Best Warzone VPN: 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. If you want to make the most of The Haunting update, you'll want to be at peak performance – and that's what this page is for.

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 3 best Warzone VPNs at a glance

1. ExpressVPN – the top VPN for Warzone and gaming

1. ExpressVPN – the top VPN for Warzone and gaming
With superfast speeds, tons of locations worldwide and a superb support service in case anything goes wrong, ExpressVPN is the best Warzone VPN. You can now bag three months FREE on a 12-month plan, plus a 30-day money-back guarantee to try before you commit.

2. NordVPN – super secure and excellent for Warzone

2. NordVPN – super secure and excellent for Warzone
You're probably no stranger to NordVPN – your favorite streamer might even plug the service at the start of their videos. Thankfully Nord genuinely is a great Warzone VPN that delivers excellent speeds, and it also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Surfshark – cheap, cheerful, and very effective

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 a month, you'll get fully featured Warzone VPN cover and unlimited connections so you can install the app on every one of your devices.

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. 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 factors as well. 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), 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 2023

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.

ExpressVPN: the best Warzone VPN overall

ExpressVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: ExpressVPN)

1. ExpressVPN

The best VPN for Warzone on the market

Router support: Yes | Max speeds on 1Gbps line: 750 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 5

Good speeds
Super reliable
Simple router setup
Great for streaming too
Only 5 devices at once

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

First up, Express's speedy connection speeds mean you won't be lagging and you'll be able to play to your full potential. In my testing I've rarely, if ever, experienced a connection drop, and over long distances speeds are good and connections are reliable. Plus, with maximum speeds of over 750 Mbps, you can be sure that your VPN won't be slowing your down.

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 brand-new 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.

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 5. 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?

Get 3 months FREE of the best Warzone VPN

Get 3 months FREE of the best Warzone VPN
Blistering speeds plus excellent privacy equals the best Warzone VPN on the market. And now, Tom's Guide readers can claim 3 months FREE, working out at 15 months for the price of 12. Not happy with the service? Just request a guaranteed refund within 30-days for your money back, no questions asked.

NordVPN: the fastest Warzone VPN

NordVPN on a range of devices

(Image credit: NordVPN)

2. NordVPN

Privacy-first Warzone VPN with incredible speeds

Router support: Yes | Max speeds on 1Gbps line: 950 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 6

Max speeds are through the roof
Tons of privacy features
Good for streaming
Router setup is tricky

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.

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

In my testing, NordVPN was the fastest VPN, which is pretty perfect when it comes to gaming. Topping out at 950 Mbps, I also saw similar speeds from Surfshark, IPVanish and Windscribe – although in my opinion, NordVPN is the most well-rounded of the super-fast providers.

Standout features include Onion over VPN (not great for gaming, but super secure), multi-hop server selection and excellent apps that work on tons of devices. However, the apps are a little more complex to use than ExpressVPN, and while this is a small quibble, it's worth making a note of if you prefer 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 Nord is sure to deliver.

Sign up now on the NordVPN website

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, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

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

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.

With over 3,200 servers worldwide, there's plenty to pick from, so selecting an uncrowded server in your desired location shouldn't be an issue.

However, the biggest draw will be that sub-$2.50 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 Nord and Express (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.
Head over to Surfshark's website to sign up

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: 460 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: No (live chat available) | Simultaneous connections: 10

Very powerful apps
Privacy-focused service
Unblocks tons of streaming sites
Connection speeds not class-leading

Proton VPN is well known for its free VPN service, but in my last Proton VPN review, I found that the Swiss provider has really upped its game. It's now no longer just a privacy tool, and its range of servers and excellent connection speeds mean it's great as a Warzone VPN, as well as a torrenting VPN and for streaming.

When gaming, you won't find yourself lagging, even if you've chosen to use a server in a different country. That's thanks to Proton VPN's VPN Accelerator. This sends your traffic through multiple cores of multiple CPUs, effectively supercharging your connections and negating any slow-down you might otherwise feel.

