In the online gaming world, everyone knows about Steam. It’s a platform where game distribution, forums, servers, single and multiplayer experience converges. You can buy your games online and download them immediately to your computer to start playing with your friends. However, you may often find your connection restricted, be it local or regional. Bypassing these obstacles with a VPN sounds like an easy job, but is it really that easy? And more importantly: is it possible to buy a cheaper version of the game that has a regional lock, and disguise yourself as a foreign player to get around the system? The short answer: yes, but it’s risky.
Why Use a VPN with Steam?
There are two main reasons someone would resort to using a VPN in conjunction with Steam. First, is just to be able to access the service anywhere, anytime. Schools and workplaces often prohibit their network to reach Steam, because kids or employees could use it to secretly play games. This is obviously an issue outside of Steam’s boundaries, as they aren’t the ones restricting you. Nevertheless, you are the one suffering the consequences. You may try to log into a remote PC that is outside of the network but setting up a VPN is much easier. Just search for a provider who offers you its own client to avoid unnecessary complications with the settings.
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The other case is related to Steam’s pricing strategy: when buying a game, you buy a key to unlock said game on your account. There are regional and local keys. The former can be activated regardless your location, while the latter is meant for the players of the given country only. Naturally, a Russian game key is much cheaper because it was meant for a smaller target audience. This leads to a conclusion that purchasing a regional key and accessing Steam via VPN would potentially allow you to spare some cash, right? Sadly, the answer is no, because of the…
Bans on VPN Usage
In its SSA, Steam clearly states that “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, we may terminate your access to your Account.” This clearly covers any use of VPN. No matter whether you want to bypass the network regulation of your workplace, or just want to enjoy a game for less money, you bring doom to your own head for trying.
The interesting thing is that you find countless pages on the internet describing the advantages of VPN usage to exploit Steam, despite the obvious dangers. The topic gained publicity when a large number of players used a VPN to gain early access to the popular game Fallout 4. They logged in through a region that had an early release date, thus starting the Fallout 4 fun much earlier. But keep in mind that just because a trick works, it doesn’t mean you won’t be punished later on. Sure, you can bypass the blocks and start playing a game belonging to another region– you just might not be able to finish it, because Steam may catch you sooner or later.
How to Set up a VPN with Steam
As you see, your account only be banned if Steam discovers that you are using a VPN. There are certain elements that could tell an automated program that the IP you are using is from a VPN server. This is most likely the result of you connecting to a shared server.
The main characteristics of a shared server are that multiple people are using the same IP (which is a surefire way to get caught) and that the address has numbers indicating that it belongs to a VPN server. These are the tiny technical details that could cost you your account. However, there are dedicated servers, too. In this case, you gain entry to your very own private IP, with a more believable address that no one else shares. This way you could greatly reduce your chance of being detected by Steam.
We also have an extra tip for you: pick a VPN service with a long trial period! If you are determined enough, you can finish your game before it ends, saving you from additional expenses.
VPN vs Proxy
When it comes to choosing between proxies and VPN, be sure to pick the latter. It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference at first sight, but VPNs are far more dependable. When you do some research about unlocking content via data tunneling, you’ll realize that others always recommend using a VPN. And there is a good reason for it. VPN rerouting is a much more refined process, where you have more control over the security options. You can choose the server type, the protocols, the strength of the connection etc. Fooling Steam isn’t easy, and the hubris of overlooking such credential details only invite downfall. When it comes to choosing your provider, don’t be hasty; read some reviews to gather all the necessary information.
Recommended VPN Services
A number of VPN companies specifically cater to avid Steam gamers. We’ve handpicked a couple of recommended options and tested them to ensure they play nicely with Steam, so you don’t have to worry about losing your account.
A true success story emerging from the British Virgin Islands, Surfshark proves that young providers can also aim big when they do all the right things. The service was created in 2018 and didn’t take too long to make a name for itself as one of the cheapest on the market. It almost seems too good to be true, but there’s no hidden downside to this, as Surfshark’s speeds are impressive on a VPN network that covers the entire world. In addition, there’s also a double VPN mode, customizable connections for the most demanding customer, great support, and intuitive apps for all kinds of devices.
HideMyAss is a VPN provider famous for its dependable service. They have servers in 182 countries, which means that you can choose from around 113,000 IPs. HMA guards your identity well, allowing easy entry to geographically locked content. You also benefit from their 30-day money back guarantee: you could just subscribe for a month, finish your game, and then ask for a full refund.
VyprVPN is worth considering when you go to battle against Steam. The service promises fast connection times, no matter which location you have eyes on. As for the actual numbers, VyprVPN has more than 700 servers in 40+ countries. Still, the reason you could side with this provider lies in their unique features. VyprVPN came up with a protocol that scrambles your metadata, eliminating the chance Steam could identify you.
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