People have been using VPNs for a long time now to bypass geo-restrictions and access content that is not available in their country. But does Steam ban you from playing games if you use a VPN?
Let’s say you just checked Surfshark pricing, for instance, which is one of the most used VPNs so far. After checking the prices you’ve decided to buy a subscription for yourself because there are so many benefits of using a VPN.
However, the above question is stopping you from purchasing a subscription to your favorite virtual private network. If that’s the case, then you should read this article to the end. Because you are going to find out what happens when you are using Steam with VPN activated.
Using Steam with VPN
It may seem like there isn’t much risk involved but it turns out there is, Steam bans people who use VPNs. The reason for this becomes clear once we look at what a VPN actually does.
It Masks the User IP Address
A VPN allows people to hide their IP address. As Steam has imposed a block on certain countries or regions, you can easily get around them.
This is known as IP masking or IP-spoofing and in doing so, they’re also bypassing any blocks placed on regions specific to Steam users such as Russia where many games are not available through official channels.
However, this circumvention of restrictions means that people can run into issues when trying to play games, connect to chat servers, etc. Because Steam will still try to protect these regions.
We’re unsure as to whether this is what leads people to be banned but it certainly seems like a likely explanation especially considering that many users are trying to access the service from another country where they might have better prices or more appropriate content for their region.
A VPN also Changes your Network Location
Now when you’re using a VPN, it’s not just the IP address that changes but also your actual network location and in doing so, Steam can end up thinking that you are in a different region altogether.
In fairness to Steam though, this is something that they have to protect against otherwise users could take advantage of this and start playing games from unauthorized regions.
For example, some users might use a VPN to access Steam from Russia which is where many games such as those covered by Adult-Only ratings are not allowed to be sold. If they could play these games on Steam without any restrictions, then Valve, the mother company of Steam would be losing out greatly on revenue.
Risks of Using a VPN with Steam?
For the most part, this isn’t an issue but if you are using a slow or less reliable VPN service then there is also the risk that you could end up lagging badly in games and even getting kicked from servers as a result.
This wouldn’t normally be a problem but if you’re trying to play from Russia because the prices are cheaper then it could ruin your gaming experience.
In addition, some VPNs might not work very well with Steam overall and this is probably why people end up getting banned in the first place. Some VPNs do work well with Steam and can even allow you to bypass region locks that are put in place by the game itself.
With this in mind, it’s probably best to choose a VPN that has been tested out beforehand because some services might work but only cause lag.
Apart from that, if you get caught getting access to content from another country then there is a high chance that your account will get banned.
Last Minute Thoughts
So, Do you Get Banned for Using a VPN on Steam?
Yes, you can get banned for using a VPN on Steam which is why it’s especially important to read the terms of service before trying anything like this. If you are caught, then your account could get terminated and there might not be much that you can do about it.
The best way to avoid this is to make sure that you are using a VPN that is known to work well with Steam but also doesn’t cause any issues when it comes to lag.
Other things can get your account banned such as sharing accounts, cheating in games, etc. It’s generally a best practice not to try anything like this because Valve has an excellent track record in calling out intruders.