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Should You Use a PS4 VPN? (All You Need to Know + How to a Use VPN on PS4)

vpn for ps4

The PS4 is an awesome gaming console. And VPNs are extremely useful tools. So the question is obvious – do you need a VPN for PS4 or not?

Well, we’ll show you all the perks you get to enjoy by doing that. And we’ll also mention what problems you might face, and tell you how to set up a PS4 VPN too.

What Are the Pros of Using a VPN for PS4?

What can you do with a VPN on PlayStation, and is it worth it?

Let’s take a look at the advantages of using a VPN for PS4:

Unblock Geo-Restricted Content

Not all apps and content on the PlayStation Store is available worldwide. For instance, you can get the Netflix app, but you can’t watch shows and movies that are exclusive to the US library if you’re not from that country.

That’s because geo-blocks stop you from doing it. If you’re not familiar with them, they’re a form of content control technology that restricts your access to apps and sites based on your geo-location.

And any app or site knows what your geo-location is because they see your IP address.

Well, a VPN “hides” your IP address by routing your traffic through a server. Basically, it acts as a middleman between you and the web, so any app or site you browse will see connection requests coming from the VPN server, not your PS4. 

Because of that, they’ll only see the server’s IP address. And if it’s from a whitelisted country, they won’t restrict your access anymore.

However, for some content, you might need to create a new PlayStation account. That’s because some services don’t only check your IP address, but your region too. So you need a new account that matches the VPN server’s country.

Doing that is pretty easy, though. Just use Tutanota to quickly set up an email account, and Google Translate to understand what the text says.

Play Games Before They Release in Your Area

Besides unblocking geo-restricted content, you can also get early access to video games that weren’t released in your country yet.

For example, by using an account set to the Japan region and our Japanese server, we were able to find Yakuza: Like a Dragon on the PlayStation Store. The game was released on PS4 in Japan on January 16th, 2020, and has yet to be made available worldwide.

Save Money

Games on the PSN store don’t have the same price everywhere in the world. Due to geographical price discrimination, you might pay more or less depending on what country you are from.

Well, using a VPN for PS4 can help you get the best deal. It makes it look like you’re from a different country, so you might actually get a discount.

We tested that out for The Last of Us Part II. We used our British server and Malaysian server to see the price differences.

With a UK IP address, we got this price: £54.99.

The Last of US British PSN

And with a Malaysian IP address, we got this price tag: RM 239.00.

The Last of US Malaysian PSN

At the moment of writing this article, RM 239.00 is £44.72. So a £10 discount, which isn’t too bad.

No More Lag and High Ping

If you use a PS4 VPN, there’s a good chance you’ll get better ping times and no lag when gaming online. You just need to use a VPN server that’s in the same country as the gaming server.

Here’s why:

  • Without a VPN, your connection to the gaming server can take many detours. Let’s say you’re from Italy, and the server is from the US. Your connection might take this route: Italy → France → Portugal → The US.
  • With a VPN server, your traffic goes directly to the game’s server. This time, let’s say you’re from Italy, the gaming server is in the US, and you use a US VPN server. In that case, this would be the route: Italy → US VPN server → US gaming server.

Prevent DDoS Attacks

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is when someone uses a botnet to flood your network with tons of unwanted traffic and requests with the intention of forcing you offline.

Unfortunately, that happens pretty often on the PlayStation network. Here’s just one example of a wannabe hacker DDoS-ing players for “disrespecting” him. You can also find many other people complaining about similar issues on Reddit and the PlayStation forums.

Why do DDoS attacks happen so often?

Because pretty much anyone can run them nowadays. They can buy them for as little as $10 per hour on the deep web.

And if they can’t do that, they can just run DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. They’re weaker than DDoS attacks, but easier to run and equally annoying.

How does a PS4 VPN prevent that?

Pretty simple – it hides your IP address. Without it, nobody can target and DDoS/DoS your network. They’ll only see the VPN server’s IP address. And while they can DDoS/DoS the VPN server, that usually won’t work because VPN servers normally use anti-DDoS protection.

Stop Bandwidth Throttling

Bandwidth throttling is when your ISP intentionally slows down your speeds to prevent network congestion, or because you used up too much data.

That can happen to you if you play online matches for hours on end on your PS4, download too many games too often, or binge a lot of shows and movies online.

