Speeding up OGS around the world

tl;dr - OGS is slow outside of the United States. We want to make it faster, but it’s going to cost money. We want your opinion on placing an optional ad on the game page to improve better serve those regions. (And like all ads on the site, it would not be present for site supporters)

Hello OGS!

Depending on where you live in the world, OGS can feel pretty fast and responsive, or rather slow and sluggish. Here’s a map showing the average latency our players experienced around the world over the past 24 hours

Generally speaking, if you live in country with a green dot, OGS is generally pretty responsive and you don’t have too many problems with lag and that sort of thing. If you live in a country with a yellow dot, it’s still not too bad, but the latency is definitely noticeable, the site generally feels a little sluggish. In countries with an orange dot, there’s no question that the site feels a bit sluggish, though depending on what type of game you’re playing, it can still be tolerable. If you live in a country with a red dot, then I am truly sorry and I have no idea how anyone from there can stand to play here.

Ideally, what we want to see is something more like this:

And although a true “green everywhere” goal might be somewhat unrealistic, we can certainly do a lot to get significantly closer than we are right now.

The problem is that right now all of the servers that run OGS are located in the eastern United States. If we want to have better service in more places, we need to have servers closer to those places.

About 6 months ago we released a large update to the server and client. Part of this update included some pretty cool capabilities on the server side that allow us to place servers in different parts of the world while still keeping OGS “whole” in the sense that everyone would still be in the same pool of players and we wouldn’t have lame “select a server to play on” things like some other services. Everything would operate as it does today, only faster for the majority of our user base. The primary reason why we haven’t deployed it yet is because it’s going to more than double our operational costs to do so and so right now we can’t afford to deploy it.

Currently the site is supported in large part by site supporters, and supplemented by ad revenue by displaying ads to non site-supporters. We display one ad on most pages, except our most popular page, the game page. We believe that by adding an ad on the game page, and possibly an additional block ad on the overview and/or the game match page, that the extra revenue generated will be enough to cover the costs of adding the necessary servers in at least one if not two or more other regions. This will improve service in those regions by making everything faster for players closer to those servers. Because ads on the game page can be rather distracting, we are also considering making those ads enabled by default, but allow users to optionally disable them, even without becoming site supporters.

And to be clear, all site supporters would continue to not see any ads on the site.

In exchange for being able to provide better service around the world, should we place one ad on the game page?

NOTE: Site supporters will continue to not have any ads anywhere on OGS, this would affect non site supporters only

  • Yes, and don’t make the ad optional
  • Yes, but make the ad optional
  • No, service is good enough outside of the US

0 voters

Should we add a second ad (probably a smaller “block ad”) to the “Overview” and/or “Play” pages?

  • Yes, to both
  • Yes, but only to the “Overview” page (the page you see when you first log in)
  • Yes, but only to the “Play” page (the page you go to to find a new game)
  • No, service is good enough outside of the US

0 voters

What region do you view as the most important to improve service to first?

With any luck we will be able to improve services in more than one region with the increased revenue, but this poll will help us order and prioritize.

  • Northern Asia (Japan, South Korea, Beijing China)
  • Southern Asia / Oceania (Australia, Hong Kong, Taipei, Thailand, India)
  • Western Europe
  • Eastern Europe
  • Western United States
  • Central America
  • South America
  • South Africa
  • North Africa

0 voters


Could the dots on the first map be scaled according to the number of current players from each country? That would provide an even more accurate picture of the scope of the problem, and of which regions should be prioritized.


I live in a country with a red dot (Sweden) but I think this is one of the fastest and most responsive sites so I think your data is a bit inaccurate.


Sorry for being retarded, but by “game page” you mean the actuall game being played? or the games tab, where all the games are viewed.


I personally wouldn’t mind an add on the game page, with the caveat of it not being animated but a static image. It would be too distracting to watch the same looping animation for “clash of garbage” for the length of a standard live game. Static banner for “clash of garbage” though, perfectly acceptable.


Never an ad on the game page. Never ever.


I’ve tried to set that plot up in the past too, but I’ve been unsuccessful. But I do have that data:

North America: 35.8%
Europe: 40.1% (Western: 16.19%, Eastern: 10.97%, Northern: 8.74%, Southern: 4.14%)
Asia: 15.4% (Eastern: 7.6% Southeast: 5.08)
South America: 4.47%
Oceania: 2.65%
Central America: 0.77%
Africa: 0.65%


Fantastic marketing skills.

Looking at data for the past 6 hours, Sweden is yellow like the rest of Europe. But the past 24 hours the average was 1200ms, so likely there was some problem with the tubes somewhere for a bit, but it looks like they got it fixed up and it’s more normal now.

This would be on the page where one actually plays a game, so yeah somewhat of a sensitive area.

My hope is that the game page stays uncluttered to avoid as much distraction as possible. Are there any alternatives?


I am a site supporter, so I won’t be seeing the ad either way, but a couple of comments:

  • Any ad on the game page, for me, would have to be pretty static; no animations for sure.
  • If said ad were subtle (thought this might impact placement income), it would not bother me for correspondence games. Live games may be different, since the screen taken up by the ad is valuable in making click targets bigger.
  • Even as a site supporter, I’d be perfectly happy to see an ad on the front page, as long as it wasn’t animated. I don’t know if this would be helpful or not. If so, maybe it’s a discussion to be had?

Oh, then not on the game page :confused: do not ruin the beautiful simplicity and dignity of go. Anywhere else…


As a site supporter: i dont care. Just fill the site with ads to make this site even faster for nothrern europeans, i see no reason not to xD

Please make the ads play happy tunes while playing, i think i could gain the upper hand in my games if my opponents were distracted.


I currently have my adblocker turned off for the entire OGS domain, but if there was an ad on the playing page I’d probably turn it on on that page.


Well, the optionality of a game page ad would still facilitate that for people that found it particularly distracting.

But in general, it’s a bit of a chicken and the egg situation. Our largest potential player base is in Asia, it’s also where we are slowest. We can’t just move our servers there because we would then alienate 80+% of our existing player base.

If we were 10% as popular in Asia as we were are in the rest of the world, and if their supporter rate was about what we currently have, then we wouldn’t need ads at all. Solving the latency problem is one aspect of increasing our popularity there, and there’s a couple of other things we have in the works that will hopefully increase it even more (in Asia and elsewhere :slight_smile: ).

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Putting an Add or 2 wouldn’t bother me. In my opinion, the OGS staff have done a great job placing advertisements in spots that do not decrease the gaming experience. So I trust these folks to do the same with a few more advertisements.

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I agree with the point about non-animated ads folks have mentioned.

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I’ve doubled the amount I’m supporting you with.

Continue the great work.