Although gaming doesn’t jump to mind when talking about a virtual private network (VPN), there are myriad uses for one on your PlayStation 4. With a VPN, you can connect to servers around the world, allowing you to shop the PlayStation Store in other regions and pair up with players on the other side of the globe. Plus, a VPN encrypts your internet connection, protecting your personal data from anyone spying on your connection, and it can get past internet service provider speed throttling.
Unfortunately, Sony doesn’t make setting up a VPN on your PS4 easy, but there are some workarounds. Here are the two best methods for how to use a VPN with your PlayStation 4.
Method 1: Use your router
The easiest way to use a VPN with your PlayStation 4 is through your router. By setting up a VPN on your router, you can automatically encrypt all of the traffic flowing through that router, including what’s coming from your PS4. Although digging around in your router’s settings may seem like a lot, setting up a VPN on your router is straightforward. Plus, you don’t have to deal with running Ethernet cables.
Step 1: Find the right VPN for you
There are a ton of VPNs on the internet, each with their own strengths, weaknesses, and costs. Many VPNs will run you a subscription fee, and while some others are free, they limit how much data you can use per month without spending any money. Figuring out which VPN you want to use is the big first step, and it might take a bit of research.
Luckily, you can shortcut that process a bit. We’ve tested a number of VPNs to find the best ones — check out our guide to VPNs to help find the option that’s right for your uses.
Step 2: Log in to your router
You can log in to your router by entering its IP address in any browser. There are other ways, as well, though they depend on your brand of router. If you’re unsure what your IP is, you can find it in Windows by opening the Command Prompt, typing “ipconfig,” and pressing Enter. Find your network adapter and look under Default Gateway. That’s the IP address you should use. You can look up your IP address online, but that will give you your public IP address, not the IP address of your router. You want the latter.
If this is your first time logging into your router, you’ll need the standard login credentials. Usually, it’s something generic like “admin” for the username and password, but consult your router’s manual for the proper login information.
Step 3: Configure your VPN
The specific process for configuring a VPN on your router varies not only between router brands, but between VPN services, too. If you’re manually setting up the VPN connection, you’ll need a configuration file from your VPN provider (you can usually find them within the support section). Then, it’s just a matter of importing the configuration file into your router’s control panel and turning on the service. Testing with a Netgear router, we found the VPN configuration screen under the Advanced Setup tab.
Some VPN services, such as ExpressVPN, offer router firmware installation, too. Only specific router models support custom firmware, so again, it’s best to consult your router and VPN service. Installing custom firmware is much easier than managing configuration files. However, manual installations allow you to revert back to your previous settings without re-flashing your firmware.
Step 4: Connect your PS4 to the network
Once you’ve verified that the VPN is working — look up your IP address when connected to make sure — all you have to do is make sure your PS4 is connected to the router. No matter if you’re using Wi-Fi or Ethernet, go to Settings > Network on your PS4. Selected Set Up a Connection, then choose the Easy method. Go through the prompts, ensuring that the Do Not Use a Proxy Server box is ticked, and finally verify your connection.
Method 2: Use a computer
If you’re stuck with the modem and router you got from your internet service provider, it probably can’t handle the setup described above. Using your computer for your connection doesn’t require any additional hardware, so it’s likely the most accessible option for most players. You can connect your VPN directly to a PC or Mac running a VPN and secure your PS4 connection that way. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Set up your VPN
First, find your VPN, install it, and set it up on your computer. You’ll find lots of options that work in different ways (including browser extensions) but the majority of this process is installing the VPN’s software on your computer and configuring it. If you need help, we’ve got a handy guide for the VPN setup process that can walk you through it.
Step 2: Connect your PS4 to your PC with an Ethernet cable
You’ll need to link your PlayStation 4 to the computer you installed the VPN on in order to use the computer as a passthrough for your VPN’s internet, and that’s going to require an Ethernet cable. Connect the machines and you’ll be ready to tell the software to connect your PS4 to the internet.
Step 3: Change the connection settings on your VPN
With the VPN installed on your computer, open Control Panel in Windows or right-click the Internet Access icon in the system tray. Navigate to Network and Internet Settings in both cases. Once there, click on Change Adapter Options.
That’ll bring you to a new window that shows all your network connections. Find your VPN and right-click it to bring up a menu. Select the Properties option to open a new menu window and it will have five tabs at the top. Choose Sharing and click the box next to Allow network users to connect through this computer’s internet connection.
You’ll also see a drop-down menu that will allow you to choose which connection on your computer you want to choose for sharing through your VPN. Choose the connection that relates to your Ethernet adapter if you’re on a laptop.
Step 4: Set up the connection on your PS4
Now that your computer and VPN are allowing other devices to connect through them, you can go to your PS4 and set up its internet connection. From the home dashboard, go to the top row of icons and find the Settings menu on the far right end — it looks like a suitcase.
In the settings menu, navigate to Network Settings, and choose Set Up an Internet Connection. When the PS4 prompts you, select the option to use a LAN cable rather than a Wi-Fi connection. Then choose Easy Setup to let the PS4 scan for the connection itself.
The PS4 should find all the settings related to the VPN connection on its own. You may also see several prompts, asking you questions about whether you want to use a manual or automatic IP address, if you want to specify a DHCP hostname or DNS settings, or if you want to use a proxy server, so make use of those settings if you have need of them.
If you’re seeing all those prompts and you chose the Easy Setup option, chances are good your PS4 isn’t detecting your VPN’s settings automatically, and you might have an issue somewhere. We found that likely means you specified the wrong connection on your VPN’s sharing settings. If everything is set up correctly and you choose Easy Setup, the PS4 should detect everything automatically and give you no further prompts.
Once you’re done, test your internet connection to make sure everything’s working right. If you get a clean bill of health for your PS4, you’re connected to the internet and ready to use a VPN with your PS4.