Best VPN for Gaming in 2024 – Top VPN for Gamers and Beginners

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The best VPN for gaming can make a huge difference, whether you’re a pro gamer or an amateur gaming enthusiast looking for a secure way to play online. Gaming VPNs can help you improve your experiences by enhancing connection speeds, online security, and privacy and unblocking geo-restricted video games and streaming content. VPNs can also block DDoS attacks and help prevent internet service provider throttling.

We’ve reviewed and compared the best gaming VPNs for various use cases for this comprehensive guide so you can find the best solution for your needs.

Surfshark – Superb VPN with Unlimited Connections

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PureVPN – Functional VPN With Cheap Add-Ons

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ExpressVPN – Fast VPN With a Free Password Manager

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NordVPN – Feature-rich VPN for Security and Privacy

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IvacyVPN - Very Affordable Long-Term VPN

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CyberGhostVPN – Secure VPN With Various Dedicated Servers

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Best Gaming VPNs at a Glance

  1. Surfshark – Best VPN for gaming in gamer households
  2. PureVPN – Top gaming VPN for port forwarding and playing multiplayer games
  3. ExpressVPN – User-friendly gaming VPN compatible with consoles
  4. NordVPN – Fastest gaming VPN for competitive gamers
  5. IvacyVPN – Best affordable VPN for mobile gaming
  6. CyberGhost – Good gaming VPN with a high server count

Best VPNs for Online Gaming Reviewed

We’ve rounded up the best VPNs for gaming online after thoroughly assessing testing criteria such as speed retention, server locations, device compatibility, and more. Keep reading to find the ideal option for your needs.

1. Surfshark – Best Gaming VPN for Large Gamer Households

Compatibility Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, iPad, Android, browsers, Apple TV, Android TV, Fire TV, gaming consoles, and routers
Max Devices Unlimited
Server Network 3,200+ servers in 100+ countries
Starting Price From $2.19/month
Why We Picked It

Surfshark is a powerful gaming VPN known for supporting unlimited devices with a single subscription – ideal for busy gamer households that need simultaneous VPN connections.

Features

Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous connections and the speedy WireGuard protocol, which retains over 86% of the original internet network speed and connects to high-speed servers.

It has over 3,200 servers in 100+ countries, with a minimum of 1Gbps port connection and 10Gbps servers in 93 countries. Large server port sizes have greater bandwidth, ensuring smooth, lag-free connections. Alternatively, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost have 10Gbps servers in only 24 and 31 countries, respectively.

For additional safety, Surfshark includes an automated kill switch, which cuts off your internet traffic if the VPN connection drops. However, if in-game performance is a priority, you can deactivate it.

Surfshark unblocks servers for popular competitive games like Valorant, Warzone, and Fortnite. It can also be used with the Steam and Epic Games libraries. It’s compatible with all major operating systems (Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android) and works with gaming consoles by configuring a VPN on the router.

Its four protocols (OpenVPN, WireGuard, IKEv2, and L2TP) cater to different user needs regarding security, speed, and device compatibility. Additional security features include an audited no logs service, split tunneling, multi-hop/double VPN, and Camouflage Mode (hides that you’re using a VPN).

Pricing

Surfshark has three plans, with the cheapest option starting at $2.19/month. All plans work on unlimited devices and have a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free trial on iOS and Android.

Who It's Best For

Surfshark’s high speed, reliable server fleet, and unlimited device connections make it an appealing option for large households with gamers. In addition, its cybersecurity features will help further fortify your online and local/on-device security.

Pros

  • Affordable prices
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • WireGuard protocol and high-speed servers
  • Wide device compatibility

Cons

  • No free plan
Surfshark
9.5
Review

2. PureVPN – Best Gaming VPN for Hosting Multiplayer Games

Compatibility Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, iPad, Apple TV, Android, consoles, browsers, and routers
Max Devices 10
Server Network 6,500+ servers in 65+ countries
Starting Price From $3.19/month
Why We Picked It

PureVPN is one of the few gaming VPN providers with a port forwarding feature, which is helpful for hosting multiplayer games on your local server with minimal lag.

