Fortnite is still a hugely popular online game, but does suffer from fairly common lag problems, where the screen freezes, players jump, and one on one battles get ruined because there is a delay in the data being sent between gamers.
Weak Wi-Fi and lag often go together, since it is often the weak Wi-Fi which causes the lag, so we have bundled together the two topics in one article to provide a comprehensive help guide to get the best possible connection for minimal or zero lag when playing Fortnite online.
By making your connection to your router and other gamers as solid as possible, implementing QoS and playing around with some other settings, it is usually possible to solve problems with excessive lagging on Fortnite (here’s an example of lag in Fortnite, with some strong language!).
Here’s a summary of the main tips we recommend to resolve lag on Fortnite on different platforms:
- Move closer to your router if using Wi-Fi
- Switch to a wired connection instead
- Use QoS to prioritize gaming on busy networks
- Use DMZ for a better connection
- Only play with players closer to you
- Upgrade the specs of your PC
- Updates your router and PC drivers
- Lower video settings in Fortnite
- Close down unnecessary PC programs
- Make sure all PC processors are in use
Let’s look at each of these ways to fix this annoying lag in more detail. This articles focuses mainly on Fortnite, but the basic information is applicable to really any other online game, like PUBG, Minecraft, League of Legends etc.
We will also focus mainly on solutions for console gamers, though we do have a section for PC gamers specifically further below, so you can skip to the part you need.
Get Off Wi-Fi & Onto a Wired Connection If Possible
The first and most obvious thing to sort out if you are lagging on Fortnite (or any online game) is to make sure the connection between your console and router is as solid as possible.
This means getting off Wi-Fi and onto a wired ethernet connection if at all possible, since it will always deliver a more solid and consistent connection than Wi-Fi, which is prone to dropping out and weakening over distance.
If the only reason you are using Wi-Fi in the first place is because you are too far from the router to run ethernet directly, then you have three main options to get on a wired connection:
- Get a long ethernet cable off Amazon and feed it down to your router. Can be a pain as requires feeding wires through walls, down stairs etc. See our article on this.
- Use a Powerline Adapter to deliver a wired connection between your console and your router using the house’s existing electrical wiring.
- If neither of these is an option and you need to stay on Wi-Fi, then at least try to move closer to your router and move any obvious obstacles out the way for a better signal.
Powerline adapters are an especially clever solution as they can give you a strong wired connection without any need for DIY. They simply consist of a pair of adapters, one of which is plugged in and connected to your router, the other of which is plugged in and connected to your games console.
The two plugs then communicate through the electrical wiring of the house to deliver a wired ethernet connection to your console. They are a great way of bypassing Wi-Fi altogether and can deliver a very strong, low ping connection almost as good as if you were plugged into your router directly.
See our article on powerline adapters for gaming for more on this. As long as the wiring of your house is in good condition, they can deliver very strong connectivity and will beat Wi-Fi hands down for reliability and low ping, especially if you are gaming a long way from the router.
Use Quality of Service to Manage Traffic on Your Home Network
Another common cause of lag in Fortnite or any other online game is when too many people are using the internet at the same time in the house, causing the router to get overloaded with demands. This can cause gamers to lag, as their traffic is competing with others in the home, who may be streaming Netflix, downloading etc.
This problem is made even worse when you are on Wi-Fi as well, as wireless connections are even more prone to congestion and delays when multiple people are online at the same time.
Thankfully, some routers do have a Quality of Service or QoS feature, which allows you to tell the router to process gaming traffic first, reducing delays and lag when other people are using the internet at the same time.
The great video below goes through the main steps of setting up QoS. Here is a quick summary:
- Make a note of the IP and MAC address of your games console. They can easily be found in the Connection Status/Settings menus of your console.
- Login to the router using it’s IP address and username/password, IP commonly 192.168.0.1 (or 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.1.254). See here for help if you’re stuck on this.
- Go to Quality of Service or QoS settings, often under “Advanced” settings or similar.
