What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Using a VPN With Steam?
Steam has one of the biggest game libraries in the world, making it one of the most popular platforms for downloading and playing video games out there. In addition to the huge selection of top titles, Steam is also one of the cheapest ways to play, with regular discounts and promotions available all year. Alongside its incredibly generous ‘Humble Bundle’, it’s no wonder Steam is so popular.
Steam is an entirely digital marketplace which means you must have an online connection to download games on there, although you can play single player games in offline mode once they’re downloaded.
While there’s a huge catalog of games to choose from, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re always easy to access. That’s because Steam geoblocks some of its content, meaning you won’t be able to access certain games, offers, and promotions depending on which region you’re located in.
Thankfully, there’s a way to bypass Steam’s geoblocks by using a VPN, but it’s important to be aware of the main benefits and potential drawbacks first.
Benefits of Using a VPN With Steam
Download and Play Any Games You Want
VPNs connect you to private servers located all over the world, tricking Steam into thinking you’re from a different region. By installing your own, you’ll be able to bypass its geoblock filters and access content no matter where you’re from. If there’s a special offer or promotion that’s only available in Africa, for example, just use your VPN to connect to a server that’s located there.
Protect Yourself From Hackers
Online games and platforms are regularly targeted by hackers in an attempt to access players’ wallets and their banking information. Steam account compromises are relatively common and it’s not unusual to spot players raising complaints in forums who’ve been booted out of games because their credentials have changed.
Using a VPN is an effective way of protecting your online identity as all of the information you’re transferring while connected to a VPN is encrypted and sent through a secure tunnel. Even if hackers were able to get hold of it, they wouldn’t be able to use it.
Get Around Local Restrictions
There are some places that completely block access to Steam by default. Thankfully, using a VPN means that whether you’re trying to connect to Steam in a public library or access your favorite games on a work computer, you’ll be able to bypass these blocks and play games until your heart’s content.
Faster Online Speeds
When you’re playing games competitively, the strength of your connection and your ping, as a result, can often determine whether you’re a winner or a loser. If your VPN takes fewer steps to connect to a server than it would to route your connection through your ISP, you’ll notice a decrease in latency and will be able to enjoy faster speeds as a result.
The Drawbacks of Using a VPN With Steam
Not All VPNs Are Safe
There are lots of VPNs out there but that doesn’t mean all of them are safe. Never try and save money by choosing a free VPN, for example. Any VPN offering its services for free is usually doing so at the privilege of being able to sell your information to third parties, so expect the potential risk of your private information ending up in the wrong hands. If you’re looking for a top-quality VPN that offers everything you need when it comes to online gaming, you can check out our top recommendations here.
Steam Has a Strict Policy on VPNs
The biggest risk of using a VPN with steam is that it's a violation of their usage policy and could result in your account being banned. That means you’ll never be able to access your library again; a terrible loss for anyone who’s spent a lot of money on purchasing games. If you’re left wondering how strict Steam’s VPN policy is, check out its statement below:
“You agree that you will not use IP proxying or other methods to disguise the place of your residence, whether to circumvent geographical restrictions on game content, to purchase at pricing not applicable to your geography, or for any other purpose. If you do this, Valve may terminate your access to your Account.”
If you’re considering using a VPN with Steam, it’s important to choose a provider that has a reputable name and won’t be easy for Steam to detect as a result. Just be aware that by doing so, Steam is within its rights to ban your account if you’re detected using one.
It’s worth considering the amount of money you’ve invested into Steam before you risk your account being potentially banned. If that threat isn’t enough to scare you off, our VPN experts have ranked the best VPNs for use with Steam according to their speed, performance, and security that’s on offer. Click here for the full list.