Dota 2 packet loss: How to fix it? [Simplified]

Learn how to get rid of Dota 2 packet loss

by Vlad Constantinescu
Vlad Constantinescu
Vlad Constantinescu
VPN Expert & Privacy Advocate
Vlad might have a degree in Animal Husbandry and Livestock Management, but he's currently rocking anything software related, ranging from testing programs to writing in-depth reviews about them.... read more
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  • Dota 2 is a very popular free online game where you team up with four other players and fight another 5-player team. However, it's not as awesome as it sounds when you leak packets.
  • Getting lag, high ping, or packet loss in an online game can make it unplayable and disrupt the experience completely.
  • Packet loss can have a wide range of causes, but with a bit of patience and know-how, everything can be fixed. We'll tell you all about possible causes and fixes.
Packet loss Dota 2

Dota 2 is a very popular free online game where you team up with four other players and fight another 5-player team. The battle takes place in an enclosed arena, and each team has to protect its base.

There are three lanes, each of which requires a different approach. Also, there are more than 100 heroes and 60 items you can combine to achieve the best results.

The bottom line is Dota 2 is quite an intense game. Much more so because it only takes place online. Thus, you need to be entirely focused on the game and you certainly can’t win on your own. The whole game experience revolves around teamwork.

But enough of Dota 2’s awesomeness and popularity. We’re here to discuss some less pleasant aspects of this game.

Given that you can only play it online, this game is subject to the same unfortunate issues that every other service faces: high latency, jitter, and maybe the most annoying of them all, packet loss.

What is packet loss in Dota 2?

To keep it short, packet loss in Dota 2 is no different than with other services. Certain packets that you and the server send to each other never make it to the destination. In turn, you experience horrible lagging, rubberbanding, and possibly timeouts.

All of these combined can ruin the game for you, your teammates, and even your opponents. Imagine delivering the final blow to one of your virtual foes only to realize the champion isn’t even there anymore. Not too pleasant, right?

Or picture your hero exposed somewhere on the map when a pack of enemy heroes approaches. You try to run and think you’re safe when the game suddenly yanks you back to the spot you were trying to leave.

If any scenario depicted above seems familiar to you, you might’ve experienced packet loss at least once in your life. We believe that understanding the causes of this unwanted phenomenon might help you avoid or fix it easier.

What causes packet loss in Dota 2?

There are quite a lot of factors that can cause packet loss in Dota 2. However, most of these causes aren’t Dota 2-specific, so it’s likely that if you experience these issues in this game, you might encounter them everywhere else, too.

That being said, the most common causes of packet loss in Dota 2 are:

  • Overloaded network
  • Outdated, unstable devices
  • Old Ethernet cables
  • Using Wi-Fi instead of wired connections
  • Software/hardware faults
  • Overloaded game server
  • ISP throttling

You can check out our comprehensive guide if you want to learn more about packet loss, how to test for packet loss, and how to fix it. We’re sure you’ll find some great advice on how to curb this unwanted phenomenon.

How to fix packet loss Dota 2?

This is how you can reduce packet loss in Dota 2:

1. Use a VPN

  1. Download Private Internet Access and install it
  2. Launch the VPN and select a destination server
  3. Click the Go button to connect to the secure serverPIA is connected to Netherlands
  4. Check if the packet loss issue still persists

Private Internet Access is a great VPN service from Kape Technologies that can help you reduce packet loss. However, for it to work, your ISP must be the cause of your packet leaks.

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If the issue is on your side or if the game server itself triggers the loss of packets, using a VPN won’t do much good. In fact, it can even complicate things by choosing a longer route between you and the Dota 2 server.

Just to be on the safe side, run a packet loss test before you turn to VPNs. You can do so easily by pinging and checking if there’s any high ping issue. If everything seems to be alright, the Dota 2 server might be the culprit.

2. Troubleshoot your connection and isolate the issue

  1. Use our guide to help you run a packet loss testPacket loss analysis Windows with tracert and pathping
  2. Check what node has the highest ping value
  3. Try to fix the issue according to the troublesome node your test has highlighted

3. Refresh server with console commands

  1. Locate Dota 2 in your Steam Library.
  2. Go to the General tab and select Set Launch Options.
  3. Type the following:
  4. Launch Dota 2.
  5. Go to Settings> Hotskeys.
  6. Find Command and assign a keyboard key that you’ll use to display the command console.
  7. Use this keyboard key while in the game to open the command prompt.
  8. Type the following command:
    sdr SDRClient_ForceRelayCluster mad 

The mad from the command corresponds to the server in Madrid. If you are closer to another location, you can use the code from a different Dota 2 server location.

Here are all the locations available:

Atlanta, USatlMumbai, Indiabom
CanadacanWashington, USeat
Dubai, UAEdxbFrankfurt, Germanyfra
Sao Paulo, BrazilgruHong Konghkg
Sterling, USiadJohannesburg, South Africajnb
London, UKlhrLima, Perulim
Luxembourg, BelgiumluxChennai, Indiamaa
Madrid, SpainmanOklahoma City, USokc
Chigaco, USordParis, Francepar
Seattle, USseaSingaporesgp
Shanghai, ChinashaStockholm, Swedensto
Sydney, AustraliasydTokyo, Japantyo
Warsaw, Polandwaw

Note that while this will decrease packet loss, it may increase ping. So using VPN is still the best solution.

If you paid attention to our guide, you probably know that packet loss can occur in 4 different locations:

  • Your PC, router, or home network
  • Your ISP (and its network)
  • The big network distribution company
  • The Dota 2 game server you connect to

Thus, depending on the location of the packet leak, there are different actions you can take to alleviate the problem. Namely:

  • Check if your PC, router, and cables are working properly, not damaged, or outdated
  • Contact your ISP if the trouble seems to be on its side (or the big network distributor)
  • Reach out to Dota 2’s support team if the issue seems to be triggered by the game server

Packet loss often solves by itself, but sometimes it doesn’t

With these solutions, you should be able to fix packet loss in/out Dota 2.

All things considered, it’s worth noting that packet loss doesn’t have an exact cause most of the time. Additionally, it can occur randomly and disappear just as easily, without you even noticing.

However, sometimes there might be an underlying issue, and leaving it like that won’t do you any better. Thus, you might want to try the fixes we’ve suggested and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you think you can’t handle it.

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