It sucks, but don’t worry – with a PS4 VPN, you can put an end to it. Here’s how:

  • The VPN encrypts all your traffic. That means your ISP can’t analyze your data packets anymore. Because of that, they won’t know you’re spending so much data on your PS4. 
  • The VPN hides the IP addresses you connect to. That makes it impossible for your ISP to see what sites you visit while using your PS4.

Thanks to those two things, your ISP won’t be able to selectively throttle your PS4 connections anymore.

Bypass IP Bans

Server admins who are sore losers and IP-ban you because they’re jealous of your skills is nothing new. Luckily, using a VPN for PS4 can help you get around those bans since it hides your real IP address.

VPNs can also help if Sony bans your IP address. They could block it because you used cheats, but they can apparently block it for random things too – like massively downloading DLCs, because Prolexic’s anti-DDoS protection targeted you, or for no reason at all.

IMPORTANT: If using a PS4 VPN doesn’t help you bypass Sony’s ban, that likely means they banned your MAC address or your PS4’s CPU ID. In that case, a VPN can’t help. You could try changing your MAC address like this Reddit user says, though. But if they banned the CPU’s ID, you’ll need to get a new PS4.

Need a Good VPN for PS4?

Try CactusVPN then. We offer a high-speed VPN with unlimited bandwidth, and a Smart DNS that unblocks 300+ websites.

We also have tons of cross-platform compatible apps in case you want to use a VPN on something other than your PS4.

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What Are the Cons of Using a PS4 VPN?

So you can definitely enjoy a lot of perks if you set up a VPN on your PS4. But are there any drawbacks?

Yes, but not many. Here’s what you might have to put up with:

Slower Download & Upload Speeds

Wait, didn’t you say I’ll get better ping and no lag?

Yes, we did. And yes, you won’t deal with so much lag and high ping times when using a VPN for PS4.

However, ping and lag aren’t the same as download and upload speeds. 

Lag is the delay you see between actions when playing online, and ping is how fast you get a response after you send a request. On the other hand, download and upload speeds represent how much data you can pull and send at once from and to a device or server.

When using a PS4, download and upload speeds play an important role when you:

  • Download a game from the PlayStation Store.
  • Use PlayStation Now to play PS2 and PS3 games on your PS4. You’ll stream gameplay to your PS4 in that case, so good download and upload speeds are important. The lower they are, the worse the stream quality.

Unfortunately, a VPN can lower your original speeds. It’s not always by a lot, but we have seen 100+ Mbps losses when testing speeds with and without a VPN.

No Native Support

Can you put a VPN on a PS4?

Not directly, unfortunately. The console doesn’t offer native support for VPN clients. So you can’t just download and install a VPN app from the PlayStation store, and use it to connect and disconnect from servers with a few clicks.

Instead, you’ll have to manually set up and configure the VPN connection. For some of you, that might sound like a lot of hassle, and even seem a bit complicated.

How to Use a VPN on PS4

Since the console doesn’t natively support VPNs, you’ll have to rely on three different methods to set up a connection: via your PC, via your Mac, or through the router.

1. How to Use a VPN on PS4 Via PC

You can actually set up the VPN on your computer, and have the PS4 share the VPN connection through it. The only requirements are being able to set up the PS4 near the computer, and the computer having two Ethernet ports or an Ethernet port and the ability to use WiFi.

A laptop also works if it meets those requirements.

So, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download and install the VPN client on your computer. 
  2. Plug one end of the Ethernet cable into your PC, and one end into the PS4.
  3. Connect to a VPN server.
  4. On your computer, go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center.
  5. On the left, select Change Adapter Settings.
  6. Right-click your VPN connection, and hit Properties. With CactusVPN, it should simply be “CactusVPN + VPN Server + VPN Protocol.” So if you use our Japanese server with IKEv2, it would be called “CactusVPN JP, Nagano IKEv2.”
  7. Click the Sharing tab (last one on the right).
  8. Select this option: Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
  9. Use the dropdown menu under Home networking connection to pick the connection you want to share with your PS4.
  10. Now head to your PS4. Go to Settings > Network Settings > Set Up Internet Connection > Use a LAN Cable.
  11. Pick the Easy connection method. It will automatically scan and set up the Ethernet connection.
  12. When asked, select Do Not Use a Proxy Server.

