What is a good ping? Why ping speed matters for websites and gaming
Have you ever had a website load slowly, been in a game that’s lagging, or have a skype call turn robotic? One of the main causes of this is excessive latency. As latency is commonly measured with the “ping” command, this latency is often called your “ping time”. This latency measures the time it takes for a request to be sent to a remote computer, and for you to receive a reply back. Although you may already know what a ping is, it’s important to consider, what is a good ping time, and why should you care?
Quite simply, “ping time”, or latency, can affect your online experience in a wide variety of ways. A low ping time can make applications and websites respond more quickly, files download faster, and video calls less likely to stutter or fail altogether. A very high ping time, meanwhile, can make your applications perform so poorly that you give up trying to use them at all.
Today, we’re going to talk about what exactly makes for a good ping time, and why you should care. We’ll also discuss what factors can affect ping time and how you, as a server operator, can improve the network experience for users of your server.
So what is considered “a good ping”?
For things like browsing websites, video calls, and file downloads, a ping under 100ms is considered good, with acceptable performance up to around 200ms. For gaming, ping times of 50ms or less are ideal, while anything under 100ms is usually acceptable. Beyond this, poor performance or connection problems can become noticeable and frequent.
One type of application that is more sensitive to latency is for games. For many types of online gaming, such as first person shooters or other competitive games, a low ping is essential for a good experience. For these action oriented games, a ping time of 50ms or less is ideal, with up to 100ms generally being tolerable. Higher latency than 100ms will often cause noticeable difficulties in playing action oriented games, especially at a competitive level.
The effect of having a higher ping than these values, is it can make the browsing experience very sluggish. For watching videos, buffering can be very common, and for file downloads, they will be very slow. This is generally a result of the details of the TCP protocol which slows things down with higher ping / latency. The problem can be exacerbated for some applications that need to request multiple resources from a server one after the other to perform a task such as rendering a website. Applications that can make requests in parallel, or that only need to process a single request at a time, will be less sensitive to the impact of higher latency.
How do I make my server have lower ping?
It’s crucial to take into account the server’s location in proximity to the website’s users when choosing a hosting location. The user experience may suffer if the server is too far away from the users, which might increase ping times. Ping times can be decreased and user experience enhanced by putting the website on a server that is close to its users.
For users in the United States, generally hosting a website in any major US city will achieve a reasonable ping time of under 100ms for most users elsewhere in the country. This is because the infrastructure of the internet in the United States is well-developed and the distances between major cities are not too extreme.
However, greater attention must be taken when choosing the location of your web server if you intend to serve a global audience from a single hosting location. The ping time and the user experience can be affected by a variety of variables, including the distance between the server and the users, the state of the local internet infrastructure, and the volume of network traffic.
What is the ideal hosting location for different audiences?
If your users are primarily located in a single country, then the simplest solution is to host a server in the same country the users are located in. This is not always possible because websites have a global audience, and you need to pick one or two hosting locations to serve this broad audience as best as possible. In that case, you’ll want to pick one or two hosting locations that provide the best mix of performance for your specific audience.
Generally speaking, hosting in a west-coast US location is good if your primary audience is some combination of US users, Asia, and Australia. West-coast locations with good internet backbone connectivity include Phoenix, AZ, Los Angeles, CA, San Jose, CA, Seattle, WA, and Las Vegas, NV.
If your audience is a mix of users located in the US and Western Europe, then you can be well served by hosting in New York City, New Jersey, or Ashburn, VA
If you have a lot of users in both the US and South America, then hosting in Miami, FL can be ideal, and Atlanta, GA is also a good option.
Finally, if your audience is primarily in Europe, latency will be good if you host in any major European hosting hub (London, Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, etc). My preference would be to host in the Netherlands based on their network performance, legal protections, cost, and infrastructure maturity.
A CDN can improve performance
It may be necessary to host your website on multiple servers spread across various regions in order to provide an international audience with the best user experience possible. However, one alternative would be to use a content delivery network (CDN) to send your website’s content to servers closer to the users. This allows you to keep your main website hosted at one primary location, while still improving performance for a worldwide audience.
A dispersed network of servers known as a content delivery network (CDN) is used to deliver content to users based on their location, including webpages, photos, and videos. The way CDNs function is by caching a website’s content on servers spread out throughout the globe. The CDN routes a user’s content request to the server nearest to them when they make a request for material from a website, enabling faster content delivery.
By shortening the path that material must take from the server to the user, CDNs can enhance a website’s performance. Particularly for users who are based far from the primary server, this could lead to quicker load times. By dividing the load across several servers, CDNs can also increase the scalability of a website, lowering the risk of it becoming overloaded or inaccessible during moments of high traffic.
A wide variety of content types, including static content like HTML pages, photos, and videos, as well as dynamic content like databases or APIs, can be delivered using CDNs. Websites and applications that cater to a worldwide audience or experience high traffic volumes can benefit from the deployment of CDNs.
In a few circumstances, CDNs might not be the ideal choice for enhancing performance. A CDN might not offer a considerable performance advantage, for instance, if a website only receives traffic from a narrow geographic area. Additionally, a CDN might not be as successful in enhancing performance if a website has a limited amount of static content that can be cached. Last but not least, CDNs are utilized to speed up websites but are frequently incompatible with other server use cases like online gaming.
It’s simpler than it sounds : )
To summarize, a good guideline for achieving acceptable performance is to maintain ping times under 100ms. The user experience and ping time can be considerably impacted by the server’s location. A website’s ping time will typically be favorable for American users if it is hosted in any major US city. However, extra care must be taken when catering to a global audience to make sure that the server is situated as close as feasible to the users. You may optimize your network for the greatest speed and user experience by carefully choosing the placement of your web server.
Do you love servers?
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To learn more about our dedicated servers and how we can help you optimize your network performance, contact us at sales[at]ioflood.com or visit our website at https://ioflood.com. Our team is always available to answer your questions and help you find the perfect server for your needs.