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)

A Warzone VPN is the perfect tool for both protecting yourself from getting hacked and DDoS-ed, and evading skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) so you can rank up in easy lobbies, get some high-elimination matches and ultimately have more fun. What's more, if you know your connection gets throttled at peak times, a VPN will also get you around this, no-one wants to lag out and let the squad down at that vital moment.

At Tom's Guide, we've tested dozens of the best VPNs, and ranked them in terms of privacy, connection speeds, and ease of use. On this page, I run down the best VPNs for Warzone. A quality Warzone VPN requires plenty of servers all around the world (so you can tap into underpopulated lobbies at quiet local times), very fast connections, and secure infrastructure to protect you while you're fragging. Every VPN on this page ticks all three of those boxes. Now go and get

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 your best options. If you just want our recommendations, though, pick from the top 3 just below.

Note: With Season 5 just days away, it's a perfect time to get back into Warzone. We already know that there will be a WWE crossover event in the upcoming season, while rumors persist about some Deadpool and Wolverine content too.

The best Warzone VPNs at a glance

1.NordVPN – the very best VPN for Warzone

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 start at less than $3.50 per month plus there's a 30-day money-back guarantee, meaning you can try it risk-free.

2. ExpressVPN – a great option for gaming generally

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. Prices start at $6.67 per month and you can bag three months free on a 12-month plan. There's also a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can even try it out before you commit.

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 per 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 usurping ExpressVPN as my #1-ranked VPN, 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?

If you've ever played Warzone on a friend's profile, you might have found it a massive ego boost or a kick in the teeth. This is because, 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. SBMM can be frustrating as it means there are never any 'easy' fights and you have to be switched on 24/7. 

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 like a c 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 lag: 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. The map-based interface is also very pleasant to use on desktop, which is likely to suit PC gamers. However, on mobile devices, it's just a little cramped and awkward.

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.

PC users can also benefit from Nord's Threat Protection Pro system. A comprehensive anti-virus-style tool, Threat Protection Pro makes the internet a much safer place. It automatically checks links, URLs and downloads for malware, phishing scams and suspicious behavior. So even if you tried downloading extra RAM (as the famous scam goes) the system would spot it.  

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

Very reliable connections
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 one of the priciest VPNs, 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 (although more brands are now getting into this).

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 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?

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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 per 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 speediest 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-$2.50 per 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), the layout is very attractive and it's easy to use on all devices. 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
Privacy-focused service
Unblocks lots of streaming sites
Quite complex for the uninitiated
Subscribe if:

✔️ You revel in lots of features: Proton VPN's apps and clients are absolutely packed with features and the ability to customize.

✔️ Streaming is also your goal: Proton VPN's unblocking game is seriously strong – we couldn't find a service that will stop it. 

✔️  You want to try before you buy: The free version means you can see what all the fuss is about before you pay for the full package.  

Avoid if:

❌ You feel intimidated by VPNs: There's so much in the way of settings and features with Proton VPN, that you may not know where to get started.

❌ You rely on 24/7 support: Proton has fallen behind its key VPN competitors by not offering round-the-clock support.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

You can be confident with Proton VPN that you're getting watertight protection of your privacy and anonymity, and you can toggle and tweak to your heart's content. Speeds have recently improved, too, now making it one of the fastest around.

Proton VPN is well known for its free VPN service, but in my most rcenet Proton VPN review, I found that the Swiss provider has upped its game... again. 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.

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.

In addition, Proton has recently joined the ranks of my favorite streaming VPNs. It does a fantastic job of accessing exclusive content on foreign Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video catalogs, as well as providing access to overseas streaming platforms like the BBC iPlayer, ITVX and 10 play.

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.

