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Best Modern Warfare VPNs: avoid SBMM & get bot lobbies

The awaited Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 reboot has just been released, and gamers are already dissatisfied with its skill-based matchmaking (SBMM) system. Players point to extremely competitive lobbies filled with high-skill players, demanding a MW3 VPN to connect to the server with less intense experience.

A reliable Modern Warfare 3 VPN is your best bet if you're interested in how to avoid SBMM in this game. You will get better chances of landing in MW3 bot lobbies if you connect to a country where Call of Duty is not as popular. Currently, the best VPN locations for MW3 bot lobbies are Central America and the Middle East instead of Europe and the US.

However, not all VPNs are optimized for gaming. A good VPN for MW3 must have an extensive and fast worldwide server network, an easy-to-use app, and router compatibility. Below is a list of the 5 best MW3 VPNs to avoid SBMM and play in bot lobbies with less fierce competition. Let's see what they have to offer!

5 best CoD: MW3 VPNs in 2023

Why do you need a VPN for CoD: MW3?

CoD: MW3 is an action-packed first-person shooter. However, the unpopular Modern Warfare 3 SBMM system makes the competition too fierce and the game less enjoyable. Here's how a solid VPN can improve your experience:

  • Avoid MW3 SBMM. Connect to a VPN server in a region where MW3 is not as popular as in the US, like Turkey or Eastern Europe. You'll have better chances connecting to MW3 bot lobbies instead of being ranked with the best-of-the-best players in the most competitive servers.
  • Better performance. You can lower your ping and improve gaming latency if you connect to a VPN server closer to MW3 servers. Simultaneously, a good gaming VPN will avoid ISP speed throttling so that you can play the game lag-free.
  • DDoS protection. Grievous players use opponents' original IP addresses to flood them with fake requests and disconnect the player from the match. A VPN masks your original IP address to prevent this and safeguards your gaming sessions from uncompetitive cyberattacks.
  • Play in your preferred region. If you prefer playing CoD: MW3 in a specific region, connect to a server there and enjoy the local matchmaking.

Best VPNs for MW3 – our detailed list:

We've scrutinized over 40 VPNs regarding their speed, server fleet size, feature availability, and pricing to get the five best VPNs for MW3. Below is a list of providers that offer a top-notch Modern Warfare 3 gaming experience without shaking your wallet.

1. NordVPN – excellent MW3 VPN to avoid SBMM

NordVPN banner
Servers/countries:5,900+ servers in 60 countries
Speed retention:
Simultaneous connections:
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NordVPN is the best MW3 VPN to avoid fierce skill-based matchmaking competition, fix latency issues, and protect your device from gaming-related cyber attacks. NordVPN is fast and easy to use, with a quick router setup to enhance gaming on consoles.

This service offers over 5,900 servers in 60 countries to help you reach an easier MW3 bot lobby. Furthermore, it has ample servers in Turkey and Eastern Europe that welcome gamers looking for a more relaxed CoD experience.

We particularly enjoyed nearly perfect NordVPN connection speed results that consistently maintain over 90% of the original speed. Our tests on NordVPN showed its kill switch successfully prevents IP address leaks while switching servers, protecting your gaming session at all times.

Although NordVPN supports only 6 simultaneous connections, it shouldn't be a problem if you're exclusively a PC or a console player. However, if you use multiple devices for gaming, we recommend checking Surfshark, which does not limit concurrent connections.

NordVPN prices start at $2.99/month, and it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to test it before committing long-term.

2. Surfshark – MW3 VPN to play on any device

Surfshark banner
3,200+ servers in 100 countries
Speed retention:
Simultaneous connections:
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Surfshark deserves a spot among the best MW3 VPNs because it doesn't limit concurrent connections, retains around 86% of the original connection speed, and has servers in 100 countries. We effortlessly joined the Modern Warfare 3 server in the desired region with minimal ping increase on the furthest ones.

We are pleasantly surprised that Surfshark allows account sharing, which rarely occurs in the VPN market. You can share the account with family or friends if you don't resell it or abuse the sharing policy in other ways. It's a great feature, as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is best when played with friends!

Currently, it has over 3,200 servers in 100 countries, so you can reach any CoD: MW3 bot lobby you want. The server spreads outshines even the best VPNs like NordVPN, so prioritize Surfshark if you want a genuinely global MW3 experience.

