Have you ever been locked out of a game because of a high ping? High ping will cause slow gameplay, which can also affect other players if you are playing a fast-action online game. If you need to find the solution, you need to learn how to get better ping, including how to lower it to better levels.
How to Get Lower Ping
In the gaming world, ping refers to the network utility, data, or signal sent from a gaming computer to a gaming server. It is measured in milliseconds (ms) and indicates how fast that signal travels through the internet to reach the server. You need a low ping speed for faster communication between your gaming setup and server that would guarantee smoother gameplay.
The best ping speed is ideally lower than 100ms, while anything above 150ms is too high ping which can negatively affect your gaming experience. If you are a pro gamer looking for perfect timing and positioning, it is best to lower your speeds to even less than 20ms to gain a competitive edge.
Before we look at other factors related to ping, such as the latency, lag, and causes, here are ways you can reduce ping to desirable milliseconds, thus eradicating the costly and maddening delays between your setup and servers.
- Checking your internet connection
- Updating your software or gaming devices
- Closing background apps
- Disabling automatic updates
- Disconnecting some devices from your gaming computer
- Choosing a local game server
- Replacing or upgrading your router
- Using Ethernet cable for a stronger wired connection
- Adjusting your game's settings
- Checking the game server ping
1. Optimize your internet connection
Your internet connection should be top of mind when looking to lower your ping. High internet speeds allow fast communication, thus low latency or ping rates. Conversely, a slow internet connection is the main culprit of a high ping as your computer takes longer to upload and download data packets, thus causing noticeable lag.
Your first step can be to run an online internet speed test to determine how fast your internet speed is, and the test will also indicate your ping, so you know if you need to do more to lower it. You can head over to your Google search bar, type 'Internet Speed Test' and run the Google test. If your internet speed is slow, it is the biggest indication of high ping.
When testing for internet speeds, you will also need to understand the difference between upload and download speeds. It is imperative to have high upload speeds as these indicate how fast your computer can send data to the server. On the other hand, download speeds indicate how fast you can receive data from the server. You will experience lower latency if you have fast upload speeds.
If you understand low connection speeds are causing high ping rates, it is best to upgrade your bundle package or change your internet service provider (ISP) altogether. If you need to choose a different ISP, avoid signing up for bundled internet, TV, and telephony packages.
Rather, only go for internet services to reduce latency on your line. At the same time, it is best to use a wired connection over a wireless connection to eliminate connectivity and bandwidth issues.
2. Update your gaming software or setups
Your computers might also be causing the high ping, especially when you have a good internet connection speed. If you have just started gaming and don't have a special gaming setup, it may be worth investing in a new gaming setup altogether.
The best setup has a powerful CPU, GPU, RAM, and VRAM. Often, it is easier to buy a gaming rig, but you can also build a gaming rig from scratch.
3. Close background programs
Background apps can lower your computer's performance, so it is best to close any apps you are not using when gaming. These apps can increase your ping and latency because they lower the CPU and GPU performance and internet bandwidth. Some apps you need to force-close include Netflix, Spotify, Twitch, Zoom, and more.
4. Disable automatic updates
While you can benefit more by enabling apps and software to update automatically, it could also cause high ping if the updates were to occur during online gaming. This is because the updates demand a lot of performance from your computers and internet and thus can cause some lag as you play online games.
To prevent high ping and lag while playing, you can temporarily disable the updates for the duration of your upcoming game. However, it is best to enable the updates when you are not gaming to observe the best cybersecurity.
5. Disconnect some devices from your gaming routers
If you have too many devices using the same routers, you can expect your internet bandwidth to fall, which would leave you with a high ping. Therefore, it is best to, at times, dedicate your routers for gaming purposes only when you want to lower your ping. Some of the devices you can disconnect from the router and internet include smart TVs, gaming headsets, smartwatches, and cellphones.
6. Choose a local game server
Since the ping indicates how long your gaming setup takes to communicate with gaming servers, it is also ideal to consider the distance between the two in an attempt to lower your ping. The farther a DNS server is, the longer it will take for information to travel, ultimately resulting in higher pings.
It is best to consider using a local game server. Luckily, some games allow you to choose your best servers, especially when the servers are distributed across states or continents. Choose the server closest to your gaming setup's physical location if you have this choice.
7. Upgrade your router model
When your gaming ping is high, but you have upgraded all gaming systems and chosen a higher internet connection, it could be your old routers letting you down. Like other appliances, routers also need to be upgraded to support the fastest connection speeds.
