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Everything You Need to Know About Gaming and Internet Speed

Welcome to the ultimate guide on internet speeds for gaming! Whether you're a casual gamer, an esports enthusiast, or somewhere in between, having the right internet connection is crucial for an immersive and enjoyable gaming experience. In this comprehensive article, we'll explore everything you need to know about internet speeds for gaming, from understanding the technical aspects to practical tips for optimizing your setup. So grab your controller, buckle up, and let's dive into the world of gaming and internet speed!

How Internet Speeds Work With Online Video Games

While most people shopping for an internet provider will consider a variety of factors like customer service, price, and availability; online gamers are primarily concerned with speed, latency (ping), and reliability (downtime). The two critical factors for a great online gaming experience regardless of platform are low latency/ping and fast speed.

Latency, often referred to in gaming as “lag,” is the delay between when you input a command and when it's executed in the game. It's measured in milliseconds (ms) and is influenced by factors such as your internet speed, the distance between your device and the game server, and the quality of your connection.

Let's take a look at different types of ISPs and connections to see which one is the best for online gaming.

How Fast Does Your Internet Need to Be to Avoid Lag?

The single most important element for a good gaming experience is download speed. Upload speed only matters when you are hosting a game, but most people probably aren’t hosting. Instead, they’re typically connecting to a dedicated server that handles most of the work. Speaking from personal experience, the absolute minimum download speed required to compete online effectively is 12 Mbps, though some sources say you can get by with 5 Mbps. For FPS games like Counter-Strike, TF2, Rainbow Six, GTA, Rust, etc., more speed is better, and some connection types are better than others as far as ping goes. To really compete with the best online gamers, you’ll probably want internet speeds of 100-250 Mbps. As always, faster is better!

Is your speed fast enough? Check out this article on internet speed tests to learn how to test the speed of your internet connection.

How to Get Faster Internet Speeds for Gaming

The most obvious way to improve your internet speed for gaming is to simply upgrade to a faster internet plan. But that’s not your only option! Here are a few other ideas:

  1. Save your bandwidth! The more traffic on your connection, the slower it all moves. Avoid streaming any video content on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, or Twitch while playing.
  2. Use a wired connection rather than your Wi-Fi. When you connect to your router directly by using an Ethernet cable, your connection will be faster and more reliable than a wireless connection. Wired connections are faster than even the fastest wireless protocols.
  3. If you must use Wi-Fi, use the fastest band (usually 5G) on your router, and keep your router as close as possible to your online gaming rig.
  4. If you like to game on a PC or Mac instead of a console like Xbox or PS4, close any programs that you have open unless you need them to run your game. Otherwise, those extra programs will be using up bandwidth and slowing down your internet connection.

Do You Need to Upgrade? Testing Your ISP Speeds

To see how fast your current ISP is and determine if you need to upgrade, check out a well-known speed test website. If your fastest speed between the three tests is below 25 Mbps, or your ping is above 100 as reported by, consider finding a quicker broadband internet connection. Get the best online gaming experience by searching for a new internet provider in your area.