Online gaming

8 Best Ways to Reduce Latency in Online Games

If you’re already familiar with the terms ping, lag, and latency, you can move on. But if you’ve never heard of these words before or just want to test your knowledge, here’s a refresher.

When you hear the word “ping,” you may immediately think of a high-pitched sound, like the sound a spoon makes when it hits the rim of a glass. When it comes to games, however, ping refers to the time it takes (in milliseconds or ms) for a signal to travel between an action in an online game and the server you’re playing on. That said, you can combine the two definitions to better understand how ping works.

Imagine that your hand moving the spoon is like the action you perform in an online game, like walking forward, and the glass is like the waiter responding to your action in the game. The faster you can clink the glass with your spoon, the better; in-game, a faster ping rate means that when you give the command to advance your player, the server responds faster. A slow ping rate often makes games unplayable.

While ping is a one-way measurement of how fast a signal is sent from your computer to a server, latency is a measurement of the entire journey to and from the server to your computer. Ping is used to measure latency.

Finally, the lag is the result of a high ping or high latency situation. When both of these metrics are high, they make your game sluggish, sometimes so slow that you can’t even play the game. Lag in a game can feel like a stuttering screen or a completely frozen screen.