High Ping Problems? 7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Gaming Speed!

Robert_Stark
edited October 2023 in Gaming

Pose the question "What is high ping?" to a seasoned gamer, and a shudder will run down their spine. High ping is an anathema to their online gaming experience. The villain behind the infuriating video game lag. You guessed it right; it’s high ping.

Ping measures latency, which is how quickly a signal travels from and returns to your computer. Within games, this latency is the delay before the game reacts to your commands. If you've ever found yourself inexplicably hit by a virtual enemy despite ducking behind cover, you've met high ping.

High ping creates an annoying delay between your moves and the server's response, causing your gameplay to limp at a frustrating pace. Pro gamers try to dodge high pings by investing in high-end hardware, but what about casual gamers? Well, this guide is for you. We will show you how to fix high ping and reduce lag in your online gaming. 

Understanding High Ping 

A ping test is essentially a digital sonar, bouncing a tiny data packet from your device to a server and back again. The round trip's duration reveals latency or delay, measured in milliseconds (ms).

With ping, a lower score is better:

  • Under 20 ms: Elite level, mandatory for Twitch affiliates 
  • 50 ms or below: Ideal for professional gamers 
  • 50 to 100 ms: Acceptable and typical for most broadband users 
  • 150 ms or higher: Brings noticeable lag into play. 
  • 300ms or more: Unplayable with long delays and erratic movements.

The lower the ping, the quicker a game can be played. High ping often causes lagging. So, to reduce lag, you need to also reduce ping. 

What is a good ping for gaming? 

In online gaming, latency or lag is critical. It quantifies the time your in-game actions take to hit the server and return. The server juggles your moves and others, establishing a roundtrip data exchange that holds sway over your gaming experience.

High ping equals lag, and lag disrupts your game, jumbles graphics, and impedes smooth streaming. Anything under 50 ms counts as 'low ping,' while over 150 ms gets you into the undesirable 'high ping' range.

In genres such as first-person shooters (FPS), racing, or real-time strategy games, a low ping ensures a smooth, rapid gaming experience. However, the perfect ping speed fluctuates across games:

  • FPS games: Hover under 50 ms to remain competitive. 
  • Racing and Sports games: Less than 50 ms is the target. 
  • Real-time strategy (RTS) games: Anything below 150 ms is acceptable. 
  • Massively multiplayer online (MMO) games: Ping is less critical, but aim for under 150 ms.

The lower your ping, the faster your game reacts, offering you a competitive advantage. Persistent lags could even lead to a defeat. So, fixing high ping is vital.

Most online games display your ping time along with other players or servers. Be warned; some FPS games might even automatically kick you out if it's too high.

How to test my ping? 

Want to know where you stand? A ping test can help you see if you'll experience dips in responsiveness during gameplay. Here are two simple ways to conduct a gaming ping test: 

  1. In-game check: Many online games, especially FPS games, let you check ping directly. This test offers the most accurate snapshot of network performance for your specific game and server. Dive into the game settings and scout for an option like display performance stats or display network options. Note: The terminology may vary by title. 
  2. Internet ping test: Visit Speedtest and hit the Go button. The tool will test servers in your area and estimate the ping you can anticipate in online games. Check the latency score.

Speedtest Global Index allows you to check countries or major cities to determine where you stack up in speed and latency.

What causes high ping? 

Several factors can cause ping spikes during gameplay. Here are 8 high ping factors: 

  1. Distance from the router: Are you gaming from the basement while your WiFi router is upstairs? Your ping might suffer if you're too far away from your router. A longer journey equals a higher ping. 
  2. WiFi woes: If your WiFi connection is unstable, it could lead to a higher ping. Walls, floors, and other physical obstacles will affect your WiFi signal. WiFi is convenient but less stable than using a wired connection. 
  3. ISP Issues: To manage network traffic, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may throttle your bandwidth during peak usage. Less bandwidth equals a slower data transfer rate, resulting in a higher ping. 
  4. Outdated hardware: Your modem or router might be obsolete or have technical issues. You will see higher pings if your hardware can't keep up with the data flow. 
  5. Resource hogs: Other processes can suck up your network resources. Downloads, updates, or other online activities can choke your bandwidth, resulting in a ping spike. 
  6. Overcrowded network: Too many devices on your network can slow it down. Each device shares the network's bandwidth, so more devices mean less bandwidth for each computer, leading to a potential ping increase. 
  7. VPN usage: VPNs encrypt your data for privacy, but this process can slow down data transfer rates, which increases your ping. 
  8. Server sluggishness: Sometimes, the game server might be slow to respond due to high load or technical issues. Playing games on a server located in your country will improve your ping.

Remember, identifying the source of your high ping involves a bit of detective work. But fear not; with patience, observation, and settings tweaks, you can reduce your ping and return to smooth gaming.

