What is a Good Internet Speed for Gaming?

Chyelle Dvorak
Contributing Writer, VPNs
Read More
December 04, 2020
3 min read

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Anywhere between 3 and 8 Mbps is considered okay for gaming. But depending on who else is using your internet and whether you’re calling or video streaming at the same time, this won’t be enough. Once you get into the 50 to 200 Mbps range, your speed is considered excellent.

Of course, faster internet is nice, but you don’t want to overpay for speeds you don’t need. So how do you know what’s truly recommended and what internet speed will actually make gaming easier? We’ll share real advice from the Federal Communications Commission.

If you want to know more about why you may need a faster internet speed for gaming, along with how to check your internet speed, keep reading.

How fast should my internet be for gaming?

The Federal Communications Commission recommends a download speed of 3 to 4 Mbps for gaming.1 More specifically, 3 Mbps for a regular gaming console and 4 Mbps for multiplayer games.1

While 3 to 4 Mbps isn’t that much internet speed, keep in mind that this recommendation is for only one person. It also doesn’t account for other devices and activities that may be using your bandwidth at the same time. You’ll also want better speeds for downloading new games or updates.

If it’s just you or one other person using your internet, or if you don’t have a lot of devices sharing your bandwidth, we recommend getting a plan with 25 to 50 Mbps for gaming. This should cover your gaming needs and your other online activities.

Overall, most internet service providers (ISPs) provide the speed needed for a good gaming experience.

Need even more speed?
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If you have a bigger family or multiple smart devices and maybe a home security system, you’ll want to make sure your bandwidth can handle it. In our Mbps guide, we help you calculate the speed you need for all your family members and online activities.

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Why is faster internet better for gaming?

So why is it important to have fast enough internet and Wi-Fi speed for gaming? Many games require you download game patches, frequent updates, or new files on your PC in order to keep playing. And of course, you’ll want fast speeds and low latency so you don’t lag when playing online.

If you’re playing games such as Cyberpunk 2077, Diablo IV, or Doom Eternal, you’ll want to pay attention to the file size. There are ISPs out there known to be great for gaming that you can easily check out.

Cyberpunk 2077 has a file size of 70 GB, while Doom Eternal is roughly 40 GB. Your internet speed plays a big part in how fast your computer will download these files.

Here’s a small chart to help you see how this works for Cyberpunk 2077:

Internet speed and file download time comparison2
Internet speed
File size
Download time

3 Mbps

70 GB

2 1/2 days

4 Mbps

70 GB

1 day and 16 hours

100 Mbps

70 GB

1 hour and 40 minutes

When you’re downloading a file on your PC, the internet speed you’re using makes a huge difference. According to this chart, the file size at 70 GB is the same. But depending on your internet speed, you could be waiting for either two and a half days or just under two hours for the same file to download.

Even if you’re using a gaming console like the PS5 Digital Edition, you’ll still need to download files. This video game console doesn’t have a disk drive. This means games will need to be downloaded.

Does my data cap affect my gaming?

It’s very common for internet plans to have data caps. Once you go over the limit of your data cap, you often have to pay more for your internet or deal with throttled speeds.

It’s important to keep in mind that downloading games and updating games takes up a significant amount of data. Updates on the PS5 can be as big as 500 MB. Both downloading games, updating games, and multiplayer games will impact your data use.

Whenever you reach your data cap, your ISP should be informing you via text message or email so you don’t go over your limit without knowing about it. If you keep reaching your data cap each month, it might be time to upgrade to a better data plan or new ISP.

How do I speed up my internet?

If lag is constantly causing you to miss your opponents in your online games, you’re probably pretty frustrated. But there are some things you can do about it. First, check your internet and Wi-Fi speed, and make sure you have enough Mbps.

If you’re looking for an in-depth look at how to speed up your internet, check out our guide. In the meantime, here are some gamer-specific tips to try:

  • Connect your PC or console directly to your router with an Ethernet cord.
  • If you stream, record playthroughs offline and upload later. If you livestream, you’ll likely need more Mbps.
  • Disconnect other devices so they don’t hog your bandwidth.
  • Ask your housemates to avoid streaming music or video while you play.
  • Download new games and large updates at night so you don’t have to wait on them.
  • Reset your router and gaming devices.

If your internet plan just isn’t up to the challenge, you’ll need to upgrade your plan or switch providers. If you drop your zip below, we’ll show you the plans that are available in your area.

Look for faster internet plans in your area.
Now that you know more about the best ISPs in the US, check these out next.

Pair up with one of the best ISPs for gaming.

Or give one of the fastest internet providers a go.

Chyelle Dvorak
Written by
Chyelle Dvorak
Chyelle works as a freelance writer for The Daily Beast and edited articles for Forbes, Inc.com, Fox News and other review sites. Chyelle tests, writes, and researches products and services related to internet consumption. She found her passion for public speaking and writing in her childhood when she won the Voice of Democracy speech and essay competition. Chyelle has a degree in International Relations from Crown College, Minnesota. Outside of work, Chyelle loves to spend time reading, kayaking, and running.

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