Best Warzone VPN in 2024: how to get easy lobbies by avoiding SBMM

Call of Duty Warzone 2.0 characters and logo
(Image credit: Activision)

Using a Warzone VPN is the perfect way to protect yourself from DDoS attacks and hacks, but it'll also get you around SBMM and potentially help speed up your connection. This page will take you through how to be at peak performance by using a VPN.

I've tested dozens of the best VPN services, focusing on speed, security and ease of use, and here I'm ranking the very best when it comes to VPNs for Warzone. What's more, as well as protecting you from hackers, they can also help you avoid COD's near-mythical skill-based matchmaking (SBMM). The better you play, the harder opponents you'll face, but if you just want to boost your K/D and melt n00bs, using a VPN to evade SBMM is the perfect solution.

Here, I'm going to tell you exactly how to use a Warzone VPN, why you might want to use a VPN with Warzone, and the best Warzone VPNs on the market. If you just want our recommendations, though, pick from the top 3 just below.

The best Warzone VPNs at a glance

1.NordVPN – the very best VPN for Warzone
With outstanding speeds, faultless usability and robust security tools, NordVPN is a genuinely great Warzone VPN and our #1 ranking pick. Prices are reasonable, too, starting at just $3.69/month30-day money-back guarantee

1. <a href="http://go.nordvpn.net/aff_c?offer_id=564&url_id=10992&aff_id=3013&aff_click_id=hawk-custom-tracking&aff_sub2=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="go.nordvpn.net"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">NordVPN – the very best VPN for Warzone
With outstanding speeds, faultless usability and robust security tools, NordVPN is a genuinely great Warzone VPN and our #1 ranking pick. Prices are reasonable, too, starting at just $3.69/month plus a 30-day money-back guarantee meaning you can try it risk-free.

2. ExpressVPN – a great option for gaming generally
With superfast speeds, tons of locations worldwide and a superb support service in case anything goes wrong, ExpressVPN is a wonderful Warzone VPN. You can bag three months FREE on a 12-month plan, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee

2. <a href="https://go.expressvpn.com/c/4550836/1330033/16063?subId1=hawk-custom-tracking&sharedId=hawk&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.expressvpn.com%2Fgo%2Fgaming%2Fcall-of-duty-warzone" data-link-merchant="expressvpn.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">ExpressVPN – a great option for gaming generally
With superfast speeds, tons of locations worldwide and a superb support service in case anything goes wrong, ExpressVPN is a wonderful Warzone VPN. You can bag three months FREE on a 12-month plan, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can even try it out before you commit.

3. Surfshark – cheap, cheerful, and very effective
If Express and Nord are just a little too pricey, then you'll want to check out Surfshark. For less than $2.50/month

3. <a href="http://get.surfshark.net/aff_c?offer_id=61&aff_id=1691&aff_click_id=hawk-custom-tracking&aff_sub2=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="get.surfshark.net"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Surfshark – cheap, cheerful, and very effective
If Express and Nord are just a little too pricey, then you'll want to check out Surfshark. For less than $2.50/month, you'll get a fully featured Warzone VPN and unlimited connections so you can install the app on every one of your devices.

Recent updates

With NordVPN becoming our overall favorite provider, it also leapfrogs ExpressVPN as the best Warzone VPN. All of the facts and figures coming out of our latest mega test have been included with this update, while the trusted IPVanish makes its way into my top 5.

Why use a VPN with Warzone?

Although neither Infinity Ward nor Activision have ever officially confirmed it, it's quite clear that Warzone uses SBMM, meaning you will be matched with players of your skill level. This is most evident for the very strongest players, who often face the same elite names and successful hackers far more often than you’d expect.

However, matchmaking isn’t just based on skill – location and time of day are also important factors. To take advantage of this, a Warzone VPN can virtually change your location, and with a little research, you'll have a better chance of facing easier opponents every time you play.

Plus, even if you don't want to change your location, using a VPN can help evade network throttling and speed up your online gaming. This is when your ISP slows down high-bandwidth users (streamers, torrenters and gamers, usually) by monitoring what they're doing online. A VPN masks this activity from your ISP, meaning they can't make a decision to slow you down.

How to use a Warzone VPN to get easy lobbies

There are a couple of simple things to consider here, and knowing exactly how the game functions is essential for getting an easy lobby.

Matchmaking is partially led by wait time, meaning that if there are fewer players available at any one moment, they'll all be lumped together into the same match rather than making everyone wait for a 'fairer' game. 

