How to fix game lag using a VPN
There’s nothing worse than a laggy connection when you’re trying to play your favorite game. If your screen keeps freezing up or you’re experiencing annoying connection problems, you’re probably dying to know how to make your game less laggy.
Game lag can occur for various reasons, such as overcrowded servers and ISP throttling. However, you can bypass these problems and enjoy a smooth gaming experience by connecting to a fast VPN server near your location. By doing so, you can lower your ping and eliminate lag.
In this article, we'll walk you through the step-by-step process of fixing game lag with the assistance of a VPN. We'll recommend some top-notch VPN services and equip you with everything you need to get started.
How to fix game lag with a VPN – quick steps:
- Pick a VPN that’s great for gaming – NordVPN is our top pick, now 69% off!
- Download and launch the VPN on your device
- Connect to a VPN server close to your game server
- You’re ready to start gaming with reduced lag!
How a VPN can help you fix game lag
If your Internet Service provider (ISP) notices your bandwidth-intensive activities like gaming, it can slow down your connection. This can cause heavy game lag and buffering of online activities.
Luckily, by connecting to a VPN, you can stop bandwidth throttling. As your VPN encrypts all your online activity, your ISP can no longer tell which activities are high-bandwidth and which aren’t. This is usually enough to lift the throttling on your connection and get back to high-speed gaming.
A VPN can also route you to a better server to improve your ping and connection speeds. Popular games usually tend to have too many players on a single server, which leads to overcrowded servers.
Finally, once you’re connected to a VPN, your real IP address and location will be hidden. This is ideal for enhancing online privacy and keeping you safe from DDoS attacks and other online threats.
Why is my game so laggy?
Not sure why your game is so laggy? Let’s get into some of the most common reasons gamers experience lag:
- Graphics lag. If your game has especially cool graphics, you’ll need to make sure your graphics card drivers are completely up-to-date. Outdated drivers can be a major cause of game lag.
- System lag. The game you’re playing likely has minimum requirements for your device in order to run smoothly. If your system is outdated, it might not meet the game’s requirements, which can cause lag and other performance problems.
- Network lag. If your system and drivers are good to go, your network connection might be the problem. If there are too many people on your network or your connection speeds aren’t high enough, it’s common to experience game lag.
- Server lag. The default server you’re connecting to might be overcrowded, causing slow connection speeds, high ping, and game lag.
- ISP throttling. If you do a lot of high-bandwidth activities, your ISP might be tempted to throttle your connection and slow down your online activity.
Now that you know why your game might be lagging, let’s look at a few fixes to solve your lag problem:
- Update your drivers, including your graphics card driver
- Perform any available system updates and security patches
- Upgrade your Internet connection or allow fewer users on your network
- Plug directly into your router instead of using wifi
- Contact your ISP and check its bandwidth policy
- Reach out to your game’s support team
If you’re still running into trouble, consider giving a top gaming VPN a try. We trust NordVPN to help solve our gaming issues, but you don’t have to take our word for it – you can try it risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.
Best VPNs to fix game lag – shortlist:
- NordVPN – best and most reliable VPN to fix game lag
- Surfshark – fast VPN for lag-free gaming
- Atlas VPN – affordable VPN for gaming on any device without lag
Best VPNs to fix game lag
Not all VPNs are up to the demands that gaming requires. That’s why we put together our top three VPNs to reduce lag in games. Keep reading to discover what they are and why they’re great for optimizing game performance.
1. NordVPN – best VPN for fixing game lag in 2023
|🌎 Based in:||Panama|
|🖥️ Servers/countries:||5,900+ servers in 60 countries|
|🔥Current deal: ||Holiday Deal! Get NordVPN with 69% OFF + 3 months FREE!|
Our top VPN for fixing game lag is NordVPN. It’s the best gaming VPN, offering its users 5,900+ servers in 60 countries. There are no limits on bandwidth, and it can even be installed on your router to protect gaming consoles.
NordVPN has an extensive security suite, a 30-day money-back guarantee, and lets you connect up to 6 devices simultaneously. Android users can try it for free for 7 days and subscriptions start at $2.99.
