Editors' choice 2024
See Price at ExpressVPN

Best Overall VPN

ExpressVPN

Privacy protection and transparency

Savings 49% off with 12-mo plan (+3 free months)
Pros
  • Strong commitment to privacy and transparency
  • Forward-thinking security enhancements
  • Excellent for streaming
  • Streamlined, easy-to-use app across platforms
  • Privacy-friendly jurisdiction (British Virgin Islands)
Cons
  • DNS leaks detected (but immediately addressed)
  • Expensive
  • Only eight simultaneous connections
  • Apple TV app needs work
Price $13 a month, $60 for six months or $100 for a year
Latest tests DNS leaks detected, 25% speed loss in 2024 tests
Network 3,000 plus servers in 105 countries
Jurisdiction British Virgin Islands

ExpressVPN is our Editors’ Choice as the best VPN on the market; it’s also the top option for Xbox game consoles. With a minimal average speed loss of around 24.8%, Express offers compromise-free gaming. Fast internet is a must-have for competitive online play, and Express doesn’t disappoint. That’s not quite as quick as NordVPN’s class-leading 11% or Surfshark’s modest 17%, but still solidifies Express as one of the fastest VPNs we tested. Its generous server network spanning 105 countries means there’s likely an optimal choice regardless of where you -- or the game server you’re connecting to -- are located.

Setting up a VPN with an Xbox is tricky, but thankfully, ExpressVPN features in-depth guides that simplify the process. You can install Express on a router or even use its own Aircove Wi-Fi 6 router, which features a virtual private network preinstalled. Alternatively, you can connect a console with your Windows computer as a hotspot or configure MediaStreamer for DNS switching. Note that MediaStreamer isn’t a virtual private network but instead a smart DNS service that lets you bypass regional restrictions. While it’s great for entertainment needs -- like gaming or streaming -- it doesn’t provide privacy protections. With split tunneling, ExpressVPN lets you enable a virtual private network on your Xbox while other devices or services bypass it for a direct network connection. This is an especially handy feature with a router VPN. For instance, split tunneling lets you play games over a VPN while your partner’s work laptop -- connected with the same router -- eschews the virtual network, therefore avoiding two-factor authentication when logging in. Unfortunately, we encountered a critical issue with split tunneling on Windows with ExpressVPN in our latest tests. But Express’s swift action fixing the issue and publishing a blog post for transparency impressed us to the point where we still recommend it as the best VPN overall.

On the entertainment side, ExpressVPN is outstanding for streaming. It handled 4K ultra HD videos without stuttering or freezing. Unblocking geo-restricted content and accessing foreign Netflix or Disney Plus libraries worked flawlessly. For example, with ExpressVPN, we could stream Prey -- usually a Hulu exclusive in the US -- on Disney Plus in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Whether you want to play Halo on your Xbox Series X, stream Goldeneye 007 on Xbox Game Pass on Android or explore international Netflix libraries, Express has you covered. But you’ll pay a premium for its awesome service: $13 monthly, $60 biannually or $100 per year. Its subscriptions are considerably more expensive than the $11 per month or $60 per year that Surfshark charges. NordVPN is more in line with ExpressVPN on price at $13 per month or $100 per year (after a promotional $60 price for the first year). Still, you get what you pay for: An ExpressVPN subscription affords best-in-class security, fast speeds for gaming and top-notch streaming support.

See Price at Surfshark

Best Cheap VPN

Surfshark

Extensive features at a great price

Savings $2.69/mo with 24-mo plan (+4 free months)
Pros
  • Lots of unique security features
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • RAM-only server network
Cons
  • Inconsistent speed performance
  • 14 Eyes jurisdiction (Netherlands)
  • No transparency reports
Price $11 per month, $48 for the first year (or $59.54 for 2yrs)
Latest Tests No leaks detected, 17% speed loss in 2023 tests
Network 3,200-plus servers in 100 countries
Jurisdiction Netherlands

Surfshark undercuts its VPN competitors on cost without skimping on amenities. Its reasonably priced plans go for $13 a month or $48 for your first year before jumping to $60 annually. A two-year subscription sets you back $54 for 27 months of service before spiking to $60 each 12 months. While its two-year package is the cheapest option, we suggest skipping multi-year purchases. With the unpredictable nature of VPN providers, the stellar service you pay initially could suffer a data breach, get acquired, go out of business or become slower. 

