A VPN (Virtual Private Network) has become an important security tool for internet users to protect their privacy and access restricted content. For PlayStation 5 users, a VPN can enhance the gaming experience by improving connection speeds, allowing access to more games, and strengthening security.
VPNs work by routing your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a server in another location. This masks your real IP address, location, and online identity, providing anonymity online. VPN encryption also makes your data secure from prying eyes.
When gaming on PS5, features like multiplayer gameplay, streaming game content, messaging platforms etc rely on internet connectivity. A VPN adds a layer of privacy and can bypass regional access barriers.
How to Use a VPN on PS5
There are several ways to setup and use a VPN on your PS5 console:
1. Configure VPN on your router
The easiest approach is to enable your selected VPN service on the router that the PS5 connects through. As all traffic will funnel through the router, connecting the VPN at router-level allows all devices on your home network – including PS5 – to benefit from the encrypted VPN tunnel automatically.
NordVPN, ExpressVPN and Surfshark offer router app support and setup guides to facilitate VPN integration for hardware from popular brands like Netgear, D-Link, Linksys etc.
2. Install VPN on devices connecting to PS5
If unable to configure router-level access, install your chosen VPN’s software on devices that connect with your PS5 to access game content or other network functionality.
These could include your laptop, mobile device or tablet used alongside the PlayStation console. Follow the VPN provider’s installation process for your particular operating system. Connect to the VPN whenever accessing your PS5 via such devices.
3. Use VPN settings from your browser
Gaming browsers and portals accessed from your PS5 can also leverage your VPN account to secure connections. On Chrome or Firefox, setup the VPN’s browser extension and activate it when playing network-based PS5 games or accessing gamer forums via the platform.
This tunnels only browser activity via the VPN encryption, keeping your main device traffic unaffected. Useful when combined with the primary PS5 VPN setup for fully-rounded protection.
4. Connect mobile hotspot routed through VPN
If your PS5 relies on a mobile hotspot for internet connectivity, set up your chosen VPN service on the mobile device providing the hotspot. Next create a mobile hotspot connection as normal while connected to the VPN.
Now when your PS5 connects to this VPN-protected hotspot, the console gets indirect access to the encrypted tunnel without needing PS5-specific software. It routes all connectivity via your mobile device’s active VPN coverage.
Step-by-Step Guide to Manually Configure a VPN on PS5:
While limited, manually configuring a commercial VPN on PS5 is possible by:
- On your Windows PC, visit the website of your selected VPN provider like CyberGhost or NordVPN.
- Download the OpenVPN configuration files related to whichever server location you want.
- Connect a USB flash drive to your Windows PC and copy the downloaded OpenVPN configuration files to it.
- Insert this flash drive into an available USB port on your PS5.
- Power on your PS5 console and enter Settings from the main menu.
- Navigate to Network menu and select ‘Set Up Internet Connection’. Choose ‘Custom’ rather than automatic Wi-Fi connection.
- In Internet Settings screen, enable ‘Use LAN Cable’ setting. Plug an Ethernet cable from your PS5 directly to your router if not already connected.
- Select ‘Custom’ again when prompted to select method to configure network settings.
- Choose ‘Use Wi-Fi’ on next screen. Now enable ‘Configure Manually’ setting rather than Auto-Detect.
- Scroll down and toggle on ‘Use Static IP Address’ setting.
- In DNS Settings below, set Primary DNS as “188.8.131.52” and Secondary DNS as “184.108.40.206” which are public Google DNS servers.
- Go back to main Network settings page and access Advanced Settings
- Enable both ‘Use Proxy Server’ and ‘Use Custom DNS Server’ settings here.
- Go to VPN and Proxy Server settings menu under Advanced Settings
- Under VPN Settings, import the OpenVPN configuration files related to your chosen VPN server from the connected USB drive.
- The rest of the network configuration will now automatically populate based on the selected OpenVPN .ovpn file.
- Your PS5 should connect through the imported VPN tunnel on saving changes.
Why Use a VPN on PS5
Key benefits of securing your PS5 gaming platform with a robust VPN service include:
1. Reduce Online Gaming Lag
VPN encryption adds minimal data overhead, which has negligible impact on network speeds. Leading brands like Surfshark and CyberGhost optimise servers specifically to prioritise gaming traffic and deter latency issues during intense multiplayer sessions.
This keeps your gameplay sharp across PlayStation online network and titles like Call of Duty without frustrating lag. VPN algorithms also prevent bandwidth throttling by ISPs that oft disrupts connections.
2. Access Region-Locked Games
Just like streaming video services, many game publishers geo-restrict access to certain titles based on country. A Pakistan PSN Store often excludes games released only in Europe or Japan. VPNs mask your location, letting you bypass such blocks.
Your VPN’s IP address assigns a virtual location of your choosing to seamlessly access and play games locked to other regions. PlayStation Store downloads and network-based playability both work smoothly via VPN tunnelling.
3. Enhance Security and Privacy
Online sessions mean constant data exchanges with other random gamers worldwide through PlayStation Network. VPN encryption protects this communication from snoopers. It also hides your IP address, offering improved anonymity on PSN from fellow players and Sony itself.
Your gaming activities, messages and payment info remain shielded from tracking by advertisers or worse. VPNs greatly bolster privacy, letting you game without exposing personal data.
Does PS5 Offer Out-of-the-Box Support for VPNs?
Unlike Windows PCs or iOS devices, setting up a full-fledged VPN service directly on the PS5 console is trickier:
Sony follows a walled-garden approach with PlayStation devices, prohibiting installation of third-party apps like VPN clients on PS systems without jailbreaking. Even browser downloads are restricted.
The PS5 operating system prevents deeper user access controls customising network settings for integrating external VPN tools. Any system-wide functionality needs software support in PlayStation firmware.
Sony maintains strict development guidelines and quality enforcement checks before allowing apps on its PlayStation Store too. So availability of reputed commercial VPN apps usable with PS5 seems uncertain.
PS5 does allow manual OpenVPN configuration file imports as a workaround to tunnel VPN traffic, as the detailed setup guide covered earlier shows. But this method is quite involved.
Thankfully, using a VPN router or connecting external devices via VPN ensures full coverage for PS5 indirectly. But unless Sony relaxes policies, native PS5 support for VPNs has limitations.
Best VPNs for PS5
The leading VPN services in 2022 most suitable for PS5 users are:
With ultrafast servers in 160 locations across 94 countries, ExpressVPN effortlessly handles PS5 demands like lag-free multiplayer gaming and secure message exchanges via PSN. Wide range of connection protocol choices available.
Boasts thousands of highly optimised servers including specialty P2P and Double VPN servers, ideal for PS gamers stressed about privacy. Next-gen encryption via NordLynx protocol offers reliable security too.
Great value VPN with customisation options like Whitelister mode that allow selectively routing only gaming traffic through the VPN tunnel. Multihop function lets you chain VPN servers for added anonymity.
Romania-based provider offers dedicated streaming and gaming servers for optimised performance with PS5. Built-in speed test allows checking latency status across worldwide locations to pick fastest connections.
Smaller provider but fast rising as a secure VPN option. Boasts DNS/IPv6/WebRTC leak protection tools specifically beneficial for PS5 usage alongside AES-256 encrypted tunnelling via OpenVPN protocol.
While the unique walled-garden limitations of PlayStation OS pose a challenge, PS5 users can certainly benefit from leveraging reputed VPN services indirectly via routers or connected devices.
The privacy, speed and access perks unlocked by VPN usage enhances the overall PlayStation gaming experience both online and worldwide. As Sony hopefully progressively permits deeper customisations, direct PS5 support for VPN integration should become easier.