Gamer work space desk with keyboard headset mouse controller for Meshnet

There’s nothing like kicking off your boots and getting stuck in a multiplayer gaming session with pals. Local area networks (LAN) are still a popular way to create private servers so gamers can play in their own bubble, but it can become trickier to do remotely.

Enter: Meshnet. NordVPN’s free feature lets you connect devices directly, no matter where they are in the world. No need for port forwarding or to be in the same location; Meshnet sets up a virtual LAN so you can easily create a private network, get your pals involved, and start playing.

Setting up a Meshnet connection is simple and works great for games like Minecraft, Counter-Strike, Roblox, and plenty more. Follow this guide to find out how to use Meshnet for gaming. Speaking of privacy, if you’re wondering if a gaming PC needs an antivirus, we’ve got you covered.

How to install Meshnet 

Meshnet is completely free to use. You only need to install the NordVPN app on your device and activate the feature.

It’s important to note that the same method can be applied to Windows, macOS, Android and iOS devices.

  1. Go to the NordVPN website

  2. Download and install the NordVPN app

  3. Create a NordVPN account or sign in

    NordVPN login
  4. Select the Meshnet icon on the sidebar

    NordVPN app with Meshnet icon
  5. Turn on Meshnet

    NordVPN turn on Meshnet

That’s it. You can connect up to 10 personal devices and up to 50 external devices. Repeat the method above with your own devices and connect more from friends or family so you can get your old-school LAN gaming session started.

How to link devices in Meshnet

Linking devices to your Meshnet network is simple, as you only need to set up Meshnet on another device using the same account. If you’re adding another user’s device, known as external devices, you’ll need to know the other user’s email address.

  1. In the Meshnet tab on NordVPN, click Link devices.
  2. A menu will pop up. Here, select Link external devices.
  3. Enter the email address of the NordVPN user to invite them to access your connected device.
  4. Select permissions. This includes:
    – Allow receiving files
    – Allow traffic routing
    – Allow local network access
    – Allow remote access.
  5. Once done, click Send invitation.
Meshnet linking devices
Linking devices on Meshnet via NordVPN

When the user accepts the invitation, the external device will appear on a list of connected external device

How to use Meshnet for gaming

Once you have Meshnet set up, you can create your own server and invite friends to join in. You won’t need to expose your IP address to anyone online; you’ll be connected via an encrypted VPN tunnel.

Many multiplayer games allow you to set up a server for anyone who knows it to join. We’ll use Minecraft as an example to show how to use Meshnet for many other multiplayer titles.

  1. Download the Minecraft Dedicated Server Software for Windows.
  2. Make sure the Meshnet feature is turned on.
  3. Open Minecraft, and select Play > Servers.
  4. Enter the server name and the Meshnet IP address on the device where the server is running. Then click Save.
  5. Send other players that have Meshnet connected and enabled the Meshnet IP address. They need to repeat the steps listed above.
Minecraft server setup using Meshnet
Minecraft server setup using Meshnet via NordVPN

They will not be able to join the server and start playing. It’s as simple as that. By connecting your devices and knowing the IP address, you can create a LAN environment in multiple games and have complete control. For more improving your gaming experience, check out the best VPNs for gaming.

What is Meshnet? 

Meshnet is a type of virtual network that works like a LAN. It allows you to connect to devices directly instead of relying on an internet connection or cables. These devices can communicate with each other without any restrictions, no matter where they are in the world.

With Meshnet, you can create private networks between your personal and work devices and share an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This opens up a lot of use cases, including file sharing, remote device access, gaming over a LAN connection with friends, and even bypassing geo-restricted content online, similar to a VPN (albeit with limitations).

NordVPN Meshnet infographic
Using Meshnet on multiple devices via NordVPN

Because of its direct connection between devices, there’s no need to set up port forwarding on a router or configure a firewall to only allow specific traffic. Furthermore, it allows you to get past devices behind carrier-grade NAT (CGNAT) networks, which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to provide internet access with a single IP address to devices in a household or office space.

The feature is also handy for professionals, as it can access connected work PCs with an encrypted connection without the need to use a VPN provided by the company.

Meshnet is a feature from NordVPN and requires you to install the NordVPN app on each device you want to connect, but it’s entirely free to use. You can connect up to 10 of your own devices and up to 50 external devices from other users.

Darragh Murphy
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from the mischievous world of online security to washing machines designed for earbuds. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for laptops into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. When he's not checking out the latest devices and all things tech, he can be found swimming laps, watching terrible shark movies, and trying to find time to game.  Previous Editor at Laptop Mag and News Editor at Time Out Dubai, specialising in food culture, nightlife events, gaming, tech and entertainment.

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