Best VPN for Steam in 2022 [Unlock Games Early] | #linux | #linuxsecurity | #education | #technology | #infosec


Steam is currently the go-to games marketplace for many gamers. It offers an incredible variety of games, with millions of active users on a daily basis. That being said, the Steam Subscriber Agreement (SSA) is rather vague with regard to using a VPN for Steam, which leads to many users wanting a Steam VPN that would protect their connection. 

The SSA prohibits using “IP proxying or other methods” to hide where you live, whether that’s for bypassing geoblocks or for buying games that are available at a cheaper price in a different region. While none of these things apply to users simply seeking to add a layer of protection to their internet connection, they, too, might end up locked out for using a virtual private network service.

Key Takeaways:

  • Using Steam with VPN lets you download and play games through a secure, encrypted connection. 
  • ExpressVPN is the fastest and most secure VPN out of the several VPN services we tested with Steam. 
  • NordVPN, Surfshark, PIA and VyprVPN are all excellent alternatives that will save you a bit of money but still get you reasonable performance if you want to access Steam content. 

However, the best VPNs for Steam will keep you protected, but have enough security measures in place for Steam to not be able to detect them. Obfuscation does the job, and we found that ExpressVPN does it best, with a great combination of performance and features for Steam gamers. There is plenty of competition, though, so make sure you read through to the end.

  • The Steam Subscriber Agreement states that Valve has the right to terminate accounts that use a VPN to connect to Steam for any reason. However, it also emphasizes using a VPN to purchase games for a lower price. As long as you don’t buy anything while connected to a VPN, you’re unlikely to get banned, but it’s still a possibility.

  • Yes, if you use a VPN to change Steam regions or try to update the store country, you can get banned. Using a VPN isn’t a good idea if you want to bypass geo-restrictions.

  • You can use a VPN to get past region restrictions and buy a region-restricted game by connecting to a server in the location where said game is not blocked. You can use this method to purchase games that are unavailable where you are, although it is a breach of the subscriber agreement and will almost certainly get you banned.

Top VPNs for Steam

Best VPN for Steam: What Makes a Good Steam VPN

When it comes to picking the right VPN for Steam, several factors come into play. These are the VPNs that performed best when it comes to downloading Steam games.

  1. ExpressVPN — Fastest VPN out there with great security
  2. NordVPN — Great alternative with respectable speeds
  3. Surfshark — Affordable VPN with solid privacy features
  4. Private Internet Access — Highly customizable VPN service
  5. VyprVPN — Secure VPN service at a premium price

The most important factor is speed — you don’t want to spend days downloading a single game. This is especially essential today, when an average game can easily exceed 70 or 80GB in size. To add to this, game updates can be equally massive, and without a fast VPN, time consuming.

The other big factor is whether or not the Steam VPN you’re using has split tunneling. This feature allows you to route only specific apps through your VPN, and you can choose to download games through the VPN server without impacting your browsing traffic.

Last but not least, using a VPN is technically against Steam’s SSA, which is why you should opt for a VPN with obfuscation. Obfuscated servers are different from regular servers because they hide the fact that you’re using a VPN, and Steam can’t ban your Steam account for doing so.

The 5 Best Steam VPN Services

Out of all the options we’ve tried, these are the five that performed best when it came to downloading Steam games while staying protected. 

expressvpn windows client

ExpressVPN’s UI is very simple, and you can add custom shortcuts to the toolbar for easy access.

More details about ExpressVPN:

  • Pricing: $6.67 per month for the yearly plan, plus three months free
  • Provider website: 


  • Fastest VPN out there
  • App for all Steam platforms
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

ExpressVPN is the best VPN for Steam, bar none. It’s got lightning-fast speeds in any situation (including downloading games), and a solid set of security and privacy features — split tunneling, a kill switch and a strict no-logs policy are notable examples. Pricey? Sure, but very much worth it, and you can find out more in our ExpressVPN review.

You can access the Steam store with ExpressVPN from any platform Steam is available on, because there is more than just a Windows app — ExpressVPN covers Linux and macOS as well. The Windows and Mac apps all have the same simple UI which gives you a no-frills experience when you want to download multiplayer games from Steam.

expressvpn get started

The VPN that just works? We would have to agree, especially when it comes to Steam.

ExpressVPN is undoubtedly expensive. But when you consider that you’re looking at the fastest VPN out there with split tunneling and obfuscated servers, it’s definitely worth it. Plus, the 30-day money-back guarantee can get you a refund if you don’t like it.

ExpressVPN Logo

ExpressVPN Plans

nordvpn us olympics

NordVPN’s iconic map UI makes it easy to see where your connection is being tunneled through. 

More details about NordVPN:

  • Pricing: $3.29 per month for the two-year plan
  • Provider website:


  • Excellent security features
  • Proprietary NordLynx protocol
  • 30-day money-back guarantee


  • Speeds aren’t consistent across all servers

NordVPN’s forte is security, with plenty of obfuscated servers available to make sure Valve has no clue you’re accessing Steam game content through a VPN service. Split tunneling also makes an appearance as a remarkably easy-to-configure setting, and you can find out more about the VPN in our NordVPN review.

One of NordVPN’s key security features that has a significant impact on speed is the use of their NordLynx protocol. This proprietary protocol builds upon WireGuard, improving its security. Pair this with the huge server network NordVPN has available, and you’ve got an excellent VPN service for Steam.

cta nordvpn

Don’t worry if you miss the holiday sale — NordVPN has discounts on their longer plans all the time.

