Since its release two years ago, Playstation 4, or PS4 as it’s more commonly known, has exceeded the expectations of console and tech experts the world over, not only in terms of revenue, but also because of the console’s range of function and its compatibility with other Sony devices.
Aside from its primary use as a games console, PS4 can stream video and online tv services, such as those run by Netflix and others, as well as allowing users to play games online, and to share gaming content across the globe, as well as playing Blu-ray and DVDs, and not to mention its synchronicity with Sony tablets and smartphones.
We have put this handy guide together to help avid PS4 gamers find the best VPN service to setup with their console. If you’ve had enough of DDoS attacks and geographic restrictions, then read on!
PS4 specs and features
- 1.84 teraflop graphics processing unit (GPU) (XboxOne only has 1.31 teraflops)
- 1.6GHz AMD 8-core central processing unit (CPU)
- 8GB GDDR5 RAM (faster than Xbox One)
- Bluetooth compatible
- USB and HDMI connections
- Wireless dualshock 4 controller
- PS4 integrated camercha with 1280×800 pixel sensor, which is capable of capturing video at 60 frames-per-second
- Remote play feature enables gamers to play on a portable device, such as Sony’s Xperia smartphone, their TV microconsole, or their handheld games device, PS Vita
What’s frustrated some gamers since the console’s release is the fact that there’s no backwards compatibility, meaning you cannot play PS3 games on PS4. Aside from this, PS4’s succession of the PS3 marked a new generation of online game functionality, as well as a leap forward in console graphics.
At the point of its release, PS4’s main competitors were the two other major eighth generation consoles, Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox One. Tech experts are generally in agreement that PS4 has a sharper resolution, better graphics, and greater compatibility when compared with its rivals. What’s more, it is more attune to internet-enabled features, such as its gaming library and remote play function. On top of this, PS4 is around $100 cheaper than the Xbox One, and outruns the Wii U since the latter is aimed primarily at under 16s.
PS4 also has an AMD x86-64 Accelerated Processing Unit, which according to Sony, makes it “the most powerful console in the world,” a fact which many critics have confirmed by comparing it to the considerably slower Xbox One.
Integration with other platforms
As well as gaming, PS4 can also be used to stream videos and watch online tv services like Netflix, Hulu, as well as other options for children like FUNimation and playing games online like CoD, FFXIV, Destiny, and Minecraft. Using the PlayStation app, gamers can easily interact with others using devices running the Android and iOS operating systems.
Aside from the console itself, PlayStation Now is Sony’s subscription-based cloud gaming service, which allows players to stream video game content directly to their device. This service includes the aforementioned wireless feature, Remote Play, whereby gamers can activate their console from a distance, allowing them to continue playing from a supplementary screen on another device, such as Sony’s handheld console, the PlayStation Vita, or a Sony smartphone or tablet.
Between March 2013 and the same month in 2014, PS4 topped the console chart, selling 18.7 million units (nearly 2.5 million more than its closest rival the Wii U).
PS4 also boasts some of the top-rated and best-selling games of any console, including the following:
VPN and PS4
Despite the console’s overwhelming success, some PS4 gamers have not been able to access the same services as others. This is due to the geo-restrictions put in place by Sony, Netflix, and others, whereby gamers are blocked from streaming content, as well as access to gaming content, according to where they are in the world. This poses a problem for many users, including those living outside of the US, as with the case of Netflix, and for gamers on vacation.
Using a VPN overrides such restrictions by changing the IP address of the network to which your PS4 is connected. By doing so, VPN users can change their server location to one of their choosing.
Note: for services like Netflix and Hulu, remember, you will need separate subscriptions before being able to unblock content.
Using a VPN for your console will also increase your protection against DDoS attacks, which occur when several systems flood the bandwidth of a single console. A VPN connection could also reduce lag, which helps ensure a faster and more reliable connection while gaming.
Because PS4 is internet-enabled, gamers can also use the console to access various online services, such as music streams, games, add-on and extension downloads, and social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. This makes a VPN a wise choice for gamers because all of your internet traffic will be encrypted, which allows for a secure and private browsing and downloading experience.
Supported apps and streaming services for PS4 include the following: Playstation Music, Playstation Store, Amazon Instant Video, Youtube, Netflix, HBO GO, MLB.TV Premium, Hulu, VUDU, Crackle, Crunchyroll, EPIX, Yupp TV, VidZone, Gaiam TV, Tunein Radio, NBA Game Time, Qello Concerts, Live Event Viewer, WWE Network, NHL GameCenter Live, Daily Burn, Dish Network, NFL Sunday Ticket, Snagfilms, Flex, FUNimation, ShareFactory, Colors!, Skype, Nico Nico, AR Play, Frobisher Says!, Treasure Pack, Paint Park, Paint Park Plus, Wake-Up Club, PS Home Arcade, and Imaginstruments.
VPN or Smart DNS?
Essentially, the difference between Smart DNS and VPN boils down to the level of security on offer. VPNs encrypt your data, making your internet activities secure, while Smart DNS offers no encryption or protection whatsoever, but it solely used for unblocking geographically restricted content and services. As there is no encryption involved, Smart DNS does not disrupt the speed of your connection, whereas VPN does. For unblocking geo-restricted content alone, Smart DNS is the best choice, and it can easily be configured by changing the DNS settings on your Playstation 4. If Smart DNS is indeed the type of service you are searching for, then we recommend checking out our guide to the best Smart DNS providers.
