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Games Keep Lagging? 4 Causes and Solutions

Troubleshooting Tips to Beat Lag in Gaming

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If you're an avid gamer, you've likely experienced the heartbreak of lag during gameplay. Lag is a phenomenon that occurs when there's a delay between your actions in the game and the response from the game server or your computer. You may notice issues like slowed movements or unresponsive controls.

Any game can lag, but the issue is very commonly seen in online multiplayer games. The following are four potential causes of game lag and how to fix it.

Issues With Internet Service

two gamers playing and frustrated with insuffient bandwidth.Insuffient bandwidth is a common cause for lag time.iStock

One common cause of lag is insufficient bandwidth. Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data transmitted over your internet connection. If your bandwidth is limited or you have multiple devices on your network, it can result in network congestion.

Slow internet speed can also contribute to lag in games. If your internet connection cannot transmit data rapidly, you'll experience server delays. Internet speeds are affected by distance from the router, poor connections, and network congestion.

Your connection type will factor into whether you're more likely to have lag or not. For instance, dial-up and satellite connections have limitations that cause latency and lag when gaming. In comparison, fiber optic or cable connections are less likely to have speed issues.


If you're consistently experiencing lag due to insufficient internet bandwidth or slow internet speed, a simple fix is to upgrade your internet plan. Contact your current provider to see what higher-speed plan options are available.

As an alternative, you can improve the speed of your current internet plan. To optimize your internet speed, try the following:

  • Reboot your router to refresh the connection.
  • Disconnect devices you're not using to free up bandwidth.
  • Lower the graphic resolution in your computer settings to decrease data usage.
  • Shut down background programs or websites that may be slowing your computer.

If you're too far from your router, it could also be causing lag. Solve this issue by moving the router to a centralized location. Products like Wi-Fi extenders may help if you use a wireless connection to play online. An additional solution is to use something other than Wi-Fi to play. Instead, consider a wired connection. Ethernet connections typically offer a more seamless data transfer between the router and the device.

Overworked Graphics Processing Unit (GPU)

a woman frustrated due to lag time sitting behind her gaming computer and setupOverworked Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) causes lag time for gamersiStock

If your device's GPU isn't powerful enough for gaming, it can result in graphics lag. Specific graphics settings, such as high resolutions and advanced visual effects, can strain a GPU. The GPU will not be able to keep up with the frame rate.

Outdated graphics drivers can also contribute to lag in games. Graphics drivers act as a bridge between your computer's operating system and your GPU. The driver helps with compatibility and optimizes game performance.


One easy solution is to adjust the graphics settings in your game. Lowering the graphics resolutions within the device settings will put less stress on the GPU.

If your current graphics card cannot handle the demands of your favorite games, upgrade your card. Research top graphic cards and confirm that your selections can take the minimum specifications the game requires. If you haven't updated your graphics drivers recently, check for any available updates.

Insufficient Memory

a photo of a black man playing online games and is frustrated.Insuffient memory is a cause for lag time when playing online games.iStock

Running applications or processes in the background while playing a game can consume CPU and memory. You'll notice lag and other performance issues when you lack memory to handle gameplay.

Insufficient RAM can lead to lag in games, too. RAM provides temporary storage for game data; if it fills up, gameplay isn't optimized. Instead, your system may rely on slower storage options, like virtual memory.


Closing unnecessary background programs and applications will help your game run more efficiently. Open the Activity Monitor for iOS and Task Manager for Windows to identify the programs using the most CPU or memory on your device. Close any programs you find are not necessary to see if it helps reduce lag.

Consider upgrading if your hardware needs to be updated or requires more power. You can add more RAM to see if that fixes any lag issues. A solid-state drive (SSD) uses flash-based memory and is faster and more efficient than mechanical hard drives.

If all else fails, you should get a new computer upgrade, a type that's optimized for gaming. Gaming PCs will have better hardware to handle the demands of live gameplay.

Issues With DNS Servers

While DNS doesn't directly affect gaming performance, it can impact specific aspects related to gaming, such as faster loading times and accessing blocked game-related content. You also need a reliable DNS server since you won't be able to connect if the server is down.


Optimizing your DNS settings can improve internet speed and reduce latency while playing games. You can change DNS servers to gain access to new games, mods, and features. The best DNS servers for gaming will not block IP addresses and will offer ultra-fast performance.

A Few Final Words

a photo of a happy gamer with no lag time.A gamer who solved his lag issues.iStock

Lag in games can make you want to toss your controller, but a few simple solutions can make all the difference. Stay updated on the latest software and hardware for the best gaming experience. Game on!

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