Features

PureVPN offers port forwarding as an add-on, which is handy for hosting stable multiplayer game servers. Port forwarding channels traffic directly from the game port to your server so your friends outside your local network can join your game and play without lag. You can use it to play popular multiplayer games like Minecraft, Call of Duty, Apex Legends, and Fortnite.

PureVPN retains close to 67% of the original connection speed, which isn’t as swift as Surfshark or NordVPN, but it’s fast enough. Although it’s only in 65+ countries, its 6,500 servers are more than Surfshark and ExpressVPN offer. In addition, it has 20Gbps servers in three key locations (London, Manchester, and Washington, DC) for increased speed and minimal congestion.

PureVPN also has an Always-On Audit no-log policy, a kill switch, AES-256 encryption, split tunneling, and multiple protocols (WireGuard, IKEv2, and OpenVPN).

It works with most operating systems (desktop and mobile) and gaming consoles using VPN routers and has a dedicated router applet for easier configuration. It also unlocks different regions for video game stores, like Steam and Epic Games.

Pricing

PureVPN has three fairly affordable plans, with the cheapest one retailing for just $3.19/month. All plans have a 31-day money-back guarantee and allow for up to 10 simultaneous connections. While there is no free plan or trial, you can test the service for $0.99 for seven days.

Who It's Best For

PureVPN is ideal for gamers who host multiplayer game servers for a seamless, lag-free co-op playing experience.

Pros

  • Port forwarding for enhanced multiplayer gaming
  • Large server fleet
  • 20Gbps server ports
  • Split tunneling

Cons

  • Port forwarding is a paid add-on
  • No free plan or trial
PureVPN
9.4
Review

3. ExpressVPN – Best Gaming VPN for Usability and Consoles

Compatibility Windows, Mac, Linux, Chromebook, Android, iOS, Fire Tablet, Fire TV, Apple TV, gaming consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox One), browsers, and routers
Max Devices 8
Server Network 3,000+ servers in 105+ countries
Starting Price From $6.67/month
Why We Picked It

ExpressVPN is renowned for its simple, beginner-friendly interface and impressive device compatibility, including consoles. It also packs safety features like parental controls and a password manager.

Features

ExpressVPN is excellent for beginners with its neat app interface that’s easy to use across all supported platforms. With its Aircove Wi-Fi 6 router, you get VPN on all devices at home, including ones that lack native VPN support. So, if you enjoy competitive gaming on your PlayStation or Xbox gaming console, you can use ExpressVPN (and Aircove) to play with gamers globally.

Retaining approximately 77% of its original network speed, ExpressVPN comfortably meets demanding speed requirements. With 3,000+ servers in 105 countries, 80% of which are 10Gbps servers, you won’t have issues with reliability or speed in most regions. Plus, it unblocks most game servers, including League of Legends, PUBG, Minecraft, Call of Duty, GTA V Online, FIFA, and Destiny 2.

ExpressVPN’s robust security features include DDoS and DNS leak protection, 256-bit AES encryption, a kill switch, split tunneling, parental controls, no-log policy, and a password manager. It also has three versatile protocols for speed, stability, and security: Lightway, IKEv2, and OpenVPN.

Pricing

ExpressVPN offers a single tier, with monthly rates starting at $6.67. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 7-day free Android VPN and VPN for iPhone app trial.

The Aircove routers are available separately – Aircove costs $189.90, and the portable Aircove Go costs $169.90.

Who It's Best For

ExpressVPN is best for beginners or users seeking a user-friendly interface and competitive console gamers striving to play in other regions.

Pros

  • User-friendly interface
  • Console support with Aircove
  • High Internet speed retention
  • Additional security features

Cons

  • Expensive pricing
  • No dedicated IP or multi-hop VPN
ExpressVPN
9.2
Review

4. NordVPN – Fastest Gaming VPN for Competitive Gamers

Compatibility Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, gaming consoles like Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation 5, smart TVs, Chromebook and Kindle, browsers (Chrome, Firefox, and Edge), and routers
Max Devices 10
Server Network 6,400+ servers in 111+ countries
Starting Price From $3.09/month
Why We Picked It

NordVPN is the fastest VPN in the market, with a 90% original speed retention rate. This makes it perfect for competitive gaming, where split-second decisions are crucial. It also offers advanced security features – from secure encryption to geo-restriction bypass, ensuring an uninterrupted and safe gaming experience.