By using a Warzone VPN, you can connect to a server in a country with fewer players (this article suggests Egypt is a good option), which means you'll be thrown into a much more mixed game, rather than a seriously difficult pro lobby.

In combination with this, it's worth considering the time of day you're playing. Evenings are traditionally busy – meaning more players, and more effective SBMM – while mornings are quiet and will deliver easier lobbies

Setting your Warzone VPN to a time zone that is roughly 8 hours ahead of yours is a good rule of thumb. For example, evening in the US is early morning in most of Europe and Africa. Speeds will obviously vary, however, so test a few servers before trying to play a match.

Playstation controller in front of Warzone

(Image credit: Rokas Tenys/Shutterstock)

My list of the very best Warzone VPNs of 2024

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

The Tom's Guide VPN team have tested and reviewed all the following VPN providers, and I'm comfortable recommending them as safe, effective tools for improving your privacy and enhancing your Warzone experience. Simply keep scrolling to read what our testing showed us, and pick the one that suits you best.

NordVPN: the best Warzone VPN

NordVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: NordVPN)

1. NordVPN

The best VPN for Warzone on the market

Router support: Yes | Max speeds on 1Gbps line: 950+ Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 10

Max speeds are through the roof
Tons of privacy features
Great for streaming
Router setup is tricky
Subscribe if:

✔️ You're worried about lags: NordVPN clocked up some of the fastest speeds we've witnessed.

✔️ Streaming is another key interest: From Netflix and Amazon Prime to BBC iPlayer and 9Now, NordVPN unblocks them all and more.

✔️ You're also concerned about privacy: NordVPN has some of the strongest security smarts around. 

Avoid if:

 You want an easier router set-up: Not even the mighty NordVPN can compete with the ease of ExpressVPN's router VPN app.

❌  You hate big price hikes on renewal: Nord's initial pricing is eye-catching, but goes northward when you reach the end of your term.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

It's close between the top two in my rankings, but NordVPN just wins out as the best Warzone VPN. It's the sheer speed that swings things Nord's way, along with cheap pricing options and outstanding privacy tools. The king of Warzone VPNs.

NordVPN has made a name for itself through aggressive marketing, and your favorite streamer might even plug the brand. As my NordVPN review testifies, though, it's not all hot air, and the service really delivers. Indeed, it now tops my chart of the very best overall VPNs.

As a Warzone VPN specifically, it hits all the right notes – great speeds, reliable connections, simple setup and plenty of server locations worldwide.

Grab the best deal on my #1 Warzone VPN

In my testing, NordVPN was among the fastest VPNs, which is what you want to hear when it comes to gaming. Topping out at 950 Mbps while using its proprietary NordLynx protocol, no other providers can beat it.

Standout features include Onion over VPN (not great for gaming, but super secure), multi-hop server selection and excellent apps that work on a wide range of devices. I personally prefer the layout of ExpressVPN's apps, but Nord's are also straightforward for a plug-and-play experience.

If you're a console gamer, though, Nord might not be the best bet. It's perfectly possible to set it up on a router, but be aware that ExpressVPN is much simpler.

However, with its great streaming support and excellent speeds, as a Warzone VPN NordVPN is sure to deliver.

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NordVPN test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignMostly excellent with a couple of minor quibbles⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useMap interface is divisive, but otherwise sound⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceOutstanding speeds on NordLynx and OpenVPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingUnmatched excellence in unblocking overseas streamers⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyOnion Over and Double VPN contribute to all-round watertight security⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportVery useful customer assistance around the clock⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceSome great pricing to grab on multi-year plans⭐⭐⭐⭐

ExpressVPN: multi-featured Warzone VPN

ExpressVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

2. ExpressVPN

Complete gaming VPN that's ideal for Warzone

Router support: Yes | Max speeds on 1Gbps line: 410 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 8

Super reliable
Simple router setup
Superb for streaming
Slower speeds than others
Subscribe if:

✔️ Privacy and security are a priority: With a glut of privacy protection tools and additional features, ExpressVPN has your privacy at its heart.

✔️ Consoles are where you play Warzone most: The quality and ease-of-use of ExpressVPN's router VPN app is unparalleled.

✔️ You'll also be streaming: ExpressVPN is a match for NordVPN when it comes to unblocking.

Avoid if:

Speed is of the essence: ExpressVPN's Lightway speeds are falling behind what the likes of NordVPN and Surfshark can now manage.

You're on a tight budget: ExpressVPN is reassuringly expensive, although you do get three months free with an annual plan.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

It's only really ExpressVPN's relatively sluggish connection speeds that have allowed Nord to surge to the top. It's super simple to use, extremely secure and is a better choice if you're planning to hook the VPN up to your router.