There’s so much more to know about this top VPN – you can get all the details in our NordVPN review.
2. Surfshark – high-speed VPN for all your devices
|🌎 Based in:||The Netherlands|
|🖥️ Servers/countries:||3,200+ servers in 100 countries|
|🔥Current deal: ||Cyber Monday! Get 80% OFF Surfshark + 5 months FREE|
Surfshark is another great gaming VPN. This high-speed service lets you connect to its 3,200+ servers in 100 countries. It offers unlimited bandwidth, a next-gen WireGuard tunneling protocol, and can even keep you safe from DDoS attacks.
This provider offers a powerful security suite and lighting-fast speeds too. Surfshark’s subscription means unlimited device connections – you can connect all your favorite devices for as low as $1.99/month. With its 30-day money-back guarantee, you can request a full refund if you’re unsatisfied. Plus, a 7-day free trial is available on Android, iOS, and macOS.
To learn more, visit our complete Surfshark review.
3. Atlas VPN – cheap VPN with reliable performance
|🌎 Based in:||United States|
|🖥️ Servers/countries:||1,000+ servers in 42 countries|
|🔥Current deal: ||Cyber Monday! Get Atlas VPN, now 86% OFF + 6 months FREE!|
Atlas VPN is our favorite budget choice for reducing game lag. It has over 1,000+ servers around the world and is ready to put a stop to ISP throttling and DDoS threats. Atlas VPN also uses the ultra-fast WireGuard tunneling protocol to deliver high speed to its gamers.
When you subscribe to Atlas VPN, you’ll get unlimited device connections and a 30-day money-back guarantee. Prices begin at just $1.64/month. You can also test it out for 7 days on iOS and Android.
For more on this budget-friendly option, check out our Atlas VPN review.
Why is your game lagging on your different devices?
Gamers can experience lag on a wide range of devices. Whether it’s a PC, mobile device, or console – lagging should not be a repeating issue.
The most common issues for game lagging can be overcrowded servers or ISP throttling. Here are the most common causes of lag on different devices and what you can do to fix it.
Why is the game laggy on Windows or Mac?
Games can start lagging for a variety of reasons on Windows or Mac devices. Here are some of the causes and what to do about it:
- Your device might not meet the minimum game requirements – check the requirements and, if needed, upgrade your hardware
- You’re experiencing high ping – check your connection
- If you’re only experiencing slow speeds while doing data consuming activities, including gaming, it may be that your ISP is throttling your speeds – use a VPN to hide your online activities
- You’re playing on a server that is congested – connect to a closer server with a VPN
Why is the game laggy on the Xbox or PS4 games console?
Many games are more popular on consoles rather than PC devices – but lagging is still possible. Here are some common console lagging reasons:
- Weak connection – restart your router
- Playing an old version of the game – check for new game updates
- You’re a regular gamer that uses a lot of bandwidth, so your ISP is throttling your speeds – use a VPN to switch servers
Keep in mind that you can’t download a VPN straight onto your console. You’ll have to install your VPN on a router instead.
Why is the game laggy on my Android or iOS smartphone or tablet?
Mobile users also experience lagging while gaming for similar reasons as users of other devices. You can find a few causes and solutions below:
- You have an unstable internet connection – restart your home router and don’t use mobile data
- You have an outdated game – check whether the game has any updates
- Loads of other apps are running in the background – close all programs
A lot of the times gaming lags are caused by ISP throttling or servers. If you get a high-quality gaming VPN, you can bypass these issues in no time.
Other methods of fixing game lag
Wondering what are other ways to fix the game lag? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are a few other methods you can try to speed up your gaming experience and minimize lag as much as possible.
1. Close other apps and programs
To increase the frames per second (FPS), close anything extraneous that’s running in the background. Any open programs can take away from the power that could be given to your game – especially if you’re torrenting or doing something else that eats up a lot of your system’s resources.
2. Check your in-game settings
Did you know you can change specific settings within the game? By dropping the resolution and other image quality measures in your game, your system will have less to process. Your game might not look as crisp but it can greatly enhance the overall performance
3. Select your server wisely
Using a game server that’s close to your current physical location is ideal for reducing ping and optimizing performance. Many games allow you to pick the server yourself or manually set a matchmaking region to connect with other players. Make sure your server or region is set as close as possible to where you actually are playing from.