Surfshark subscriptions start at $1.99/month. Besides, it also has a 30-day refund policy should you change your mind.

3. Norton Secure VPN – reliable MW3 VPN with gaming optimization

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1,000+ servers in 29 countries
Speed retention:
Simultaneous connections:
Current deal:
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Norton Secure VPN is a solid MW3 VPN with numerous cybersecurity benefits and a Norton GO (Game Optimizer) feature. However, this feature is only available on Windows devices, so console players should consider setting up NordVPN on a router to enhance the MW3 experience. In addition, Norton GO comes with a Norton 360 subscription, so you won't get it if you buy the VPN only.

The average Norton Secure VPN speed retention rate is around 74%, so it's best used on nearby servers. It has 1,000+ servers in 29 countries, which, unfortunately, cannot compete with Surshark or CyberGhost. On the other hand, its performance is sufficient to join nearby MW3 lobbies, especially when combined with Norton GO.

This valuable gaming feature automatically detects games from the most popular launchers like Battle.net and allocates more device resources to the video game, improving performance. Gaming quality will significantly improve by combining Game Optimizer with a VPN to bypass ISP speed throttling.

Because Norton Secure VPN with Game Optimizer feature comes in a Norton 360 for Gamers bundle, it's a bit pricier than other VPNs on the list. However, if you decide to go for the Norton Secure VPN subscription only, the prices start at only $0.83/month! Besides, there's a lengthy 60-day money-back guarantee.

4. ExpressVPN – top MW3 VPN for consoles

ExpressVPN banner
Servers/countries:3,000+ servers in 105 countries
Speed retention:
Simultaneous connections:
Up to 8
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We're sure you're not surprised to find ExpressVPN on the best MW3 VPN list. Its excellent server spread, gaming-friendly features, and speedy connection ensure you get a no-lag VPN for MW3 that efficiently avoids its frustrating SBMM.

ExpressVPN has 3,000 servers in 105 countries, averaging 77% initial speed retention. Although it has fewer servers than NordVPN or CyberGhost, the worldwide server coverage outshines even Surfshark and unblocks any bot lobby for MW3.

Console users will get the most value out of ExpressVPN as it has a neat applet for routers. Once you've configured this VPN on a router, you can control it using proprietary ExpressVPN software, similar to its mobile app. Straightforward device management got our vote, as we could route a PS5 through its servers while leaving other devices unaffected.

We must warn you that ExpressVPN is the most expensive on the list, but it provides unique benefits worth an extra buck. Prices start at $6.67/month, and you can always take advantage of its 30-day money refund policy.

5. CyberGhost – MW3 VPN with specialty gaming servers

CyberGhost VPN banner
Servers/countries:10,200+ servers in 100 countries
Speed retention:
Simultaneous connections:
Current deal:🔥Cyber Monday! Get CyberGhost VPN, now 84% + 4 months FREE!🔥

CyberGhost is a MW3 VPN with an outstanding server selection, including specialty gaming-optimized servers. Once you connect to a server in its Windows app's "For gaming" section, it will automatically connect you to the one with the lowest possible latency. However, the router setup is not as straightforward, so we recommend checking ExpressVPN for console players.

CyberGhost offers an impressive 10,200-server network in 100 countries. We must outline that some servers cannot compete with the fastest VPNs in the market, like NordVPN, and sometimes results in a significant 86% speed drop. However, connecting to a server for gaming maintained a low ping and didn't interfere with the MW3 performance.

We thoroughly enjoyed CyberGhost's Windows app and neat server selection, allowing us to pick a good gaming server faster than any other app. Although it's sometimes a hit-and-miss chance regarding stability, an extraordinarily vast serve network compensates for minor shortcomings.

CyberGhost’s prices start at $2.04/month, and it offers a generous 45-day money-back guarantee.

