Do You Need a VPN for Xbox One? (7 Advantages + Setup Tips)
Should you use a VPN for Xbox One, or is it too much hassle?
The tl;dr is that yeah, you should definitely do it. We’ll show you why using an Xbox VPN is worth it in this article. And we’ll also tell you how to set up a VPN on Xbox One, and offer some speed optimization tips too.
Table of contents
7 Reasons You Might Want to Use an Xbox VPN
Based on our research and what our readers told us, this is why you should use a VPN for Xbox One:
1. Save Money When Buying Games
Xbox One games don’t have the same price worldwide. Sometimes, a game might be cheaper in some countries – particularly those where the cost of living and wages are lower.
Well, with an Xbox VPN, you can take advantage of that. Since the service hides your real IP address from Microsoft’s servers, you can make them think you’re from a different country – one where the prices are lower.
For example, let’s say you’re from the UK and want to buy Red Dead Redemption 2. We used our British server to check the game on the Microsoft Store, and got this price: £59.99.
Now, if you were to use a Brazilian IP address, you’d get this price: R$249.00.
Converted, R$249.00 is around £37.54. That’s a really nice £22.45 discount!
2. Get Around Geo-Blocks
You’re not safe from geo-restrictions just because you use an Xbox One. Geo-blocked websites, content, and apps will still be unavailable.
Because they can see your IP address when you try to use them. And your IP address tells them what country you are from.
But if you use a VPN, any site you visit or app you use will only see the IP address of the VPN server. So to unblock something, you just need to use a VPN server from a country where the content or service is available.
According to many users on Reddit, you can do this if you use an Xbox VPN:
- Unblock different content libraries on Netflix.
- Play on region-locked servers.
- Unblock Xbox LIVE features.
If you’re having trouble bypassing geo-blocks, you should also try creating a new account alongside using a VPN. Make sure it matches the VPN server’s country. You can use Tutanota to quickly set up a new email, and Google Translate if you don’t understand the language.
You can also change your account’s region, but it’s less convenient because some of the apps and games you bought in the previous region might not work in the new one.
3. Avoid Unfair IP Bans
Ever had your fun interrupted by an annoying IP ban?
We know how frustrating it can be – especially when you did nothing wrong. Many server owners just get the impression you’re cheating when – in reality – you’re just really good at the game.
Well, an Xbox VPN can help you instantly bypass any IP ban. Since the VPN server routes your connection to the gaming server through it, your original IP address won’t be visible. So the IP ban won’t apply to you anymore.
4. Avoid DDoS Attacks
DDoS-ing (Distributed Denial of Service) is a cyber attack that floods your network with unwanted traffic and packets to force it offline. Basically, it stops you from going online.
Unfortunately, DDoS attacks are pretty cheap to run. Any wannabe hacker can buy them on the deep web for as little as $10 per hour.
And if they can’t do that, they can just try running a DoS (Denial of Service) attack instead. They’re weaker than DDoS attacks, but still a huge problem because they force you offline (even if it’s only for a few minutes).
The good news is that a VPN for Xbox One can protect you from these cyber attacks. Here’s the thing – to run a DoS/DDoS attack, people need your IP address. That’s how they locate and target your network.
But with a VPN, they can’t see your IP address anymore – even if they use packet sniffers. They’ll only see the VPN server’s IP address.
And while they can target the server with DoS/DDoS attacks, they won’t do any damage because most VPN servers have anti-DDoS protection.
5. Get Early Access to New Games
Not all video games release at the same time worldwide. For instance, The Amazing Spider Man 2 was released on the Xbox One on May 4th, 2014 in the EU. In North America, people had to wait until May 12th to buy and play it.
If you would have used an Xbox VPN to change your US IP address to an EU IP address (like Italy), you would have probably been able to enjoy the game before it was released in your region.
So if you are looking forward to an upcoming game, and you know it releases early in a different country, you can try using a VPN server in that country to get early access.