4. Check your graphics card drivers
If the software connected to your graphics card isn’t running on the current version, this can lead to lag and slow processing times. Make sure your graphics card drivers are fully up-to-date to avoid any lags tied to this part of your system.
5. Run a security scan on your system
When was the last time you scanned for viruses or malware? If your system has been infected, the virus could consume major resources that could go to your game. Plus, it’s a good idea to isolate and remove viruses regularly to keep your system as secure as possible.
Can I use a free VPN to fix game lag?
When it comes to gaming, it's recommended to opt for premium VPNs rather than relying on free ones. While free VPNs may not always provide the necessary speed and server count for optimal gaming performance, there are better alternatives to consider that ensure both performance and security.
To make an informed decision, you can take advantage of premium VPN free trials or subscriptions that come with generous money-back guarantees. Let's take a look at two top VPN options:
- NordVPN. Android users can enjoy a completely free 7-day trial of NordVPN through the Google Play Store. If you decide to subscribe, you'll have peace of mind with their 30-day money-back guarantee, allowing you to try it risk-free.
- Surfshark. This VPN offers a 7-day free trial for Android, iOS, and macOS users. After the trial, you can confidently subscribe, thanks to their 30-day money-back guarantee. Additionally, Surfshark allows unlimited connections, allowing you to test it out on all your devices.
Using a VPN and still experiencing game lag?
You might need to make a few tweaks and adjustments before your VPN is optimized to reduce lag in games. Here are a few things you can do:
- Try out other servers. Most premium VPNs offer thousands of servers, giving you plenty of options if one seems overcrowded and slow. Simply open your VPN, search for a new server, and connect.
- Stay close to home. Picking a VPN server that’s close to your physical location will often provide the best performance. For good speeds and low ping, choose VPN servers close to where you are currently gaming.
- Update your device. Your VPN will likely perform best on an up-to-date operating system. If you’ve been ignoring system updates or new security patches on your device, try installing all updates and reconnecting to your VPN.
- Upgrade to a premium service. Not all VPNs are designed to be great for gamers. If you’ve been loyal to a different VPN service, it might not be able to deliver what you need. We suggest upgrading to a premium gaming VPN.
How do I improve my game performance?
If you’re still looking to improve your game performance, now is a good time to give your system and your network some extra attention. Making some simple updates can help improve overall performance and give you a better gaming experience.
On your system, run virus and malware scans and make any updates you’ve been putting off. Close any programs that have been idling in the background and free up resources wherever you can. Be sure to upgrade your hardware, too – a new graphics card, processor, or even a cooler can go a long way.
If you’re not happy with your network connection, it might be time to contact your ISP to find out about possible upgrades or bandwidth throttling policies. You can also take time to improve your connection at home by optimizing your router or its location.
If you’re getting frustrated with game lag, a VPN is an excellent option to solve this problem. It can reverse the effects of ISP throttling, route you to a new server, lower your ping, and so much more. Plus, there’s the added bonus of keeping you safe from DDoS attacks.
Our recommended VPN for reducing game lag is NordVPN. With high speeds, thousands of servers worldwide, and a generous 30-day money-back guarantee, we encourage any gamers struggling with a lag to give this VPN a try. best
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Why is my game lagging with good Internet?
If your Internet is good and your ISP isn’t throttling your connection, you might be experiencing system lag. Make sure your system and drivers are fully up-to-date, and you’ve run a virus scan recently.
Why am I lagging but my ping is fine?
You might be experiencing a system lag if your ping is fine. You can check for available updates for operating systems and graphics card drivers. You can also lower resolution and image quality settings within the game.
Why does my game lag when I stream?
Gaming and streaming at the same time demand a high level of bandwidth. If your game is lagging while you stream, you might need to upgrade your Internet connection or ensure your ISP isn’t throttling your bandwidth.
What causes game lag on PC?
Game lag on a PC is usually caused by something in your system or network. Make sure you install any available updates and close background programs. You can check if your ISP has throttled your connection if speeds start to slow consistently.