NordVPN is fairly affordable provided you go for the two-year plan, and the money-back guarantee gives you 30 days to get a refund if you don’t like it. 

NordVPN Logo


gaming surfshark

There are plenty of locations to choose from with Surfshark, and you can even get a static IP if you’re worried about Steam banning your account.

More details about Surfshark:

  • Pricing: $2.21 per month for the two-year plan, plus three months free
  • Provider website:


  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • NoBorders mode for obfuscation
  • 30-day money-back guarantee


  • Monthly plan is expensive

If you intend to use a VPN to access online gaming platforms like Steam on multiple devices, Surfshark should be right up your alley. The service comes with no limitation on simultaneous connections, so you can use it on as many devices as you want, all within the same subscription. If you want to find out more about it, we cover it extensively in our Surfshark review.

While Surfshark’s NoBorders mode was initially made, so you can use VPN traffic in restrictive countries, it certainly comes in clutch for Steam. The mode hides the fact that you’re connecting through a VPN. If you want to use a VPN with Steam and not get banned, this is one of the best ways to do so.

cta surfshark

Surfshark is one of the most affordable VPNs out there, with constant sales offering wallet-friendly prices if you subscribe for a longer period of time. 

Surfshark is very affordable on its long-term plans, especially when you consider the unlimited simultaneous connections that allow Steam users to download games on multiple devices at the same time. If you find you don’t like it, though, you have 30 days to change your mind and get a refund.

Surfshark Logo

SurfShark Plans

  • : Unlimited GB bandwidth,
    Unlimited devices
  • : Unlimited GB
  • : Unlimited
  • :
pia streaming

PIA’s UI won’t give you excessive info you don’t need, but it’ll cover the basics at a glance, such as your real IP and your VPN IP address.

More details about PIA:


  • Affordable
  • Works on almost any device
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

Private Internet Access is a reasonably fast and affordable VPN for users who want to stick to a secure connection when downloading and playing online games. It has easy-to-use apps for almost any platform, and covers all operating systems Steam is available on. The speeds are respectable, so if you want to buy games on Steam and download them using a secure connection, you’re covered.

One of PIA’s features that might come in handy for Steam users is the ability to route your connection through a second VPN server with either the Shadowsocks or the SOCKS5 protocol. Both will improve security, and significantly reduce the chances of Steam detecting that you’re using a VPN. You can find out more about this in our Private Internet Access review.

cta pia

We like PIA’s catchy marketing — with a solid security suite, it’s very much believable.

PIA is the most affordable choice among the best VPNs for Steam, but you are making a bit of a compromise in terms of speeds. If you decide it’s just not the right VPN for you, you can use the 30-day money-back guarantee to get a refund.

Private Internet Access Logo

Standard Plans

VyprVPN app

VyprVPN’s UI is as simple as it gets, with no additional info except for the server you’re tunneling through.

More details about VyprVPN:

  • Pricing: $8.33 per month for the yearly plan
  • Provider website:


  • Proprietary Chameleon protocol
  • Very simple UI 
  • 30-day money-back guarantee


  • Very expensive
  • Speeds are just okay

VyprVPN isn’t the affordable VPN it used to be anymore, which is why it comes in last on our list. However, if you want to keep the chance of your VPN being detected to an absolute minimum, it’s worth looking into. Speeds are just okay, and you have easy-to-use apps for Windows and macOS. You can find out more in our VyprVPN review.

The feature that should pique Steam users’ interest is their proprietary Chameleon protocol. It takes OpenVPN as its base, and adds an obfuscation layer that jumbles packet metadata. It’s almost impossible for anyone to gain access to your connection or even notice you’re connecting through a VPN. It does impact speeds, though, which is why they’re not too impressive. 

cta vyprvpn

Holiday Special? Sounds nice, but we would’ve preferred VyprVPN’s old pricing which made it affordable in the long run.

While VyprVPN’s pricing used to be very reasonable, they’ve recently made it much worse, and it is now this VPN’s Achilles’ heel. If you’d like the privacy and security of the Chameleon protocol, though, you have a 30-days money-back guarantee to try it out and see if you like it (and get a refund if you don’t).

VyprVPN Logo

Can I Get Banned for Using a VPN With Steam?

To begin with, the Steam Subscriber Agreement, section 3A, has a paragraph where you agree you will “not use IP proxying or other methods to disguise the place of your residence.” They emphasize that this applies if you want to circumvent geographical restrictions, or to buy steam games at prices that are lower than your local prices.

So yes, you can get banned if you use a VPN with Steam. However, there’s a caveat to this — Steam mentions proxying (or using a VPN) is forbidden if you’re disguising the place of your residence. In fact, we tried purchasing a game in a different region using a VPN and received a swift ban.

However, the SSA still states that Valve retains the right to terminate your account for any and all VPN usage, so there’s always some risk there. That said, our own experience as well as our research tells us that as long as you avoid using the VPN to purchase anything, you’re extremely unlikely to receive a ban. Still, proceed with caution and at your own risk.

Final Thoughts

When all is said and done, using a VPN provider and their service — provided it’s a reliable VPN of course — allows Steam users to download games through a secure VPN tunnel and keep their internet traffic private and away from the eyes of their local internet service provider.

There are multiple VPNs that do a great job at this, but ExpressVPN won us over with its blazing-fast speeds and zero-compromises security. If you want something more affordable, NordVPN and Surfshark are excellent alternatives.

Do you spend a bit more and go for ExpressVPN, or do you spend the money on more online games on Steam and get something more affordable? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thank you for reading.

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