As with every other device you use to access the Internet, hooking your Xbox One to a virtual private network is a strongly recommended practice. Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward to accomplish, thanks to a slew of anti-privacy product design decisions from Microsoft. We’re here to cut through that nonsense today, so without further ado, here is the ultimate lowdown of how to use a VPN on Xbox One!
Set up an Xbox One VPN with an ethernet cable
With small variations, this method works in conjunction with Windows, macOS, or Linux computers alike. Its biggest drawback is connection convenience seeing how it requires you to plug an ethernet cable into your Xbox One instead of going wireless, but we’re giving it a nod over its Wi-Fi alternative due to its affordability. In other words, you should already have everything you need to see this particular guide through to completion.
The basic idea is to set up a VPN connection on your computer of choice, then share that access point with your Xbox One over an ethernet cable.
The first part is easy; sign up for a VPN subscription based on your needs (no, free VPNs aren’t worth the risk), download the desktop client of whichever service you went for, and follow the on-screen instructions to finish setting up the solution on your computer. If you really can’t decide, we’d recommend the seven-day free trial of PureVPN for this initial Xbox One test, primarily due to the former’s focus on gaming optimizations.
Once the VPN is up and running on your computer, you have to share the connection with the console. On Windows 10, that means going to Settings > Network & Internet > VPN > Change Adapter Options. On the following screen, right-click the icon of the ethernet port you used to connect your PC to Xbox One, and click Properties. If you’re seeing multiple ethernet connections and can’t tell the Xbox one from the others, simply unplug it and see which icon disappears. Reconnect and proceed with the following steps.
In the Connection Properties pop-up window, cycle through to the Sharing tab, and tick the checkbox that talks about allowing other users and clients “to connect through this computer’s internet connection”. Hit OK to save and turn your attention to the Xbox One.
Open the gaming console’s Settings, navigate to the Network section, then find the Network Settings submenu, and finally, select the Test Network Connection on the following screen. The Xbox One should verify the VPN connection in a matter of seconds, allowing you to use it so long as your PC is on and running the original VPN software you installed.
Set up an Xbox One VPN with a Wi-Fi router
A more convenient way of forcing your Xbox One to use a rerouted connection is doing so over Wi-Fi after switching your router to VPN mode. Why haven’t we led with this? Because chances are, the router you’re using came from your ISP and bad things will happen if you try running a VPN through it. Not that doing so is impossible but the likely performance drawbacks stemming from inadequate networking gear mean that you should at the very least be certain you have a newish device on hand before even attempting to test how it handles native-level traffic tunneling.
Assuming that’s the case, open your router’s administration panel by typing its IPv4 address into your browser’s URL bar (that would probably be 192.168.1.1), find its WAN options, and set up a VPN connection by manually typing in the DNS addresses and other information sent over by your VPN provider of choice.
Finally, turn on your Xbox One and find the “Set up wireless network” option under its Network Settings menu. Select your home router, let the console make sure everything’s A-OK, and you can finally enjoy using it over an encrypted and obfuscated connection, just the way any piece of Internet-enabled hardware should be used.
Yes, if only Microsoft allowed VPN apps on the Xbox instead of wasting a few extra minutes of your life. Maybe the ridiculously named Xbox Series X rights this wrong in a couple of months, though we certainly won’t be holding our breath for that to happen.
“How to use a VPN on Xbox One?” was written by Dominik Bosnjak, a long-time VPN-user-turned-advocate who spends more time scrutinizing VPN Providers on a daily basis than he’d like to admit. When he isn’t writing VPN Guides and covering general Tech News, he’s probably spending time with his dog, video games, or both. Fun fact: the Shih Tzu in question is the only remaining creature in Dominik’s life who hasn’t told him they’re sick of him talking about Best VPN practices and government-sponsored erosion of digital privacy which made using the Internet less convenient over the years. He occasionally dabbles in video editing, Wall Street memes, and demonstrating a remarkable lack of guitar-playing ability.
If you want more tidbit-sized rants about any of those things, you can find him on Twitter @dddominikk.