Troubleshooting common performance problems
"Lag" can refer to several distinct types of problems affecting your Second Life experience. Luckily, the Second Life viewer has a built-in tool to help you determine what type of lag you are experiencing. To activate the Lag Meter, choose Help > Lag Meter.
The Lag Meter breaks lag down into Client, Network, and Server lag, with corresponding lights for each lag type. Pressing the << button expands the Lag Meter, revealing descriptions and advice to solve any lag you are currently suffering.
More lag details
Here are a few more specific symptoms of lag, and some possible solutions for each:
The video is jerky or stuttering, pauses for long periods of time, and everything stops moving, including my avatar.
This type of "lag", known as low framerate, usually indicates that your computer is having trouble drawing everything your avatar sees. There may be too much detail in the scene you're looking at, you may have your graphical Preferences set too high, or something else might be taking up a lot of your computer's processing time. This type of lag show itself in the Client section of the Lag Meter.
- Make sure your computer meets all of the Minimum System Requirements. It's best to exceed them in order to prevent bottlenecks, since the minimum system requirements are the minimum hardware required to run Second Life at all. A slower processor, older video card, or low memory can contribute to low framerates.
- Make sure you have the latest drivers for your video card.
- Take a look at the graphics settings in the Preferences window if you haven't already. Try moving the Quality and Performance slider to Low.
- Check to see if your hard drive light is showing a lot of activity. If it is, then your system may be running low on memory and using hard drive swap space instead, which is significantly slower.
- You might need to turn your bandwidth settings down in the Preferences window if your computer is receiving more network data than it can handle.
- Try teleporting to a quieter area, or one with fewer objects, to see if the situation improves.
- You might also read our Statistics Guide to verify that the problem is low frame rate (Basic FPS in the Statistics window).
My avatar takes forever to start walking, won't stop walking for several seconds, and chat does not appear for a long time.
This type of "lag" is actually the conventional definition of lag: Latency between you and the Second Life servers. That is, information is taking a long time to get from your computer to Second Life, or vice-versa.
- First, make sure your Internet connection meets Second Life's minimum system requirements.
- If you're using wireless networking, you should try troubleshooting with a direct wired connection; we allow, but do not support the use of wirless network connections.
- Try opening the Statistics bar and seeing what your Ping Sim and Packet Loss values are. The ping values are the time (in milliseconds) it takes to reach the server from your computer. If this number is high, it could indicate a problem with your network or internet connection. If Packet Loss is a nonzero number, your network or ISP may be having issues.
- Finally, the region you're in may be busy or overloaded. Try to see if going somewhere else reduces the problem.
I can't walk (I can only rotate in place), my avatar keeps moving several minutes after I try to stop, and the mini-map turns red (or objects and the terrain disappear).
All of these are signs that you are (at least partially) disconnected from Second Life. While you're logged into Second Life, you're connecting to several different parts of the Second Life servers (for the region you're in, your inventory, your cash balance, etc.) It's possible to get disconnected from some parts of Second Life and not others, resulting in your avatar getting stuck.
- When this happens, you need to close and restart Second Life to get reconnected.
- If this happens consistently after a certain period of time (like a few minutes), it's likely there's other software on your computer (firewall or internet security software) that's disconnecting Second Life.
- If you're using wireless, you may want to try a wired connection.
- If this happens when someone else at your location tries to log onto Second Life, you might need to tweak your network a little to let multiple computers use Second Life.