Nintendo Switch VPN (5 Cool Perks + Tutorials)
VPNs are often advertised as great tools for online gaming. So does that mean you should start using a Nintendo Switch VPN right away?
Maybe. Let’s take a look at the perks you get to enjoy by using one, and you can decide if they’re worth it or not. We’ll also tell you how you can use a VPN with a Nintendo Switch console.
Why Should You Use a Nintendo Switch VPN?
What perks do you get to enjoy, exactly? And are they any good?
They definitely are – at least in our opinion. But you might say we’re a bit biased, so here’s a quick but in-depth look at the pros of using a Nintendo Switch VPN:
1. Bypass Geo-Blocks and Censorship
Censorship and Nintendo Switch don’t seem like two words that go together, but it’s actually a thing in some parts of the world. For example, in China, the government banned Animal Crossing: New Horizons because some players used it to spread activist messages in favor of Hong Kong.
As for geo-blocks, we’re referring to video and streaming content – like the kind you see on Hulu and YouTube. Depending on what country you’re from, you might not be able to watch certain videos. For instance, if you’re outside the US, you can’t use Hulu at all.
How does a Nintendo Switch VPN help with that?
It’s simple – it hides your IP address. That simultaneously lets you bypass firewalls used to censor online content and geo-restrictions (since your IP address reveals your geo-location).
Basically, you’ll use a VPN server to browse the web, and it will act as a middleman between your Nintendo Switch and any site you access. So any website you connect to will only see the VPN server’s IP address.
2. Prevent Bandwidth Throttling
Ever noticed your Internet speeds suddenly slow down at specific intervals? Like between 8PM and 12AM on the weekend?
That probably means you’re dealing with bandwidth throttling – when your ISP intentionally lowers your speeds. They normally do that to prevent network congestion when there’s too much user traffic.
We’re not saying that’s 100% the case, but it can happen – especially in the US. And especially when you use your Nintendo Switch to play online for hours on end or binge online videos all day.
What does a Nintendo Switch VPN have to do with that, though?
Well, here’s why your ISP can throttle your bandwidth – they can analyze your data packets to see your connection requests. They know what sites and web servers you’re communicating with, and how much data you’re exchanging with them.
So, it’s very easy for them to selectively throttle your connections to specific web apps and online services.
But a VPN encrypts your traffic end-to-end. Only the VPN app and server can decrypt your traffic, meaning your ISP can’t monitor it. Also, they won’t know what IP addresses you’re connecting to. They will only see the VPN server’s IP address.
So instead of this:
Your Nintendo Switch → ISP Network → Hulu Servers
They’d just see this:
Your Nintendo Switch → ISP Network → VPN Server
Without that information, they won’t be able to selectively throttle your bandwidth anymore.
3. Potentially Reduce High Lag and Ping Times
When you’re too far away from the server you’re playing on, you’ll often experience high ping and lag.
Because your traffic takes a more indirect route, and bounces between different locations before it reaches its final destination.
For example, let’s say you’re from Sweden, and just changed your Nintendo Switch’s region to Japan because you bought a cartridge from that region. Here’s a possible route your traffic might take:
Sweden → Iceland → The US (New York) → The US (Washington) → The US (Alaska) → Japan → Japanese Gaming Server
With such a long route, there’s bound to be high ping and lag.
But if you were to connect to a Japanese VPN server after switching your region, your traffic route might look like this:
Sweden → Japanese VPN Server → Japanese Gaming Server
Your device exchanges data faster with the server, so you should be able to lower the ping and lag you’re seeing.
But please keep in mind we’re not guaranteeing you’ll manage to achieve that 100% of the time. Sometimes, you might be unlucky, and might not get a more direct traffic route at all with a VPN.
4. Score Better Deals
If you want to buy games from the Nintendo Game Store, you don’t really need a VPN since you can just switch the site’s region. And the games aren’t region-locked, so you don’t need to worry about not being able to play them.