6. Stop Bandwidth Throttling
Not familiar with it? It’s when your ISP intentionally slows down your speeds when you use too much data on something – like when you’re binging your favorite online game with your friends, or when you’re watching Netflix for hours on end each day.
Well, using a VPN on your Xbox One can stop them from doing that. The service encrypts all your traffic, so your ISP won’t be able to monitor your data packets anymore. That means they won’t know what web apps you use data on.
Also, they won’t see what websites you visit. Instead of their IP addresses, they’ll only see the VPN server’s IP address.
Thanks to that, your ISP won’t manage to selectively throttle your bandwidth for certain games or apps.
7. Reduce Ping and Lag
Keep getting high ping times and tons of lag when gaming on certain servers?
It’s probably because you’re too far away from them – like countries or continents apart. If that’s the case, you’ll always experience annoying lag and high ping times. Yes, even if you have a decent Internet connection.
Because your traffic takes a very indirect route to the gaming server. Let’s say you’re from Poland, and the gaming server is in Japan. Your traffic’s route might looks something like this:
Poland → Belarus → Russia → South Korea → Japanese Gaming Server
But if you were to use a Japanese VPN server while gaming in that region, your traffic would take a more direct route:
Poland → Japanese VPN Server → Japanese Gaming Server
So you’d obviously have less lag and lower ping.
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The Drawbacks of Using a VPN for Xbox One
Using a VPN on your Xbox offers tons of perks. But there are also two things you might not like:
There’s No Native Support
Can you put a VPN on an Xbox One?
Well, not directly. Unfortunately, you can’t just install an app and call it a day like you do on other devices.
Instead, you’ll have to manually set up the VPN on your router, or share the VPN connection from your PC or Mac. That can be a bit complicated – especially if you’re not tech-savvy at all.
Your Download & Upload Speeds Will Likely Go Down
While VPNs are awesome tools, they do have one problem – they can lower your online speeds. It’s not always extremely noticeable, but you should be prepared to experience a decrease of 100 Mbps (if not a little more).
This shouldn’t affect your gaming experience (you shouldn’t see more lag and higher ping times). But you’ll likely wait longer for a game to finish downloading while using a VPN. Also, you might experience some problems when using streaming apps.
How to Use a VPN on Xbox One
You basically have two options: either share your VPN connection via your PC or Mac, or set up the VPN on your router.
Share Your VPN Connection
For this type of Xbox One VPN setup, you’ll need an ethernet cable, and a computer, Mac, or laptop that has two ethernet ports, or an ethernet port and the ability to use WiFi. Also, you’ll need to have enough room to place the Xbox One near the device.
Here’s what you need to do on Windows:
- Install the VPN on your computer.
- Connect an ethernet cable between your computer and the console.
- On Windows, head to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center, and click Change Adapter Settings on the left.
- Right-click the VPN adapter, and choose Properties. If you use CactusVPN, the adapter’s name has this format: CactusVPN + VPN Server + VPN Protocol. So our Brazilian VPN server looks like this CactusVPN BR, France IKEv2.
- Hit the Sharing tab, and pick this option Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
- Under Home networking connection, use the dropdown menu to select the Internet connection you’ll share with your Xbox One.
- Now, on your console, press the Xbox button on your controller.
- Next, press the RB button three times and choose Settings.
- Head to Network > Network Settings.
- Hit Test network connection. Your Xbox One should successfully connect to the Internet.
And here’s what you need to do on Mac:
- Install the VPN on your Mac.
- Plug one end of the ethernet cable in your Mac, and one end in your Xbox One.
- On your Mac, go to System Preferences > Sharing, and choose Internet Sharing from the list on the left.
- Use the Share your connection from dropdown menu, and pick WiFi.
- On the To computers using list, select Ethernet.
- Now, check the box next to Internet Sharing. If you see a green icon, the process was successful.
- Repeat the same steps as above on your Xbox Now to test the Internet connection (Xbox button > RB button x3 > Settings > Network > Network Settings > Test network connection).
Obviously, you need to keep your Mac, laptop, or computer running while you use your Xbox One.
