So you want to know how to use a VPN on Nintendo Switch. Doing so can provide you with a number of benefits, from being able to find easier lobbies in online games, to avoiding artificial slowdown caused by your internet service provider (ISP), and even giving you access to the Nintendo eShops of other regions.
Since we already had guides on how to use a VPN on Xbox, or how to use a VPN on PS4 or PS5, we thought it only fitting to complete the set with instructions on getting one all set up on your Nintendo Switch too. There are a couple of different methods available, and we’ve detailed each of them below.
Best Nintendo Switch VPNs
The best Nintendo Switch VPNs are Express VPN, CyberGhost, and NordVPN.
First things first, you’re going to need to get your hands on a VPN. While there are tons of good options on the market, we recommend these three as our top picks:
How to set up a VPN on Nintendo Switch using a mobile hotspot
The intricate details of this process will be ever so slightly different depending on which VPN you use, and what type of phone you have. Broadly speaking though, this process is always going to be completed via the following steps:
- Download and install a VPN app on your phone
- Turn the VPN on
- Go into your phone settings to turn your phone into an internet hotspot
You can turn laptops, tablets, and other devices into mobile hotspots too. Once this has done, the rest of the process is carried out on the Nintendo Switch itself, and so the process will always be the same:
- On your Switch home screen, select the cog icon at the bottom right to access ‘System Settings’
- Go down the list, and then select ‘Internet’
- Now select ‘Internet Settings’
- The next screen will give you a selection of available connection points. Select your mobile hotspot
- Next click ‘Connect to this Network’
- If you’ve set a password (and you should) you’ll then have to enter it on your Switch
- You should soon see the message “Successfully connected.” appear, and then after that just select ‘OK’
Once this is done, your Nintendo Switch will be connected to the internet via your mobile phone, which will be connected via your VPN. By choosing different servers in the VPN, you’ll have full control over which regions you connect through.
How to set up a VPN on Nintendo Switch using your router
This is a very difficult one for us to give step-by-step instructions for because your choice of router and VPN will change your approach. If you opt for this approach, you’ll have to ensure that you have a VPN that allows you to connect via routers, as well as making sure that you have a compatible router. If that sounds like it could be a cause for confusion and frustration, rest assured we have guides on both the best VPN routers and the best router VPN to help you cover both bases.
Once your router is connected via a VPN, you just need to connect your Nintendo Switch via your home connection as usual, and then it will be going through the VPN, just like the router. It’s simple enough, but it’s worth keeping in mind that there are a few issues with connecting your router through a VPN.
This method means that every device in your home will be connected to the internet via your VPN. This could be frustrating in some instances, for example, someone trying to access internet banking via a desktop computer and prompting a security alert from the bank, or with devices displaying the time for the wrong region. It will give you a Switch VPN connection without much trouble, but just keep in mind that you may want to turn it off when not using it for the Switch.
How to set up a VPN on Nintendo Switch using a Smart DNS
We’ve saved this method for last, as it’s probably the most complicated one. A Smart DNS is a feature of certain VPN providers which allows you to connect through other regions without actually changing your IP address. What they do instead is re-direct DNS queries to other servers, allowing you to experience the internet as if you were in another region.
It should be noted that not all VPNs have a Smart DNS, so if you already have one, then this method may not be possible for you. If you have yet to select your own VPN, but are keen to get one with a Smart DNS, we recommend ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and CyberGhost, though, for other providers, you’ll have to do a little bit of research.
Each Smart DNS works a little differently, and you start this process by activating this within your VPN. This is usually relatively simple, but if you have any trouble, we recommend getting in touch with your VPN’s customer service team. Once the Smart DNS is on, this is what you need to do on the Nintendo Switch:
- On the home menu of your Nintendo Switch, select the cog at the bottom right of the screen for ‘System Settings’
- On the next menu, select ‘Internet’
- Next select ‘Internet Settings’
- Select your chosen internet connection from the list, then select ‘Change Settings’
- Next you have to select ‘DNS Settings’
- Select ‘Manual’
- Enter the primary and secondary DNS numbers, which can be obtained from your provider
- Finally, select ‘Save’
We understand that the penultimate step in this process might be a little challenging for some readers, but don’t forget that many VPNs boast about 24/7 customer support as a selling point. Take advantage of that feature, and if you have any trouble finding the correct DNS numbers, they’ll be sure to point you in the right direction.
Benefits of a Nintendo Switch VPN
If you’ve completed one of the processes above, then that means you’ll now be able to use your VPN on Nintendo Switch. What benefits has this unlocked for you? Well:
- Faster connections: ISPs will limit the bandwidth on devices that are using a lot of it, which means that they go a lot more slowly. This can happen with online games, and if you switch a VPN on, as the ISP can’t see which device is using all the bandwidth, it won’t be able to slow it down
- Added privacy: when you’re watching YouTube videos through your Switch, or whatever else – why should faceless corporations be able to see what you’re doing on the internet? A VPN gives you an added layer of privacy to mask your identity
- DDoS protection: occasionally, you might find yourself coming into contact with nasty players who will throttle your connection, and even reveal private information about you to the internet at large. A VPN helps protect you from this kind of attack
- Nintendo eShop variety: want to access Japan’s version of the Nintendo eShop? Well, using a VPN is one of the methods through which you can do this
With one of these in place, you can make one of the best gaming consoles even better. Enjoy the speed and privacy.