However, in my latest round of testing I saw peaks fall to 460 Mbps. That's likely much faster than your base connection, but be aware that if you're on a gigabit line, Proton may not be able to keep up.

One of the few downsides to Proton VPN is the fact that the support system isn't quite up there with the best. While the live chat agents are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable, they're not available 24/7. So, if you're fragging out at midnight on Sunday and you have an issue, you might be waiting a few hours for a response.

Overall though, Proton VPN is a seriously powerful VPN for Warzone, and will prove itself useful on and off the battleground.

Sign up now on the Proton VPN website app on a mobile device

(Image credit:


Certainly won't slow you down

Router support: Yes | Max speeds on 1Gbps line: 880Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, YouTube, Hulu | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: 10

Great WireGuard and OpenVPN speeds
Excellent streaming performance
Works smoothly with Warzone
Mac app falls well behind Windows
Apps are quite complex

If you're looking for a Warzone VPN that has tons of other features on offer, may well be the choice for you. With exceptional speeds of up to 800Mbps combined with a powerful Windows app, in our most recent review it outdid our expectations.

Unlike simpler rivals, you'll be able to customize your experience to your heart's content. Select between IPv4 or IPv6, enable random ports, order your servers to your liking – you can even write custom scripts to automate certain functions of the app.

So, if you're techy, there's a ton of depth to – but if you're after a super-simple VPN for Warzone it might not quite be the simplest option. Of course, you can plug and play, but in terms of overall polish it's not quite up there with the very best – especially when it comes to the Mac VPN app.

However, while it's not for everyone, should definitely be on your shortlist if you're looking for incredible speeds and very configurable software.

Sign up now on the website

How to choose the best Warzone VPN

While you want your Warzone VPN to be secure (we never recommend services that aren't), first and foremost you're looking for excellent connection speeds, reliability, and a wide range of locations. There are a number of services that can do the job, but overall we consider ExpressVPN to be the gold standard for Warzone, and as a gaming VPN in general.

If you're playing on a console, you might want to set up a router VPN. ExpressVPN is one of the few providers to offer a dedicated app, although this is possible with most competitors, too.

However, if there are other features that you prioritize – perhaps servers in a more 'niche' location or more complex, customizable applications – there's a ton of different options on the market. 

Best Warzone VPN FAQ

Can you get banned for using a VPN on Warzone?

The jury's out on this one, but in the Warzone T&Cs, there are no explicit rules stating that you can't use a Warzone VPN. This is due to the fact you may be using a VPN to stabilize your connection, and while getting easier lobbies may be a side-effect of this, it's not an offense, per se.

However, if you're a professional or high-profile Warzone player, we'd recommend researching yourself if there's any risk involved.

Will a VPN increase my ping?

This is a tricky one. Compared to your standard connection at peak speeds, a VPN is likely to slightly increase your ping – but, if you're very near one of your VPN's servers it could possibly decrease it if you're lucky. If you're heading to an overseas server your ping will almost certainly increase, but by being smart about your choice, you should be able to minimize this.

Of course, many people are using a Warzone VPN to stabilize and make your connection more reliable and to avoid throttling. So, on your regular connection you might peak at a 10ms ping, but when you're being throttled that might increase to a difficult-to-manage 300ms.

By using a Warzone VPN, you can make sure your ping will stay at a usable speed – perhaps 20ms or better if you're used to 10ms – but you can be sure that it will stay that way for as long as you play. 

To learn more about this, see how to use a VPN to speed up your internet.

Warzone VPN disclaimer

Mo Harber-Lamond
VPN Editor

Mo is VPN Editor at Tom's Guide. Day-to-day he oversees VPN, privacy, and cybersecurity content, and also undertakes independent testing of VPN services to ensure his recommendations are accurate and up to date. When he's not getting stuck into the nitty-gritty settings of a VPN you've never heard of, you'll find him working on his Peugeot 205 GTi or watching Peep Show instead of finally putting up those shelves.