Features

NordVPN’s global network of 6,400 VPN servers eliminates gaming restrictions and reduces high ping by linking you to a server geographically close to your target destination. Moreover, those playing quick-paced games will appreciate its fast and stable connection speeds, which considerably outpace competitors.

It supports up to 10 devices across various operating systems. However, mobile users may find the apps’ interface slightly clunky.

Regarding security, NordVPN offers AES-256 encryption, an independently audited no-log policy, double VPN, and obfuscated servers, which disguise your VPN traffic as regular traffic to bypass heavy censorship.

For multiplayer gaming, NordVPN’s Meshnet feature allows players to establish private virtual networks for direct communication – enabling high-speed, secure connections with low latency. Moreover, frequent changing of IP during online gaming sessions could lead to blacklisting. Therefore, NordVPN offers a dedicated IP assigned exclusively to one user to lower this risk.

It’s compatible with major operating systems, like Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, and works with gaming consoles connected to a VPN-configured router. Additionally, NordVPN provides threat protection that scans for malware, blocks ads and prevents online tracking.

Pricing

NordVPN has three plans, with prices starting at $3.09/month. And while there is no free trial, you can test the service by using its standard 30-day money-back guarantee.

Who It's Best For

NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for games that prioritize blazing server speeds during competitive gameplay and fortified security to protect their online presence without sacrificing performance.

Pros

  • 90% speed retention
  • Advanced security features
  • Unique Meshnet creates a virtual network
  • Browser malware protection

Cons

  • Clunky interface on mobile apps
  • Steep price hikes on renewal
NordVPN
9.2
Review

5. Ivacy VPN – Best Free Gaming VPN Provider

Compatibility Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Linux, consoles like Xbox Series X/S and PlayStation5, smart TVs, browsers, and routers
Max Devices 10
Server Network 5,700+ servers in 70+ countries
Starting Price From $1.17/month
Why We Picked It

IvacyVPN’s budget-friendly pricing structure sets it apart from its competitors. It presents gamers with a full-featured VPN and multiple subscription options that become increasingly economical with longer commitments.

Features

IvacyVPN’s wide distribution of servers – 5,700+ VPN servers in 70+ countries, ensures flexible server switching to bypass geo-blocked content. However, speed retention drops by 50% when connecting to distant servers, leading to noticeable ping.

IvacyVPN includes a kill switch that automatically cuts off your internet connection if the VPN connection drops. However, it’s unavailable for Mac and iOS devices, making it slightly less secure.

This VPN gives you access to favored games like Minecraft and Fortnite and works with the Steam gaming platform. It’s also compatible with common operating systems, smart TVs, routers, and gaming consoles (by configuring the VPN on a router).

You can choose between three protocols (OpenVPN, IKEv2/IPSec, and WireGuard) depending on your security needs. It lacks a double or multi-hop VPN, but DNS and IPv6 leak protection enhance online anonymity. There’s also split tunneling, 256-bit AES encryption, and port forwarding (as an add-on).

Pricing

IvacyVPN has a single pricing plan with different subscription terms, the cheapest starting at just $1.17/month. All subscription terms include a 31-day money-back guarantee.

Although limited, IvacyVPN also provides a free tier, including a no-logs policy, peer-to-peer file sharing, access to geo-restricted content, and wide device compatibility. There’s also a 7-day paid free trial for $0.99.

Who It's Best For

IvacyVPN is ideal for budget-conscious gamers seeking an affordable and feature-rich VPN service.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly long-term plan
  • Unlocks popular games and streaming platforms
  • Offers a free plan

Cons

  • Noticeable latency while connecting to far-off locations
  • No kill switch on Mac and iOS
IvacyVPN
8.7
Review

6. CyberGhost – Best Gaming VPN with a High Server Count

Compatibility Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, consoles like Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch, smart TVs, browsers, and routers
Max Devices 7
Server Network 11,500+ servers in 100+ countries
Starting Price From $2.19/month
Why We Picked It

CyberGhost has the highest server count among its contenders, with over 11,500 servers in 100 countries. Remarkably, 27 of these countries feature 10Gbps ports. This extensive network enables users to access geo-restricted games and guarantees access to less congested servers for improved speeds and bandwidths.

