Is your game lagging for no reason right in the middle of a boss fight? Your MMORPG froze in a time-limited event and now the whole team blames their defeat on you? Once upon a time, a wise gamer said: check your ping, and the problem is half solved.
But let’s start from the top! What do we mean by ping? In short, your device sends small data packets to a server on the Internet. The time it takes for these data packets to travel from your device to the website is measured in milliseconds and is commonly referred to as ping.
That’s why low ping is better than high ping – it means the data travels faster and your online experience is smoother. When most professional gamers talk about amazing ping rates, they usually mean something under 50 milliseconds. In contrast, a ping rate over 150 milliseconds is considered high, thus less desirable because it causes lags, freezes, and video delays.
Factors That Might Cause You to Experience High Ping
According to our research, these are the reasons that can affect your ping!
1. Your Internet Connection Speed
A better Internet connection speed allows you to send and receive data faster, lowering your ping at the same time. Keep in mind that if you’re using WiFi, your Internet connection is more unstable. WiFi can be affected by large furniture that blocks the Internet signal, your neighbor’s WiFi network, or electrical devices.
If you’re connected through an ethernet cable, your internet connection speed will be considerably higher. When we ran tests, our ethernet connection speeds were 70% faster than our WiFi speeds (and we were in the same room as the router!).
2. Your Geographical Location
Let’s say you’re from the USA and you’re connecting to a server in the Ukraine instead of another one based in Spain, for example.
If you’re connected to a server that’s located far away from your country, data takes longer to travel from your device to that server. Thus, your ping will be higher and your online gaming experience poorer.
To avoid this situation, you should always connect to the closest gaming server (Spain is closer than the Ukraine in this example).
3. You ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Well, online gaming is not the first thing people think about when they choose their ISP. If your ISP uses bad routing (like they send your data through 3-4 locations when they could send it through just 1-2 locations), there are no apps that can lower your ping because the service quality is poor right from the start.
The best solution is to switch Internet providers and just pick the one that has the best routing and most reliable network.
4. You Firewall Configuration
Your firewall’s job is to monitor and analyze the external traffic that you receive from the network (websites, social media platforms, and so on), and the traffic that goes from your device to the internet (when you connect to a gaming server).
This back-and-forth data monitoring can lower your speed and increase your ping.
But deactivating your firewall is not a smart move. However, you can whitelist your game in the firewall’s settings. That means your gaming traffic will flow freely because the firewall won’t monitor it anymore.
Can Apps Lower Your Ping?
Short answer – yes! There are a few apps that you can use to establish a better connection between your device and the gaming server.
So let’s see what these apps are and how they can help you lower your ping!
A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic. That means even more data analysis besides the firewall’s configurations.
Aren’t those the perfect ingredients for high ping? Yes, but here’s the catch!
The VPN server can reroute your traffic through a better, more direct path than your ISP. This way, you can reach the gaming server faster.
And while your ISP is a decisive factor when it comes to lowering ping, using a good VPN also helps a lot. We tested the top 20+ VPNs out there, and these ones provided us with the best gaming experience (fast speeds, low ping, and stable connections): ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark.
A proxy works the same way a VPN does. In short, it routes your traffic through its servers to establish a more direct route between your device and the gaming server (than your ISP would offer).
So what’s the difference between a proxy and a VPN then?
A proxy doesn’t encrypt your Internet traffic, so it’ll be faster than a VPN. Sounds good, but it comes with a downside – a proxy is not as secure as a VPN. If your only goal is to have better speeds, security might not be a priority in this situation.
PingEnhancer is a tool that adjusts your Windows registry files to improve your ping.
In our tests, PingEnhancer decreased our ping by 40-50ms, without experiencing any other Internet issues.
Can Tor Also Lower Your Ping While Gaming?
We also tried Tor – a free browser that gives you access to the Tor privacy network. It mostly works just like a VPN:
- It encrypts your traffic
- It hides your IP address
However, our tests showed that Tor is incredibly slow: our speeds decreased from 700+ Mbps to 6-7 Mbps when we used it (so we experienced a whopping 99% slowdown!).
That’s because Tor redirects your traffic through three different servers. And because any extra step means a higher waiting time, your ping increases too.
Having a high ping is a problem that almost everyone’s encountered while gaming. But that doesn’t mean you need to let it ruin your online gaming sessions!
Have you ever tried apps that can lower your ping? Tell us more about your experience with these tools (or other apps) in the comments!