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If you’re a regular MakeUseOf reader, you already know we recommend virtual private networks (VPNs) all the time. It makes your internet traffic more secure. Prevents specific types of monitoring and targeting. Helps you hide your location. And it can even improve your online gaming speed.
The same is true of using a VPN for your PS4. You might not think your game console needs a VPN, but there are lots of advantages to doing so. Let’s take a look at those advantages and then get into how to set up a VPN on a PS4.
Why Your PS4 Needs a VPN
Sony’s powerful machine has quickly become the media center of many households. You can stream through Netflix, Amazon Prime, and many other services. And with a VPN, you can access streaming options from different countries, opening up lots of new options. This alone will make it worth the trouble for many people.
More importantly, all of the internet traffic going in and out of your PS4 will be encrypted with a VPN. The PlayStation Network doesn’t have a stellar reputation for security, so this encryption is more important than ever. Especially if you’re sending any potentially sensitive information through your PlayStation.
Many people, of course, will be interested in the potentially faster game speeds promised by some VPNs. It seems strange that routing your traffic through an extra server would decrease your ping times, but it can happen in some cases. Some ISPs throttle bandwidth for online gaming, and a VPN keeps them from doing that. It’s also possible that a VPN will give you more efficient server hops. There’s no guarantee that this will happen, but the possibility of it combined with the other advantages of a VPN mean it’s certainly worth trying out.
There are two different ways you can use a VPN with your PS4.
Install a VPN on Your Router
The PlayStation isn’t able to correctly connect with a VPN, but you can get around that problem by installing one on your router. This routes all Wi-Fi traffic from your house — whether from your computer, phone, tablet, or PlayStation — through a VPN. For this reason alone, it’s a good idea to consider this method.
The first thing you’ll need to do to get a VPN set up on your router is to install new firmware. The most popular option for this is DD-WRT. It’s free, it has a huge base of documentation, and makes it easy to get a VPN up and running (it will also turn your router into a super-router). To install the firmware, follow the instructions from the DD-WRT website.
(Don’t worry; it looks complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy.)
From there, head to the Services tab and open the VPN options.
You’ll need to enter some specific details from your VPN service provider (in the video above, they use the Private Internet Access VPN, but you’ll need the information from your own provider). Your best bet is to run a search for “install [your VPN provider] DD-WRT router.” Keep in mind that you might need a premium VPN service to get this capability.
Here are a few guides for popular VPN options:
Keep in mind that you’ll be sending a lot of encrypted traffic through your router with this method, and that could slow down your internet connection. Especially if multiple people are using it at once. On the other hand, it will make sure that all of your traffic is secure, which is a nice benefit.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up a VPN on your router, you can buy a router with the settings for your provider already built in. FlashRouters sells routers with DD-WRT pre-installed and set up for your VPN of choice. Another option is to install the Express VPN app for routers directly to a compatible router.
Connect Through Your Windows VPN
This approach is a bit simpler, but also requires that you have a Windows computer within a cable’s distance of your PS4. You’ll need an ethernet crossover cable to connect your PS4 to your computer — or if you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can make one from any ethernet cable you have around.
Once they’re connected, you’ll need to change your adapter settings. First, open the Settings window:
Then click Network & Internet, and select Wi-Fi from the menu on the left:
Finally, click Change adapter options on the right:
From there, right-click on your Wi-Fi connection (if you connect to the internet wirelessly; if not, select the cable that’s connected to your modem) and select Properties.
In the Sharing tab, check the Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
Then select your crossover cable from the dropdown menu.
Now you should be able to select this ethernet connection from your PS4’s Set Up Internet Connection menu. Once you’ve done that, you’ll be connected!
As long as your computer is connected to the internet through a VPN, your PlayStation will be as well. You could probably make this work over a Wi-Fi connection too, but a cabled connection will help you get faster speeds, which you’ll need for online gaming.
Connect Your PS4 to a VPN Today
There’s no reason to keep your PlayStation connected through an unprotected network. Installing a VPN on your router or using a crossover cable to connect your console to your computer might seem complicated, but the benefits are worth it. Your traffic will be protected, you’ll be able to dodge region blocking, and you’ll get faster ping times in your online games.
What do you have to lose?
Is your PS4 connected to a VPN? Have you gotten better performance out of it? What tips do you have for getting connected? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Image Credit: Alexander Yakimov via Shutterstock.com