7 Simple Ways to Lower Ping

To achieve the best ping for your gaming device, you'll need to streamline your internet connection and address the root cause of high ping. Here are six strategies to reduce your ping: 

1) Check your internet connection

Poor internet connection is the leading cause of high ping. If your internet speed isn't up to par, your online gaming experience will falter. 

A bad internet connection can be due to a terrible connection from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or dated hardware, including your modem or router. Here's a checklist to optimize your connection: 

  • Inspect your hardware. Ensure that your router or modem isn't grappling with technical issues. 
  • Check physical connections. Ensure all cords are securely connected and free from damage. 
  • Clear the path. Any physical barriers between your device and router can weaken the WiFi signal. 
  • Move your laptop. Try positioning your PC nearer to the router for a stronger signal. 
  • Diagnose device issues. Investigate if your device settings could be causing the high ping. Check unnecessary background processes or if automatic updates are running while gaming. 
  • Check Firewall and Security Software: While essential for device safety, these can also interfere with your game's network traffic, causing latency issues. Consider adding your game as an exception to your firewall or security program. 
  • Check Power Settings: Your laptop's power-saving modes can limit its performance. Ensure your device is set to a high-performance power setting when gaming. 
  • Reboot your router. Resetting your router to clear the cache and potentially restore your internet speed.

We have a detailed guide on how to boost your internet speed. If your connection still crawls after trying the steps above, switch to a new ISP or upgrade to a higher-speed package.

2) Close background programs and apps 

Internet speed is one thing, but the available bandwidth is another. Your game performance will suffer if multiple processes eat into your network resources. 

Programs and apps that run in the background can slow your computer down, leading to higher ping. These apps can also use up a lot of your internet bandwidth.

If you want your game to run smoothly, close any non-essential apps, including:

  • Streaming services: Spotify, Netflix 
  • Video call apps: Zoom, Skype 
  • Instant Messaging: Slack, Teams 
  • Live-stream platforms: Twitch 
  • Backup Services: iDrive

Closing these before gaming frees up bandwidth and processing power, likely reducing your ping. Use Windows network settings to see if any apps use more than their fair share of internet bandwidth.

3) Optimize network usage 

Every connected gadget draws from your total available bandwidth. With multiple devices competing for bandwidth, your game can stutter, upping your ping. Here’s how to clear the lanes:

  1. Limit the number of connected devices: Reduce the number of devices simultaneously using your network. Talk with others at home or plan your gaming sessions during low-traffic times. Less competition for bandwidth means more for your game. 
  2. Regularly check and manage your network: Your router’s management interface or network monitoring tools can be your traffic cop, flagging bandwidth hogs. Spotting and eliminating these resource gluttons can bring your ping down.

Optimizing your network usage should give your ping a decent boost.

4) Use an ethernet cord 

Get a stronger and faster connection by connecting your device directly to your router. While an ethernet cord may not be the most flexible option, a wired connection is more stable than a wireless one, which can fluctuate with competing demands and suffers packet loss from encryption technologies.

Invest in a powerline adapter if your PC is far from the router. This device lets you run a stable wired connection from any power outlet in your house.

Remember, when gaming, stability is king. An ethernet connection delivers that. But if you’re confined to WiFi, ensure you’re on a 5GHz network instead of a slower one.

5) Check the game server’s ping 

Sometimes, high ping is not about your setup but the game servers. A high ping on their server will result in a high ping during your gameplay. You can check their ping by: 

  1. Finding the server’s IP address 
  2. Checking on Game Server Ping, which lists popular video games.

Server traffic fluctuates throughout the day. Some games see a surge in players during peak hours, which can strain server resources and increase ping times. So, consider scheduling your gaming sessions at off-peak hours.

Finding the sweet spot for gameplay can require some experimentation. Play at different times to see when you experience the lowest ping. This trial-and-error approach can help you pinpoint the best times for lag-free gaming. 

6) Choose the nearest game server 

In the digital world, distance still matters. The physical gap between your device and the game server affects communication speed. Simply put, the farther away the server is, the higher your ping.

Many games let you choose the server you connect to. Always pick the server nearest to your location for the best ping. By shortening the distance, you'll speed up the back-and-forth data exchange, thus lowering your ping. 

7) Change the game settings 

If high ping persists, consider adjusting your game settings. Today's games have stunning visuals, but these detailed graphics demand more from your device.

Your game's frame rate significantly affects this. Higher frame rates offer smoother animations but can contribute to high ping. So, try lowering your frame rate from the game settings and check if your gameplay improves.

Other settings like graphics resolution, audio quality, or screen refresh rate can impact your game's performance. Dialing these down might compromise your visuals but can significantly reduce lag, ensuring a smoother, faster gaming experience.

Crush the lag! Lower your ping for smoother, snappier, lag-free gameplay. By fine-tuning your network, managing your connection, and adjusting game settings, you're armed to enhance your gaming performance. Happy gaming! 

Robert is a Taiwan-based writer and digital marketer at iamrobert design. He has a passion for helping people simplify their lives through tech.

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