Ping is a measure of latency. Essentially, it is how quickly a signal sent from your computer to a server is returned. For gamers, ping is massively important. If your ping is high, it means that your inputs will take a long time to be recognized. If your ping is particularly high, your in-game character could take several seconds to respond to your gameplay and other characters could appear to be “flying” across your screen.
However, when your ping is low, your online games will run as smooth as butter. Every input will be recognized instantly, and strange latency-related issues will be a thing of the past. So, how can you lower your ping and reduce lag? Keep on reading to find out, but first…
What is considered high ping?
Generally, a ping of below 20 ms (milliseconds) is considered excellent, between around 40 to 50 ms is great, around 80 to 120 ms is fairly good, and 150 ms and up is considered high. Most people would consider a ping of above 250 ms to be unplayable, especially in competitive games.
Why is my ping so high?
There are a few reasons your ping may be on the high side. Here are some of the top offenders:
- Your router’s location — If you’re connecting to the internet over Wi-Fi, how close you are to your router can have a huge impact on your ping. If your router is downstairs, it’s going to have a significant effect on your ping if you’re gaming upstairs, especially if your house is fairly large.
- The number of connected devices — If your house is full of people using their devices to connect to the internet, it’s going to be using up bandwidth and raising your ping. Streaming high-quality video uses up a lot of bandwidth, but even somebody checking their emails is likely to have a small impact on your ping.
- Internet connection speed — If you opted for one of your internet service provider’s cheaper options, it’s to be expected that your ping won’t be super low.
- Geographical location — The physical distance between you and a game’s server is potentially one ping-raising issue that is out of your hands. People who live closer to the server are much more likely to get the very best gaming experience.
- Background apps — If you’ve got a lot of apps running in the background while you’re gaming, they could be downloading large updates, which would negatively affect your ping.
What can I do to lower my ping?
Here are a few things you can do to potentially lower your ping:
- Move closer to your router or use an Ethernet cable — For the lowest ping and best gaming experience, it is recommended to use an Ethernet cable. This will result in a faster and more stable internet connection. However, if that is not possible, simply moving closer to your router can show significant ping improvements.
- Upgrade your internet connection speed — If possible, consider contacting your internet service provider and upgrading to a faster speed. A fiber connection is ideal, but cable is excellent too. When choosing your internet speed, it’s important to realize that for gaming, upload speed is more important than download speed. Because your upload speed dictates how quickly your computer or game console can send data to the game’s server, if you’re looking to get the lowest ping possible, a high upload speed is a must-have. Click here to test your current internet speed.
- Select a different server — It’s not possible with every game, but many online games let you select which server you want to connect to. Potentially, the server the game automatically selected for you could be, from a ping perspective, not optimal. If you have the option, consider connecting to a different server. For best results, choose the server that is physically closest to you.
- Close background apps — Whether they’re downloading updates or simply hogging your computer’s or game console’s resources, having apps that you’re not using running in the background is only going to hurt how well a game runs and your ping. Before every gaming session, get into the habit of closing any non-essential apps beforehand.
Lower your ping, enhance your gaming experience
There’s no doubt about it, the lower you can get your ping, the better your gaming experience will be. Although the tips in this article are far from an exhaustive list, we hope that if you’re suffering from high ping, they can help you lower it or at least give you some ideas about how you can improve it in the future.