In today’s article, we explain everything about “ping” and what you can do as a (VPN) user to make it as low as possible. Cause if you can’t make it lower, you can’t enjoy online gaming. At least not in real-time.
Let’s start by defining ping and ping time, shall we?
What is a ping and ping time?
Ping represents a signal sent to a host that requests a response. It is used to see if the host is active and to determine how long it takes for the host to respond. That time is also known as ping time and it is usually measured in milliseconds.
If the ping time is too high, then it could mean that you have some connectivity problems and it could ruin your online gaming experience — cause it’s usually those playing real-time games who need the lowest ping time possible. And as you probably know, no one likes too much lag while they’re gaming. It can make the entire gaming experience slow, as well as affect the overall gaming performance.
What is a Good Ping Response Time?
Here’s how it works, generally speaking:
- < 30 ms – less than 30 milliseconds is ideal for online gaming.
- 30 to 50 ms – an average ping is between 30 to 50 milliseconds, but is still OK for online gaming.
- 50 to 100 ms – this is slow ping time and will definitely affect online gaming in a bad way 100 ms to 500 ms – a very slow ping.
- > 500 ms – this is bad for everything, not just for online gaming.
Ideally, you would want to be in the first group, but sometimes there’s little you could do about it.
You see, there are many reasons for getting a high ping time and some of those reasons may be outside of your influence.
The most common reason for high pings is a weak internet connection, but there are also other reasons, such as:
- Old and outdated routers and router caches
- Old and slow computers that need to be cleaned (software-wise)
- Unoptimized Game Settings
- Number of devices that are connected to your network
- Applications running in the background
- Auto Updates that could be triggered when you’re gaming
- Bad Wi-Fi (related to the connection problem or a bad router, though)
Which leads us to the next section…
How to lower your ping time?
There is not one but several things you could do (try) in order to lower your ping time, including:
1. Check your Internet connection
As noted above, the most common reason for high pings is usually your internet connection. In order to get the lowest possible ping time, you should have a fiber connection which is preferred for online gaming (and many other activities on the Internet, for that matter).
2. Close other programs
Other programs running in the background may be slowing things down for you, thus causing a higher ping time. So, before signing up for a game or tournament, make sure to close all programs you don’t use. Some of these may try to communicate with remote servers and will cause your connection to “suffer.” You may use Skype regularly, but do you really need it open while you play a game online?
3. Check your Wi-Fi
Serious gamers prefer cable over wireless connections as it delivers them faster speeds and lower ping times. We don’t necessarily agree with this — it is hard for me to imagine an ethernet cable in my laptop — but if you are also a heavy gamer, perhaps this is something worth considering.
4. Disable updates while gaming
Although we’re always suggesting our readers have all their apps up to date, when you play a game online – that may not be the most sound advice. Like other apps running in the background, these (automatic) updates will use the network resources, causing your ping to rise. So disable them while playing a game online.
5. Streamline your system
And by this, we mean that you should first update all your apps, defrag your hard drive and then restart the computer. From this point, you can disable apps you don’t need for gaming and get rolling. Everything that slows down your system could reflect back on your Internet connection, so make sure to clear as many hurdles off the way as possible.
6. Update and restart your router
Aside from keeping apps on your computer up to date, you should do the same with your router. Make sure that it runs the latest firmware version and then — if you’re still getting a high ping time — try restarting it. It could suffer from some caching issues that could cause your connection to slow down (and negatively affect your ping time).
7. Select the closest server possible
If the game you’re playing allows you to select a server, always choose the one that is physically closest to where you’re located. The closer the physical distance between you and the server is, the better the ping rate you’ll get. Or, if you’re using a VPN for gaming, select the game server that is closest to the VPN server.
8. Focus solely on gaming
Related to the issue to close all apps irrelevant to your game, make sure that you’re NOT downloading files via BitTorrent or streaming some movie in the background. These bandwidth hogs will definitely be impeding the game performance.
9. Adjust your frame rate
If you can’t get the best experience at 60 fps, try lowering that number to 30. It’s not like you’ll notice the change — there are only so many frames our eyes can catch in every second. This will free up resources to potentially get you a better (lower) ping time.
10. Get the best VPN for gaming
If you’re using a VPN for gaming, make sure to get the best service money could buy. The price differences are already small and your wallet won’t notice any significant change, but your gaming experience could improve tremendously. For that, we suggest checking our page with Best VPNs for Gaming.
The bottom line
Ping time is one of those variables that directly corresponds to the quality of the gaming experience. So if you want to really enjoy online gaming — and even win, if that’s what you’re up to — make sure to go through some of the steps outlined in this article to lower the ping time. Between the different things we’ve mentioned here, we’re sure you’ll manage to improve your online gaming experience.