Lag is one of the most frustrating things that can happen during a gaming session. You’re in the zone, mopping up opponents left and right, when suddenly your game freezes or characters begin to exhibit strange, jerky movements. You’ve fallen victim to lag, and one of the most annoying things about it is that it could be for any number of reasons.
Whether it’s your own connection, the game’s servers, or an area-wide issue with your provider, there are so many things that could potentially cause lag that it’s hard to pinpoint what might be the problem in one specific case. However, all is not lost. Here are some of the ways that you can solve lag problems when you’re playing PS4 online, hopefully leading to more satisfying gaming for all involved.
How to diagnose lag
First, let’s figure out exactly what the source of the lag might be. There are a number of potential culprits, so let’s go through them.
Use an internet ping test
Sony may have done away with the built-in web browser on the PlayStation 5, but the PS4’s is still fully operational. One of the ways you can check for lag problems is simply to use an online internet speed test. Head over to the link, hit “start test”, and see what numbers it gives you. If your ping, download speed, and upload speed all match the averages for you, then it’s probably a server-side issue with the game itself and there’s not much you can do.
Try other devices
It’s also worth carrying out that same internet speed test across different devices. That way, you can check whether or not the problem is local to your PS4 or whether it’s happening on all of your connected devices. If you’ve got a laptop, that’s the perfect place to start, but you can also try smartphones, tablets, and anything else that has access to an internet browser. If you experience slow speeds or lag on those devices, then it’s probably a problem with your router.
Check if anyone in the house is using the internet
Sometimes, certain bandwidth-hogging activities – like downloading content or streaming video, for example – can have a negative effect on your network latency. Check if anybody else in the house is currently using the network to do anything demanding. If they’re not, it may be one of your devices that’s causing the problem, so make sure there isn’t any background downloading or updating going on that might cause the network to slow down.
How to solve lag issues
Now that you’ve diagnosed the problem and you’ve got a better idea of the situation, here are some of the steps you can take to improve it.
Disconnect then reconnect your PS4
It sounds obvious – and, truth be told, it doesn’t always solve the problem – but the first thing you should do is head into your PS4’s settings, disconnect it from your Wi-Fi network, then reconnect it. Sometimes, resetting everything allows the connection to pick back up, and you’ll be happily gaming online again within moments. Again, this isn’t necessarily going to fix the issue, but it doesn’t take long and it’s easy to do, so it’s always worth trying.
Connect an ethernet cable if you can
If your PS4 is reasonably close to your router, you should consider connecting an ethernet cable rather than using Wi-Fi. Wireless connections are notoriously far more unstable than wired connections, and your PS4 has a dedicated ethernet port, so if you’re going to be doing a lot of online gaming, it makes sense to connect it using a cable. You can grab ethernet cables for pretty low prices online, so it’s not a big investment.
Try a different DNS
The PS4 will automatically assign a DNS (domain name system), but you can override this and set it manually. To do so, simply head into your PS4’s network settings menu and change the DNS setting from Automatic to Manual. You’ll be prompted to input some numbers. Find out the fastest current DNS and input those numbers, and voila – you’ll be connected to the best DNS available. Hopefully, this will solve any lingering issues of bad connectivity.
Disconnect other devices
If it does turn out that another device is running a background download, then you should disable or pause that download while you’re gaming. Downloading data can have a pretty big impact on network latency, since the download is taking up a lot of network resources. Sometimes, devices download updates or security patches in the background, so try to figure out if this is happening and pause it if you can. This should have a big impact on your connection.
Set up port forwarding
Port forwarding is a method by which your router will take data appearing on ports and redirect it to a device of your choosing. In this case, we want the PlayStation 4 to take that data. You can check out this guide on port forwarding for an in-depth tutorial on how to do it; the process is quite involved, but it’s not too complicated, so if you follow the step-by-step guide then you should be fine. This will increase the data being sent to the PS4 via various ports, so it should also increase the stability and quality of your connection.
These are some of the ways that you can solve lag problems on your PS4. If you’re still having trouble, try resetting your router and disconnecting any other devices that are connected to the network. If the problem persists beyond this, it’s a good idea to contact your internet service provider and see if they can assist you. Happy gaming!