- You should see a list of devices on the home network. You should be able to identify yours by the MAC and IP address you noted down earlier. Your device might need to be on for the router to recognize it.
- Set your games console to “Highest” or “Maximum” priority and make sure any non latency essential devices are set to a lower priority. Streaming devices should still be given a high priority if not quite as high as gaming devices.
- Apply or save settings and exit the router. You should now have Quality of Service enabled for your games console!
- Unfortunately, QoS is not available on all routers.
When set up correctly, having Quality of Service enabled can reduce lag on busy home networks. It is as though you are the only one on the internet, even if you aren’t. See the video above for a demo of QoS in action.
See our article on QoS for more on this.
Use DMZ/Port Forwarding to Get a Better Connection To Other Gamers
Once you have sorted out the connections in your own home, it’s also a good idea to make sure your console has the best possible connection to the wider internet and other players.
The best way to do this is to use some kind of port forwarding on your games console, which opens it fully up to the internet for best connectivity.
There are actually multiple ways to do this; see our article on different ways of port forwarding. Some methods are precise but long winded; others are quicker but less precise.
However, for gamers who want a quick solution, the easiest way to set up port forwarding on consoles is to place your console in the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) on your router.
See our article on how to do this; it takes you through all the steps; here’s a brief summary:
- Get the MAC address of your console (Connection Settings/Status).
- Log into your router by typing it’s IP address in any browser
- The IP is often 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. or 192.168.1.25
- Enter the admin/password, on a sticker on the back along with the IP.
- Find DMZ Settings under Security or Advanced or similar.
- Enter your console’s MAC address and to place it in the DMZ.
- Save settings and close.
This opens your games console fully up to the internet for the best possible connection to other gamers, which can keep lag down on Fortnite or other games.
Only do this if you are playing on games consoles though; using DMZ is not safe on other devices like PCs. See our article on this.
If you want to apply port forwarding using the longer, manual method, see our full articles for the PS4/PS5 and Xbox One/X on this more complicated process, and here for a list of ports you need to open for Fortnite on different platforms (PS4/PS5/PC/Xbox One/Xbox X).
Here a brief list of ports to open:
- TCP: 433, 3478-3479, 5060, 5062, 5222, 6250, 12000-65000
- UDP: 433, 3478-3479, 5060, 5062, 6250, 12000-65000
- TCP: 433, 1935, 3478-3480, 5222
- UDP: 433, 3074, 3478-3479
- Xbox One/Xbox X:
- TCP: 433, 3074, 5222
- UDP: 88, 433, 500, 3074, 3544, 4500
- TCP: 433, 5222, 6667, 12400, 28910, 29900-29901, 29920
- UDP: 1-65535
However, for games consoles, it’s usually a lot easier and quicker to just use DMZ if it’s available, as this opens up all ports automatically instead of you having to manually open all the ports listed.
Only Play Against People Close to You Geographically
Another crucial factor in how lag free online gaming is is how close you are to the people you are playing against. You need to be in lobbies only with people on the same continent at least, preferably mostly in the same country.
Someone in the UK playing against someone in Australia or Japan is not going to run very smoothly for anything that is fast paced – like racing or where people are shooting at each other). This is where the lag ruins the online experience as players lag out only to find they’ve already been taken out when the connection returns.
Sometimes it may be due to network errors or connection issues like we mentioned. Other times you might simply be playing against someone too far away, and the time it takes for data to be sent back and forward between consoles creates lag. UK to Australia for instance is 300-400 milliseconds ping, even with a perfect internet connection, which makes fast paced online gaming difficult.
So stick to lobbies with players close to you, within the USA/Canada for North American players and within the UK/EU for European gamers.
Thankfully, Fortnite does have matchmaking settings already built it. You need to go the Game Options.…Matchmaking Region and make sure it is set to Auto (automatically finds the players with the lowest ping) or manually select the region you are playing in.