In my testing for my ExpressVPN review, the British Virgin Islands-based provider excelled in just about every area including as a Warzone VPN, and for gaming in general. 

If you play on a console, router setup is one of the only ways to get access to VPN connections. ExpressVPN has streamlined the whole procedure by developing an app for routers, and it's far simpler to get up and running than the competition. Plus, its Aircove router is the first hardware offered by a VPN.

When you're not blasting n00bs into oblivion in your new-found easy Warzone lobbies, ExpressVPN also does a great job at unblocking geo-restricted content on Netflix, iPlayer, Prime and more. No matter where you are, you'll be able to watch whatever you want. Perfect if you're heading on holiday or want to watch US-exclusive Netflix shows.

Speed is a slight issue with ExpressVPN. Don't get us wrong... the 410 Mbps we recorded on a 1 Gbps Internet connection certainly isn't what we'd call slow. But compared to what the likes of NordVPN, Surfshark and Proton VPN can now achieve, Express is just slipping behind.

In terms of price, ExpressVPN does come in at the higher end of the scale, and its 8-device policy is a little stingy compared to some others – although it's a great improvement over the previous limit of five. In this case, though, you really do get what you pay for. The app is simple, effective and, most importantly of all, totally unnoticeable once you've switched it on. What more could you want?

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ExpressVPN test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignA clean, intuitive design that just makes sense⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useNobody does it better than ExpressVPN, especially when using on a router⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceQuick, but not as fast as others on this list⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingSuperb all-round streaming VPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyPlenty of security smarts to inspire confidence⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer support24/7 live chat supports backs up excellent online guidance⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceOne of the pricier VPNs on the market⭐⭐⭐

Surfshark: the best cheap Warzone VPN

Surfshark on a range of devices

(Image credit: Surfshark)

3. Surfshark

Excellent Warzone VPN on a budget

Router support: Yes | Max speeds on 1Gbps line: 950+ Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Incredible value
Simple and effective
Great speeds
Unlimited devices
Others have better support
Subscribe if:

✔️ Cost is a key consideration: Surfshark is an excellent VPN for less than $2.50/month.

✔️ You use your VPN on lots of devices: A single subscription can be used on unlimited devices simultaneously. 

✔️ You need to avoid lags: The current fastest VPN, Surfshark boasts WireGuard speeds in excess of 950 Mbps.

Avoid if:

❌ A faultless kill switch is crucial: After putting significant strain on it, I found a chink in Surfshark's kill switch.

You object to big price hikes: Nobody could quibble at the initial pricing, but that all changes when your first term is up.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Surfshark's eye-catching pricing and friendly branding make it the ideal starting point for many new VPN users. But it has the speed, security and user-focussed design to back that up.

As my favorite cheap VPN, in my Surfshark review I found the Netherlands-based provider to be as good as, if not better than, some of its far more expensive rivals.

Great speeds mean you'll be able to dominate in Warzone without any slow-down, and one-touch connection is a great user-friendly feature. In fact, our latest round of testing saw Surfshark go back to the top of our speed charts – we witnessed WireGuard speeds over 950 Mbps and OpenVPN at 640 Mbps. That's seriously fast.

With over 3,200 servers worldwide, there's plenty to pick from (although it's significantly smaller range than NordVPN's 6,000+), so selecting an uncrowded server in your desired location shouldn't be an issue.

However, the biggest draw will be that sub-$2.99/month price tag. It's perfectly understandable that to gain an advantage in a game that's free to play such as Warzone, you'll want to spend as little money as possible on add-ons – and Surfshark fits the bill perfectly.

While the apps aren't quite as in-depth as NordVPN and ExpressVPN (although it's steadily improving in this area), for quick and easy access to easy Warzone lobbies and additional online privacy, Surfshark is an excellent choice for the savvy gamer.

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Surfshark test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignThe approachable branding is a huge plus for this all-business VPN⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useWe can't think of a competitor that makes life easier than Surfshark⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceThe fastest provider on test⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingA match for Nord and Express on its levels of unblocking⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyBut for a slightly suspect kill switch, everything is shipshape⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportYou can contact customer service around the clock⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceSuperb pricing is an obvious draw⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The best of the rest

Proton VPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: ProtonVPN)

4. Proton VPN

Great speeds and superb privacy

Router support: Yes | Max speeds on 1Gbps line: 950 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now, 10 play | 24/7 customer suppoort: No (live chat available) | Simultaneous connections: 10

Very powerful apps