How to Fix Chat Lag on Facebook

By Todd Bowerman

Chatting with friends in Facebook is an excellent way to stay in the social loop, as long as Facebook’s chat tools choose to cooperate. Chat lag can have myriad causes from network problems to issues with Facebook’s messaging servers, but a bit of trial and error troubleshooting is often enough to clear the issue and get you back to chatting in real-time. Dealing with Facebook chat lag is more an effort in elimination than anything.

Step 1

Open a new conversation with a different friend and test for chat lag by sending a few messages. If you’re experiencing chat lag with only one of your conversation partners, the problem is likely on his end rather than yours.

Step 2

Close all of your browser tabs and restart it to clear out any unnecessary clutter. Check Facebook chat when Facebook is the only tab open to see if the issue has been resolved.

Step 3

Update your browser to its most recent version. Facebook recommends browsing with Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer or Opera. Bugs related to Facebook chat performance have been reported, tested, and resolved in updated browser versions. Test Facebook chat in a couple of different browsers to determine whether the lag issue is browser-specific.

Step 4

Reset your Internet connection by shutting down your computer, powering off your router and then powering off your modem. Wait five minutes and then turn each device on in the opposite order. A quick power cycle is often all it takes to clear out network problems.

Step 5

Test your Facebook chat capabilities with another device on your network. If you discover that your laptop is lagging but your desktop is not, for example, you can assume the issue relates to the way your laptop accesses the network or the applications it has running or installed.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you’ve been blocked from sending chat messages by Facebook you’ll receive an error message when you attempt to speak with contacts. Facebook chat blocks are temporary and end automatically when the block time expires.
  • Facebook messaging may lag when you are accessing the site through a crowded public Wi-Fi network. If you’re experiencing chat lag while working on the go, test chat from your home connection to determine the true root of the problem.
  • Never provide your Facebook login information to any third-party websites or to friends, family, or partners. Keeping your Facebook account safe is critical for ensuring your social media presence is always under your control.
  • Resetting your modem and tinkering with your network will cause issues for other people in your home. Check with housemates before conducting any serious troubleshooting to ensure you’re not interrupting anything important.