Comparison of the best CoD: MW3 VPNs

BrandNordVPNSurfsharkNorton VPNExpressVPNCyberGhost
Servers5,900+ servers in 60 countries3,200+ servers in 100 countries1,000+ servers in 29 countries3,000+ servers in 105 countries10,200+ servers in 100 countries
Speed retention 90%86%74%77%86%
Kill SwitchYesYesYesYesYes
DNS leak protectionYesYesYesYesYes
Price (lowest price per month)$2.99/month$1.99/month$$0.83/month$6.67/month$2.04/month
Free trialYes, 7-day (Android)Yes, 7-day (macOS, Android, iOS)Yes, 7-dayYes, 7-day for mobile devicesYes, 1-day on a desktop, 3-day on Android, and 7-day on iOS

How we tested Modern Warfare 3 VPNs

We have tested over 40 VPN services to pick the top 5 MW3 VPNs that will not leave you wanting more. Here are the key criteria we considered:

  • Connection speed. What good is a VPN for MW3 if you can't land a shot due to lag? We included only VPNs with high-speed retention and low latency to ensure the game runs smoothly and you have an uninterrupted experience.
  • Large server fleet. Worldwide server spread is mandatory to avoid CoD: MW3 SBMM and join easier game lobbies. We verified our recommended VPNs have servers all across the globe, including in regions with light MW3 competition, like Turkey.
  • Cross-device compatibility. MW3 is available on PCs and consoles, including older ones like PS4 and Xbox One. We double-checked that selected VPNs work just as well installed on a router to enhance the game experience on consoles that do not support native VPN apps.
  • Cybersecurity benefits. We looked for security and privacy features like a kill switch and advanced encryption to protect you from IP-based cyberattacks like DDoS and Doxing. An independently audited VPN no-logs policy is a significant advantage.
  • Competitive prices. There's no need to overpay for a gaming VPN, especially when there are many excellent and affordable VPNs for Modern Warfare 3. Our list includes only those services that offer outstanding features for a reasonable price.

How do I avoid SBMM and get easier bot lobbies with a MW3 VPN?

CoD: MW3 is available on Windows devices and Xbox and PlayStation consoles. However, the latter do not support native VPN apps and must be configured via a router. Here's how to get easier MW3 bot lobbies on whatever device you play:

  1. Subscribe to a gaming-friendly VPN. Our top pick is NordVPN, now 69% OFF NordVPN home page BF
  2. Install the app on your Windows device or configure it on a router if you're playing on a console
  3. Connect to a server with lighter MW3 competition during calmer hours, like Turkey, between 3 am and midday NordVPN connected to TR
  4. Launch the game and enjoy an easier MW3 bot lobby

MW3 VPN not working – troubleshooting

You may sometimes encounter CoD: MW3 VPN errors that interfere with gaming quality and prevent you from joining an easier bot lobby.

Firstly, your VPN might leak your original IP address, exposing your actual location. The video game client will then use it for SBMM, potentially placing you with players of higher skill levels, which is common in the Call of Duty series.

You may also land on an overloaded VPN server that causes lag. Whatever the problems are, here are a few tricks to fix MW3 VPN errors:

  • Use websites like Whatismyip to verify that you successfully connected to a chosen VPN server. It should show the server's IP address instead of your original.
  • If your game lags, reconnect to a different VPN server in the same region.
  • Simultaneously, double-check whether the VPN uses WireGuard protocol or its variation, like NordVPN's Nordlynx.
  • Update your VPN, game launcher, and MW3 to the latest version, as older ones may have compatibility issues.

Can I play CoD: MW3 with a VPN?

Yes, you can play CoD: MW3 with a VPN without worrying about getting banned. There are no explicit statements in Activision's Terms of Service that prohibit players from using a VPN while playing.

However, Activision has an anti-spoofing policy that states, "any attempt to hide, disguise, or obfuscate your identity or the identity of your hardware devices may result in a permanent suspension." Because a VPN will only change your original IP address without altering any account-related settings (like username, email, etc.), you should be safe using it to fix latency issues or join less-competitive lobbies.

We strongly recommend staying within these lines, as using a VPN to get an unfair advantage or lower prices can get you banned. For example, suppose you use a VPN to connect to a region with cheaper in-game purchases. In that case, Activision will most likely notice the violation and may even permanently ban your account.

Final thoughts

Activision still has some polishing to do, as the CoD: MW3 single-player campaign is disappointing, and the multi-player suffers from SBMM issues. Players report frustrating lobbies with fierce competition too hard for those seeking a casual experience. That's why many look for the best VPN for MW3 to join calmer servers and enjoy the game more.

We've concluded that NordVPN is an excellent MW3 PC VPN that's also easy to set up on a router if you play via console. The vast worldwide server network allows joining easier bot lobbies, and its speeds are sufficient to maintain a lag-free MW3 experience. Lastly, advanced encryption and additional cybersecurity benefits provide much-needed online safety.

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