But if you want to buy games from third-party retailers, a VPN might come in a handy. Many eCommerce sites display different pricing based on your geo-location. By connecting to different VPN servers to switch your geo-location to different regions, you might be able to get a surprise discount.
Don’t have a Nintendo Switch yet?
You can use a VPN to get a better deal on the console too. Just try different servers when you check out the pricing on the retail website you want to buy it from until you get a discount that you like.
5. Avoid DDoS Attacks
If you’re not sure what DDoS attacks, they’re cyber attacks that flood your network with unwanted traffic and requests. The flood continues until your network is so overloaded that it’s forced offline, leaving you with no web access (sometimes for hours on end).
While DDoS attacks are complex threats, pretty much anyone can run them nowadays. They can actually buy them on the deep web, and the price starts at $10 per hour.
There have already been reports of DDoS attacks in the Nintendo Switch community. Here are a few examples of some Splatoon 2 players using DDoS attacks against their opponents to reach the number one rank on the leaderboards
And if DDoS attacks aren’t an option, wannabe hackers can just run DoS attacks. They’re weaker, sure, but they can still force you offline for a few minutes. And when they’re frequent enough, they get extremely annoying.
If you use a VPN for Nintendo Switch when gaming online, though, you won’t be at risk. To target you with DDoS/DoS attacks, the person running them has to locate your network. And they can only do that with your IP address.
Well, a VPN hides your IP address. The attacker will only see the VPN server’s IP address, so they won’t be able to target your network.
True, they can just DDoS/DoS the VPN server. But doing that is pretty pointless because most VPN servers come equipped with anti-DDoS protection.
How to Install a VPN on Nintendo Switch
We have to start off with some bad news. Unfortunately, you can’t actually “install” a VPN on your Nintendo Switch. The console doesn’t offer native support for VPN apps, so there are none.
However, there are two ways you can use a VPN with your console:
Set Up the VPN on Your Router
This is the most convenient solution. Once you set it up on your router, every time you access the web with the Switch on your home’s WiFi, it will automatically use a VPN connection. The Switch’s connection goes through the router to reach the Internet, after all.
Best of all – you don’t need to worry about forgetting to turn on the VPN before going online. It’s always on as long as it’s enabled on your router.
Unfortunately, we can’t really offer you a step-by-step guide. The setup process varies from router to router. If you’re a SmartyDNS user, though, things will be easier for you since we have VPN setup tutorials for various routers.
Share Your VPN Connection (Windows 10)
If you have a Windows 10 computer or laptop lying around, you can use it to share your VPN connection with your Nintendo Switch. Before you do anything, though, let’s see if your device can actually support hosted networks.
To do that, hit Win + R to start the Command Prompt, and type this command: netsh wlan show drivers and hit Enter.
If you see Hosted network supported: Yes, congrats – you can share your VPN connection through WiFi.
However, if you see Hosted network supported: No or No wireless interface found / There is no wireless interface on the system, you’ll have to use a workaround (just scroll down a bit).
So, if your device supports hosted networks, copy-paste the following command in the command prompt:
netsh wlan set hostednetwork mode=allow ssid=ConnectionName key=Password
Don’t hit Enter yet! Make a few adjustments before:
- ConnectionName – Set the name you want for your VPN connection.
- Password – Set a password for the VPN connection (minimum 8 characters).
After that, enter this command: netsh wlan start hostednetwork and hit Enter.
Next, connect to a SmartyDNS VPN server. If you don’t have a SmartyDNS account, you can try it for free for 3 days. Download our app, and install it on your computer/laptop. Launch the app, log in, and connect to VPN.
Now, here’s what you need to do:
- Press the Win button, and type control panel.
- Next, head here: Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings.
- Look for your VPN connection’s adapter. SmartyDNS has the following format: SmartyDNS, Country Initials, City Protocol. So if you use our Polish server, it will look like this: SmartyDNS, PL, Warsaw IKEv2.
- Now, right-click the adapter, and pick Properties.
- Click the Sharing tab, and enable this option: Allow other network users to connect through this computer’s Internet connection.
- Use Home network connection to select the hosted network you created (the ConnectionName you picked).
