How to Use a VPN on PlayStation & Xbox Without a VPN Router?

The big problem with PlayStation and Xbox consoles is their incompatibility with VPN services. In other words, you can't install and run a VPN natively on either of those. However, this isn't where your effort to set up a VPN on a console should stop, as there's an easy-to-manage workaround. Yes, that's true, you can use a VPN on a console without having a VPN router - and we'll show you how this is done.

Before going further, let's take a quick detour. Keep in mind that the best way to use a VPN on your console is by installing it on a VPN-compatible router. This procedure is done only once, and it needs no input from you at any point in the future, as your router is always powered on. So, we recommend you check the best VPN routers right now, and then learn how to install a VPN on a router. However, if you don't want to invest in additional hardware, this article is written precisely for you. We'll show you how to use your computer to share your VPN connection. This way, you can forward that connection to your gaming console, which is how you can use a VPN on your PlayStation and Xbox. This isn't an ideal method, as it requires your computer to be powered on all the time, but it should be perfectly suitable for a wide range of individuals.

One more important piece of information - we'll base this article on using ExpressVPN, as this is truly the best VPN for gaming consoles right now. If you're still haven't made up your mind about which VPN to use, we're more than sure you're going to love absolutely everything about ExpressVPN. However, you can also check other best VPNs for PlayStation and the best gaming VPN services.

Finally, here's how to use a gaming console with a VPN - without having to buy a dedicated VPN router. You'll need to go through the following steps:

Step #1: Go Through The List of Requirements

First, let's make sure that you're ready to go into this process. To make it as smooth as possible, you need to make sure that you have the required equipment as well as to understand how this process should look like. So, here's what you need to prepare.

  • A VPN Subscription: As you can imagine, you need an active VPN subscription. Based on our extensive experience of testing dozens of VPNs (you can find all those reviews published on TechNadu), we've chosen to recommend ExpressVPN. This is perhaps the only VPN that checks all the right boxes and it's perfectly suitable for media streaming and online gaming.
  • A Crossover Ethernet (LAN) Cable: You'll need to connect your computer to your PlayStation or Xbox via a crossover LAN cable. Even though you can use a wireless LAN for this purpose, using an actual cable will bring the best possible performance. Also, make sure to get a high-quality one, like this one made by Belkin (via Amazon).
  • Required Devices & Ports: You need a router for this purpose, which needs to be connected via Ethernet (or wirelessly) to your computer (Windows or macOS). You need to connect your computer to your PlayStation console, which means that both of those devices must have available Ethernet ports (your computer and your gaming console) if you want to take the wired route.

Step #2: Connect Your Computer to Your Gaming Console

Now, it's time to connect your computer to your gaming console. Use a crossover Ethernet cable and connect to Ethernet ports on both ends (one end goes into your computer, and the other end goes to your console).

Depending on a laptop model you have, there's a chance that you won't find an Ethernet port available (especially if you have a very thin and light laptop). In that case, you need an adapter. This means that you should check the available ports on your computer, and then buy an applicable Ethernet adapter. For Windows users, a USB-to-Ethernet adapter (via Amazon) should do the job in the majority of cases.

When it comes to Macs, the situation is a bit more complicated. Apple has been eliminating ports on recent MacBook Air and Pro models. So, make sure to double-check if you have an Ethernet port. If you don't have one, check what other ports are found on your laptop. You'll either need a USB-to-Ethernet, Thunderbolt-to-Ethernet, or a USB-C-to-Ethernet adapter. Click on the provided links to check out the best options found on Amazon.

Remember that you also need to connect your computer to your router as well. To get the best possible performance, use a wired (Ethernet) connection. However, this means that you'll need two Ethernet ports on your computer (one for connecting to your router, and the other for connecting to your console). Therefore, this is usually done on Windows desktop PCs (as many network cards come with multiple Ethernet ports). If you have a laptop and want everything to be wired, you can go for an Ethernet network switch (via Amazon). Of course, you can also connect your computer to your router wirelessly.

Step #3: Install the VPN on Your Computer

Next, you need to have a VPN installed on your computer. Before entering your computer's settings to share an Internet connection, you need to have one first. Since we want to share a VPN connection, you must have one available on your computer before doing anything else.

No matter if your computer runs on Windows or macOS, there are multiple options when it comes to installing a VPN. Of course, this also depends on your chosen VPN, so you'll definitely need a powerful and flexible option. Once again, this is where ExpressVPN comes into play, as it supports an incredibly wide range of devices and installation methods. For additional options, we recommend checking our article on the best VPNs (don't worry, we're keeping it updated at all times).

How to Install a VPN on Windows 10?

There are several methods to choose from, depending on how you want (and if you want) to interact with a VPN application. We recommend either installing your VPN's application and running it natively. Keep in mind that you'll need your VPN's TAP adapter to share your VPN connection with other devices. When installing a VPN app, a corresponding TAP driver is installed automatically, simplifying the process of setting up a shared connection.

To learn more and to see how this process should look, here's how to set up a VPN on Windows.

How to Install a VPN on macOS?

Those of you using macOS have multiple installation options available as well. These days, the majority of VPN services offer native macOS software, which significantly simplifies this whole process. What's important to keep in mind is that you must have a VPN connection present among your Internet connections in Systems Preferences > Network. This occurs automatically while installing native VPN software, or you can create your new VPN connection manually.

No matter which route you decide to take, make sure to check our guide on how to set up a VPN on macOS, as we've covered multiple installation methods there.

