DayZ packet loss: fix it in a few easy steps

Vlad Constantinescu
by Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
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  • DayZ is a popular sandbox multiplayer game where you have to survive at all costs against zombies and other players.
  • Like any multiplayer game, DayZ is prone to facing various connectivity issues, including jitter and packet loss.
  • Check out our Packet Loss Section for more easy-to-follow guides on fixing this issue.
  • Visit our Gaming Hub to learn more about the benefits of using a VPN while gaming.

DayZ is a popular sandbox multiplayer game where you have to survive at all costs. The game originally started as a free mod for Arma II and required the original game and its Operation Arrowhead standalone expansion to run.

You can tell at a glance that the game was way more popular back when it was a free mod. However, even in its current state, it still manages to rally thousands of players who enjoy it.

But we’re not here to talk about DayZ, are we? Chances are that if you landed on this page, you already know all there is to know about this game, except one thing: how to fix packet loss in DayZ.

So let’s not waste any more time and focus on this topic. But first, we’ll help you understand more about this unwanted phenomenon, so you can be more effective in your battle against it.

What is packet loss in DayZ?

Packet loss is a bummer, no matter where you spot it. Whenever you establish a connection, you send and receive data packets. Sometimes, a bunch of these packets never make it to their destination, and we refer to this phenomenon as packet loss.

During a packet loss episode in DayZ, you may notice:

  • Sluggish movement
  • Rubberbanding (when you freeze then suddenly teleport to another place on the map)
  • Unresponsive menus and controls
  • Sudden disconnections
  • De-synchronization
  • Game crashes

From a few standpoints, packet loss might look exactly like high latency or jitter. But the reality is that those phenomenons are wildly different. To summarize:

  • High latency: packets take a little longer to arrive, but they eventually make it to their destination
  • Packet loss: data packets get lost on the way, so they never reach their destination point
  • Jitter: when a packet’s delay time starts to vary wildly (it can cause packet loss)

What causes packet loss in DayZ?

What makes packet loss unbelievably annoying is that it doesn’t have any immediate cause. In fact, lots of things can cause packet loss, ranging from a worn-out Ethernet cable to outdated drivers on your system or server-side issues.

That’s also why there’s no silver bullet for this problem. Naturally, you’d have to know what caused the packet loss so you can look into the matter and eventually fix it.

However, most of the time fixing packet loss is poking in the dark until you finally figure it out. Here’s a list of factors that could weigh in to trigger packet loss:

  • Network congestion (by far this is the most frequent reason)
  • ISP throttling or improper traffic routing (also very common)
  • Cheap Internet subscription plan (and by cheap we mean with low bandwidth allocation)
  • Broken, old, worn-out Ethernet cables
  • Using WiFi instead of Ethernet connections
  • DayZ server-side issues
  • Running a lot of bandwidth-consuming apps on your PC (even as background processes)
  • Using high game quality settings that your connection can’t handle
  • ISP-assigned DNS

And the list can go on for a while, but we’re not trying to bore you out of your mind. But you get the point: even in DayZ, butterfly effect rules apply to packet loss in DayZ. Even a gust of wind can mess things up bad for you.

The good news is that more often than not, packet loss goes away by itself, so all it takes is a bit of patience.

How to detect packet loss in DayZ?

  1. Identify the IP address of the DayZ server
  2. Launch a CMD instance on your computer
  3. Type pathping x.x.x.x (replace x.x.x.x with the IP address you noted earlier)CMD pathping
  4. Wait for the pathping test to come to an end
  5. Check the results and see if there’s any packet loss

If you notice packet loss on some of the nodes, then it obviously means your connection is leaking packets. But knowing the exact place where it occurs can help you troubleshoot it more effectively.

As a rule of thumb, the first node (hop) is always your PC (the device you’re running the pathping test from). At the opposite end of the connection (the last node), there’s the game server (the machine you’re running the test against).Results of pathping

Note that you can use any method you feel comfortable with to detect the IP address of the DayZ server. A lot of community servers have their IP address publicly available, so it’s not exactly difficult to spot it if you know where to look.

WireShark or any other third-party tool can also help you identify the IP address faster.

How to fix DayZ packet loss

1. Use a VPN

  1. Buy a premium VPN subscription plan (we recommend Private Internet Access)DayZ PIA
  2. Download and install the VPN client on your PC
  3. Launch PIA and log into your account
  4. Connect to a server of your choice (nearby servers are usually faster)
  5. Launch DayZ
  6. Check if you’re still getting packet loss

Granted, a VPN isn’t a silver bullet fix, but it could still solve packet loss faster than other methods. The only downside is that using a VPN will only work if the packet loss doesn’t occur on your side or if it’s caused by the game server.

Using a tool such as Kape Technologies‘ Private Internet Access will only work if the packet loss is triggered by your ISP. As we’ve briefly hinted above, an ISP can cause packet loss by limiting your bandwidth or routing network traffic improperly.

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A VPN will bypass these limitations by routing your network traffic through its own secure tunnel, away from any ISP-imposed artificial restrictions.

2. Flush your DNS

  1. Press the Win key on your keyboard
  2. Type CMD
  3. Right-click the Command Prompt icon
  4. Select Run as administrator
  5. In the CMD window, type the following commands, one by one:

ipconfig /flushdns
ipconfig /registerdns
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
netsh winsock reset
exit

Restart your computer after closing the CMD window, then launch DayZ and check if you’re still getting packet loss.

Cached data on your PC might build up and cause various conflicts on your connection. This is why regularly flushing your DNS can greatly improve the quality of your connection and even eliminate issues such as packet loss.

Optionally, if you’re using ISP-assigned DNS, you can switch to public DNS addresses. We’ve used Google’s free public DNS and we’re quite satisfied with it.

However, you can also use OpenDNS, Cloudflare, or any other similar service you consider fit for your needs.

3. Troubleshoot your connection manually

  • Thoroughly inspect your home network for any malfunctioning component
  • Replace any troublesome part of your connection (check for old, worn-out Ethernet cables)
  • Make sure to update your system drivers to their latest version
  • Check and update your router’s firmware if needed
  • Always use Ethernet instead of WiFi if possible (WiFi packet loss occurs more often)
  • Call your ISP and ask them (nicely) if they can do anything about your issue
  • Switch the server you’re playing DayZ on (and rule out any server-side issues)
  • Try to avoid peak hours in order to dodge network congestion issues (or use a VPN)
  • Upgrade your Internet plan (if possible)
  • Lower the quality settings in DayZ (your connection might not be able to handle them)
  • Close any app or service running in the background that might consume bandwidth

It goes without saying that even taking all these suggested steps might not fix your packet loss problem if the underlying issue is a more complicated one.

However, our suggestions are meant to help you improve the quality of your connection, which is quite important.

A well-maintained, high-quality connection is less prone to experiencing various issues, including but not limited to packet loss, high ping, jitter, or even sudden disconnections.

For that reason, make sure you take as many suggested steps as you can, to improve your odds at winning your DayZ packet loss battle.

Final thoughts on DayZ packet loss

All things considered, if you’re experiencing heavy packet loss in DayZ, don’t fret. Most of the time, the issue has a temporary nature and can fix itself shortly. More often than not you won’t even notice it was there, to begin with.

However, if you notice a pattern starting to form, you may have to step into action. Using a VPN is still one of the most popular ways to fix packet loss in DayZ, but it only works if your ISP limits your connection.

Remember that since there’s no immediately apparent cause for packet loss, it can be hard to find a guaranteed fix. Often times, you may be able to fix packet loss by trial and error, so arm yourself with a lot of patience. You may need it.