This guide is a compilation of all the most common issues related to high latency. The fixes to most of these problems are very simple. Most people with some knowledge of computers and networks have already tried most of these but have another look and check that there is nothing obvious you have missed! These are not listed in any particular order.

Are you sharing your internet?

Check if anyone else is using the internet in your household. Having more than 1 person using the internet at the same time can be very detrimental to your latency, especially if they are viewing Netflix or a website such as Youtube. If there is another user then you will likely experience ping spikes, and high latency in general. Wait for the user to finish (or, if you feel brave, tell them to stop using the internet). The easiest solution to this problem is simply to upgrade to faster internet with a bandwidth that can accommodate more users.

Disconnect all other devices that use the internet

Leading off from the fix above, you can detect whether the problem lies with another device using too much bandwidth by disconnecting all of your internet using devices. Turn off other computers and disable your mobile phones WiFi (and other such devices). Then check your connection. If you still have latency problems then you know that it is not caused by other machines on the network.

Check the cables

One thing that people completely overlook is that over time then Ethernet cables and connectors can fray, degrade or break. Check all the cables leading into your router, modem and computer. It is also important to check the connectors that plug into your computer. If you have any doubts then simply try a new cable in the place of your current one and see if your internet improves. Do not overlook this step, especially if you have either just installed a new Ethernet cable (as it may be faulty) or if you have had the same cable for many years.

 Reset your hardware

Reset your router. Sometimes some of the biggest problems can be solved by simply restarting everything. Turn off your computer. Turn off your router. Wait a while (20-30 seconds) then turn them back on again. This is quite often the solution to many sudden problems that arise. I have fixed many problems by simply turning my router on and off again.

If you find yourself having to do this many times a week then it is probably time to buy a new router and to perform the next fix on the list…

Change to a wired connection

If you ask on any forums the best way to reduce latency and ping spikes, the number 1 answer would be to change to a wired connection. This is because although wireless is very convenient, it is notorious for ping spikes and inconsistent latency. Try using an Ethernet cable to directly connect your PC to your router.

Close any unwanted background programs

Check for background programs using the internet to download updates. If you notice other programs updating then let them finish or pause the update. If you do not recognise the program then search for it on-line and see if it is important. If it is not important then consider deleting it so it can no longer use your internet. Do not delete programs that you are unsure of before searching for them on-line, they may be vital to your computer.

Disable/reschedule automatic updates (Not useful for windows 7/8)

This is how windows updates itself. If you have poor internet and it decides to run during a game then by the time you have turned the update off then you have probably already lost the game. This is simple to remedy, as you can choose when windows will perform its updates, so change it to a time when you know you will not be using the internet. Newer versions of windows already time the updates to happen when the internet is not being used, so most people no longer need to worry about this.

Remove malicious files

Run a virus scan and check your PC for spyware. These type of programs can cause a significant drop in your PCs performance or even cause it to become unusable. I recommend that you use Avast Antivirus to scan for viruses and ADAKD to check for spyware. Both of these have free versions that do the job well. Note that if you choose to use Avast’s firewall then make sure you have disabled your other firewalls. You only want one firewall.

Attention! Recently there have been some more advanced malware/mallicious programs that can slow down your internet and are undetectable by a lot of scanners. I now recommend downloading Combofix and using it to scan your computer. It can usually detect even the newest forms of spyware that other scanners may not be able to find.

Update your router’s firmware

Sometimes your router’s firmware may have bugs or flaws that need to be fixed by updating firmware. To do this then visit the website of the company who manufactured your router. You will be able to find the latest firmware there.

How far away is the server you are using?

If you are trying to play a game on a server far away then the latency will always be higher than if you were physically closer to the server. Likewise, if you live in a remote area then your internet in general may be slower than someone who lives in a big city. This is because you are further away from the server that provides your internet. This usually isn’t much of a problem nowadays as most ISPs (internet service providers) have servers that can provide good internet speeds to remote areas, but there are still some areas that have poor internet simply because of the location.

 Non of these fixes worked. Where do I go from here?

Is your internet capped?

Some people’s internet providers cap the amount of “internet” that is available to them. For example, if you have a 40GB cap then once you reach 40GB of internet usage then your internet will run slower, or you will have to pay more for further usage. If you frequently watch NetFlix or other streams, videos and movies or if you use Torrents and you notice a significant speed drop in your internet then check if your internet actually has a cap on it. You can usually find out in the contract, or simply by calling them. Onto the next step!

Call your ISP (internet service provider)

Call your ISP provider and ask them if there is anything wrong with their servers (or as above, if you have reached a cap on your internet). Sometimes servers have errors or malfunction temporarily until an engineer fixes them. If there is a problem then you have no choice but to wait for it to be fixed. Luckily, this never takes long as because the companies main interest lies in keeping customers happy and if their service is unreliable then they will not keep their customers for long.

If there are no problems with your ISP…

Consider asking a friend to borrow their router (if it is compatible, which most routers nowadays are). Connect their router and see if the problem still exists. If the problem has gone then it is a good indication that you need to buy a new router or change the configuration of your current one. This is especially true if your current router is very old. As older routers do not perform as well as more modern ones and often cannot handle the demands of higher speed internet. Alternatively, if you are using a laptop then take it to a friends house and use their connection this will let you identify whether it is your router/ISP or if it your laptop that has the problem.

Comment below

If you think there is an obvious fix that is missing from this page then please comment below and I will update the page. Alternatively, if you found one of these fixes useful then please let me know how it helped and what specific issue it helped with.