Step #4: Start Sharing Your VPN Connection

Let's summarize everything said up to this point. First, make sure to connect your computer to your router (wired or wirelessly). Then, you should connect your computer to your gaming consoles via a crossover Ethernet cable. And finally, you need to have a VPN installed on your computer as well (it doesn't need to run right now).

Now, we'll see how to create a new Web connection that can be shared across multiple devices, with your gaming console included as well.

How to Share a VPN Connection on Windows 10?

These are the steps to creating a shared VPN network on Windows 10.

  • In case you'd like to connect wirelessly to your gaming console, open the Start Menu and type in "Mobile Hotspot." Click on the corresponding icon, and you'll open the Settings app. Then, create a mobile hotspot by clicking on the switch you'll see at the top of this page. Make sure to note your network's name and password found on this page. If you connect via an Ethernet cable, feel free to skip this step.

Windows 10 Mobile Hotspot Toggle
Image Courtesy of ExpressVPN.

  • Open the Start Menu by clicking on the Windows key on your keyboard and type in "Control Panel." Once the Control Panel opens, click on "Network and Internet." If you can't see this option, make sure to select "Category" in the "View By" field in the top-right corner.
  • Now, click on "Network and Sharing Center." Check out the left side of this window and find an option named "Change Adapter Settings." Select that link.

Windows 10 Adapter Settings
Image Courtesy of ExpressVPN.

  • You now need to find your VPN connection. If you've been listening to our advice, you've already installed ExpressVPN on your PC. This means that you need to right-click on the icon saying "ExpressVPN TAP Adapter," and then select "Properties."

Windows 10 Internet Adapters Panel
Image Courtesy of ExpressVPN.

  • Click on the tab called "Sharing" and place a checkmark on the option that says "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection."
  • Take a look below, and you'll see a dropdown menu next to "Home Networking Connection." This will reveal your available internet connections, so make sure to select the one that you want to share with your console. If you're doing this wirelessly, make sure to pick the connection name you see under on the "Mobile Hotspot" panel. Save your settings and exit the Control Panel.
  • Once you initialize your VPN connection, feel free to set to proceed to the next step - setting it up on your gaming console.

How to Share a VPN Connection on macOS?

These are the steps to creating a shared VPN network on macOS.

  • As said earlier, make sure that you have a VPN installed on your system. Then, click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner and go to System Preferences > Sharing.
  • Take a look at the left side of this window and click on "Internet Sharing." As you'll see, there are two fields to handle here. First, there's the "Share Your Connection From" dropdown menu. If you've created a VPN connection manually, it should be visible in this menu. Alternatively (if you've decided to use native macOS VPN software), pick "Ethernet" or "Wi-Fi," whichever is applicable for your specific case.

Internet Sharing MacOS Catalina
  • Then, check out the field found below, next to "To Computers Using." If you're using a crossover cable, you need to select "Ethernet." If you've decided to go the wireless route, make sure to select "Wi-Fi."
  • If you want to share your VPN connection wirelessly, don't forget to click on the "Wi-Fi Options" button. A new form will appear on the screen, where you can create a network name and set up a custom password. Type in a name and a password that would be both easy to remember, as you need to find your connection easily on your console, and you'll need the password to access your wireless network on a PlayStation or Xbox console.

Wi-Fi Sharing macOS Catalina
  • Finally, click on the box next to "Internet Sharing" on the left-hand side of the window. You'll be asked whether you'd like to start sharing your Web connection, so feel free to confirm your decision. After a few moments, the "Internet Sharing" icon will turn green - indicating that you've created a new network.

Enabling Internet Sharing macOS
  • Before you proceed to finalize this procedure on your console, make sure that you have an active VPN connection. It means that you should be connected to a remote VPN server, either via your VPN's interface or via System Preferences > Network (if you've configured your VPN connection manually).

Step #5: Configure the VPN Connection on Your Console

Once you start sharing your VPN connection and connect to a specific VPN server on your computer, it's time to continue with this process on your console.

No matter if you have a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One (S or X), you need to dive into your console's settings. Basically, you need to connect to a new network, as there's no alteration of this process required. However, make sure to keep in mind whether you're sharing your VPN connection via Ethernet or wirelessly. So, visit your console's settings and connect to the network you've previously created.

In case you've decided to use a crossover Ethernet cable, make sure to pick a "Wired" or "Use a LAN cable" option. If you're going the wireless route, you'll need to select "Use Wi-Fi," find your new connection's name and enter the password you've previously created.

Keep in mind that for network sharing to be active, your computer needs to be powered on, and you should be connected to your VPN in the background. As long as you're meeting this set of criteria, your PlayStation or Xbox should rely only on your VPN connection.

Step #6: Test Your VPN Connection

You might be wondering how to know if your VPN connection is working on your PlayStation or Xbox? Well, chances are that it's working if you can connect to online services on your gaming console. However, to truly ensure that your VPN works, you need to check your IP address. Remember that one of the benefits of using a VPN is to alter your IP.

We recommend using a Web browser on your gaming console. Open it, and then go to Once the page opens, it will scan your IP address and show you a map of your location. If this information doesn't correspond to your real and actual physical location, your VPN has changed your IP address, and you're now routing your Internet data through a remote server.

Finally, you've reached the end of our guide on using a VPN on your gaming console - without involving a VPN router. We hope you've found this guide helpful and that you'll be using a VPN on your PlayStation or Xbox without any issues. In case you have additional questions or doubts, know that you can rely on us. Just leave us a comment below, and we'll make sure to respond as fast as possible.



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