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The Ultimate Guide to Fixing PS4 Freezing and Lagging

Hey there! If you‘ve landed on this page, chances are your PS4 has been freezing or lagging lately during gaming sessions. As an avid gamer myself, I totally get how frustrating and immersion-breaking performance issues can be.

The good news is, with some focused troubleshooting, we can likely get to the bottom of what‘s causing the problems and get you back to smooth, uninterrupted gameplay. I‘ve compiled this comprehensive guide to walk you step-by-step through identifying and resolving the most common PS4 freezing and lagging issues.

Pinpointing the Culprit Behind PS4 Freezes and Lags

Based on my experience fixing gaming consoles and PCs, there are a handful of likely scenarios that can cause intermittent freezing or lagging on your PS4:

  • An inconsistent or slow internet connection – Online multiplayer gaming requires fast, low latency speeds for smooth performance. Any bandwidth congestion or wireless interference can disrupt data packets.
  • Hard drive problems – As drives fill up and become fragmented over time, reading data sequentially takes longer, causing hangs and stutters.
  • Overheating – Internal dust buildup forces the fans to work extra hard to cool the components, resulting in thermal throttling.
  • Corrupted system files – Bugs, crashes, and errors in system files can manifest as performance hiccups.
  • Failing hardware – Thermal paste drying out, the fan wearing out, or the hard drive deteriorating with age can lead to freezing.

We‘ll need to do some tests to pinpoint which one is the culprit in your case. Not to worry – just follow along with the step-by-step troubleshooting below, and we‘ll have you back in the game in no time!

Checking Your Internet Connection

Let‘s start by testing your internet speeds and connection stability, since any network issues will definitely disrupt online gameplay.

According to PlayStation, you‘ll want to have at least 15 Mbps download and 2-5 Mbps upload speeds for smooth online multiplayer gaming. Testing this is easy:

  1. Run a speed test to check your network‘s speeds.
  2. Pay attention to results during active gameplay when most bandwidth is in use.
  3. If speeds drop below 15 Mbps down/2 Mbps up, contact your ISP about optimizing your connection.

You‘ll also want low latency (the response time between your PS4 and the game server) for lag-free performance.

  • Latency above 150 ms can cause noticeable lag.
  • Try connecting your PS4 via ethernet cable instead of WiFi to reduce latency.
  • Consider upgrading to a mesh WiFi system if using a wireless connection.

If you consistently get speeds over 15 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up, and latency under 150 ms, then your internet connection is likely not the issue. Let‘s move on to investigating your PS4‘s hardware.

Freeing Up Your PS4‘s Hard Drive

Next, let‘s check on the health of your PS4‘s hard drive. These workhorses fill up quickly as you install games, DLC packs, save files, and captured videos/screenshots.

A 2019 study found the average PS4 hard drive capacity in use was:

  • 61% full for 500 GB models
  • 51% full for 1 TB models

And once you pass 85% capacity, performance tends to suffer. The drive has less spare area to elegantly manage data, and reading times increase.

Here are a few tips to free up capacity:

  1. Uninstall old games you don‘t play anymore.
  2. Save screenshots and video clips to external storage.
  3. Delete unused themes and avatar items.
  4. Uninstall game modes you don‘t play in multiplayer titles.

Getting usage below 80% should help. You can also manually rebuild the database to clean up errors and defragment your files. Just make sure to back up your saves first!

Long term, upgrading to a faster solid state drive (SSD) is the best performance boost. A 2 TB SSD has room for 50+ games and loads blazing fast. Just be sure to get one that fits the PS4 drive bay dimensions.

Clearing Dust to Stop Overheating

Next up – overheating! This is a super common cause of performance issues in gaming consoles. As dust accumulates in the PS4‘s vents over years of use, it restricts airflow and the fans have to work overtime to cool the components.

If the CPU and GPU overheat, the system will deliberately slow down processor speeds to prevent damage. This thermal throttling causes lag, freezing, and crashes.

To stop overheating:

  1. Use compressed air to clean the external vents and case crevices.
  2. Open the PS4 case annually to clean interior dust buildup.
  3. Replace the thermal paste between the CPU/GPU and heatsink if it‘s dried out.
  4. Make sure the PS4 has open clearance on all sides for ventilation.

This regular maintenance will keep your console running cool for years. Not comfortable opening up the case? Many local electronics repair shops offer a PS4 cleaning service for around $60-$80 to blow out internal dust.

Checking for Corrupted System Files

We‘re making good progress! A couple more things to check – system file corruption and failing hardware components.

Glitches, crashes, and improperly shut down games can all create errors in your PS4 system software over time. Rebuilding the database scans for these file corruptions and fixes them:

  1. Start PS4 in Safe Mode.
  2. Select "Rebuild Database" and let it scan.
  3. Say yes to any prompts to fix corrupt data.

For a deeper clean, try reinitializing the PS4 system software. Just be sure to back up your game saves first, as this will erase everything.

You can also redownload and reinstall the full system software package from Sony‘s website if needed. Just grab the file on a USB drive.

Ruling Out Failing Hardware

Lastly, if your trusty PS4 is over 5 years old, it may just be showing its age. Components like the fan, hard drive, thermal paste, and even the CPU/GPU will eventually start to fail after thousands of hours of use.

Here are a few signs of failing hardware:

  • Loud fan noises or rattling coming from the PS4.
  • Frequent overheating warnings despite exterior cleaning.
  • Corrupted game textures or graphics failures.
  • Game crashes and data loss.
  • Unstable internet even with strong connection.

At this point, replacement parts may resolve some issues, like installing a new hard drive fan and thermal paste. But the costs can add up.

Upgrading to a PS5 may be a better long term investment, as you‘ll gain a huge performance boost, future-proofed hardware, and some backwards compatibility. Just be sure to transfer your PSN account first!

Well, that about covers it! With some dedicated troubleshooting using this guide, hopefully you can get to the bottom of your PS4‘s freezing and lagging problems. Just work through each section methodically until your console is running smooth as silk once again. Let me know if you have any other questions!