The last thing a player wants while playing online is a high ping. A high ping means a lot of lag and there is a good chance that you will lose the game. But what causes a high ping and how can you lower your ping in Windows 10?

Your internet connection is usually the main reason for game lag, but there are other factors that can affect the speed and quality of your internet connection. While you can't get yourself hyper-fast broadband out of nowhere, there are things you can do to make it better.

Why is my ping so high when my internet is good?

In games, "ping" refers to the round-trip time it takes for your computer to send and receive a signal from the game server. A faster Internet connection should therefore lead to faster data transmission and thus to a lower ping. Law?

Not exactly. Many internal and external factors can make your fast internet connection unreliable. And an unreliable network connection causes a high ping.

Some common causes of high ping are:

  • Slow or unreliable internet connection.

  • The location of your router, the firmware it was running, and a corrupt cache.

  • Optimizing your computer and whether you have the latest updates installed.

  • Background applications running on your PC that are consuming network resources.

  • The number of devices connected to your network and the activities taking place.

To understand how ping affects your online activities, check out our in-depth guide that explains ping and whether it is possible to ping from zero.

Now that you know what causes a high ping, here are a few tips to help you lower the ping and reduce game lag in Windows 10.

1. Check your internet speed to reduce lag

What counts as "fast internet" is subjective and varies from person to person. However, every online game has a minimum internet bandwidth requirement. So if you don't meet this criterion, there's no point tweaking something that never hits the 100% minimum.

You can use a free bandwidth testing tool to run an internet speed test. If you are not getting the speed you are paying for, contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to resolve the problem.

2. Check the settings of your router

Modern routers are designed to manage multiple devices at the same time. However, having multiple devices consuming a lot of data at the same time can slow down your connection and affect your ping.

To reduce game lag, consider disconnecting inactive or unnecessary devices from your network. Also, download and install any pending firmware updates for the router so that it does not update itself during a game.

Upgrading your old router is also an option. Upgrading your router can help you extract the maximum available speed and reduce latency to some extent. But remember: your internet connection is only as fast as your data plan.

If you're planning on getting a new gaming router, read our analysis of gaming routers and whether it's worth buying.

3. Lower your ping with an ethernet connection

Wi-Fi is great, but still not as reliable as Ethernet. Wireless connections can cause latency problems, packet loss, and delays. Having multiple devices connected to your wireless network is not the best situation for gaming as signals from each can collide with each other.

Related: What Is An Ethernet Cable And How Does It Make Your Internet Faster?

Connect your computer directly with an Ethernet cable for a reliable connection and low ping. Even if you're not interested in lower pings, an Ethernet connection can make internet-based activity much faster and more reliable.

4. Close all background apps that are using internet bandwidth

Unchecked background apps can consume your internet bandwidth and interfere with other priority tasks like playing games. You can use the task manager to quickly identify such apps.

  1. Right click on the Taskbarand click Task manager to start the app.

  2. In Task Manager, click the network Tab. All apps with the greatest bandwidth are listed in descending order.

  3. Select any unwanted app or process and click End task Button to end the process.

5. Configure automatic Windows and other update settings to reduce ping

Automatic updates help your device keep track of things with performance improvements and security patches. Unfortunately, these updates can consume your Internet bandwidth and slow your system's ping rate.

Windows 10 allows you to set a bandwidth limit for system update downloads. That's how it works.

  1. Press the Windows key + I to open the settings.

  2. Go to Update and security.

  3. Open that Delivery optimization Tab from the left pane and then open it Expanded options.

  4. Under the Download settings Section, choose Percentage of the measured bandwidth.

  5. Check the Limit how much bandwidth is used for downloading updates in the background Possibility.

  6. Depending on your internet speed, adjust the slider to set the bandwidth limit to 10% Or less.

Also, turn off automatic updates for your game client to prevent any hindrance while playing the game.

6. Activate game mode in Windows 10

On Windows 10, you can enable Game Mode to prioritize your gaming experience. When enabled, it prevents Windows Updates from completing the driver installation and helps achieve a more stable frame rate to reduce lag.

To enable game mode in Windows 10:

  • Press the Windows key + I to open the settings.

  • Click on that Games Possibility.

  • Next, open the Game mode Tab from the left pane.

  • Toggle the switch to set the game mode to On.

7. Change your game server and check the server ping

Depending on your location, most online games choose the most optimal server by default. However, if you use a VPN to play on servers outside of your region, the ping can get very high.

The closer you are physically to the server, the lower the ping. You can use game server ping to check which game server is performing best for your device from multiple locations.

8. Use Ping Enhancer for Windows 10

Ping improvers theoretically try to patch your connection over the most optimized route available on their system to provide a stable server connection and lower ping. However, these utilities are most helpful when trying to play on a remote server outside of your region.

It's basically a VPN with a focus on low latency. For example, if you are in a non-US / EU region that doesn't have the most optimal routing to games with US and EU servers, ping enhancers can help.

ExitLag, Ping Zapper, and WTFast are some popular ping enhancers available. Almost all of these services are subscription based. So be sure to use the trial version and try out the apps before making a purchase.

Finally, check the service status of your ISP or call support to make sure nothing gets between you and your game. If your ISP continues to cause you problems, it may be worth switching to one with better local speeds. The faster your Internet connection, the faster data will be sent and received, which ideally results in lower latency.

Your broadband plan may also have a data cap. As soon as you exceed this limit, the ISP will "throttle" your connection, which will slow down your Internet speed. Even some unlimited data packets have a "fair use policy" that the ISP will throttle you if you exceed a certain limit.

Before you start looking for a new ISP, however, you should give Ethernet connectivity a try. Wired connections typically offer better data flow, consistent speed, and low ping.

Lower ping to reduce lag in online games

A low ping might not make you a pro gamer. However, a high ping can make your game unplayable and will certainly see you on the losing side. While your internet speed is a big factor, other systemic issues can result in high ping even on high-speed connections.

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About the author

Tashreef Shareef
(11 articles published)

Tashreef is a technology writer at MakeUseOf. With a bachelor's degree in computer applications, Tashreef has over 5 years of writing experience and covers Microsoft Windows and everything related to it. When he's not working, you can tinker with him on his PC or play FPS games.

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By Tashreef Shareef

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