Configure the VPN on Your Router
In our opinion, this is the best way to use a VPN for Xbox One. Because you configure it on the router, your console will automatically use the VPN connection every time you go online. Don’t forget – your Xbox One connections have to go through the router to access the web.
Also, you don’t need to keep turning the VPN on and off. It will be on 24/7 as long as your router stays on.
If you have a CactusVPN subscription, you can use our step-by-step guides to configure our service on your router. We can’t really offer a tutorial here because the setup is different depending on the manufacturer.
How to Improve Xbox VPN Speeds
Getting big slowdowns? Here’s what you can do:
Bring the Console Closer to the Router
If your Xbox One is in a different room than the one where the router is, you’ll have a weaker WiFi signal. Pretty much anything can interfere with the signal, but walls in particular weaken it a lot – especially if you have an older router.
So try bringing the console closer to the router – preferably in the same room. If possible, try hooking it up directly to the router. If you do that, you don’t need to worry about the WiFi signal anymore.
If that’s not an option, try getting a WiFi range extender – like this one from TP-Link. Place it near the console, and it should rebroadcast your router’s signal to the point where you’ll have a 100% signal level on your Xbox One.
Use a Lightweight Protocol
On most routers, you can also use PPTP or L2TP. They’re not ideal for security (PPTP can be cracked, and L2TP has zero encryption because it’s not paired with IPSec over a router), but they are very fast and stable. So consider switching to them when you need fast speeds.
If you insist on using OpenVPN or can’t use a different protocol, try setting it over UDP instead of TCP. It should be faster that way.
Use a Nearby VPN Server
If you don’t need to unblock content or save money on purchases, consider using a VPN server that’s in a nearby country. Or, even better, in the same country as you.
That way, it will take less time for data packets to travel between your console and the VPN server. So you’ll get faster speeds. And your connection won’t be likely to drop either.
Use a Smart DNS
Not exactly a way to improve “VPN speeds,” but hear us out. If you’re only looking to unblock geo-restricted content, a Smart DNS is the perfect alternative to an Xbox VPN.
Because it doesn’t use encryption. So it normally doesn’t have an impact on your original speeds. It just spoofs your geo-location and lets you binge region-locked content.
If you’re a CactusVPN user, switching between a Smart DNS and VPN will be easy-peasy. We offer both services, and have a straightforward step-by-step tutorial showing you how to set up a Smart DNS on your Xbox One.
Just keep in mind a Smart DNS won’t protect you from DoS/DDoS attacks or prevent bandwidth throttling. It doesn’t hide your IP address, and it doesn’t encrypt your traffic.
- If you use OpenVPN, try these commands in the options field to improve your speeds:
- fast-io (only use it over UDP)
- sndbuf 300000
- rcvbuf 300000
- Also if you use OpenVPN, try changing the buffer values from 65536 bytes to 300000 (or more) if possible.
- When entering the VPN server info in the Server Address field, use the IP address instead of the hostname to avoid DNS resolution issues. As a CactusVPN user, you can find our servers’ IP addresses at My Account > Settings > VPN Servers.
- If you can afford to, try getting a more powerful router (5 GHz).
Can a VPN on Xbox One Help You Avoid Microsoft’s Bans?
Only if they IP-ban you, which can happen if they suspect you’re cheating, breaking their Community Standards, or using an RGH/JTAG console (basically, a modded console).
However, a lot of the time, Microsoft won’t ban your IP. Instead, they’ll ban your MAC address. You could try changing it by doing a hard reset or typing a new one (Xbox button > RB button x3 > Settings > Network > Network Settings > Advanced Settings > Alternative MAC address).
If that doesn’t work, you only have two options:
- Ask for a Case Review. Many Xbox users say you’re likely to get unbanned that way (well, unless you have a modded console).
- Get a new Xbox One.
What’s Your Experience with Using a VPN for Xbox?
Were you able to save money, get early access, or enjoy a smoother and safer experience? How often do you run a VPN connection on your Xbox One?
Tell us all about that in the comments. Also, if you know other ways to improve Xbox VPN speeds, please let us know.