Watching a Twitch stream should be a fun and relaxing experience. The platform already has a wide range of categories to choose from, helping you find the right kind of content to explore, whatever your interests.
Unfortunately, in the world of online entertainment, things don’t always go as smoothly as we would like.
If you have used Twitch for even a short time, you’re likely familiar with the issue of lag and how it affects streams, causing stuttering and similar problems.
If that sounds familiar, this guide will help you identify the cause of the problem and prevent Twitch streams from lagging, so you can enjoy an uninterrupted viewing experience.
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Why Do Twitch Streams Lag?
Twitch users widely agree that a choppy stream is among the most frustrating issues to encounter on the platform. To make matters worse, lag can occur even while using Chrome or Firefox, the two most popular web browsers.
When Twitch streams are slow, there are a few common causes:
- Unstable internet connection
- Hardware-related lag (GPU failing or insufficient RAM)
- Accumulation of browser cache & cookies
- Insufficient bandwidth
- Browser-related issues
- A bug on Twitch’s end
- Faulty plugins interfering
As you can see, the problem can be caused by a variety of reasons, which makes it more difficult to identify your specific issue.
This guide contains proven methods that have helped many users restore their usual viewing experience on Twitch.
Note: The fixes are listed in order, starting with the easiest and least time-consuming ones, then moving on to the slightly more complex solutions. We recommend following this order unless you’ve already tried some of these fixes.
Fix 1: Test Your Internet Connection
We always hope it isn’t the case but our internet connection is one of the most common reasons that Twitch streams start lagging.
There’s no point wasting time trying other fixes if the problem is your connection. That’s why we recommend running a speed test as the first step toward solving this problem, especially if other websites are acting strangely, not just Twitch.
If you know how fast your internet should be under normal circumstances, compare those speeds with the ones you see on the connection benchmarking website. We recommend Speedtest by Ookla as it is very user-friendly.
If your connection displays no signs of underperforming, move on to the other fixes.
Fix 2: Clear Your Browser’s Cache And Cookies
The accumulation of corrupt data, cache, and cookies in your browser’s storage can eventually cause issues, including laggy Twitch streams.
Despite this fix being relatively simple and easy to do, it has helped many users regain the ability to watch Twitch streams uninterrupted.
Here’s how to do it:
- Open Chrome on your PC and click on the three vertical dots in the top-right corner.
- Choose Settings from the dropdown menu to open the configuration panel.
- Scroll down until you see the Privacy and Security section. Click Clear browsing data to access the final window where you’ll start the cleanup.
- Tick the boxes next to the three available options, as shown in the image below. Finish by clicking Clear Data in the bottom-right corner. Make sure to select All time in the time range field.
Restart your browser and visit Twitch. See if the problem is gone.
If you are a Firefox user, follow the steps listed in this official guide instead.
Fix 3: Disable Extensions And Add-Ons
There are many Twitch-related extensions available for popular browsers, and countless users have them installed.
Unfortunately, if an extension or add-on is outdated or faulty, it can cause problems when you try to watch streams. This is especially true of extensions that modify Twitch’s video player and add or remove specific functions of the platform.
To ensure a faulty extension isn’t the cause of the problem, disable all extensions in your browser and load up a Twitch stream.
If the problem is gone, begin re-activating extensions one by one until you find out which one is causing the issue.
Another thing users confirmed to be a working fix is disabling hardware acceleration in your browser’s settings.
Fix 4: Try A Different Browser
Once you get used to a browser, it can be difficult to replace it with a different one. Sometimes even the world’s most popular browsers, such as Chrome and Firefox, have issues playing streams flawlessly.
To ensure the problem isn’t being caused by your browser and to avoid wasting time reinstalling it, temporarily switch to a different one and see if the problem persists.
We have a helpful guide covering the best browsers for Twitch. If you don’t know which one to download, it should give you a few ideas.
Fix 5: Flush Your DNS
Flushing your DNS is a quick and easy fix for many network-related errors, including Twitch streams lagging in your browser.
At first, this might look like a slightly more complicated process, but it is relatively easy if you follow the steps below:
- Click the search icon in the bottom-left corner of your taskbar.
- When the search bar opens, type in “command prompt” and press Enter. This will open the command prompt.
- In the command prompt, type in “!ipconfig /flushdns” without quotation marks, including the space between the words. Press Enter on your keyboard.
Wait a few seconds until you see a confirmation message, which should read “Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.” You can then close the command prompt.
Open Twitch and load the stream you want to watch. The problem should now be gone.
Note: It isn’t mandatory to restart your browser after flushing the DNS, but we still recommend doing it to make sure.
If this doesn’t help, you can switch to Google’s DNS using the step-by-step tutorial provided in our guide covering a similar topic.
Fix 6: Check Your System’s Performance For Possible Bottlenecks
As mentioned above, the reason Twitch streams become laggy could be related to your system’s performance, such as a failing graphics processor unit, memory leaks, CPU bottlenecks, or insufficient RAM.
Watching Twitch streams at the highest possible quality is what every user wants. Unfortunately, not every PC can handle that task perfectly.
To find out whether or not this is causing the problem, use a resource-monitoring program such as HWInfo, CPU-Z, HWMonitor, Speccy, or just stick with Windows Task Manager if you don’t care about the details.
If you notice that your CPU or RAM usage is unusually high while watching streams, or your GPU overheats, then this is a hardware-related issue.
Unfortunately, there probably isn’t much you can do about this other than upgrading your system or ensuring you don’t run many other programs while watching Twitch streams.
Fix 7: Use A VPN To Re-Route Your Connection
Last but not least, if nothing else helps and you’re sure that your PC is not the problem, you can try using either a free or subscription-based VPN to re-route your connection.
Many users confirmed this to be a working fix. This is because, in some instances of Twitch lag, the problem is related to your region while trying to watch.
If you’re unsure which VPN to choose, we have a guide covering both free and premium VPN services, with a brief review of each product. It should help you make an informed decision.
By using the methods listed above, you should be able to solve the Twitch lagging problem.
However, you should also remember that there are many variables and a lot of room for mistakes when it comes to watching Twitch streams. The problem can often be a vague bug, an error on Twitch’s end, or simply the result of poor content distribution by the broadcaster.
That’s why we recommend performing some troubleshooting and waiting a while before attempting any drastic measures. If you don’t, you might end up looking for a problem that’s non-existent on your end.