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VPN on Xbox Series X & Series S: How it Works

The next generation of gaming started in the fall of 2020. Only days apart, Sony and Microsoft both presented their brand new consoles in the form of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X and S, respectively. These machines are much more powerful as well as faster than their predecessors. For one thing, Microsoft has equipped its two consoles with SSDs. The Xbox Series H has an 8-core Zen 2 CPU from AMD and a 12-teraflop graphics processor. This makes it the most powerful console ever.

What both the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox generations have inherited from their predecessors is the lack of integrated VPN support. In this article, we will demonstrate how you can still use the new Xbox generation quickly and easily in conjunction with a VPN.

Why use a VPN with Xbox Series X & Series S?

A VPN creates a hidden tunnel between the user’s device and a server that communicates with the network. To all outside observers, it looks like the server is the actual device used by the user. Moreover, the server can be located anywhere in the world. This presents various advantages when using a VPN connection in combination with your Xbox Series X or Series S, especially when gaming or steaming content.

High-speed gaming using a VPN

Online gaming is the most popular way to use a console. In games like Fortnite, COD, PUBG or Battlefield, you compete against other players located all over the world. Using a VPN can decrease the ping, as a faster connection to the game server may be established through its server. The ping is the response time that a server needs for a data transfer request.

A single delay in games like the ones mentioned or for example Counterstrike (CS:GO) can mean the difference between winning and losing.

In games like CS:GO, a better ping can sometimes make a difference between life and death.  (Image: Adrian Holm)

Xbox Series X & S as optimal “streaming machines”

If you use your console for services such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime or Hulu, you are likely familiar with this phenomenon: certain movies and series are not available in your area. Unfortunately, this is due to geo-blocking. To enjoy the full range of streaming service, you can bypass the block with a VPN—after all, you’re already paying for it.

What many people don’t know is that you can also access streaming services and TV channels you would otherwise be denied. For example, the offerings of HBO are very popular. The same applies to broadcasters like the BBC, which make their channels available via the Internet but block them outside of the UK. With a VPN like the ne from Shellfire, you can turn your new Xbox into the best possible “streaming machine”.

Protect your privacy on your new Xbox

One of the most important functions of VPN use is privacy protection. The software helps make your online activities harder to track. A VPN is therefore a recognized tool in the security field. And, of course, you can make use of it on Xbox as well.

Does Xbox next generation offer out-of-box VPN support?

Unfortunately, neither the Xbox Series X nor the Series S offer VPN support out of the box. In this case, Microsoft has decided to follow the tradition of previous console generations. The system does not support virtual private networks by default.

This is not likely to change in the near future, for a simple reason: Microsoft uses geo-blocks itself for its Gamestore. Still, as explained above, these can be circumvented.

VPN set-up on Xbox Series X & Series S

There are basically two ways to set up VPN access for your Xbox Series X or Series S. The conventional and complicated method involves setting up a WiFi hotspot on your PC with an activated VPN client.

If you connect your Xbox to this hotspot, it will also connect to the internet via VPN. This method has various disadvantages, which is why we would rather not recommend it at this point. Setting up your VPN connection this way is not necessarily easy or uncomplicated, and your PC has to be both turned on and close to your console whenever you want to use the VPN on your Xbox.

The alternative, which is as simple as it is effective, is our Shellfire Box—a true plug & play solution that we present to you in the video below.

To summarize, the following steps are all that is necessary to set up a VPN connection through the Shellfire Box on the Xbox Series X or S:

  1. Connect the Shellfire Box to your router and plug its power cable into the wall socket.
  2. Connect your console to the Shellfire Box’s Wi-Fi network when it appears. Your console will now connect to the Internet via secure VPN connection.
  3. Using a simple and intuitive interface, you can choose which server the Shellfire Box should use to connect to the Internet. For example, you can determine which country your IP address should come from.

This technique also works analogously with other devices, which lack native VPN support. These include Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

Is it legal to use a VPN on Xbox Series X & Series S?

The use of a VPN is absolutely legal and completely benign. The reason for using the software in conjunction with your purchased devices is completely up to you. Since many users also ask the question: It’s also not against Microsoft’s terms of service to use a VPN with an Xbox or Windows computer. You decide how you use your device.

Image credits: dimarik16 / 123RF

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