Although Surfshark keeps prices lower than its rivals, it remains a feature-rich VPN. You get split tunneling, obfuscation and a kill switch. With servers in 100 countries, you’ve got plenty of connectivity options. Notably, Surfshark’s incredibly detailed installation guide for Xbox consoles offers a helpful video alongside written instructions. With unlimited simultaneous connections, you can watch movies on international Netflix libraries with Surfshark while your partner plays Gears of War on their iPhone using Xbox Game Pass in an otherwise unsupported country with a VPN. 

Moreover, Surfshark works splendidly for TV lovers and film fanatics, thanks to solid streaming support. We discovered that Surfshark could unblock over 22 different global Netflix libraries, including those in Belgium, Hungary and Denmark. 

In our testing, we found Surfshark maintained blisteringly fast speeds over the WireGuard protocol with about an 8% speed loss. We were underwhelmed by as much as 76% speed loss using OpenVPN, causing noticeable lag. Switching protocols or servers helped, but you won’t want to fuss with your VPN settings during an intense Call of Duty match. Ultimately, Surfshark is an exceptional budget-priced VPN with a slew of servers and plenty of customization options.

See Price at NordVPN

Best VPN for Speed

NordVPN

Perfect for power users

Pros
  • The fastest VPN we tested
  • Tons of features
  • Diskless RAM-only server infrastructure
Cons
  • Not as transparent as VPN rivals
  • Complicated pricing structure
  • Only six simultaneous connections allowed
Price $13 monthly, $60 for the first year or $96 for the first two years (then $100 per year afterwards for the one- and two-year plans)
Latest tests No leaks detected, 11% speed loss in 2024 tests
Network 6,000-plus servers in over 60 countries
Jurisdiction Panama

NordVPN is so popular because of its fast connections, privacy-focused features and excellent geo-unblocking for streaming services. All VPNs slow down your internet connection, but Nord is the fastest VPN we tested, with a best-in-class 11.1% overall average internet speed loss. Considering how critical internet speed is for gaming, NordVPN is a terrific choice for serious gamers. With its apps for Windows, MacOS, Linux, Android/Android TV, iOS/iPadOS, Apple TV and browsers, you can comfortably play on nearly any device imaginable. Although you can’t install a VPN directly on your Xbox console, Nord’s detailed setup guide made the process as simple as possible. 

Our CNET Labs team clocked an average speed loss on its NordLynx VPN protocol of merely 3.2% with Windows and 12.6% on MacOS. With OpenVPN, its speed loss was a mind-blowingly fast 10.1% average on MacOS and 18.6% using Windows. We appreciate NordVPN's commitment to privacy and security. In addition to features like Onion over VPN (Tor) and a Double VPN, which deliver additional encryption, a 2023 audit by Deloitte backed up its no-log claims for improved transparency. Folks with serious privacy needs can even buy a Nord subscription with cryptocurrencies for pseudo-anonymity. While zero-logging policies are challenging to verify with absolute certainty, third-party audits provide peace of mind. 

In addition to powering your gaming sessions, Xbox consoles are capable for media streaming. In our experience, Nord unblocked US and UK Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video libraries well. NordVPN’s global server network comprises more than 6,000 servers spanning over 60 countries. That’s short of the international reach of competitors like Surfshark and ExpressVPN, but a planned expansion in Q1 of 2024 should increase Nord's server count to 100 countries. 

At $13 per month, $60 per year or $96 total for two years, NordVPN sets you back less initially than premium VPN rivals like ExpressVPN, but more than budget-oriented companies like Surfshark and PIA. However, subsequent price hikes drive the price to $100 per year, which aligns with many other VPN providers, including Express. NordVPN’s super fast speeds make it a fantastic solution for gamers seeking VPN connectivity without noticeable internet slowdowns.