So, if you are running out of ideas on how to lower your ping, you may need to upgrade to a newer router model and see how your connectivity could improve. If you have the latest router model, you could also try a few maintenance tricks to get the best performance out of it, such as:
- Clearing cookies and cache to leave the router as new
- Updating the router firmware where applicable
- Adjust the antennas to leave a clearer line of sight to your gaming setup
8. Connect your gaming setup to the router using an ethernet cable
As you know, a wired internet connection is more reliable as there are few signal interferences. If you deal with high ping, it could be better to connect the gaming computer or laptop to the router through an ethernet cable.
However, you will need to ensure you are near the router, and if not, use a powerline adapter to connect to the router. Alos, ensure that you will not be moving your setup as much since the wired connection will limit how far you can move your computers. If you can't use the wired internet connection, you could also use stronger 5GHz networks for your Wi-Fi connection.
9. Check the game's server ping
When you know your computer and internet connection is okay but still experience high ping, it could be the game's server slowing you down. In this case, head over to Game Server Ping and run a test for your game server. If a test reveals a very high ping, it could be better to use another server with a lower ping.
10. Adjust your game settings
You can also lower your ping by tinkering with some game settings, especially your display settings. For example, if you opt to play with a high frame rate, this would give you the best display quality, but it would also use soo much computer power and internet to load the elements, which could ultimately cause a high ping.
Suppose you would like to reduce ping, head to your game's setting panel and select a lower frame rate. Then, test the ping when you want to play a game to see if it is lower. Unfortunately, while this method will improve ping, it will also affect the display, meaning you will have to make do with lower-quality animations.
What Is the Difference Between Ping, Latency, and Lag?
If you are trying to understand what disrupts your gameplay, the terms ping, latency, and lag will probably cause a little confusion because they are often used synonymously. However, these three words have different meanings.
As seen above, the ping is a signal your gaming setup sends to the game servers. The term was first introduced during WWII as the onomatopoeia or sonar signal used to measure the distance between submarine vessels. Today, the term is used to indicate how computers communicate online, and hence, quite crucial for online gamers.
You can think of ping as any command you send to the server to affect what is displayed on your screen. Low ping is desirable because it indicates faster communication between the gaming setup and the server, resulting in smoother gameplay.
While latency is used synonymously with ping, the two terms do not mean the same thing, even in the world of video games. Latency refers to how long it takes for the server to respond to your ping, so in essence, it is how long it takes for packets of data to travel from your computer to the server and for the server to send feedback.
Latency is measured in milliseconds, which is where it gets used interchangeably with the term ping. So, for instance, you will find gamers using the terms low ping or low latency to mean the same thing. In essence, the terms indicate how long it takes for the packets of data to travel back and forth, meaning how fast you can complete commands during your game.
While latency can be increased by poor internet connectivity, it can also be increased by distance. So, it is not uncommon to have to deal with high latency if your servers are located too far away, meaning the ping will need to travel such a long distance before you can receive feedback.
The last term to understand is lag, which refers to any delay in communicating with your gaming server, often caused by high ping. If you wonder why the terms ping, latency, and lag are conflated in video games, they affect how smooth gameplay is.
For example, a slow internet connection will cause high latency (the time it takes for your ping to travel to the server and back), while the high latency will manifest as a lag (decreased speed) when you want to execute a gaming command.
However, while lag can result from high latency, it can also indicate underlying problems with your gaming setup, such as low memory, which causes slow computer performance.
What Causes High Ping?
If you have ruled your biggest gaming bane to be high ping or latency, it is best to understand its main causes. Here are four main reasons you can have a high ping when playing online games.
a) Poor ISP quality
Apart from the internet connection, it is important to be very selective og the internet service provider(ISP). An ISP provides you with the internet, but different companies do not offer the same connection quality, especially in terms of latency, speed, and availability.
Before choosing an ISP, understand their download and upload speeds, connection type (satellite, fiber, cable, and DSL), data caps, and routers. It is particularly important to understand the internet connection type, and it is always best to avoid satellite connections because they have high latency.
b) Your internet connection speed
The internet speeds you use can also cause high ping. High internet speeds will result in lower latency since the ping will travel faster, while low internet speeds will cause high ping or high latency.
When choosing your data packages, go for the best data caps for your gaming needs. For instance, you can opt for unlimited monthly data when you don't anticipate heavy gaming, but you may need to choose around 1gbps plus unlimited data if you want to game professionally.
This is because unlimited plans do not have equal upload and download speeds, but a data cap will guarantee better upload speeds.
If your gaming setup and gaming servers are on two different continents, it is also possible to experience high ping. This is because the distance would result in your ping traveling a long distance, which would take more time before the server can send feedback. Again, the easiest way to solve this is by choosing a local game server.
d) Overworking your gaming computer
If your computer is running background apps, that will affect your internet connection, SPU and GPU power which will ultimately cause high pings. On the other hand, if you run firewall checks, they will also affect your internet connections, so it is better to disable them to prioritize gaming traffic.
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