For more information on the differences between VPN and Smart DNS go here.
VPN Providers for PS4
IPVanish is a popular and well-known provider with over 200 servers in more than 60 countries. It is based in the US.
It offers encryption with the following protocols: OpenVPN (UDP or TCP), L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP.
Its Windows client is easy to configure and has some attractive features, including the toggle function between different servers and protocols. The client also offers optimised servers and ports specifically for gaming. With this feature, the client automatically chooses the nearest and fastest server to the user’s location to minimize latency.
IPVanish does not collect connection or browsing logs and bandwidth usage is unrestricted.
The best value for money package is the yearly plan at $77.99 ($6.49 a month). Users can opt for a rolling monthly subscription at $10 per month.
- Servers optimised for gaming
- Good speeds
- Multiple anonymous payment options
- 2 simultaneous connections per account
- Few in-app options
PureVPN is among the largest VPN providers in the world, with more than 450 servers across 6 continents. It is based in Hong Kong – a location which has a lenient approach to data retention and surveillance, especially when compared to mainland China.
PureVPN offers VPN as standard and Smart DNS as an add-on. Its VPN service uses 256 SSL or AES encryption with the following protocols: PPTP, L2TP/IPsec, SSTP, OpenVPN, and IKEv2.
One of the key benefits of PureVPN is that users can connect on 5 devices at one time, which makes them a wise choice for families and large households.
There are no limits on bandwidth, and no connection or traffic logs are collected. Subscribers can pay anonymously using Bitcoin, WebMoney, and several other options.
One month’s usage costs $9.95, 6 months costs $7.49 a month, while 12 months will set you back a mere $4.16 a month.
- Up to 5 simultaneous connections per account
- Huge server range
- Hong Kong-based (good for privacy)
- Smart DNS can’t be purchased separately
VyprVPN offers VPN, secure online storage, and Cyphr – Vypr’s own encrypted messaging service. The company is based in Texas and operated by global tech experts Golden Frog.
VyprVPN offers proprietary applications for all major platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, Android, and iOS, as well as the fact that the entirety of Golden Frog’s infrastructure is claimed to be managed in-house.
Currently, VyprVPN have more than 700 servers across five continents. Its VPN service supports OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec, and PPTP protocols.
According to its website, the company does not retain traffic or DNS logs, though connection logs are kept for up to 30 days.
There are three packages on offer. Basic costs $6.67 per month and allows one connection. Pro is $8.33 a month and allows two connections, and the Premier package is $10 per month and allows three simultaneous connections. All services include varying degrees of bonus cloud storage.
There is also a free VyprVPN trial, which offers users a taster of the VPN service with a 500Mb per month allowance.
- Large server range
- Strong encryption
- Customised OpenVPN protocol
- Free trial available
- Does not accept Bitcoin
- Free trial only supports PPTP
- Connection (not traffic) logs kept for 30 days
ExpressVPN is a large and reputable provider with servers in almost 80 countries. They are headquartered in the British Virgin Islands and were founded in 2009.
It offers 256-bit SSL-secured encryption and the OpenVPN UDP protocol is available as standard. It also allows users to connect over the following VPN protocols: OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, and PPTP.
ExpressVPN accepts numerous methods of payment, including Bitcoin, WebMoney, and Yandex Money. There are no restrictions on bandwidth and no browsing logs are retained.
A one month subscription costs $12.95, six months is $9.99 a month, while a 12 month subscription is the cheapest option at $8.32.
- Extensive server range
- Known for fast speeds
- No logs
- User-friendly configuration
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- More expensive than many other providers
- Only a few in-app features
HideMyAss has its headquarters in London, which makes them subject to UK data retention laws, though HideMyAss has said that it will only disclose personal information if they are legally compelled to do so.
It has around 900 servers in over 210 countries, which makes it one of the largest VPN providers around today. Its VPN service uses OpenVPN-TCP as standard, as well as OpenVPN-UDP, PPTP, and L2TP protocols:
The Windows client has some useful features, including fast IP toggling, a server speed guide, and automatic balance loading. It does collect connection logs, but not traffic logs.
There are three levels of VPN protection on offer. The ‘Smart-ass’ package costs $6.55 per month for a 12 month period. The ‘Half-ass’ package is $8.33 per month for 6 months, while one month costs $11.52.
- Huge server range
- Unique client features such as quick IP toggling
- User-friendly apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS
- No support for OpenVPN AES
ibVPN is smaller than most of the other providers mentioned here, though it still offers almost 100 servers in just shy of 40 countries. Its headquarters are in Romania, which is a good location for privacy because of the country’s relaxed approach to data retention.
For encryption, it implements up to 256-bit encryption and offers the following protocols: PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN, and SSTP. Aside from its VPN package, ibVPN also offers a Smart DNS service called ibDNS. ibVPN retains connection logs for 7 days but not usage logs.
There are four price plans on offer, which all work out cheaper if you pay for the entire year up front (rather than paying monthly). Ultimate VPN+Smart DNS costs $6.91 per month. Total VPN+Smart DNS costs $5.83 per month. ibDNS, which is Smart DNS without VPN, and their P2P package, which is a VPN just for torrenting, both cost $3.08 per month. Note: all prices are based on annual plans.
- Based in Romania (good for privacy)
- Free trial for VPN and Smart DNS available
- Good value-for-money Smart DNS plan
- Large server range
- Only up to 2 simultaneous connections per account