See Price at ProtonVPN

Open-Source VPN

ProtonVPN

The only free plan we recommend

Savings 64% off with 30-mo plan
Pros
  • Highly transparent
  • Open-source
  • Unlimited free plan
Cons
  • No live chat support
  • Split tunneling only available on Android and Windows
  • Occasional speed dips
Savings 50% off with 24-mo plan
Latest tests No leaks detected, 9% speed loss in 2020 tests
Network 1,700-plus servers in 91 locations across 64 countries
Jurisdiction Switzerland

While many free virtual private networks are lackluster and should be avoided, ProtonVPN’s free tier is surprisingly competent. Admittedly and as expected, Proton VPN’s no-cost option lacks the perks of its paid subscriptions. Nevertheless, free users can choose from 218 servers in several countries, including the US, Japan and the Netherlands. 

You’ll find robust security that’s vouched for by regular third-party audits. Proton VPN apps are entirely open-source. Its free tier packs a kill switch, AES 256-bit encryption and DNS leak protection. In our use, we saw as high as a 36% speed loss, and we noticed occasional drops in connection speed over OpenVPN. When you’re not paying a dime, it’s tough to complain. 

Notably, Proton VPN lacks live chat support, and split tunneling is relegated to Windows and Android only. Even its zero-cost level lets you stream foreign Netflix libraries. I especially liked Proton’s comprehensive guides for sharing a VPN connection from Windows or Linux as well as installation on various routers -- both of which help you set up virtual private networks on Xbox game consoles. If you’re looking for a dependable free VPN for Xbox, Proton is hands-down your best choice.

About VPNs for Xbox

A VPN adds an extra layer of security to your experience online. Want to bypass geographic restrictions to watch previously blocked TV shows and movies? A virtual private network will help you do that. If you're using a VPN while gaming, you can avoid slowing down your connection due to your internet service provider's restrictions, decrease lag and increase your online safety. However, using a VPN for gaming can end up slowing your connection speed altogether, depending on the type of setup you're using at home. But if you're using an Xbox console, a VPN will absolutely improve your security.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know your Xbox also works as an entertainment hub. Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu are just some of the streaming apps available to use on your console. These apps offer loads of content to be viewed, and make installing a VPN for streaming something worth considering. Using encryption, a virtual private network will hide your physical location from prying eyes. It can unlock a previously unseen library of international content due to location-based restrictions. Having a VPN while using Xbox Game Pass will assist in reducing load times and ping.

Integrating a VPN with Xbox consoles -- whether you own a One, Series S or Series X -- can be complicated. When using operating systems like iOS, Android, Windows or MacOS, you'll be instructed to download a user-friendly app to help you install the VPN. When using an Xbox (or competing consoles like the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 5) connecting to a VPN must be done in a roundabout way. Setting up a VPN with an Xbox most commonly relies on you having a whole-home router setup. Secondarily, you can also use a Windows PC as a bridge between your VPN and Microsoft Xbox console. 

At CNET, we’ve rigorously tested dozens of VPNs, analyzing everything from speed loss and security to streaming performance and price. We also pored over individual providers' help documentation for using VPNs with Xbox consoles, which factored heavily into our selection criteria. Whether you want to use Game Pass while traveling abroad, lower ping on your Series X console or access international Netflix libraries, these are the best VPNs for Xbox. 

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What is the best VPN for Xbox?

ExpressVPN is the best Xbox VPN on the market, offering blazing-fast internet speeds for gaming, a generous server selection and exceptional streaming service compatibility. Surfshark is an excellent option with a terrific price-to-performance ratio. PIA is a wallet-friendly virtual private network that’s great for Xbox consoles, and Proton sports a solid free VPN tier that’s shockingly competent.

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Other VPNs we tested

IPVanish

There’s a lot to like about IPVanish: Unlimited simultaneous connections, modestly fast connection speeds, intuitive apps and 24/7 customer support via phone or live chat. It handles streaming sites like Hulu, Disney Plus, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video with aplomb. Its uneven speed loss means IPVanish isn’t as stable for gaming as other providers. Likewise, with servers in 52 countries, you have less choice than with ExpressVPN, NordVPN or Surfshark. IPVanish is great for casual users but not ideal for serious gamers. We also found IPVanish’s Xbox VPN guides underwhelming, so it’s a better option for non-Xbox users.

