Computer gaming is an exciting hobby for millions of people around the world. For many, computer gaming has now become a full-blown career. Whether enjoyed as a hobby or practiced as a profession, it is important to understand how to enjoy gaming in a security-conscious way without affecting performance.
What is the difference between a gaming VPN and a gaming proxy? ln this article, we go over the pros and cons of using a gaming proxy vs using a gaming VPN, and why choosing a gaming proxy is the better solution for most individuals.
The Complexities of Having an IP Address
An online PC game requires certain components to operate smoothly, one of which is the server that hosts the game. To gain access to the game, you need to connect via the internet and engage in a constant back and forth relay of digital information between your computer and the respective server.
Once connected in this way, there can be several issues. If your connection is slow or lagging, you will not be able to fully enjoy the gaming experience. Worse, you could lose your connection due to your permissions being revoked, interrupting your entire gaming experience.
Matters can get worse, still. What if your IP address (usually given to you by your ISP) puts restrictions on which games you can play? That is like being the star player on your basketball team and not being able to access the field—and it actually happens.
So a game server hosts the game and will require a smooth connection to your IP address for you to enjoy your gaming experience. Your IP address is essential, and if, for some reason, the server does not want to cooperate with your IP address, or if it blocks it, you’re in some serious trouble. Luckily, your IP can be changed—and this is the magic of gaming proxies and VPNs.
Why Should You Use a Gaming Proxy?
Before buying or configuring a gaming proxy, you may want to know what a proxy is—and why you need one.
Using a gaming proxy is like having a middle man access desired resources from a server or the internet. When you wish to interact with a server, the proxy sends the request for you. This way the proxy server’s IP address masks your regular IP address. In terms of safety, a proxy exposes its own connection data without leaking your personal data including your location or your real IP address.
Gaming proxies have risen in popularity due to the fame of server-side gaming sessions which are the backbone of modern-day online gaming. The old concept of having computers or consoles physically linked together in a small room thereby creating a personal LAN doesn’t compare to the idea of playing competition that is all around the world.
When playing an MMORPG it is all about completing tasks to enhance the overall experience of playing. Often to level up requires not just doing the most interesting tasks but also doing the more dull tasks. These dull tasks often lead to a person feeling like they are slowly grinding to just get to the next level.
What if there was a way to automate these tasks without intervention from you, the gamer? This is the beauty of bots. A bot automates your game. They are faster and more fitted to do tedious tasks on your behalf. You may get bored doing a single task over and over—however—a bot never gets uninterested.
The downside of botting is that the bot will make a lot of requests, more requests you could fathom, to the game server. This will look suspicious to the gaming server. Therefore, a gaming proxy becomes handy.
When your bot accesses a server from a proxy after a few days or hours depending on the task, and you run into blocks, you simply need to change the proxy. If you were using your personal IP that would be impossible. This is especially handy for in-game “farming” or tedious “grinding”, where you could be doing something more entertaining in game while your bots take care of the chores.
With proxies you could open multiple accounts and access each account with a different gaming proxy. From there, you would simply run your bot on multiple accounts. Your personal IP would never get exposed even if a bot causes a server to close a connection for a proxy you’re using.
It is not quite as easy with a VPN. With a VPN you are able to mask your geolocation, but you are not generally able to change the IP address at will. This makes proxies a far more versatile, powerful and overall more desirable solution for game botting tasks.
Access Blocked Content
Due to the fact access to games greatly depends on your location, you can easily find yourself irritated when trying to play blocked games. However, with a gaming proxy, this can be resolved fairly easily. You can trick the game server into accepting requests from the proxy location instead of your actual geolocation. Or, if you travel a lot, a proxy can keep your location consistent with the gaming server which will avoid showing suspicious activity due to your travels.
In order to keep things fair according to a set of regulations there are occasions when servers will block IP addresses. Often a server will block an array of IP addresses for a popular online game like World of Warcraft. If for some reason your IP is inside of the range of blacklisted addresses, you won’t be able to access the server anymore. This revoking of permissions may have nothing to do with your online activities, yet it can affect you directly. There are also cases where an internet service provider will reuse batches of IP addresses which could affect your ability to access certain servers if you were part of a bad batch.
To avoid having your IP blocked, you will need to rely on a proxy to trick the gaming server into not knowing it is the blacklisted IP accessing your account. While relatively simple with a proxy, this isn’t as easy with a VPN service. VPNs focus a lot on the network of servers and encryption. Very often VPNs won’t give you a different IP address by request.
The Downside of Using a VPN for Gaming
An ISP loves to see what you do online and often this spying can lead to them throttling your internet speed.
ISPs often throttle you if you play games requiring a lot of bandwidth, stream hours of shows, or overuse torrent programs. Basically, if you use more data than the average person you will find yourself being throttled by your ISP.
However, there is something you should know: a VPN makes your activity anonymous, but a large amount of other VPN users are sharing your VPN’s connection which degrades your connection quality greatly. That means when you use a VPN, multiple gamers are operating under the same IP address. This will lead to lag. As an example, if one gamer on the net is using the same IP address you are, they may be assigned the IP address blocked on a server, that means you two now are blocked from using the server.
A VPN is a virtual private network. Both VPNs and proxies mask your original IP addresses. However, think of a proxy as a simple one point to point bridge between you and your destination. A VPN, true to its title, is a network of servers that pass your data around while also encrypting all traffic along the way. That shared network aspect of a VPN and its desire for encryption can cause major issues for you if you wish to game.
VPNs often cause lag in the same way a package can take longer if it needs to go through customs. This lag can be the difference between getting an easy kill or standing still in the middle of the battlefield as easy prey in your favorite first-person shooter.
As mentioned before, trying to utilize botting isn’t as simple with a VPN. Your VPN will often give you the option to use a server around the world. You are then given whatever IP is available. This means with a VPN you have less ability to change or even know your IP address.
Keep in mind there are security benefits to using a VPN, but there are disadvantages too. Often VPNs must log some type of data on you in order to keep the service from being abused. Therefore, don’t let the idea of having all your data encrypted make you feel too safe. Often, before encryption happens, clear data logs are being stored about your VPN’s activity.
After seeings the benefits of a gaming proxy over a VPN, you may be wondering what type of gaming proxy is worth buying.
There are a few basic things all good proxies must offer to even be considered worth any money or trust. You need dedicated gaming proxies. You should be able to choose your proxy and have an option to reserve proxies from a pool. The location of the proxy server is important too. It doesn’t make much sense to use a proxy that is in the same country that has restricted access to the game you are trying to play. Ideally, you want to have multiple proxies to be prepared for usage policy changes on the server you are accessing.
It is a good sign if the proxy service provides training, blogs, articles, or related documentation. This way you won’t have to assume what is or is not acceptable behavior or usage with the proxies. You may even learn a new trick or two by just taking twenty minutes to read the documentation before configuring the proxies—the world of internet security is constantly evolving.
Both VPNS and proxies can assist with your privacy and security in the digital world. However, gaming proxies have many benefits that their VPN counterparts simply do not, and will make for a more secure and consistent gaming experience.