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 Your game connection is measured in ping. Learn what are good ranges for your gaming and how to improve them.

What is Gaming Ping?

If you’ve played any multiplayer online games in the last twenty years, you’ve probably asked yourself “what is ping?” You’ve probably heard the word ping thrown around and know that it has some connection to speed or game performance, but the specifics are easy to miss. If you’re curious as to what gaming ping really means and how it impacts your gaming, you’ve come to the right place. 

In its most basic terms, ping is a measurement of time. Specifically, ping is the amount of time it takes your computer, tablet or gaming device to communicate with the host’s machine. Those times are so fast that gaming ping is actually measured in milliseconds. And just like in real life, every millisecond counts. Having a higher ping rate can mean choppy gameplay, glitches and even being dropped from a server. In other worse, having high ping is not good. 

 

What is a Good Ping Speed for Gaming? 

Overall, the higher the ping speed, the worse the gameplay will be. While that’s universally true, there are some differences depending on the type of game. That said, latency issues are easily measured with a couple easy steps. But before we get to the question of why am I lagging so much, let’s first answer the question what IS a good speed for gaming? 

Ideally, you’d like 0 ping. As anyone can tell you, that’s simply not going to happen. But if you’re playing something like a first-person shooter, a fighting game or any other game that requires quick reactions, you’ll need an optimized ping lower than 40-60 ms. Anything higher than that and your game will feel unresponsive. Most fighting games have inputs that require 2 or 3 frames to execute a move, and every additional 17 ms of ping is another frame of lag, so it becomes way harder to time it right.  

For MMOs and Real-time strategy games, ideally you want something below 150-200 ms. It’s OK to have some internet latency in these games because often times these games have lenient buffer systems. The effects of high latency CAN be devastating in these games though if you reach that threshold with players “teleporting” or jittering on the screen. That means if you’re a WOW fan, you’re going to want to make sure you’re never too far above 150 or your Blood Mage could be going bye-bye.  

Turn-based strategy games are the most forgiving when it comes to latency issues. They can often take a ping rate higher than 250ms as the “turns” system really allows you to play effectively -- even with high latency. That said, it’s still frustrating to deal with internet latency in any capacity, it just makes things no fun.  
 

How to Test your Gaming Ping 

At this point, it’s pretty easy to figure out your ping as most online games have an icon so that you can view your ping in real time. While many folks only check this when things are going wrong in the game, it’s a good idea to do a gaming ping test just so you have a baseline for judging performance. That way you’ll be able to understand what is a good latency for that specific game. 

While there are often in-game ways to check your ping, there are several free ways to measure and understand what is a good latency. If you’re wondering “why is my ping so high,” it’s possible to check just how high it is quickly and easily in-game. Most games display ping, and we also display ping in the Outfox interface. But what numbers are you looking for? Here’s how to know what is a good ping speed. 

  • 35ms and lower is the most optimal ping speed as only 2 frames of gameplay are affected. Generally, this takes being connected by ethernet cable to your console or computer and requires that your opponent is physically nearby. 

  • 35-60ms is a strong connection that’s playable for gamers that want a good connection that’s reasonable to achieve. 

  • 60-100ms is decent, especially when you are playing with people outside of your region. 

  • 100-250ms is playable, but not the best experience. You’ll likely experience lag spikes and potentially visual glitches that can affect performance. 

  • 250ms+ is generally not feasible for most games and is where it’s likely your connection will drop entirely or you may experience games that are frozen.  

 

How to Reduce Ping 

The best way for how to reduce ping is by optimizing your own online connection. That often means hardwiring directly into your gaming system with an ethernet cable directly from your router. This can maximize the speeds from your service provider and help improve ping numbers. Additionally, you can limit the amount of bandwidth used by other devices on your network - especially if this is during peak usage hours - so that you’re dedicating your internet speeds to the correct places. 

Still curious on how to lower ping? Check out Outfox’s guides to reducing your ping and strengthening your internet connection. Good luck! Stay fast and stay on top!