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Proton VPN test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignSmart and jam-packed with fearures⭐⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useI'd like to see things made a little friendlier for VPN newbies⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFaster than ever⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingPretty much unblocks the lot⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyWell known for its verified privacy policies and security tools⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportGood, but lacking 24/7 live chat support⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceLong term plans are affordable and there's the free version to try⭐⭐⭐⭐

IPVanish on a range of devices

(Image credit: IPVanish)

5. IPVanish

An old favorite with the odd drawback

Router support: Yes | Max speeds on 1Gbps line: 770 Mbps | Streaming services unblocked: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITVX, C4, 9Now | 24/7 customer suppoort: Yes | Simultaneous connections: Unlimited

Fast
Use on unlimited devices
Feature-packed
Some streaming gaps
Usability could be improved
Subscribe if:

✔️ You like the idea of unlimited connections: IPVanish doesn't limit the amount of devices you use it on at any one time. 

✔️ You want full Internet security in one package: The provider's VIPRE antivirus software is bundled in with your sub.

✔️ Price is at a premium: Formerly relatively expensive, IPVanish's plans have dropped rapidly in price in recent times.

Avoid if:

❌ You want your VPN to block trackers: Most providers now do, but IPVanish doesn't.

❌ You want tons of server choice. 2,400 servers may sound impressive, but the number pales in comparison to the other VPNs on this list.

Bottom line: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The folk at IPVanish have been doing this for a while now, so it's no great surprise that they have produced a VPN that is straightforward to use, boasts watertight security smarts and manages connection speeds that won't slow down your Warzone sessions.

The name IPVanish goes back pretty much as long as VPNs have been a consumer commodity, and iterations of my IPVanish review over the years have always been full of praise for the company's dedication to privacy and securing its users' anonymity.

So if you like the idea of absolute Internet security while you game, IPVanish is a great option to consider. It brings in independent auditors like the Leviathan Security Group to verify the integrity of its software and even throws in VIPRE antivirus with its VPN subscriptions. So if the notion of getting a US VPN makes you feel slightly cautious, there's really no need with IPVanish.

Sometimes we're critical on other factors of IPVanish, but our latest testing saw great improvements in some areas. Speed, for example, has come on leaps and bounds. Our speed tester ticked all the way up to 770 Mbps when we connected via our 1 Gbps line and used the WireGuard protocol. And even the 230 Mbps OpenVPN speeds impress, and is a better result than NordVPN or ExpressVPN managed.

And if you're also planning to do a lot of varied streaming with your VPN, IPVanish has upped its game in that department, too. It previously struggled with Netflix's various foreign libraries, but this time it gained us access to exclusive content to the US, UK, Canada and Japan (only failing on Australia). It passes with flying colours on other services like Disney+ and BBC iPlayer.

To really mix it with the Warzone VPNs kings, we'd like to see IPVanish add more servers. But the 2,400+ across more than 90 countries will be sufficient for the vast majority of users.

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IPVanish test results
FeatureCommentsRating
DesignGood but sometimes feels a tad over-complicated⭐⭐⭐
Ease of useInstallation and use is easy enough⭐⭐⭐
PerformanceFaster then ever, with WireGuard speed over 700 Mbps⭐⭐⭐⭐
UnblockingGetting better all the time with only a couple of ommisions⭐⭐⭐⭐
Security and privacyAudited systems and policies instil a lot of confidence⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Customer supportExcellent live chat support and even an option for telephone calls⭐⭐⭐⭐
PriceSome very attractive long term pricing available⭐⭐⭐⭐

How to choose the best Warzone VPN

While you want your Warzone VPN to be secure (we never recommend services that aren't), other key factors include excellent connection speeds, reliability, and a wide range of server locations. There are a number of services that can do the job, but overall we consider NordVPN to be the gold standard for Warzone.

Alternatively, another excellent gaming VPN is the exceptional ExpressVPN. If you're playing Warzone on a console, you might want to set up a router VPN. ExpressVPN is one of the few providers to offer a dedicated app.

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. 

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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.


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Disclaimer

We test and review VPN services in the context of legal recreational uses. For example: 

1. Accessing a service from another country (subject to the terms and conditions of that service). 
2. Protecting your online security and strengthening your online privacy when abroad. We do not support or condone the illegal or malicious use of VPN services. Consuming pirated content that is paid-for is neither endorsed nor approved by Future Publishing.

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.