- Click OK.
- On your Nintendo Switch, open the HOME menu.
- Go to Internet > Internet Settings.
- Pick the hosted network you created, and type in the password you set to log in.
And you’re done. Go ahead and enjoy your new Nintendo Switch VPN connection.
What If Your Device Doesn’t Have a Wireless Interface?
No problem – there’s a workaround. While Nintendo Switch doesn’t have an ethernet port, you can use a LAN to USB adapter to fix that problem. Just run the ethernet cable from your computer/laptop into the adapter, and then connect the adapter to one of the Switch’s USB ports.
Obviously, that implies using a second ethernet cable, and your computer/laptop having an additional ethernet port.
Once you do that, follow the steps we outlined above until you reach step number 6. When you reach it, select your web connection (Local Area Connection is the standard name). Then, follow the rest of the steps in our guide. For step 10, be sure to pick your computer’s Internet connection.
Does Using a VPN Go Against Nintendo’s ToS?
Plus, think of it this way – Nintendo Switch games aren’t region-locked, and you can freely change your region on the console or online shop to get better deals. Obviously, Nintendo wouldn’t have a problem with you using a VPN to unblock online content.
Nintendo Switch VPN Speed Optimization Tips
As cool as VPNs are, they do have one problem – they will slow down your original online speeds. How big the slowdown is depends on various factors. Most of the time, it shouldn’t be that noticeable, and you should still get decent speeds that let you smoothly browse the web and stream HD content (25-30+ Mbps).
Still, if you are dealing with annoying slowdowns, here’s what you can do to fix them:
- Connect to a nearby VPN server (ideally, one in your own country and city). The smaller the distance is between your device and the server, the less time it takes data packets to travel between them (translated, that means better speeds).
- Use lightweight protocols like IKEv2, L2TP/IPSec, WireGuard, or SoftEther instead of OpenVPN (which is very resource-intensive).
- If you can only use OpenVPN or you insist on using that protocol, run it over UDP instead of TCP. It’s faster that way.
- If it’s not a big hassle, use the LAN to USB adapter option to share your VPN connection. That way, you’re not using WiFi, so a weak signal can’t lower your speeds. If WiFi is the only or best option, though, try to stay as close to the router as possible to get a strong signal (or just get a range extender or a faster 5 GHz router).
Just Want to Unblock Content? Here’s a Nintendo Switch VPN Alternative
If you’re only interested in unblocking content on sites like Hulu and YouTube, and don’t like the idea of using a VPN, you could try using a Smart DNS instead.
Not sure what that is? Basically, it’s an online service that spoofs your geo-location by tweaking your DNS settings and routing your traffic through different proxy servers around the world.
The main perk is that there’s no encryption. So when you use the Smart DNS, your original ISP speeds don’t suffer at all.
To set up a Smart DNS on your Nintendo Switch as a SmartyDNS user, check out the first part of this guide. Once you finish validating your IP address, do the following:
- Open the HOME menu on your Nintendo Switch.
- Head to Internet > Internet Settings.
- Pick the WiFi network you’re using, and select Change Settings.
- Scroll down until you find DNS Settings.
- Change Primary DNS and Secondary DNS to our servers’ DNS addresses. To find them, head to your account, and go to Setup > DNS Servers.
Need a Reliable VPN Service?
We here at SmartyDNS offer high-speed VPN servers with military-grade 256 bit AES encryption and highly-secure VPN protocols (OpenVPN, SoftEther and IKEv2) and we adhere to a strict no-log policy.
Our VPN servers double as proxy servers and we also offer a Smart DNS service that lets you unblock Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other 300+ worldwide geo-restricted websites.
We offer user-friendly VPN apps for Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, and Fire TV/Stick and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Special Deal! Get SmartyDNS for $3.7/mo!
Oh, and we’ll also have your back with our 30-day money-back guarantee.
Have You Ever Used a Nintendo Switch VPN?
If you did, please tell us about your experience. What perks did you enjoy the most? Did you encounter any issues? Let us know in the comments.