Features

Unlike NordVPN and ExpressVPN, CyberGhost includes gaming-optimized servers that maintain low ping. However, currently, they’re limited to Windows only. For additional privacy, CyberGhost also hosts NoSpy servers, which eliminate third-party access to hardware and are exclusively managed by CyberGhost’s internal staff.

This VPN retains between 67% and 86% of its original internet speed, meeting the demands of most fast-moving games. However, its seven simultaneous connections may not suffice for larger gaming households. CyberGhost unblocks games like Valorant, CS:GO, Fortnite, Minecraft, League of Legends, and more.

All packages include a kill switch, DDoS protection, AES 256-bit encryption, and split tunneling. It also supports multiple protocols (IKEv2, WireGuard, OpenVPN, and L2TP/IPsec) and, similar to NordVPN, has a dedicated IP. Additionally, CyberGhost includes a Smart Rules feature for customizing your connection settings.

It’s compatible with major operating systems and routers. By configuring the VPN on a router, you can use it with gaming consoles, including the PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch.

Pricing

CyberGhost has a single-tier plan with the most affordable option retailing for $2.19/month. There’s also a generous 45-day money-back guarantee and different free trial options: 24 hours for Windows and Mac, three days for Android, and seven days for iOS users.

There’s also a premium add-on, Security Suite for Windows (additional $1/month), which includes an integrated ad-blocker and antivirus.

Who It's Best For

CyberGhost is perfect for gamers seeking swift connections with the least crowded servers. It’s also the only provider on our list with gaming-optimized servers.

Pros

  • Optimized servers for gaming
  • Self-owned and self-operated NoSpy servers
  • App customizations through the Smart Rules feature

Cons

  • Gaming-optimized servers are Windows-only
  • Limited device connections
CyberGhostVPN
8.7
Review

Best Gaming VPNs Compared

This comparison table highlights the main differences between the top VPNs for gaming, allowing you to quickly find the best solution for your needs:

Best VPNs for Gaming Surfshark PureVPN ExpressVPN NordVPN IvacyVPN CyberGhost
Simultaneous Connection Unlimited 10 8 10 10 7
Server Fleet 3,200 servers in 100+ countries 6,500+ servers in 65+ countries 3,000+ servers in 105 countries 6,400+ servers across 111 countries 5,700 servers in 70+ countries 11,500+ servers in 100 countries
Speed Retention 86% 67% 77% 90% 50% 67 to 86%
Kill Switch Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (not on Mac and iOS) Yes
Free trial 7 days (on Android, iOS, and Mac) No 7 days (on Android and iOS) No No 24 hours (Windows and Mac), 3 days (Android)7 days (iOS)
Starting Price $2.19/month $3.19/month $6.67/month $3.09/month $1.17/month $2.19/month
Methodology

How We Review and Test VPN Services

20 VPNS TESTED

25 DATA POINTS MEASURED

300+ HOURS TESTING

500+ USER REVIEWS READ

To provide our readers with accurate and well informed recommendations, we tested 20 leading VPN services to find the best in the market. Our methodology consists of the following criteria:

  • Security Features: We made sure that the provider uses standard security features and a secure tunneling protocol.
  • Privacy Policies: We looked for VPNs that come with a no-logs policy, and verify the extend to which user privacy is upheld.
  • Speed: We run speed tests three times a day and draw an average of the result to see how much of the original broadband speed is retained.
  • Compatibility: We ensure the VPN provider offers multiple simultaneous connections and is compatible with the most popular operating systems.
  • Geo-unblocking: We test whether the VPN service can unlock different libraries (content available in different countries) on the most popular streaming platforms.
  • Customer Experience: When researching products and services, we read real user experiences and test out their customer support channels ourselves.
  • Price and Value for Money: We set out to recommend reasonably priced products that offer value for money.