Read our IPVanish review.

PIA

At merely $12 per month, $40 yearly or $79 every three years, Private Internet Access is a cost-effective virtual private network that’s priced lower than even Surfshark. Although we typically advise against shelling out for more than 12 months of service for a VPN upfront -- your initially fast, private VPN may be slower or suffer a data breach over the course of a year -- PIA’s wallet-friendly three-year tier may prove the exception to the rule. Its excellent Xbox VPN setup guide makes PIA one of the easiest VPNs to use for the Xbox Series X and S. However, PIA’s high speed loss -- we measured an average 49% in our 2024 testing -- renders PIA unsuitable for competitive gamers and folks with slower internet speeds. 

Sporting a vast server network spanning 91 countries, Private Internet Access offers an optimal connection for most folks. Although PIA has fewer server locations than Surfshark, ExpressVPN and NordVPN, it touts more servers than IPVanish. Streaming content works well on PIA. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus libraries from the US and UK played great, so if you’re mostly seeking a VPN for streaming with your Xbox, Private Internet Access is solid. I recommend PIA as a good VPN for Xbox cloud gaming, console use and entertainment for people with fast enough internet speeds (at least 100Mbps). 

Read our PIA review.

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How we test VPNs for Xbox

Selecting a VPN can seem daunting with the numerous available options and braggadocious marketing from providers. To properly assess VPNs for gaming, we tested speed loss, checked for DNS leaks and analyzed pricing information. We concentrated on internet connection performance and reliability for gaming, but heavily factored in streaming support since many folks use Xbox consoles as media hubs for watching Netflix, Disney Plus and other apps. Additionally, we pored over each provider’s help guides explaining how to connect Xbox consoles with VPNs, a tedious task which some gamers may require assistance with. Since chances are you’ll use your VPN with other platforms, we checked terms of service, logging policies, third-party audits and privacy features like encryption or kill switches.

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How to use a VPN with Xbox consoles

Unlike most other platforms, such as Windows, MacOS, iPhone and Android, you can’t install VPN apps directly on Xbox consoles. Microsoft isn’t unique -- there aren’t any VPN apps for the PlayStation 5 or Nintendo Switch either. Instead, you’ll need to use your router as a VPN or a Windows PC as a bridge. Here’s how to use a VPN on Xbox:

  1. Log in to your router by heading to the correct IP address and entering your username/password combination. Check your router’s documentation if you have it on hand, or if you’re like me, Google it since you recycled that pamphlet already.
  2. Navigate to a tab like Control Panel, Settings or Network/WAN Setup (when you see fields including DHCP, IP Address, Gateway Address and Subnet Mask, you’re in the correct spot).
  3. Check the instructions on your VPN provider’s website to set up that service on your Wi-Fi router, then save your changes once you’ve punched in the correct information.
  4. Connect your Xbox to your router if you haven’t already done so by pressing the Xbox button, heading to Settings > Network > Set up wireless network, then selecting your Wi-Fi network name and entering your password.

Some of the most common IP addresses to use when logging into your router include:

  • 10.0.1.1
  • 10.0.0.1
  • 192.168.1.1
  • 192.168.0.1
  • 192.168.1.100
  • 192.168.2.1

Often, the default username might be admin, user or username. Typical passwords are admin or password. I’m sure that, unlike me, you changed yours to something more secure, so enter the customized username/password combination that you definitely didn’t forget to write down. (If you’re lucky, perhaps it’s saved in your password manager.)

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Streaming Xbox Game Pass with a VPN is even easier

Microsoft’s cloud game streaming service, Xbox Game Pass, provides an assortment of titles like Halo, Gears of War and GoldenEye 007, available to play nearly anywhere you’ve got a reliable internet connection. I regularly use Game Pass on my OnePlus 10 Pro Android smartphone while out and about. If you’re in a region where the service isn’t supported or servers are far away, a VPN lets you enjoy your favorite Xbox games. Thankfully, you won’t have to fiddle with router settings; just install your VPN provider’s app on your preferred platform. Then, enable your VPN and fire up Xbox Game Pass in the app or in a browser.