And that’s it. Your PS4 will now use the VPN connection.

2. How to Use a VPN on PS4 Via Mac

The same requirements as above apply here too. Here’s how to set up a VPN on PS4 using your Mac device:

  1. Install the VPN app on your Mac.
  2. Plug the Ethernet cable into your Mac and the PS4.
  3. Head to System Preferences > Sharing.
  4. Pick Internet Sharing from the list on the left.
  5. Choose WiFi from the Share your connection from dropdown menu.
  6. Tick the Ethernet option in the list named To computers using.
  7. Check the box to the left of Internet Sharing. If the icon turns green, you have successfully shared the connection between your Mac and PS4.
  8. Now, connect to a VPN server.
  9. On your PS4, go to Settings > Network Settings > Set Up Internet Connection > Use a LAN Cable, and pick the Easy option.
  10. Choose Do Not Use a Proxy Server when prompted.

And you’re done.

3. How to Use a VPN on PS4 Without PC or Mac

To do that, you’ll need to set up the VPN on your router. Since your PS4 uses the router to access the web, it will automatically use the VPN connection. And so will any other Internet-connected device in your home.

And you don’t need to remember to turn on the VPN before starting your PS4. Once you configure it on the router, it’s always on.

Unfortunately, we can’t really offer a step-by-step tutorial here. How you set up a VPN on a router varies from model to model.

But don’t worry, we have you covered. We have tons of step-by-step guides (with photos) showing you how to set up a VPN on a router right here. Just pick your model and the protocol you want to use (if necessary), and follow our instructions.

How to Improve VPN Speeds on Your PS4

Getting slow speeds? Here’s what you can try to optimize them:

  • If you’re using the VPN on your router, bring your PS4 close to it. A WiFi network’s signal is very sensitive, and even being in a different room than the one the router is in can lower it, causing your speeds to tank. If possible, try connecting the PS4 directly to the router instead of using WiFi.
  • If you’re using the OpenVPN protocol, try using it over UDP instead of TCP since it’s faster that way – especially for online gaming.
  • With OpenVPN, try entering these commands into the options field (can be called Additional Config, Custom Configuration, or Custom Options):
    • fast-io (only use it over UDP)
    • sndbuf 300000
    • rcvbuf 300000
  • If you get the option to change OpenVPN buffer values, switch them from 65536 bytes to 300000. You can experiment with higher values too.
  • Use the VPN server’s IP address instead of its hostname in the Server Address field. You avoid DNS resolution issues that could lower your speeds that way. To find our servers’ IP addresses, go to My Account > Settings > VPN Servers.
  • Not trying to unblock geo-restricted content or get better prices? Use a VPN server that’s in a nearby country or your country. It takes less time for data packets to travel that way, resulting in better speeds.
  • Try using a different protocol. Most routers also support PPTP and L2TP. Keep in mind they’re not as secure as OpenVPN. The NSA can crack PPTP encryption, and L2TP doesn’t use any encryption on most routers since it isn’t paired with IPsec. So don’t use them if you want to stop bandwidth throttling.
  • If you have a 2.4 GHz router, try getting a better one – ideally a 5 GHz router. 

If none of that works, there’s a chance your ISP speeds are just too slow. The only solution in that case is buying a faster subscription or switching to a faster ISP.

Can You Use a Smart DNS on PS4?

Yes, you can. We actually recommend using a Smart DNS instead of a VPN when trying to unblock and binge content on apps and sites like HBO or Hulu.

Why?

Because the Smart DNS doesn’t use encryption. So it won’t affect your original speeds.

And setting up a Smart DNS on your PS4 isn’t difficult at all. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial (with screens) showing you how to do it with CactusVPN.

Just don’t try to use it to get better prices or avoid DDoS attacks. It doesn’t change your IP address, so it can’t help with that.

Do You Use a PS4 VPN Often?

Did you have any trouble setting it up, or was it a walk in the park? Also, are you getting decent speeds?

Tell us all about that in the comments. And feel free to mention anything else about VPNs and PS4 consoles if you feel it’s relevant.

Posted on in VPN
By
Tim has been writing content and copy for a living for over 4 years, and has been covering VPN, Internet privacy, and cybersecurity topics for more than 2 years. He enjoys staying up-to-date with the latest in Internet privacy news, and helping people find new ways to secure their online rights.

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