Why Do You Need a VPN for Games?

A VPN provides several benefits for gaming:

  • Enhanced Security – VPNs encrypt your online activity, protecting your personal information from hackers and various types of cyber threats. This means you can safely play your favorite games online and on public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) Attack Protection – Since VPNs hide your real IP address, DDoS attacks can’t trace your network.
  • Access to Geo-Restricted Games – Some games are only available in specific regions. With a VPN, you can log in via a region where the game is available so you can get access to it. You can also find easy bot lobbies for Warzone and other games.
  • VPNs Reduce Ping and Latency – You can reduce latency for a more responsive gaming experience by selecting a server geographically closer to your location or the game’s servers.
  • Avoid Bandwidth Throttling – ISPs throttle internet speeds to manage network traffic, but slow speeds negatively impact gaming. A VPN can help avoid ISP throttling by hiding your activity from your internet service provider so they can’t single you out based on your data usage.
  • Bypass IP Bans – A VPN will give you a new IP address, which you can use to bypass any IP bans imposed on you in games.

    How to Choose the Best VPN for Gamers

    Here are some of the key factors to consider when selecting the best VPN for gaming, whether looking at premium providers or alternatives like Atlas VPN:

    Speed RetentionServer LocationsServer DistributionDevice CompatibilitySimultaneous DevicesPrivacy and SecurityEase of UsePricing

    Speed Retention – VPNs with excellent connection speeds will ensure a smooth, lag-free online experience, which is crucial for competitive games. VPN speed testing is a useful way to compare services, as connection speed is critical.

    Server Locations – A VPN with servers close to both your geographical location and the servers of the games you play online will minimize latency.

    Server Distribution – If you travel frequently or seek access to multiple regions to bypass geo-blocking, you’ll want a VPN with servers across many countries. Some of the best VPNs on our list have servers in over 100 countries.

    Device Compatibility – The VPN should be compatible with your devices, including computers, mobile phones, and consoles. Gaming consoles don’t support VPNs natively, so you should get a VPN that you can set up on your router.

    Simultaneous Devices – VPNs that support numerous simultaneous connections are ideal for large households with multiple gamers. Surfshark’s unlimited connections are a great example of the best the market has to offer.

    Privacy and Security – Essential security features for gaming VPNs include strong encryption – such as AES-256 – kill switches, access to multiple protocols, and a no-logs policy.

    For additional security features, check out our picks for the best antivirus for gaming PC users.

    Ease of Use – Beginners will appreciate VPNs with user-friendly interfaces and simple setups. They should also allow quick switching between servers to optimize gaming performance.

    Pricing – Most VPNs have a considerably cheaper monthly rate when you sign up for longer subscription periods. If you’re taking advantage of a discount, remember to check the rate at which the plan will renew.

      Are VPNs Legal for Gaming?

      VPNs are generally legal for gaming. They can enhance your safety, improve latency, and ensure private internet access and fast and stable connections to gaming servers. However, VPNs face criticism as some individuals may use them for illegal online activities.

      Some countries where VPN use is completely illegal include Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Belarus, Turkmenistan, and Oman.

      Countries where VPN use is heavily restricted include Russia, China, Egypt, UAE, and Uganda.

      Gaming platforms like Steam and Epic Games allow VPN use while gaming but not for purchasing games from other regions at a lower price. If you are caught attempting to do this, your account may be banned.

      Will I Get Banned for Using a VPN?

      Although gaming VPNs are effective for security, not all games and gaming stores approve of their use. For example, Steam prohibits using a VPN to change your region to pay a lower price for a video game. However, it doesn’t strictly forbid playing games using a VPN.

      Check a game or platform’s policies before using a VPN to avoid any risk of account suspension or termination.

      Which Games Work With a VPN?

      Some popular games that work with VPNs include:

      • Fortnite
      • Call of Duty: Warzone
      • League of Legends
      • World of Warcraft
      • Final Fantasy XIV

      When you activate your virtual private network while gaming, it establishes a secure connection from your device to the VPN’s servers. This tunnel encrypts your gaming data, safeguarding the traffic until it reaches the VPN server.