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Factors to consider in a VPN for Xbox

Leveraging our years of hands-on testing, we’ve curated the following factors to consider when selecting a VPN that works with your Xbox.

Speed

Your VPN’s speed plays a crucial role in gaming or streaming video. Fast internet speeds and low latency enhance your gaming experience. Because all virtual private networks result in some speed loss, you’ll want one of the fastest VPNs available. 4K video streaming on Netflix, Disney Plus or Amazon Prime requires solid internet to avoid buffering and pixelation. A high-performance VPN could also lower your ping. For instance, if you’re connecting to a game server far from your physical location, a virtual network near the game server might keep input lag to a minimum. If you’re having issues, you can attempt to fix your VPN connection.

Network

Whether for tapping into game servers, accessing Xbox Game Pass internationally, or streaming foreign Netflix and Disney Plus libraries, an extensive server network is essential. Look for a high number of servers and a diverse set of countries as well. There are limited choices if your VPN provider boasts a vast list of servers clustered in a small number of locales. Wherever you are around the globe, you’ll enjoy more reliable connectivity with servers closer to your physical location. 

Price

Most VPN providers deliver competitive discounts for first-time subscribers, and you’ll usually save more money when signing up for a longer term, like a year or two. We generally advise against springing for more than a 12-month plan. Although your VPN service may be fast, secure and feature-rich initially, that company may go bankrupt, acquired or suffer a data breach over the next year. Because of the VPN space’s volatility, you should stick to an annual subscription for maximum savings without too much commitment. It’s not just about the lowest price; often more expensive virtual private networks tout fast speeds, large server networks and excellent amenities. Ultimately, you should pick a VPN with the benefits you need. 

Streaming support

Since Xbox consoles are all-around multimedia devices, think about entertainment. Streaming with a VPN lets you unlock access to international libraries on services like Netflix, Disney Plus or Amazon Prime. For instance, with a UK VPN enabled you can stream Prey -- normally a Hulu exclusive in the US -- on Disney Plus. The best VPNs for streaming can unblock many streaming services, letting you access foreign content or even enjoy videos while traveling abroad. 

Help guides and customer support

Because there’s no directly installable app, using a VPN on Xbox consoles isn’t as straightforward as on other platforms. Instead of downloading an application on your Xbox, you’ll need to run a VPN on your router or connect with your PC as a bridge. We suggest sticking with a company that provides detailed guides explaining how to use a VPN with your Xbox. Additionally, access to 24/7 live chat online and over the phone is helpful if you run into issues during setup. 

Privacy

Although gaming is relatively safe, aside from “one more match before bed” morphing into several hours, there are dangers associated with online play. As Kaspersky explains, distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks often target gamers. A VPN encrypts your network traffic for additional protection, giving you peace of mind while playing.

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Xbox VPN FAQs

What VPN works best on Xbox?

ExpressVPN is the best overall VPN for Xbox consoles and Game Pass with its fast connection speeds, clear installation instructions, strong security and fantastic geo-unblocking. We also suggest Surfshark because of its value-pricing and robust feature set, PIA for a budget-friendly VPN and Proton for its free tier.

Can I put a VPN on my Xbox?

You cannot download a VPN app directly on your Xbox console, but you can install a VPN on your router and then connect your Xbox Series S or X to your Wi-Fi network to tap into a virtual private network. Alternatively, you can accomplish the same feat by sharing a VPN signal from a Windows PC with your Microsoft Xbox.

Can you play Xbox Game Pass with a VPN?

You can use a VPN with Xbox Game Pass, which could lower your ping and allow access to Microsoft’s game streaming platform from countries where it’s otherwise unavailable, or servers are too far for an optimal experience. 

Is there a free VPN for Xbox?

There are free VPNs for Xbox, and Proton is the best zero-cost virtual private network for gaming or streaming. 

Does ExpressVPN work on Xbox?

ExpressVPN works on the Xbox Series X, S, One or 360. You’ll simply need to install Express on your router or Windows computer, then connect your console to the router or PC.

Does NordVPN work on Xbox?

NordVPN works with Xbox game consoles with Nord on a router or PC.