For those players interested, the Fortnite game actually uses Amazon AWS servers for online play; here is a current list of the locations worldwide:
- USA – East – Virginia, Ohio; West – California, Oregon
- South America – Sao Paolo
- Canada (Central)
- UK – Ireland, London
- Europe – Frankfurt, Paris, Stockholm
- Asia Pacific – Mumbai, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Tokyo, Sydney
- China – Beijing, Ningxia
Fortnite should already sort this for you by default, connecting you to the nearest server, but it is worth checking anyway in the game options.
Tips For Reducing Lag for Fortnite on PC
We understand PC gaming does differ a little from console gaming and has some unique aspects that need to be taken into account. The advice for dealing with weak Wi-Fi is largely the same; however, here are some tips for reducing lag specific to PC gamers.
1. Check PC Specifications – Make sure your PC meets the minimum system requirements to play Fortnite:
- Windows 7/8/10, 64 bit system
- Video Card – Nvidia GTX 660 or AMD Radeon HD 7870 equivalent DX11 GPU minimum
- 4GB RAM memory minimum
- Core i5 2.8 Ghz processor minimum
- 20GB Hard drive space minimum
- DirectX 11.0 Graphics minimum (Some systems work better with DX 11, some with DX 12; experiment between the two to check for your PC).
See here for an excellent free resource which will test your system to see if it meets these requirements. Download and run the program to check your current PC specifications.
2. Update PC Drivers – Make sure your graphics cards and network drivers are up to date:
3. Fortnite Graphics Settings – Adjust game settings to use less system resources. Go to Fortnite Settings….Video Settings, then set as follows:
- Adjust display resolution downwards to lower spec
- Reduce quality to medium or low
- Turn off shadows and anti-aliasing
- Turn everything else down to low
- Turn show FPS to On
- Turn V-Sync Off
- This places less stress on system resources, and may help to reduce lag if your PC system is on the limit in terms of the actual specs it has versus the required specs.
- See the screenshot below for a good set of recommended specs to optimize frame-rate.
- See here for a good video on this.
4. System Resources – Close down any unnecessary background programs (antivirus, browsers etc) while playing to save system resources. Ctrl+Alt+Delete opens up Task Manager, and from there you can scan for and close applications you don’t strictly need right there and then. See here for a good video on how to disable these programs at startup as well.
5. PC processors – Make sure the maximum number of processors on your system are being used:
- Press the Windows Key and R at the same time to open up the Run box
- Type in msconfig into the box and hit enter. The System Configuration box should come up.
- Select Boot, then your Windows system and then Advanced Options.
- Check the number of processors box and then select the highest number available.
- Click OK and Apply and Save options.
Other Tips For Reducing Lag on Fortnite
Here are some more basic and obvious things to try to see if it provides you with a better connection for online gaming.
- Try quick resetting your router & console.
- If you need to stay on Wi-Fi, then try moving the console and router closer together. Try also placing your console on it’s own band if your router is dual band.
- Try hard resetting your router and console – powering both off and fully unplugging for 5 minutes and then turning back on.
- Make sure your PS4/PS5/Xbox system software is fully up to date. Go to Settings….System Software Update and check for new patches.
- Try uninstalling and reinstalling Fortnite.
- Check the wider internet in your house and area. Is it just you struggling with a poor connection, or are other people in your house or area also struggling? It might be a problem with your ISP.
Things Which Won’t Make a Difference To Ping on Fortnite or Other Games
Now we have covered all the things you can do to improve ping and reduce lag on Fortnite, we should also bust some myths about what you can’t do to reduce lag, despite many videos and forums online claiming otherwise.
Changing DNS Settings – We have covered this in another article. Changing DNS settings on your console or router may slightly improve bandwidth in some cases, but does nothing to reduce lag for online gaming.
Changing MTU Settings – See our article on this as well. Again does not appear to reduce lag or improve bandwidth when properly and thoroughly tested. You are best leaving the settings as they are.