      It’s then decrypted and relayed to the game server, giving the impression it originated from the VPN server’s location. The VPN also masks your actual IP address with a virtual one, preventing malicious parties from identifying your location or disrupting your gaming connectivity.

      Potential limitations of gaming VPNs include increased latency and speed and gaming account bans due to users bypassing regional pricing restrictions or violating game service terms.

      Will a VPN Slow Down Gaming?

      Since VPNs reroute your internet traffic via an additional server, the data will have a longer journey to the server and back to your gaming device. This can slightly decrease your original broadband speed, making the connection slower.

      However, a good, fast VPN, like NordVPN or Surfshark, will reduce the speed so little – by 10-15% – that a typical gamer will notice no difference.

      Can I Reduce Gaming Latency With a VPN Service?

      Yes, a VPN can help you reduce latency while gaming. Here are a few ways to speed up your internet connection:

      • Choosing a VPN with gaming-optimized servers – Gaming servers can handle higher speeds and are located strategically to minimize travel time.
      • Connecting to a less congested server – Switching between different servers to find one with a lighter load may take some trial and error, but it can greatly enhance your internet speed. This can also prevent ISP throttling.
      • Enable split tunneling – Split tunneling directs gaming traffic through the VPN server while routing non-gaming traffic through the regular internet connection, optimizing speed.

      Which Server Locations are Best for Gaming?

      Different games have servers in different locations, so no one server location is best for gaming overall.

      The best gaming server for you will depend on your country of residence, the game you’re playing, and the congestion of its servers.

      Game Best VPN Server Locations
      Valorant North America, Brazil, Europe, South Korea, and Asia Pacific
      Fortnite North America, Brazil, Europe, Oceania, the Middle East, and Asia
      Warzone Europe, South Africa, Middle East, South Korea, Japan, and Australia
      League of Legends Brazil, Europe (EUNE and EUW), Latin America (LAN and LAS), Oceania, South Korea, and East Asia

      What Is the Best Free VPN for Gaming?

      IvacyVPN is the best free VPN for gaming, offering AES 256-bit encryption, 24/7 customer support, a strict no-logs policy, and an automatic kill switch. However, while a free gaming VPN might sound attractive, it lacks the high speeds and security required for online gaming.

      Free VPNs also generally offer fewer resources, cap their data, or, in a worst-case scenario, may collect your browsing data and sell it to third parties. Because of this, we recommend opting for a reliable VPN with a free trial or a long money-back guarantee.

      How to Use a VPN for Gaming

      Here’s a step-by-step guide to installing and using a reliable VPN for gaming.

      1. Buy a Surfshark VPN subscription

        Visit the official Surfshark page, choose a subscription, purchase the plan, and create an account.

      2. Download and install the Surfshark app

        Download the VPN app for your device, and then either install or launch the app on your device.

        <strong>Download and install the Surfshark app</strong>
      3. Create an account

        To start using the Surfshark VPN, you’ll need to create an account. Select “Create an account” to get started.

        <strong>Create an account</strong>
      4. Choose a VPN server and connect

        Once logged in, select your preferred VPN server. We chose one located in the US.

        <strong>Choose a VPN server and connect</strong>
      5. Enjoy a secure online gaming experience

        You’re now securely connected to your selected server and can start playing popular online games while staying secure and anonymous.

      FAQs

      What does a VPN do for gaming?

      What’s the best VPN protocol for gaming?

      Do you need a VPN router for gaming?

      Are there good free VPNs for gaming?

      Is it legal to use a VPN for gaming?

      Will a VPN increase my ping?

      What is the fastest VPN for gaming?

      Krishi Chowdhary
      Tech Expert
      Krishi Chowdhary
      Tech Expert

      Krishi Chowdhary has half a decade of experience writing buying guides and product reviews for numerous leading technology websites. He spent two years writing for Business2Community.com before joining Techopedia.com. He has a degree in Commerce and extensive experience in the technology industry. He's also the key driver behind TechReport.com's news content, delivering expertise insight into the latest tech and cybersecurity news daily.